No Spend! No way :-(

Posted February 21st, 2011 by Penny Wise

Three weeks into No Spend Month already! Although I have to admit I'm hardly patting myself on the back as yet; it seems we've been spending way more than saving so far! Still, I'm adamant that none of it is actually my fault. OK well maybe around $70 of it IS my fault but the rest is purely circumstantial. Take family weddings for example. It's not every day your brother-in-law gets married (in fact we could be really cheeky and say we NEVER thought we would see the day he would get married!) but when the rest of NZ was mourning the All Blacks' shock loss to France in the 2007 World Cup, Noel's youngest brother Campbell was celebrating winning over his lovely new girlfriend Rachel! I knew Rachel and I would get along from the day we met as we have a mutual love of running and wine. In fact, Rachel is the only person I know who can drink more Sauvignon Blanc than me and still remain standing. Even more impressive, she'll get up and run 10km the next morning!

We all knew Rachel was a keeper so were delighted when she and Campbell got married on Saturday. It was a picture perfect day in Taupo and true to form I was a blubbering wreck throughout the ceremony. I first met Campbell when he was just 13 and to see him standing at the front of the church at 34, looking like the proudest man in the world made me feel like the proudest big sister in the world! The day went off without a hitch, we caught up with some relatives we hadn't seen for years and before we knew it we were whizzing back home to sunny Whangamata. Because it was such a flying visit to Taupo and we weren't spending any time in our motel other than to sleep, we didn't bring any food with us whatsoever. We grabbed breakfast on the run and it was only as we were scoffing it in the car as we left that we began tallying up the cost of what turned out to be an extremely expensive 24 hours. Let me elaborate:

Wedding outfits x 4: $570.00 - We looked into hiring suits but it turned out it wasn't going to be much cheaper and we would have had to travel an hour and a half to get them! In the end we opted for buying some smart 'mix and match' garments and shoes for Noel and the boys which could be worn again. As for me, the miracle of finding a dress which didn't make me look like the back end of a bus was well worth the $119 price tag!

Motel: $195 for one night. Daylight robbery I agree and definitely not worth the price! Still, that's what you get for leaving it to the last minute to book your accommodation and on the positive side I actually saved $50 on the original price! I went to Wotif and found it was $240 but then I remembered a Vault tip I had seen about booking direct through the motel and asking them to match the price. I was very glad I did because when I visited their own website they had just uploaded the special price of $195! So expensive though it was, at least it was cheaper than it could have been!

Wedding present: $150 for the 'wishing well' to enable the bride and groom to save for a house.

Food: $70 approximately on food for the journey to Taupo and back again. This was one thing which could have been avoided with the simple practise of packing some food to take with us. Yes, it may seem like a more convenient option to just grab something ready-made but in hindsight I would much rather have the $70 in my bank account and to add insult to injury I ended up with a nasty case of food poisoning!

Grand total: $985!

For one day! Jeepers it's no wonder weddings make me cry! Still, Campbell has been living in England now for the past eight years and I reckon he would probably have cost us a lot more than that in beer alone if he had been living in NZ throughout that time. And we love our new sister-in-law and the boys love their cool new Auntie so all things considered, we'll let them off just this once!

It may have been a great week for romance but it's been a rotten one for technology. First Noel's phone died, then Ali's and mine is also on the way out. The laptop is driving us all crazy with its temperamental and unreliable behaviour but a replacement is definitely not in the budget. Then one of my absolute favourite things - my Walkman - croaked and is so far unable to be revived. Campbell and Rachel gave it to me a couple of Christmases ago and I use it every single day for running. I love the fact that it's got no wires, it just fits around the back of your head and over your ears. I love the fact that it's bright green and small children stare at me in awe at the sight of a real life Teletubby lumbering towards them. I love the fact that it's really LOUD! So I really hate the fact that it's broken and even worse, Sony have stopped making them! Liam's iPod also chose the same week to kick the bucket so I can't borrow his, which brings us to the No Spend Month mantra - is replacing my Walkman a want or a need? I know deep down I don't actually NEED it but running without music is hideous!

I have a feeling that I will end up replacing it (only a week of No Spend Month to go!) and when I do I know just who to ask to get the best model at the best price. The all-knowing oracle on all things technical - Alex! Although I feel it could be a while before I can pin him down for long enough to get an answer. As of yesterday Alex left for the big city to embark on the next four years as a uni student. He's excited and already having a ball, whilst I feel as though I've lost an arm. There's something missing - a super massive black hole. And he doesn't even live with us! Good grief, what on earth am I going to be like when my own two boys leave home?! Still, there's a positive to everything. Alex has been a big part of our lives for three years - and now you're going to get to meet him too! Well, kind of - he's going to start writing his own Simple Savings blog just as soon as he settles in. If there's a way to save money on anything, you can be sure Alex will find it. Look out for him on here soon!

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