I am officially useless. It's OK, you can say it. I have been rubbish at posting lately and I think for the first time in three and a half years I am suffering from 'blogger's block', which some may say makes a nice change from the usual verbal diarrhoea. Why now? I don't know but I need to get back on track. As Fiona says on the home page, 'Saving Money Is Super Easy!' and she's absolutely right. It's resisting the temptation NOT to spend it that's hard. I've always prided myself on my willpower (except when it comes to wine as we all know) but lately I have been really struggling and I do admit to doing some dumb things money-wise. Not hugely expensive, but still stupid and completely unnecessary, hence I'm kicking myself a lot. Worse still, they were all impulse buys. My addiction to CD's has been threatening to rear its ugly head again and I confess to recently buying two triple box sets as well as two individual CD's. It seemed like a really good idea at the time but once I got them home and listened to them I hated all but one of them instantly. Even Noel commented on the horrible noises coming out of my car stereo when I was cleaning it at the weekend. Unfortunately The Warehouse doesn't offer refunds for mistakenly buying crap music so I am either stuck with them or forced to sell them for a pittance on Trade Me to some other mug with equally bad taste. On the positive side, I have well and truly learned my lesson. STAY AWAY FROM THE CD'S PENNY!
However I'm still fighting a battle of wills when it comes to clothes. As you know, I recently decluttered my wardrobe and was really happy with the results. Unfortunately this was before I lost weight. I've lost seven kilos in as many weeks through my Biggest Loser Challenge and I've still got a few more weeks to go. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't be happier about it but all of a sudden I'm left with a wardrobe full of clothes I can no longer wear. I can wear a belt to keep my trousers up but my blouses and jumpers literally fall off! And as for those expensive new bras I bought a short while ago - they're no good either! I'm thinking of sending them to Pamela Anderson, marked 'hardly worn' and writing to ask Posh Spice if she's got any spare instead. For the first time in years I fit into some of the cool labels normally only reserved for stick insects and I'm loving it. The only thing I don't love are the prices - good heavens are people completely mad?! So Kiwis I'll let you into a secret. You can get some brilliant deals on cool gear and designer labels by signing up to a website called 1-day. It's a great place to pick up all sorts of good deals on Christmas presents and all sorts of things throughout the year too. There's three new deals every day and first in, first served. I imagine it's the NZ equivalent to the Australian Catch of the Day and it's a great way to bag a bargain but be warned, it is addictive. I picked up a great little iPod on there not so long ago for just $29.95 (RRP $99.95). Unfortunately I drowned it in the bath last week but at least it was some consolation that I only paid a fraction of the usual price for it!
One of the golden rules of saving money is to separate your wants from your needs - and apart from trendy clothes and horrendous CD's I hasten to add I still manage this quite well. And as always, I console myself with the fact that even though I stuff up sometimes, I still know a zillion Simple Savings ways I can recoup the money I've wasted in other ways. Of course it's better if you don't stuff up in the first place! For example I managed to recoup the cost of the CD's by cancelling my hair appointment and cutting it myself this way instead. To be honest, I don't know why I bother going to the hairdresser any more, as I always like my hair done this way best - even she agreed yesterday I had done a great job! The knowledge to save is always there - you just have to remember to use it. A bit like common sense really!
I think the real problem lately is that all my careful planning went out of the window when I took up running again. I eat, sleep and breathe running. From the moment I wake up in the mornings I can't wait for my next run - where shall I run to, how far? In fact I love running so much that I've entered into a Half Iron Man with two mates in December. I can't wait! The only thing I'm not excited about is the price - $200 to enter a team! Why on earth would anyone want to pay $200 to try and kill themselves?! I don't know but I've got 80 days to be able to run 21km and already Noel is fed up of me falling into an exhausted coma on the couch by 8.30 every night! Still, if I'm going to keep up this kind of effort I need to get myself organised again. That means planning everything if I'm going to avoid wasting money. I've gone back to the newsletter from last December to get me back in the habit. If I plan my day properly, I won't get stung buying snacks and drinks for the kids after school. If I plan my day I won't forget to go to the bank or buy someone a birthday card or all the countless other things I've forgotten lately and had to waste precious time and petrol making extra car trips. If I menu plan our meals I won't be making mercy dashes to Mr Patel's at 6pm and spending $11 on a whole smoked chicken just so we can have something quick and healthy for dinner (still cheaper than takeaways I suppose but nonetheless an expensive option!). Last but not least if I go back to using the Purchasing Planner I won't even be tempted to browse the dreaded CD aisles or clothing shops because they won't be on my list of places I need to go or things I need to get. Yay!
Spring is well and truly here and Noel's vege plants are really rocketing away. He found an old aquarium from Ali's frog keeping days in the shed recently and thought it might make a good 'hothouse' for raising seeds. He was right, we've never known them grow so fast! It really makes a difference. He's also planted tons of seed potatoes so we should have a nice crop for Christmas dinner this year. At least one of us has been a conscientious Simple Saver. I bought him a 'Dickies' brand shirt for his birthday recently (a bargain from the 1-day site of course) and thought he'd be really impressed but the significance of the label was completely lost on him. In fact I think the comment was 'why the heck would I want to wear another bloke's name on my chest?' That's my hubby for you but I have to admit, I do like him that way!
There is one more saving I'm very proud to admit to - a saving of a different kind! I am the proud and doting mum of a beautiful Jersey calf called Bindi. She's the tiniest, cutest wee thing I've ever seen! She's less than half the size of the other calves and if I hadn't spotted her she would be veal by now but as soon as I set eyes on her I knew there was no way I was letting that happen. She may be small but she's got plenty of fighting spirit and now she gets to spend a long and happy life with us. Hooray!