Saving Heaps by shopping at Factory Outlets

 

English: Exterior view of The Mill Batley fact...
Exterior view of The Mill Batley factory outlet shopping 

Saving Heaps by shopping at Factory Outlets

One of the ways you can really save some serious cash is shopping directly from the factory outlets.

In Sydney they even have factory outlet bus tours where people spend all day going to different factory outlets and buying bargains at wholesale prices.

This is a website directory of over 3,000 factory outlets around Australia, and you can type in your area code or suburb and locate any outlets within 25kms, or look for individual products.  It gives opening times and often parking information.

Check it out, and happy shopping!

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The Joys of Op-Shopping

Yesterday I discovered a new treasure trove of good quality pre-loved clothes. It’s a little Red Cross shop just outside Turramurra Railway Station.

They had lots of great quality jeans and some good tops.  There were also some good jumpers and a lovely fully lined black winter coat (unfortunately too small for me) which was just selling for only A$15!  It would have been very expensive when new, and looked like it had hardly been worn.  The voluntary shop assistant told me that she had just put it out, and didn’t expect it to last for more than a couple of hours.   Considering it has been very chilly lately I could easily believe her.

I ended up buying a great little 3/4 sleeve V neck top which is brown cotton with a bone collar and V lining for only $8.  It fits me perfectly and is just what I needed.

Charity shops such as Red Cross, St  Vincent de Paul (affectionately known as Vinnies), Anglicare and the Salvation Army (Sallies) have a great range of recycled clothing of all sizes.  They sometimes have designer items which look as if they have never been worn.  I like the idea that the money I pay for any items is going to a good cause and helping those less fortunate than myself, and that the clothes are not going to landfill and adding to the already huge mountain of  discarded items.  If I ever have any good quality clothes I need to cull I always take them to an op-shop (opportunity shop) rather than bin them or leave them on the kerb at Council cleanup, where they may get rained on and ruined.

Beautiful old velvet dress bought at Vinnies

I also frequently purchase books and CDs or DVDs  at these shops.  I have come across some great items.  After watching the series ‘The Slap’ on  ABC  TV, I came across a copy of the original novel in a Vinnies for $3!  I really wanted to read it, and have now passed it on to a family member.     I love new books, but they are often prohibitively expensive in Australia, and apart from the local library and occasional secondhand book shops, charity shops provide a great source of reading at a really reasonable price.  I have bought many terrific children’s books there as well.  Lifeline’s big book sales are also a great source of  cheap reading.

I know that many high school girls and boys trawl Vinnies and Sallies looking for something to wear to their Formal, and they are often a good source of vintage wear.

Lovely vintage Audrey Hepburn-style dress
Fully lined fake leopard coat made in France bought at Vinnies a couple of years ago.

Some General Money Saving Tips

When supermarket shopping, consider Aldi.  It is overall much cheaper than Woolworths or Coles as you aren’t expensive for all the expensive advertising, and they’r meat is 100% Australian and sourced from sustainable farms.  They also have many good organic products e.g. tea, pasta, tomato puree, pasta sauce.  They have removed artificial additives and preservatives from most of their products and are environmentally responsible with their carbon footprint.

Carbon Reduction Label Program

In June 2010, ALDI became the first company to join Planet Ark’s Carbon Reduction Label Program in Australia and ALDI’s everyday olive oil range became the first products in Australia to be certified by the Carbon Trust.In October 2010, ALDI became the first retailer in Australia to launch a carbon footprint label in its stores, with the everyday olive oil range now featuring a Carbon Reduction Label, which highlights ALDI’s ongoing commitment to the environment.The Carbon Reduction Label informs consumers of the total carbon footprint of a product, from raw materials and manufacturing right through to disposal or recycling of packaging. The carbon footprint is measured on a ‘per 100mL’ basis for ease of comparison. The Label helps people understand how they can reduce their own carbon footprint and combat climate change.By adopting the Carbon Reduction Label, ALDI joins an international list of major businesses committed to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of their products. Planet Ark brought the Carbon Reduction Label to Australia in partnership with its originators, the Carbon Trust.Measuring carbon emissions at every step of a product’s lifecycle shows businesses where valuable savings can be made to improve the efficiency of their operations. There will be no increase in the prices of ALDI’s everyday olive oil range as a result of the Carbon Reduction Label initiative.ALDI has committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its everyday olive oil range within two years of the Label appearing on the range. The Label is a considerable step towards providing customers with important information about the environmental impact of products, allowing them to make better informed purchasing decisions.

For more information about the program or the methodology behind the calculations, please follow this link or visit the Planet Ark and Carbon Trust websites:

Planet Ark: www.carbonreductionlabel.com.au

Carbon Trust: http://www.carbon-label.co

Other ways to save money include buying bulk, buying fruit and vegetables in season and joining a food co-operative or sharing bulk produce costs with friends or family.
When I was living in a shared we used to buy our meat from a wholesale butcher and saved heaps.
You can also buy from local Farmers’  Markets wherever possible, as that way you are cutting out the middleman (e.g. big supermarkets) and saving on transport costs etc as well as directly helping the farmer and giving him more money in his/her pocket for his efforts.  It is also fresher as it has not been travelling a long way or been in cold storage.
Another way to save money is to develop a Depression Era mentality like our forbears.  To waste food was considered virtually a major sin, and terms such as “waste not, want not” came into their own.
My mother was a typical example of this, as we recycled our food in different meals.  Sunday’s roast leg of lamb (very cheap in those days) re-emerged on Monday night as shepherd’s pie (delicious with added bacon pieces, tomato and worcestershire sauce and creamy mashed potato topping.  Stews made in a pressure cooker were a frequent way to use up leftover meat and veggies, and barley provided a cheap and nutritious bulk and thickening addition.
I am including one of my late mother’s recipes, which was a family favourite.
BRAN LOAF
1 cup of All Bran
1 cup of self raising flour (wholemeal)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup milk
Choice of sultanas or dried apricots ( I often add some chopped walnuts or pecans and 1 teaspoon Chinese allspice)
Put All Bran in bowl, pour in milk, stand for a few minutes until All Bran softens.  Add all ingredients.  Put in bar pan, cook for about 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahr. (180 degrees Celcius).
This is delicious sliced and spread with some butter or margarine, as well as being nutritious and good for regularity.
Let me know if you try it and like it.

For times when Mould has become your constant companion

Over the years I have found three natural ingredients that kill mould: tea tree oil (an essential oil found in most health food stores), grapefruit seed extract, and vinegar. There are pros and cons of each, but all three work. Vinegar is by far the cheapest. Tea tree oil is expensive, but it is a broad spectrum fungicide and seems to kill all the mould families it contacts. The problem is that it has a very strong smell, but that dissipates in a few days. Grapefruit seed extract is also expensive, but has no smell.

Mould can be dangerous to your health, even if you aren’t allergic. Many people react to mould by getting tired and even depressed. Try to stay on top of moisture and mould as soon as either arises. Dry out anything that is damp, such as basements (use a dehumidifier), and carpets. Fix leaks in plumbing and roofs. Wipe up spills. Make sure water doesn’t escape from shower curtains.

* Tea Tree Treasure
Nothing natural works for mould and mildew as well as this spray.   It seems to work for everything from shower curtains and recesses to furniture and rugs. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.  It is also a fabulous natural antiseptic.Over the years I have found three natural ingredients that kill mould: tea tree oil (an essential oil found in most health food stores), grapefruit seed extract, and vinegar. There are pros and cons of each, but all three work. Vinegar is by far the cheapest. Tea tree oil is expensive, but it is a broad spectrum fungicide and seems to kill all the mould families it contacts. The problem is that it has a very strong smell, but that dissipates in a few days. Grapefruit seed extract is also expensive, but has no smell.

Mould can be dangerous to your health, even if you aren’t allergic. Many people react to mould by getting tired and even depressed. Try to stay on top of moisture and mould as soon as either arises. Dry out anything that is damp, such as basements (use a dehumidifier), and carpets. Fix leaks in plumbing and roofs. Wipe up spills. Make sure water doesn’t escape from shower curtains. Vigilance will pay off!

* Tea Tree Treasure
Nothing natural works for mould and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it successfully on a mouldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a mouldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.
Makes 2 cups
Preparation Time: Under a minute
Shelf Life: Indefinite
Storage: Leave in the spray bottle

* Citrus Seed Extract
The advantage of using citrus seed extract instead of tea tree oil for killing mould is that it is odourless.

20 drops citrus seed extract
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.
Makes 2 cups
Preparation Time: A minute or so
Shelf Life: Indefinite
Storage: Leave in the spray bottle

* Vinegar Spray
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82% of mould. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the mouldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/home/110

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.
Makes 2 cups
Preparation Time: Under a minute
Shelf Life: Indefinite
Storage: Leave in the spray bottle

* Citrus Seed Extract
The advantage of using citrus seed extract instead of tea tree oil for killing mould is that it is odourless.

20 drops citrus seed extract
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.
Makes 2 cups
Preparation Time: A minute or so
Shelf Life: Indefinite
Storage: Leave in the spray bottle

* Vinegar Spray
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82% of mould. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the mouldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/home/110

Living on the smell of an oily rag

It suddenly came to me today that I have spent a large part of my life being a penny pincher.  It has been a feature of my travelling days, my student days, motherhood, working life and now retirement.

Over the years I have saved money with groceries, furniture and furnishings, children’s schoolclothes and books, my clothes, toys etc. etc.

This blog is going to introduce readers to some of the ways and areas of saving money that will make their lives a little easier in these economically trying times.

I welcome any input from anyone on methods they use or handy hints they have discovered to make their bank balances a little healthier and their lives a little less financially stressful.

 

Miser. Water-colour on paper
Miser. Water-colour on paper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Art of being a Kerb Crawler

A neighbour recently called me a kerb crawler, but meant it as a compliment, not an insult.  I am not given to hanging about on street corners soliciting money for favours from strangers.

She meant it as a compliment as she also has been known to trawl the streets of our neighbourhood on Council Cleanup Day, looking for handy items to being thrown out which can become born-again parts of her house and garden.

I started this practice when my children were very young and continue to practice it to this day.  So far I have rescued discarded cupboards, chairs, children’s plastic shell shaped sandpits, magazine holders, brand new teddy bears, toys, books and DVDs, as well as filing cabinets, rugs and once a very comfortable leather lounge.

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of things people throw out which are in perfectly good condition, and could be sold on EBay to raise money or given to charity for those less fortunate.

I have even had garage sales, where passersby have offered to buy items I have rescued from previous cleanups which have taken up residence on my verandah.  I once put an old wooden and metal bench out on the kerb, only to have a passerby offer me money to mind it for until she could return with a trailer to pick it up!

My son and daughter-in-law have a great supply of pre-loved play equipment in their backyard salvaged from cleanups.  It is being recycled and reused by their little toddler at no cost to them.  They also have a lovely cane lounge on their front verandah, complete with pillows, which only needs a coat of white paint to look a million dollars.

This is just one area where you can save literally hundreds of dollars, be environmentally friendly by recycling other people’s “rubbish”, and use your own creativity to alter and embellish through painting, varnishing or stripping back furniture or adding your own cushions or covers to seats and lounges.

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How to build your nest egg or everything old is new again

One of the things I have learned over many years is how to save money.

There are many ways of doing this, and today I will concentrate on a few.
When my daughter was born I had very few baby items and not much money to spend on them.  I was living with my mother at that time in the country, and a nice neighbour offered me her secondhand pram, as she had completed her family and had no further use for it.  I was very grateful and paid her $10, as she was going to throw it out and it was in very good condition.
Thus began my love affair with secondhand goods.  When I moved to Sydney, I searched the papers and Trading Post (a paper devoted entirely to advertising second hand items for sale), and found a great wooden cot for $20.  I had now saved myself hundreds of dollars, and had two perfectly good, presentable and useful baby items.
From this humble beginning I started to visit charity shops such as Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army (affectionately known as the Sallies), where I found numerous items of baby clothing, some brand new for a fraction of the original price.  I had visited them years before with my art student friends, and we would buy silk  full length petticoats, dye them different colours and wear them as dresses.  Later on smart shops opened in the area which were using the same idea and charging big bucks for them!
Another way these charity (or “op shops”, short for opportunity shops) were useful, was in providing a good source of pre-loved toys and secondhand furniture.
My  husband and I furnished numerous rented houses with divan beds, big comfy lounges, coffee tables etc, all at a ridiculously low price.  I made big colourful cushions to lie around on the floor (this was in the hippy era), or put on the back of the divan, which was used as a lounge by day and a spare bed for visitors at night.  It even had 2 large drawers in the side which came in handy for storing books and toys in.

One of my friend’s commented on a lovely maroon Art Deco lounge suit we had bought from a second hand shop recently.  She claimed she had once had one that looked identical, and on lifting one of the cushions was able to verify it was one and the same as she had sewn a patch on a small tear!  Talk about spooky!

Once my children started school, I bought them some second had uniforms (as well as one new one) so they had cheap spares when needed.  They were in good condition, and their grandmother knitted them jumpers in school colours to go with the prescribed ones.

I have never bought second hand shoes for children however, as it believe it is very important that their feet are fitted properly and they are not wearing worn down shoes which will cause them to walk unnaturally.

Another great area of saving is libraries.  I always make sure I join my local library as there are plenty of books, magazines, free newspapers to read there as well as DVDs and music CDs.  My first job was a library assistant in the country,  and I worked for 3 years in the 80s at Stanton Library, a fabulous library in North Sydney.  There were always heaps of new books to bring home for the children to read.  My son loved Tintin and I saved heaps of money by bringing the library’s collection home one by one for him to read.  Whenever the library culled books and magazines to make room for new ones, I would salvage any suitable ones for school projects or general interest.  At one time we had a huge stack of National Geographics which were full of beautiful photos and maps as well as stories of great interest about rare tribes and species.

So you see, there are numerous ways to save money without living like a pauper.  My children always had plenty of good clothes to wear to parties etc, as well as some second had ones when they were little, and when they were older and became fashion conscious they wore new clothes bought with the money I had saved earlier.  I had plenty of money left over to pay for piano and ballet lessons, and they had a birthday party every year with all their friends until they reached their teens and wanted to do other things with a smaller group.

Despite the fact that we rented for many years, we were able to live well and never felt we were deprived.  It has given me a lifelong respect for those who went through the Depression and taught me to budget and cut my cloth according to my means.  There were certainly not the government handouts then that there are now for families e.g. baby bonus, family allowance etc.

Does anyone else have any handy saving tips they would like to share?