I'm having so much fun here getting to know all the stores I have heard so much about through Simple Savings! I almost managed to get us lost coming out of Sydney on our first day - I was supposed to be following Matt and Fiona's car through the heavy traffic out of the city and was doing great until I spotted my first Aldi store and in my excitement almost sent Noel up the wrong exit. Since then I have spotted heaps of old favourites from the Savings Vault - Bi-Lo, the Reject Shop, Big W and Target - I have heard so much about them that they feel like old friends (but have not yet set foot in them - one has to keep up appearances when hanging out with a Miser Extraordinaire!) However I am determined to head back to Aldi and buy up large on their body butter - don't laugh, the last pot I bought in NZ cost me $27.95 and I bought one just as good in Aldi for $5.95!
Considering I set foot in Australia armed with such powerful buying knowledge, I have still managed to make some pretty daft shopping choices so far. Take yesterday, which started off well - Liam went to EB Games, where they had some great sale prices and he was able to use a coupon from one of his kids' magazines to get even more off. Compared to NZ prices, Playstation games are much cheaper in Australia, even with the exchange rate we would have saved well over $50 on regular NZ prices. Actually, you probably won't believe me but petrol is actually far more reasonable here too - I noticed the price of petrol was around $1.15 yesterday (without coupons) whereas when I left NZ we were paying around $1.48 per litre.
Anyway, it all started off well enough when we hit the Westfield shopping mall yesterday - one of the main reasons for this was because Noel and Ali (our resident seafood fanatics) wanted to head to the seafood deli and purchase our dinner for that evening. Being rather fond of smoked salmon I decided to treat myself to a couple of delectable slices (which I usually purchase for around $6.00 on special in the supermarkets at home) but being in a new area I didn't bother to check the price and almost fell over when the man behind the counter told me my tiny dinner was going to cost $17 for me alone! Never mind, I smiled bravely while Noel and Ali continued to stuff their bags with spanner crabs, baby octopus, snapper and NZ mussels (only a son of mine could visit foreign shores and insist on buying mussels from home) and excitedly looked forward to their fishy feast, which buy now had crept up to $33 worth. Once back from the mall, I headed out briefly and was surprised to return to a rather foul smelling kitchen and Noel with a face like thunder. "The spanner crabs are *&%$ off!" he growled as he cooked up his octopus. It just goes to show, when in Rome one must listen to the locals - Fiona had already tipped us off that the best bet was to buy seafood from one of several co-ops around for better quality and price, but did we listen? Noooo!
I also discovered an effective, but very expensive stain remover earlier in the week. When walking across the cream coloured carpet with a glass of red wine (cleanskin courtesy of Fiona - highly recommended!) I somehow managed to jog it and sent it shooting all over the floor. Being in a guest house and lacking in stain remover, I quickly grabbed our bottle of duty free gin and sloshed it over the stains - it worked perfectly! I wouldn't recommend it as a rule as it took a good part of the bottle, but it did the trick and saved me a carpet cleaning bill! It's a shame all accidents cannot be taken care of so quickly and easily, as returning from the Australian Reptile Park on a wet afternoon we were involved in a five-car pile up. It was only thanks to Noel's quick presence of mind that we escaped with only a minor scrape to the bumper, compared to everyone else's impressive prangs, but I'm not sure it will go unnoticed when we return the rental car at the end of the week!