Have You Lost Your Mind, Coles?

Do I want to know more, about this?

Are you kidding me, Coles?

So you are offering me free collectible branded mini things, if I spend money in your store.

Oh, and now you want people to buy stuff to go with your “free” things? SRSLY?

I have some more questions for you, Coles. Just how much money did you waste on this? Is this stuff plastic? Of course it is. Didn’t you just go to all that effort to get rid of single use plastic bags from your stores?

I “recycle” more than enough of the real sized packaging. I certainly do not need any mini sized branded items. I am sure this is lovely and nice and fun for the kids, but you know what I would prefer instead? Australian grown products on the shelves. I do not want Chinese grown champignons. How about you spend some time, effort and money on getting back to giving us decent products to buy.

Or even, I don’t know, fix the floors in our local store which have had yellow and black duct tape on them for some months now so that people don’t trip over broken lino.

Or clean – or replace – the egg shelves, which are truly disgusting. Yes I took a photo but I am not going to inflict it on my poor unsuspecting blog readers, it is *that* bad. Eew. If my egg cartons actually were placed on those shelves there is no way I could buy them – thankfully they are protected by a cardboard box instead, which makes me feel a bit bad that I am thankful for more cardboard, but that is the uncomfortable situation your lack of cleanliness places me in.

You should know, Coles, that I am spending less and less money with you. Why not spend some time and money figuring out why that is the case, instead of wasting time on this junk.

Even worse, it is made in China junk, and designed by a company from the Netherlands. You don’t think you could have found someone here in Australia who could create and manufacture this junk?

Did you really need to line this packaging with plastic, too?

shopping

The Sock Project

socks

As mentioned in Monday’s post, socks are my kryptonite. I also said “But not buying these socks was one of the harder moments of this challenge for me.” My brain said – You might need socks later, and Aldi do not always have them available. It is just $6, what does it matter. You better get these now!

The way things work right now, I tend to have 7-10 pairs of socks that I wear over and over until they get a hole in them, then I either buy more because they are on Special Buys at Aldi, or dig some out of the Long Forgotten Socks drawer.

Rather than buying more socks, I figured it would be a good time to catalogue the socks I have and try wearing one pair each day.So the first task was to pull out all the socks from the Long Forgotten Sock Drawer, wash them, then pair them up again. I discovered I actually had two Long Forgotten Socks Drawers.

When I pulled the socks out of the dryer, The Other Half laughed at me and said how are you going to pair all these up? I did not initially comprehend the magnitude of the problem. After 40 minutes of sock pairing, I had to take a break, and I still had half the basket to go.

51 pairs of thin socks I can wear around the house.

13 pairs of long socks for wearing with boots.

8 pairs of bed socks.

5 pairs of fluffy long socks for house wear in winter.

17 pairs of black sports socks.

45 pairs of socks I can wear for workouts.

Plus 5 extra ones I had washed and forgot about, not pictured
The pair I was wearing at the time I did this – not pictured =

Total = 145 pairs of socks.

Dear Brain, I do not need to buy any more socks right now. So please shut up. ;)

If I wore only one pair per day I would be set for 145 days. The truth is, I do not wear only one pair per day. I wear one workout pair, then I have my shower, then I wear another pair of thin socks for the rest of the day. So in reality I am set for about 50 days.

You can expect the occasional Sock Friday where I montage together some of the cuter pairs, during this project.

No socks were purchased in the making of this post, but many, many, MANY socks were paired.

2018yobn, Aldi, shopping, Snoskred Socks

I Bought Something(s)

yobnbase1000

We all knew this moment would arrive eventually. We’ve been holding out hoping that we could just struggle on with the current batch cooking pan and we made it two months, nearly three, but you tell me, would you like to keep eating out of this?

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Yes that is supposed to be a non stick cooking surface, but as you can see parts of it have flaked off leaving the surface underneath exposed, and unfortunately that surface underneath is rusting.

We had two cooking pans which I could use for batch cooking, the first one rusted to a point we were uncomfortable with some months back, and we were down to just the one pan.

We tried using baking paper hoping that would solve some of the issues, at the very least keep the rusted area away from the food, but that did not work out for us. Paper + Gravy = soggy mess. I was able to rescue that particular cottage pie with a lot of skill and talent, but clearly this was not an option for future batch cooks.

pans

The hunt was already on for a pan we could use which was dishwasher safe – the reality is, we are not going to manually wash a pan. We are dishwasher users and we know it. So some of the options were out before we even began. I was looking online at some options via commercial cookware shops in Sydney, and due to The Other Half having two weeks of holiday we planned a trip up to buy a new baking pan.

Then fate stepped in. We listed our tandem kayak for sale on a couple of local secondhand sites in November 2017, after buying a second single kayak. I’d had a few enquiries, mostly from people who wanted to pay $500 for a kayak that currently retails for $5,000. Second hand prices on our particular kayak were mostly $2,500 or so, and we wanted to get at least $2,000 for it.

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There was no particular rush and we were happy to sit and wait for the right person to enquire. On the last day of February, they did, but they were in Canberra. They wondered if we could bring it over to them, and we decided that we could kill two birds with one stone – sell the kayak and buy some new cookware. So I began looking at commercial cooking places in Canberra, and I found this one with some aluminium pans that might work.

On further googling it turns out these are not dishwasher safe, and The Other Half said to me, can’t we get something stainless steel, like our two fantastic Sunbeam Banquet frypans which get dishwashed regularly without any issues whatsoever?

ellise

Honestly, if I still had the box this came in, we could box our Ellise up and sell it as brand new and nobody would ever know. They are costly up front but you get your moneys worth long term. I’ve cooked in that frypan 2-3 times a week for over 18 years now. It performed so brilliantly and dishwashed so well, we bought a second one, though I managed to break the lid on that one sadly. Glass & Snoskred = a very bad idea.

Apparently no, commercial cooking places in Canberra did not seem to have anything stainless steel. I ended up looking at IKEA and I found the KONCIS which claims to be dishwasher safe and half the price of any commercial options. We thought we would give this a try, so we planned to stop at IKEA for lunch after dropping off the kayak.

backway

We took the “back way” over to Canberra. They have finally finished sealing it and Google Maps will now route people this way BUT I have to say it is Not Great, Bob. Do Not Want. Cannot Recommend. I nearly wore a hole in the passenger side floor trying to brake, even though there is no brake on that side of the car, which is clearly a design flaw. :)

windfarms

On the other hand, you do get a closer view of those wind turbines that Joe Hockey was so upset about, out near Tarago. Not much closer, but closer than you see them on the Federal Highway.

tarago

Also out near Tarago, we saw this large air force plane doing loops. I’m pretty sure it was a C-17 Globemaster.

We dropped off the kayak, spending nearly two hours with the new owners chatting and taking them through how it works. Then we headed to IKEA for a Swedish Meatball lunch – The Other Half had a chicken parmagiana which was one of the best he has ever had, he rated it a 9 out of 10. They did have this Salted Caramel Tart which tempted me but we had other dessert plans.

saltedcaramel

I have never once been to an IKEA without buying candles, but this was my challenge to myself today – only buy things we need, not things we want. I have enough candles to last the year if I ration them effectively. But to make sure we were good and tempted, we walked through the entire store. I took some photos of items I did not buy – a post for another day. What did we buy?

koncis

2x Koncis $14.99.

vardagen

1x Vardagen $9.99 as we had an incident with our current muffin tray and we wanted to try out the anodised aluminium.

part2

This Lyckad $9.99 and this Lyckad $6.99 to replace long-ago broken baking dishes, 2x Vildkaprifol @ $4.99ea as these are much better fitting oven gloves than the Iris we own now and those Iris are a bit stained, 3 sets of Plattboj $3.99.

bastis

2x Bastis refills. I use these to remove cat hair from various surfaces, then I discovered that you could go straight to the source and lint roller the cats themselves. They absolutely love it!

We got out of there for less than $90 and not one candle purchased. We were going to go to Frugii Dessert Laboratory as we thought it was near to an IGA store and we have been on an IGA tour looking for their carpet cleaner. However it turns out that was a SupaBarn, not an Supa IGA. So our dessert was cancelled. We dropped into Heatherbrae on the way home instead.

chaibee

The obligatory chai latte fingernails shot.

dessert

Dessert was a small crispy donut with cream. I also picked up a cherry and apple pie for desserts this week as The Other Half has gone camping – which makes three dinners and desserts where I can have what I love without having to worry that he does not love it too.

I made a massive Chicken Cacciatore filled with things The Other Half does not eat AKA olives, mushrooms, and anchovies on Monday and there are leftovers for the next two nights and maybe even nights after that. It is so nice to not have to cook for a few days.

So, I will have to make a new graphic for the end of month #yobn post this month. Nay, something bought in March. Rule No 1 of this challenge went as follows – If we both agree that we NEED something, we will buy it. Everything else here was also a need, not a want.

I was down to one ceramic baking dish after some of our old ones cracked and broke last year, the oven mitts were too big for our hands and food stained, and I won’t post the photo of the muffin tin because it looks so bad, after some of the coloured Coles patty pan liners left their colour behind – yes I did not even know that was a thing that could happen, but it has not washed off even after several dishwashings. Only plain white ones from now on, but the coloured ones were handy to tell my baked goods apart from his baked goods.

2018yobn, IKEA, shopping

Delivery Time

dt1

Supervisor cat will supervise any deliveries. :)

Ordered on Boxing Day AKA 26th of December, this was my last purchase for myself before The Year Of Buying Nothing began. However it did not arrive until the 3rd of January which made it a nice New Year treat for me.

dt2

There were three new mesh tops from Boo Radley in white, soft pink and raspberry. This item is still on clearance but at the time of writing there is only one size left. What might happen is folks get it home, try it on, don’t like it or it does not fit, then they send it back with the 30 day moneyback guarantee. Mine are most certainly staying here.

dt3

There were 42 items from Yankee Candle. This item can no longer be found on the website. I fear they are not going to restock this brand. I got 18 mini votive candles and 24 melts.

dt4

There was one more purchase we bought for the Delicate Nirvana on New Year’s Eve which I will tell you about next Wednesday.

shopping, TVSN

What Is It?

glassthing

Anything in this shade of green stops me in my tracks, but in this case it took me a little while to work out exactly what I was looking at. Shades of teal green are my favourite as well as a great favourite of my Mother.

I very nearly bought it for her for Christmas, but it turned out to be $77. It is quite large, so I can justify the cost. However I cannot justify buying her random glass items just because they are her favourite colour, or because they are something I might love to own. ;)

shopping

T-shirts At Last

factorie1

On a recent trip to Canberra I thought we would go to the Canberra Outlet Centre and try to find some t-shirts that actually fit me. This was a bit of a mistake on my part because it involved dragging The Other Half around a lot of stores which created frustration on his behalf on my behalf, if that makes any sense. I was annoyed that I was not finding anything and he was annoyed that I was annoyed.

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After trying countless womens departments which were all an epic fail – the sleeves are far too short – I decided to try a few menswear places and we ended up in Factorie, a store I had never been in before in my lifetime but it reminded me a lot of Cotton On and I discovered later they are a part of the same company. I found a few t-shirts that looked like the sleeves would be an ok length and more importantly the material was not too thin, plus they were quite long even in the medium size, so I tried them on.

I wasn’t sure whether the length of time we’d already spent looking had worn me down to a nub but I thought these would do for around the house, so I bought two for $25. The next day I wore one of them and fell in love, so I went to the website where I discovered I could get a whole lot of them for $4.95 each. Free shipping was $50 so I splurged and bought 10 t-shirts – one being $9.95 to take me over the $50.

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I do not know on what planet some of these can be considered menswear. The curved tail tee is super long on me, ending up somewhere mid-thigh. The colours are mostly pastel shades. They are very soft and comfortable and perfect for around the house. I’ve got enough to last the summer now and a couple of them are good enough to wear out if necessary.

factorie

This was the most expensive of my order online buys – the shaded angle t-shirt for $9.95

factorie1a

I will be keeping an eye on their clearance section because I saw these gorgeous tie dyed tees in store and while I do not want to pay $24.95 for them, I will be happy to pay under $10 for them at a later time.

shopping

Road Trip

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I ran out of candles. That is as good an excuse as any for an IKEA roadtrip! Plus of course the crossing songs off our list thing, which I mentioned here last week. River commented that it might be better just to download the songs we want in .flac format. My problem is, I do not always know what songs I want until I hear them. I am bad like that and The Other Half is even worse, so this kind of project is a great way for us to recognise what songs are missing from our playlist.

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We stopped at Heatherbrae’s Pies twice on this trip. They are kinda hidden away at the Exeter/Bundanoon exit of the Hume Highway behind Mcdonalds. We first met Heatherbrae’s at their Newcastle location and we are so happy to have them locally.

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The reason we stopped twice is because I got a Chai latte on our first stop and it was *incredible*. That may have been the best cup of coffee I ever had in my life, and I have had a lot of coffee. It is definitely in the top 10. So on the way home I said lets stop again and have dinner. I got the bacon, tomato and cheese quiche. I like how they hide the tomato at the bottom.

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It is super dry everywhere we go at the moment. We have had very little rain this year. We have been advised that this is going to be a very dangerous bushfire season, and as I type this they are putting out a large fire within Booderee National Park, close to one of our favourite bushwalks. More on that in my Wednesday post this week.

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On the way to Canberra there is a large former lake. Actually I don’t know, do you call something a lake if it has no water in it presently? I have not seen much water here for some years now. I remember one time seeing this as a lake, but every other trip it has been grazing land for sheep. And now someone has stuck a bunch of wind farms way out there. One day we will drive to see them, but I have no idea where they actually are or how to get there. :) This is a terrible photo by the way, taken while driving, and the horizon is skewiff. :)

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On arrival at IKEA there were swedish meatballs for lunch. The other half chose to have the meatballs as well, and at some point I said, you know this gravy would be awesome in our cottage pie, and I can buy it in a packet mix from the food section here.

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Which of course I did. ALLEMANSRÄTTEN is everyone’s right to field, forest, and a fine meal with savory sauce, apparently. According to the packet, anyway.

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These Sinnlig candles are very good value at $1.69. I got one of each flavour. Normally I buy the candles at Aldi for $2.99 but these burn almost as long for a smaller price.

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I also bought many Sinnlig $2.79 for 30 tealights, which will be dotted in with my cheaper Glimma $4.99 for 100 tealights.

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The other half picked this little mini-cactus because it spoke to him. And shall we now tell the fascinating story of my dream mini-farm? It will have mini chickens, mini turkeys, mini ponies, mini pigs, mini cows, mini every possible animal. Plus now I will add a mini cactus farm and a mini garden. One day!

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And finally, I got some Frajen bath sheets as a gift for my Mother. These are huge yet quite thin so they dry very fast. I have been using mine all winter and they are great value at $10.99. We dropped in at Costco, grabbing some cheese and a few other treats. It was a very quick stop and soon we were on our way back home. There were kangaroos in the fields everywhere, making me realise that this would become something to watch out for once the sun went down.

We made it to Heatherbrae just after sunset, and picked up a piece of vanilla slice and a custard tart for my parents, the other half got a cream filled donut, I got a cherry and apple pie which I ate the following day for dessert. Soon after leaving Heatherbrae, we met our first wildlife friend.

Happy moments and a fun road trip for us! :) Even with all the wildlife encounters.

Costco, IKEA, shopping

So That Was August

beanies1

Bargain Beanies – these were $3 each from Cotton On. I wear a lot of beanies around the house these days and I figured for $3 each I might as well have some stylish ones. Why have I been wearing beanies around the house, you wonder? Wonder no more – here are our temperatures for the month of August in celsius –

temps

No wonder I was freezing cold much of the time. Two days where the low was over 10C (50F) – that is very cold for where I live. We have not had much rain at all. We have had many days where there were no clouds, so as soon as the sun disappeared the temperature dropped.

brownthings

Thank the deities I found these gorgeous and extremely comfortable boots on sale at Mathers – these are the Colorado Caffara which I managed to score for the massive price of $40 during a sale on an impromptu shopping trip with my parents which came to me as a surprise one Saturday afternoon.. They were originally $249. I have been wearing them a lot lately.

goldstone

I found this goldstone ring for $10 at a local place – I cannot resist goldstone. It is one of my favourite things. I am planning to see if my favourite rings can be resized soon but until then, I can wear this one. It matches my new boots too.

pinned

As mentioned in my No Buy July post, I intended to buy this pin from Noni B, and buy it I did, though I got it for just over $17 during a sale. It does pay to sign up for their email mailing list and rewards card thingy, if only to be told when things are going to be on sale. :)

suntrap2

We did a little reorganizing and created a nice sun trap for the kitties which happens to sit right next to the chickens favourite place to hang out and dust bathe when they are free ranging.

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They can relax and enjoy the warm sun PLUS have chicken entertainment. Most mornings now they are both found somewhere here.

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They take it in turns for the cat tower, the other cat usually sits on the chairs which are covered by an IKEA bath mat.

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Meanwhile the chookies have just experienced their first blueberries for the season and they were very happy about it. Delicious blueberries = happy chook moments.

mani2

There were two manicures in the month of August – my nail artist opened her own shop this month which was super exciting for her and I am so happy for her. The first manicure was blue with a holographic glitter in it, which threw a rainbow of colours. I got 3 full weeks out of this mani, but in the next photo you can see why I like to stick with tips only – see the new growth which has no polish?

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This particular nail colour also showed me exactly where I use my nails to do things, as parts of it turned pink with wear towards the final week of the manicure. The pinky finger in particular got a lot of wear – I figured out this is where my finger meets my tablet cover and I use my pinky nail to hold it upright while reading at night. It was so weird, there was no change in the thickness of the polish or the quality of it, not at all. Just a colour change.

mani5

I mentioned the other manicure last week, but here it is pictured resting on the outfit I mentioned. Again it is difficult to take photos of these things and do them justice. You can almost see how it matches this dress perfectly. That is a chiffon tank dress from Millers which I bought in late summer and then the weather got too cold to wear it. I have been thinking about this dress for months, waiting to wear it and finally we got a warm day.

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The dress and I, plus The Other Half, went to Shellharbour, then we took our new “long way home” which goes via Robertson, where I took the obligatory Big Potato Photo. It was a beautiful day, reaching highs in the 20s. The next day it SNOWED in Robertson, and we suddenly went from 16C to 6.6C here.

Home, shopping, sparkly

No Buy July

nobuy

When I read about No Buy July over at Almost Posh I thought I would get on board and see whether I could go an entire month without buying any clothes, jewelry, accessories or shoes at all. I’m not going to lie and say it has been easy, and I have had to resist temptation many times. But when I decide to do something, I JUST DO IT, folks. Here are the things I likely would have bought, if not for No Buy July.

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This top is incredibly me. If you looked Snoskred up in the dictionary, there is a photo of this top. I mean, red leopard print, need I say more?

leopard

The price was excellent, and it sold out before the end of the Cordelia St show. I did not buy it.

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I had been eyeing off this similar top which is in clearance for a while now, waiting for the price to go down again, but it is sold out in my size.. Sometimes the Fashion Gods have other plans. ;) If you want to check out TVSN clearance I recommend using the drop down box and choosing lowest to highest price.

drusy

As a result of all my hard work weight loss wise, none of my rings fit me anymore. Even one that used to fit on my pinky finger only now does not fit on my largest finger. I will have to bite the bullet and get them resized soon. This ring tempts me because I love Drusy and it reminds me of my mystic topaz triangle ring.

kellyskloset

A huge temptation for me this month was the gorgeous jewelry of Katherine Kelly Lang. Yes, Brooke from The Bold and The Beautiful has a fashion and jewelry side business. Unfortunately I did not take any photos at the time and once it is sold out it is taken off the TVSN website, so here is a screenshot of a page from the July shoppers guide.

greenjacket

I saw this denim jacket in person when passing by a Rockmans earlier in the month. It is definitely on my to-buy list, this colour is one of my favourites. And I could have had it for $20. But, NOPE.

crystalpin

I need a pin like this for a multitude of reasons, mainly in order to close cardigans stylishly. This one from Noni B is now on my wishlist, I had been looking for a little while and not finding anything.

nonibee

Noni B also had a clearance sale and these tops had been on my want list for a while. I felt like $20 was good value. But they did not get ordered and shipped to me, because No Buy July.

I also avoided my favourite little boutique in town which happened to be having a huge sale this month. I might head in to check out what is left over. I was tempted by socks at Costco but I was determined to stick it out and not buy them.

Happy moments, I made it through the month of July without buying any clothes, jewelry, accessories or shoes.

shopping

Spreadsheet Grocery Shopping

shopping1

For the past couple of years I was using a very cute meal planning and shopping list set. At the start of 2017, I went to print out a set for this upcoming year and could not find the file on my computer. I went to the blog I got it from originally and that blog had vanished. The file could no longer be found on the internet. And thus it was time to create something ourselves.

However, we decided to take one giant leap into the computer age and create a shopping spreadsheet. You have no idea how much time this saves me – and how many times it has saved me from arriving home without the items I need. And today we are providing you with a spreadsheet you can modify and use for yourselves.

When I would write the Aldi shopping list down on paper, I would mentally walk around the store in my head so that the items on the list appeared in the order I will find them in the shop. They have not changed the layout in our Aldi for many years so this is easy to do. Some of you will have the exact same layout as we do.

beerenberg

It is not quite so easy for Coles because they are forever moving things. The amount of items I buy from there is constantly decreasing – they are now removing a lot of the items we like from the shelves. In recent weeks, my favorite blueberry scented rubbish bags, peanut butter powder, and now BEERENBERG tomato sauce have vanished entirely. I do envision a day when we do not go there at all. There have been weeks where we only bought Manning Valley eggs.

Guess what happens when you take away the items I want, Coles? No, I do not buy your down down version. In many cases I try out the down down version at Aldi, which usually happens to be cheaper and better than yours anyway. For items I am not willing to compromise on, like Beerenberg tomato sauce, I go elsewhere and I buy in bulk when I do that. At least two other places stock Beerenberg locally, so I will buy it there. Less money in the Coles till. Whoops, Coles!

I am not a spreadsheet star but The Other Half is. Magically he created a spreadsheet that only prints the items I need with a number next to them on the final version. So how does this work?

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Step 1 – I go in to the spreadsheet and save it with today’s date, so I do not screw up the original and I don’t have to remove all the numbers I added later..

Step 2 – I enter in how many of each item we need to buy. For things like vegetables I usually just put a 1 if we need it because I know how much I will need to get of each item.

Step 3 – I click on the print tab at the bottom which takes me to a new screen where only the items with a number appear.

Step 4 – I check over the list and make sure it is correct, then we print it out double sided – Aldi one side, Coles the other.

We are creatures of habit here in this house, so the things we tend to buy are usually the same each fortnight.

Here you can grab your very own all set up, empty and ready to customise Shopping List Empty – The Other Half has put in some notes for you about how it works. If you want my version which includes all the things we regularly buy, you can grab that here – Snoskred Shopping List. You can also grab Libre Office which is like Microsoft Office only completely free here – that is the program we use for all word processing and spreadsheets.

Happy shopping!

shopping