Never shop when bored

Posted January 16th, 2006 by Penny Wise

Apparently, one of the golden rules to saving money is never to shop on an empty stomach. Well I have another one to add - never shop when you are bored! Since injuring my leg weeks ago, I have been unable to drive more than 10 minutes at a time, just enough to get to the corner shop or post office if necessary. It's really been a fantastic way to save, the last time I filled up my car with petrol was on December 28th! I also really quite enjoy the reduced amount of stress that not rushing around has brought and I actually think the boys have enjoyed not having their mother dragging them out in the car every five minutes! However, after weeks of being virtually housebound, I had had enough. I wanted to get out and join the real world! I wanted to go SHOPPING.

I had several purchases in mind that I had been waiting for to come on sale after Christmas and now I wanted to go and get them! I couldn't put it off any longer and informed my Mum I was going to drive to the city an hour away, to which she said that I most definitely was not going to drive that far and offered to chauffeur me to the shops. Filling up my car with petrol proved quite a painful experience after so long between visits to the petrol station and I probably should have taken this as an omen and headed straight home, but no - I was getting out! The boys were very excited too as they were off to visit the new Warehouse megastore in our area for the first time, to be let loose with their pocket money. True to form, Ali went rushing around like a little blond dervish and purchased no less than five items, while Liam methodically searched the store from end to end and found absolutely nothing he wanted to part with his money for.

In the Warehouse, I purchased the three barstools I had planned (we used to have three at home that I had bought for five dollars each quite a few years ago but the last one was finally on the verge of collapse) which were $29.95 each. I was also shopping around for a personal CD player for Liam - I had promised him one for having a staggering school report almost a month ago but wanted to make sure I got the best value for money. I didn't think the best bargain was to be had here and I was right, Dick Smith's had a much better deal. Good stuff, but it was from here on in that it all started to go a bit pear shaped. Liam found a Playstation game that was as rare as gold dust and finally agreed to part with some of his stash. Unfortunately he then pointed out a Gameboy game called 'Operation Penguin' to the penguin obsessed Ali. Who excitedly put back the penguin shaped shower radio and penguin shaped waffle maker he had found (who thinks these things up?!) in favour of the new game.

'But Ali, you don't have a Gameboy', I reasoned with him. 'It's OK Mum, he can use mine to play it on', offered Liam. Thanks a lot mate. Luckily the price was around half of what these impossibly expensive little cartridges usually cost, and feeling somewhat indulgent after not taking them out anywhere for so long, I agreed. However, it wasn't long before a little light started going on in Ali's head. He had also had an amazingly impressive report, just as good as his brother's, so shouldn't he be allowed a special treat too? Something like a Gameboy of his own perhaps? Unfortunately he was dead right, his report had been just as good as Liam's, therefore they should be treated the same. But there was no way I was buying him the newest version, he had to have the same kind as Liam's, so at least they could share the same games. Who was I kidding? We trailed from store to store but the only options any of them had available was the newest version, the Nintendo DS, which renders all other types of Gameboy games useless, meaning you have to buy a whole load of compatible ones to play with it. 'Sorry Ali, no way!' I said. 'You're just going to have to wait until we find a better deal'.

By this time, we were in K-Mart. Liam was over the moon to find another super rare game, which he had been hoping to find for months. While he tried to con me into buying it for him, I held firm and he reluctantly agreed to buy it himself. Ali tried to persuade me to buy the Crazy Frog CD where his brother had failed earlier and found that it was still no-go. It's bad enough to keep shelling out for penguins, there was no way I was giving any money to a singing frog! It was while we were in the music aisle that a real 'blast from the past' CD jumped out at me. I tried to leave it on the shelf, but it was no good, I had to have it.

As we were about to leave the store and head home, I was excited to finally find - quite by accident - what I had spent half the afternoon searching for, a Piranha hand held vacuum cleaner. A Simple Savings help request several months ago was all about vacuum cleaners and I had heard a lot of good feedback about this particular brand. Normally I wouldn't have needed one, but I find vacuuming really painful with my dodgy leg and thought something small and portable would make life a lot easier. It was $69, which was $20 more than when I had seen them in the Warehouse a few months earlier, but it had proved so hard to find that there was no way I was leaving it behind.

So, we headed home and I couldn't wait to pop in my new CD, full of songs reminiscent from my college years. It was absolutely dire and it wasn't until the 16th song (out of 18) that I found something I could listen to in its entirety. I made a mental note to sell it on Trade Me. On arriving home, I couldn't wait to try out my new cordless Piranha. Which turned out not to be cordless. OK, so 'hand held vacuum' does obviously not necessarily mean 'cordless vacuum'. In my haste to grab the darn thing, I didn't take too much notice and as I indignantly showed Maxine, the only trace of a power cord showing on the picture on the box was covered by a large red sticker, emblazoned with '2 year warranty'. I did give it a go and the performance is fantastic but if I have to go from room to room plugging it in, it will save me no more time and effort, so I would rather stick to my usual vacuum cleaner! After an expensive day out like that one, I think it's safer for me to stay at home in future!

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