Tick F***ing Tock


Paul McDermott, Tim Ferguson, Richard Fidler = DAAS.

For those in Australia, there is a DAAS documentary Tick F***ing Tock you may have missed on ABC iview.

I grew up watching The Doug Anthony Allstars AKA DAAS. They were the perfect thing in my teenage angst years. They swore. They shocked. They caused outrage. They said things which probably should not be said. Loads of swear words.

At some point they broke up and many of us who were fans were upset by this news. We did not know why – it turns out only Tim knew why – he had been diagnosed with MS and he did not tell Paul and Richard.

The first part of the documentary revisits the DAAS early years and gives you a tiny hint of some of the comedy they performed. Right at the end of that first episode, Paul says something which had me in tears and I knew that second episode was going to be a tough watch. I was right.

Having said that, there are so many excellent things said in that second episode, it is worth watching. Tim bravely shares some of his current daily life with us. If you were ever a fan, or you need something to kick you in the rear with inspiration, this is a documentary you should see.

DAAS

The Signature Fragrance

When I took on this new work role, one of the first things I had to do was clean out the work area and get things organised. The previous occupant of that space left behind an almost empty perfume container for Beyonce Heat. It made me realise that I did not currently have a specific scent for work.

Sure, I had plenty of scents available here at home but none of them were especially work appropriate. Some of them I like to keep for going out, they are too expensive to wear daily to work. Unlike my previous warehouse role where everything I wore would go in the washing basket when I got home, parts of my new work uniform do not get washed after each wear and they will retain any scent that I wear.

I also now have two lanyards I need to have around my neck at all times, and they hold on to scents too. So my old “wear whatever I was feeling like from my fragrance shelf because it will be going straight in the wash at the end of today” was no longer very practical.

My Dad is someone who LOVES fragrance. As a former smoker he never wanted to smell like cigarettes and so he would overapply whatever fragrance he was wearing. This habit of his continues. To the point that when I went over to start up his car two weeks into their Canada & Alaska adventure, it smelled like he was sitting right next to me in it. He smells fantastic 24/7 and people always ask him what he is wearing.

Dad alternates between 4 different Paco Rabanne fragrances – my favourite being 1 million. But it is quite Up Money and not something I would be happy to wear every day. That is more of a special event fragrance.

I wore quite a few Avon fragrances in the past – Night Magic being my favourite. However Avon is no longer available in Australia and I have just a few last sprays of Night Magic left. I will save those for a special event, too. If this were available I would have gone with it. It wears well, it smells good, it is reasonably priced and you can get other things like body lotion or a purse roller in the same scent.

For me, the process of finding a new signature fragrance is not as easy as one might think. I can’t just walk in, spray some stuff on myself, and say that’ll do and wander up to the checkout with a perfume bottle. I want to spray on the fragrance and see how it wears on me. In order to do that, I was keeping my wrists fragrance free and visiting a nearby chemist on my break to try a different perfume each day. This was a scenty time. Some of the perfumes I tried were just ok, one or two were possibles.

What I really wanted was a cheaper version of Spicebomb. But I wasn’t finding it. And Spicebomb is Up Money at $95 for 50ml, even more up money than something like 1 Million. It is a mens fragrance but I love the cinnamon-y spicy scent. I have often worn fragrance meant for men – Cool Water was a favourite of mine growing up.

One day I tried an old perfume I once wore – Maroussia. It is a lovely scent, I was just not sure I wanted it to be my daily scent. The Other Half was not the biggest fan of it but after a bit of discussion we agreed it was the best option I had tried thus far.

I don’t know how many of you watched Gruen this year but they had a completely hilarious episode on Chemist Warehouse which my Mother and I have been laughing about since it aired. If you missed it and you are in Australia, you can still catch it on iview here, it is episode 3.

One August day while out and about with my parents and my Aunt, I jokingly suggested we go and see “what’s on in the warehouse” and they actually wanted to go.

Perhaps Dad was down to 4 bottles backup of his usual scents rather than his usual 20. I am not kidding, he stockpiles. His storage cupboard is like a mini Paco Rabanne warehouse.

Chemist Warehouse had Spicebomb out $69.99 for 50ml so I grabbed one. Maroussia was the crazy price of $12.99 for 100mls, so I got one of those too.

I am still hoping to find the ultimate in signature fragrances for work, but these will do for now. I can wear Maroussia much of the time and occasionally treat myself to a day of Spicebomb. The two scents do work together if there is a lingering trace of the other one, but Spicebomb does not linger quite as much as I would like.

fragrances, Things I Did Buy 2018

Things I DID Buy June

I received $500 in birthday money and here is some of the items which I purchased with it –

We needed new sheets for the bed. We’d bought some sateen sheets at Aldi in mid 2017 and they were fantastic, until one of the seams on the fitted sheet broke in February or so this year. Now it was still useable, and we loved those sheets so much we kept using them for a while but I was always on the lookout for a bargain set.

I found them at Harris Scarfe for $19.95. Can you guess what colour we bought?

The first clothes I bought were these – 1 longline chenille cardigan (24.99) & 1 chenille scarf (20) from Rivers. I love chenille, but I once owned one chenille item and I killed it with washing, mainly I think because I did not wash it in a garment bag, and I had a top load washer way back then. Hopefully with our Miele front load washer. I will not murder these clothes with washing.

I was only going to get the cardigan – which finishes about the knee on me, it is a good long length – because I felt $20 for the scarf was up money, but then The Other Half said to me – you deserve the scarf, you have been so good all these months not buying any clothes. Little did he know of the spending spree about to occur this month. I have worn them both once and I have to say they are toasty warm, soft, fluffy and perfect for this very cold weather we are having.

2 pairs of new leggings – one with “sueded” lining @29.95 and one houndstooth pair $34.95. Seriously the sueded lining has spoiled me. Now I want all my clothes lined this way.

2 pairs of fleece lined leggings @ 24.95 each. All 4 of these are from TK Maxx. If you are looking for workout leggings with any kind of lining this would be #1 on my list to search. These are super stretchy and incredibly warm without being too hot if you are running.

3 ponchos $29 each from a local store that was having a sale. I had been looking for a poncho for some time but every one I saw was so boring, these at least had some personality and almost give the impression of being gold and silver.

I also got some wool scarves $29 each these are chunky and can be used as a wrap as well.

1 set of SOLIDASTER curtains @ $89. You may recall these appearing in the what I did not buy at IKEA post. They were one of the first things I thought of when I knew I had birthday money, because I had made the mistake of washing the blockout curtains in the lounge room and the block out part stuck together, meaning I have sections where light comes streaming through as an unpleasant surprise.

Unfortunately one of the Aspergers sensory problems I suffer with is “sensory sensitivities” – everyone has slightly different sensitivities. Light around the periphery of my vision is a big one for me, and these holes in the blockout curtains are right in the wrong place for me. If the sun is shining, I find it difficult to focus on my laptop or the tv screen.

We had to hem these, and we also hemmed the ruined blockout curtains so they could replace the blockout curtain in the bedroom. Most of the stuck together parts are right on the sides of the curtains and with a little creative cutting and thought, the lounge room curtains may be able to be repurposed as we do not need length or the same kind of width in the bedroom.

The Solidaster have now been hung and I am delighted with them. They are incredibly gorgeous, photos do not do them proper justice at all.

The final item I purchased in June was a replacement rug for my recliner. The current rug was just not bringing enough warm this winter and while I will keep it and use it again in spring, I’m switching to a warmer rug for the rest of winter. It cost me $42.50 as I am a rewards member and I got a discount on top of the sale price.

There are two creatures in the house who are extremely pleased with this purchase. Grumpy sits on my legs as I type this, and I have put together a montage of her happiness. If we covered every surface in the house with these rugs, we would have to change her name to Happy.

But we already have a Happy, and despite not being a lap cat at all, she too enjoys this rug. My lap is now The Place To Be. With a cat on ones lap, this rug is almost too warm. I’ve had to take my indoor beanie off most nights since we got this rug.

The total money spent in June = 485.24.

The kitties might say, you could have bought us 10 fluffy rugs with that birthday money.

My question to you – does birthday money count as spending? I’m going with no myself, though I have counted June as a spend month because technically I did spend money on clothes and stuff for the house.

2018yobn, Things I Did Buy 2018

Will You Like To Know More Part 2

More Decathlon!

The goggles start from $3.50 and they have an enormous range of them. If you can’t find a pair here I would be very surprised. They also have corrective lenses for same goggles at very reasonable prices.

There is a huge choice of swimming outfits.

When it is time to pay, you place your items in this box and it reads the RFID chip. Also Decathlon is a membership warehouse though membership is free. You can sign up on arrival and scan the membership card on your phone into the Stocard app, so that you can use it when you check out.

That was the first time I ever saw the Stocard app but you can be sure I am now making great use of it – I have scanned in 15 membership/loyalty/rewards cards which I used to carry with me everywhere – which is MADNESS if you think about it. Madness! And I am going to check my special hiding place because I took out a lot of cards I don’t use a while ago.

The app has an option to turn on the “card assistant” so when you approach a store your phone will pop up a notification to easily access the card for that nearby store. This does not seem to work for Coles, though, at least for me.

After we bought the rollerblades, we wandered back over to IKEA for afternoon coffee and a wander, and to get my curtains. They had this little setup which looked like perhaps Harry Potter or Indiana Jones might have just walked away from.

Our favourite KALAS is now available in a new colour. I’m not such a fan of it – I prefer the rainbow set – and apparently The Other Half is banning me from buying any more of these anyway. I feel like you can never have enough KALAS bowls and plates. Microwave and dishwasher safe, unbreakable, so useful.

We did not buy this even though both of us really wanted to. We flipped it over and stood there and watched the gorgeous gold “sand” melt through the hourglass, and then we did it again, and yet another time, while we debated whether we could/would/should buy it.

What would we use it for? Did we need it, or did we just really want it? In the end we chose not to buy it, but will it be like Indiana Jones choosing the holy grail? Did we choose poorly, or wisely?

We left IKEA around 3pm and headed back down the coast. We had a destination in mind – Eat Street is on every Thursday night in Wollongong and the weather was perfect for it – cold but not windy. We have been once before and apparently I did not blog about it here, which surprises me but then again there is a lot of stuff I don’t post about.

I got Poutine from La Poutine food truck. Mine had bacon and ground beef on top with the cheese curds and gravy. It was awesome. Perfect for a cold night.

The other half got some loaded fries – they had cheese and a spicy chipotle aioli – from Norma’s Burger Bar plus a burger.

He chose the same stall last time and when he enjoys something he tends to stick with it.

Soon after we finished our food, we were on our way home, after a very long day out. We planned to head out for a run & rollerblade (I run, he rollerblades) the next day, and a bushwalk sometime over the weekend, too. But that is a story for another day.

Decathlon, food, IKEA

Will You Like To Know More

I ask this question a lot to the great annoyance of people around me. Sometimes *I* will like to know more, and finding this new building in the carpark of IKEA Tempe was one such occasion.

It was recently my birthday – no, I don’t tell people and I don’t celebrate them for the most part – but I was asked by The Other Half where would I like to go for dinner, and I chose the Korean BBQ that we have visited a few times in Campsie, a couple of hours drive away.

My parents were most unthrilled by this concept – a 4 hour return trip just to eat dinner? But they did not understand, this is two hours of all you can eat Korean BBQ with a sushi buffet, a hot food bar, and desserts. It is like the old days of all you can eat Pizza Hut, only more healthy.

But when I told them our nephew would be meeting us, they got on board. Well, mostly, there was still some grumbling and “I can’t believe we’re going all that way“. I mean these are people that complain about going 7km to eat dinner, so I was expecting this. I was also expecting the end result – which is they go, they eat, they LOVE it, and they demand to go back.

I did not take any photos as we were too busy eating, drinking, cooking on those little charcoal BBQs in the middle of the table, and me personally I was peeling a lot of prawns, who wants to pick up their phone in the middle of that with prawny fingers? Oh, the prawns, you guys. They are so delicious cooked on that bbq. I set a target of eating 19. I failed. Mainly thanks to the sushi, which was also great.

Here is a lovely blog post with photos – Se Jong Korean Bbq Buffet, Campsie. Since that post they have installed extractor fans inside which make things a lot less smoky.

On the way home we stopped in at IKEA so Mother could get some small side tables for her guest rooms, and just so we could wander the halls happily. This is when we discovered the Decathlon building. We resisted the HUGE slices of cheesecake because we’d just eaten for 2 solid hours but we did get coffee before the long drive home.

How do I find out more? Usually via my phone. I went to the Decathlon website and the very first thing to appear was a set of rollerblades – a secret message to us that we needed to return soonest – as The Other Half has been looking for rollerblades for some time now after his wheels biodegraded as a surprise to us. We decided we would return the next weekend, BUT..

The following week, it turned out that The Other Half had little work to do at work, and instead of wander about trying to make work or create work, he arranged to take 2 days of his 5 weeks of holidays which he has been collecting up for some time now. And thus we found ourselves in the Polo on a Thursday, heading up to Sydney. We ate the Swedish Meatballs overlooking the store, and when we finished lunch we strolled across the carpark to check out Decathlon.

It turns out this place is bizarre. A sports warehouse, you would expect all the usual brands, Nike, Adidas, maybe Reebok, etc. But there was not a single known brand to be found. The brands here are all brands I had never seen before. They are all specially made for this company.

Even so the range of items is incredible, and the sports they have specific equipment for are many not well represented sports in “regular” sports stores in Australia. When have you seen a horse riding aisle at your local Rebel Sports? I was so stunned to see it I did not even take a photo! But I might have to go back for some jodhpurs and riding boots – both starting at $28.

Would you like to know more? Here is the Wikipedia page, here is their Tempe website where you can take a 360 degree tour of the store, here is their regular website where you can search for items, and here are some of my photos from inside the store.

These are jumpers suitable for golf, and walking. I liked the teal one.

I took this photo to send to Sephyroth – cricket bats are not exciting to me but he is a fan. ;)

Look at all these socks especially sent to tempt me, but I did not buy any. Good Snoskred!

This is part of the camouflage section, for hunting, fishing, and various other hiding yourself in plain sight sports.

I just really liked this photo but I also thought the camo shorts $29 and trousers $36 were very good value. The Other Half will like to try some, at some point.

Most of these skate shoes were between $30-49. This would be excellent value when you have teenagers, I suspect. In fact I saw a lot of great value kids stuff, it felt like they cater very well for kids here.

Ah, finally the section we are looking for.

But our day out was by no means over yet, and this day was so full of awesomeness, I will need to make another post to tell you more. If you’d like to know more tune in next Wednesday! :)

Never fear those in Melbourne, Decathlon will be opening in Box Hill in November. As usual Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Tasmania, you are SOL. Jump on a plane, Tempe is right next to the airport though it is a bit of a hike from either terminal, mainly because there is a large container terminal in the way and no access road. I would recommend a taxi, if you are in urgent need of reasonably priced sports equipment.

Decathlon, food, IKEA

Black Box Number Two

The box inspectors hard at work.

This month we have some definite keepers and some very definite never buy again for me products. And the kitties get in on the act as well!

There is a small packet of kitty food in this box.

I think someone can smell it, and maybe almost taste it already. So what do we have here?

Bic Flex5 razor, Vitasoy Coconut Milky, Korma paste pots, Kewpie sesame soy Japanese dressing, Heinz classic barbecue sauce, Jordans low sugar granola, Fairy Platinum, Hills Science Diet sachet, Urbane Mess resurfacing face scrub, Blessed by Nature tinted moisturiser, Harvest Snaps baked pea crisps.

Was anyone reading this a fan of the D-Gen on ABC? They had a spoof ad about razors once where the razor had 16 blades. I feel like we are on track to get to that amount of blades one day in the not so distant future. The Other Half does not like to use a razor but he might give this a try.

The Vitasoy Coconut Milky and Korma paste pots will be teamed together with some chicken and plenty of vegetables for a future meal. We don’t really eat much Indian style food but we’ll give it a try.

Aldi had avocado on special the week after this box arrived, so I bought one to try out the Kewpie dressing. This was too savoury for me and yet it contained over 5 grams of sugar per serving. Not a fan.

The Heinz BBQ sauce was a good chance to plan Sticky Chicken for dinner, the recipe is so simple it is not funny but it is incredibly delicious. Just put BBQ sauce, soy sauce and honey together in a bowl, marinade the chicken breast in it, then bake in the oven. I like to slow bake now, so cover the dish with alfoil and cook for a couple of hours at 160C. You won’t even need a knife to cut this chicken.

Our family has been using ETA Barbecue sauce for the sticky chicken recipe since I was a child. That sauce is made in Australia – the Heinz one is made in the Netherlands. While it was super delicious and added a smokey element not normally found in this meal, I would prefer to buy and use Australian made where I can.

OMG the cherry in this granola. OMG OMG OMG. So GOOD! I wish I could just get a huge bag of these freeze dried cherries. They are crunchy and delicious. I had this sprinkled over the top of some Aldi Hi Protein Yogurt. This is a product I will be buying again. The almonds were great too. LOVE.

The Jordans Low Sugar Granola is now $3.50 on half price special at Coles until Tuesday the 26th June, if you would like to experience the awesomeness of freeze dried cherries for yourself.

The Urbane Mess resurfacing face scrub is a product designed for use by men and I deeply appreciate that it uses crushed walnut shells instead of plastic beads. It smells fantastic but very man flavoured – I personally love that – and contains lavender and rosemary essential oils. We both gave it a try and loved it. We will both use this and we will buy it again.

In fact we may well buy other products from their range based on how much we liked this. It turns out my Dad already uses their hair wax and loves it. It is really good value – the photo is the price at Priceline.

When I read about the upcoming box on Facebook and learned what might be in it, there were three different possible moisturisers (Sensitive Moisturiser, Pure Balance Matter Moisturiser or Multi Effect Tinted Moisturiser) from Blessed by Nature and I hoped they would not send me the tinted one. Of course they did.

I tried it and wiped it straight off again with a cleansing cloth. I am just not someone who likes makeup, even if it is “hidden” in a moisturiser. It is Up Money, too.

Saving the best for last, these Harvest Snaps.. wow. I was not sure when I ate the first one. When I ate the second one, I decided these are pretty awesome. Like a more healthy twistie. When I looked at their website and discovered they do a Wasabi flavour, that went to the top of my must try list. I *love* wasabi. Only I have not been able to find that flavour at all, not anywhere.

I don’t know how they make these, I have no idea how a pea goes from being a pea to being this crunchy and awesome. If you stumble upon them I do recommend giving them a try. I have tried lightly salted – great, highlights the pea flavour. Chicken – tastes like a much better Chicken Twistie. Chili – not too spicy, just a nice amount of heat. Salt and vinegar – they did not bring the salt or the vinegar.

The Texas BBQ flavour was interesting and a little bit spicy, so the recommended serving size of 18.5 grams was actually perfect for me. The Other Half really loved these too. We will be buying more – Coles now stock three of the flavours and luckily Chili which has been my favourite is there.. :)

Black Box, reviews

Things I Did Not Buy May

Nothing over $40 at W.Lane was interesting to me. I’d been in there a couple of weeks ago and I saw a peacock themed tunic. I was not able to find it on the website sadly. I choose to take that as a sign I should not buy it – and I took a photo the next time I was there. Finally I did find it on the website in case you want it.

Now that I have the photo I realise I don’t love it as much as I thought. I love the blue and green parts but not so much the olive and brown parts. This leads me to think once the Year Of Buying Nothing is over, I might try a policy of photograph and consider before purchasing.

While looking through the website, I did find this which looked quite nice. Unfortunately in the store there was not one in my size and the one that was closest to my size had a pull in it. Another message from the universe to me? :) They do have this in a range of colours.

I saw a lady walk past wearing this while getting my nails done, it was very tempting to me. You can’t see on the website but there are gold zips on the sides. It seems like they may have sold out of the green one now.

I love a good ombre. This ombre top from Rockmans was somewhat tempting.

At the local cheap shop I was shocked to find this piece of merchandise. I had never heard of the Milwaukee Bucks however I grabbed a shot and sent it to Sephyroth. I like their colours, I love a hoodie with pockets in that exact spot especially at this time of year and $9.95 was quite tempting. I did not buy it because #yobn but let me make it very clear, I would have. This is exactly the kind of impulse purchase my challenge is saving me from.

In the same cheap shop, this lovely display of candle holders was tempting to me. Prices started around $9.99. But I chose not to buy.

These candle lanterns were more pricy starting around $44.95 and very beautiful. Exactly the kind of thing that would have tempted me last year. But not this year.

On a visit to Berry I saw these crystals and thought $14.99 was quite reasonable, but declined a trip to the magical forest at this time. Next year. :)

Things I Did Not Buy

The Label Maker

I bought Mother a gift voucher to have her nails done for Mothers Day. She wasn’t sure about it – she thinks she is not a person who has their nails done. I used to think that, before I learned I am actually someone who likes to have their nails done.

With Mother it takes 5-10 years to convince her I am right about anything. Then she tries the thing I suggested, and raves about it constantly forever. I can give endless examples of this. My current favourite is putting a screen door on the house. I suggested it when they first bought the house which is over 10 years ago. They finally put a screen door on last year and now all you hear is how awesome it is.

I gave her the voucher and said think about it, if you don’t want to have them done you can give the voucher back and I will use it. The next time I saw her I asked if she had decided and she wanted to give the voucher back to me. Well now what present should I get you?

She told me about a reed diffuser which was given to her for Christmas that she really liked but she had no idea where to get it. I had been given the same one, so I did some googling and found it at Bed, Bath & Table. We do not have one of these stores nearby.

The Other Half was to go to Shellharbour (120km/75miles or so round trip) that next weekend to get potatoes. I was staying home, because he planned to drop in on his best friend who lives up that way and do man cave things. The conversation went like this –

Me : Could you pick up a present for Mother at Shellharbour.

Him : How about we go together on Sunday instead and you can get it.

Me : That would not fit in with my planned no-spend days.

Him : Well, your no spend days are going to be screwed up anyway because of Tuesday (Gruen filming). So suck it up.

Me : Why don’t YOU put your big man pants on and suck it up? Surely you can purchase an item from a store, it will be no different to buying the potatoes.

Him : Won’t I have to spend my money?

Me : I’ll transfer the amount across to you.

Him : How will I know what to buy?

Me : I have one right here, why don’t I put it on your desk so you can look at it?

Him : You have one right here, unopened? Why are we going to buy another one then?

Me : blank stare, total silence, pause, much laughter.

WHY INDEED. Why had this concept not even occurred to me? Was I so anti regifting that I could not even comprehend this?

I was given the exact same one by the same person, but we are still using the Tahitian Lime reed diffusers we got from Costco, so our gift has been sitting on the shelf waiting for those to run out. So I have an unopened one which I will now re-gift, *and* I have a nail voucher which I already bought, which means my next nail visit was a no-spend day. I am now officially a re-gifter.

If you are unfamiliar with the term regifter, here is a quick one minute rundown of the Seinfeld episode. Featuring a young and much less wrinkled Bryan Cranston.

I love how Elaine says the word, just the level of anger and spite there, it kills me every time. Elaine is my favourite Seinfeld character. Mother was very happy with her reed diffuser, and I saved $39.95.

Bonus gift, now Mother knows where she can buy them in the future. I fully expect she will go on a reed diffuser spree next time she is near that shop. Mother is like me, she likes to stock up on things she loves, especially when they are not easily purchased nearby.

Now if only she could become like me in knowing I am always right and trusting me when I say things. :) Hasn’t she learned by now, after my many stellar years of always being right?

family, Manicures

The Grocery Spending Spreadsheet

This is month 5 of The Year Of Buying Nothing. Inspired by An Exacting Life, I’ve now been tracking our grocery spending via spreadsheet for four months. It is past time to give you an update. I wrote about it initially here.

Line Items

Each item we purchase gets a line. Aldi gives each of their items a 4-6 digit number which appears on the receipt, that makes life SO easy for us. We’ve had to make up our own numbers for the Coles items. After 4 months of shopping, I can now say how many lines we buy from each of these stores. It is far less than I imagined it would be, especially from Coles.

It is important to note that this number is constantly changing – each shop may add up to 10 new items at Aldi or 3-4 at Coles. Also we keep note of identical items and the price we paid for those. When an item is the same brand just a different size, that gets a new line, eg Manning Valley eggs account for 3 Coles line items because they are available in 3 different sizes (600g, 700g, 800g) at 3 different prices.

Line Items Coles = 55

Of the 55 items we buy from Coles, 9 of these are non-food eg patty pans, deodorant when it was on super special, or baking paper in a size we cannot buy at Aldi.

I can now state that 16 of the items are “junk” foods. When I say that I specifically mean highly processed bad foods that we really should not eat like “twisties” and “french fries”. Some of those are items I personally do not eat, like Cinnamon Doughnuts. The Other Half likes those, it is his fortnightly treat, some of them go to work with him the days after we shop which gives me a couple of days to bake his cinnamon muffins or his from-scratch low sodium biscuits.

2 of the line items from Coles are potatoes when they were cheaper at Coles. 4 of the line items from Coles are tea or coffee related. 2 of the line items are chicken treats – yoghurt and mealworms. 3 of the line items are Manning Valley eggs.

Line Items Aldi = 143

Of the 143 items, 18 are non food eg deodorant, shampoo, toilet roll, tissues, even reed diffusers. Aldi make a fantastic reed diffuser FYI – we love the coconut and mango one, it smells amazing.

Only 14 of the 143 items are things I would consider to be “junk” foods.

32 of the line items are fresh fruits and vegetables.

18 items are dairy eg cheese, butter, cream. 8 of the items are meat/chicken/fish.

How Does It Work?

Each week before we shop, I create the new pages for that shopping trip. Each shop at each store gets a page in the spreadsheet.

It is fairly simple – you have to copy the blank spreadsheet page and give it a new name. But I have from time to time messed it up and left it on move instead of copy. Lesson has been learned, I am very strict about selecting copy now!

Once we have done the shopping, I sit down with the receipt and enter in all the item numbers first, when I hit enter it pulls the description from the lookup sheet then goes to the next line so I can put in the next item number.

Once all the items have been entered, I move across and add in the prices, then the quantities. Most of the time the quantity will be 1, but in cases where it is $ per kg, I enter the amount purchased and the spreadsheet does the maths for me.

When I’m done listing the items we purchased, I add in the CC surcharge in and make sure the total amount matches the receipt. I have the Coles Mastercard and thus anything I spend earns me flybuys points. It does add up over the course of the year, so that is the main card I use now.

The Coles spreadsheet is slightly different – as I do not get charged a surcharge for credit card there, we have added a field where I can minus the $10 flybuys discount we use from time to time. This will allow me to track when we do this and how much it saves us over the course of the year.

How Does This Spreadsheet Help Me?

I am more familiar with the pricing of items overall thanks to this spreadsheet. That is mainly because I am the one entering all the data. We were out at dinner recently and someone was talking about an item and I was able to name what we last paid for it off the top of my head.

I can spot mistakes easily and go back for a refund, as I did in month three – “Aldi had weighed our one lot of sweet potatoes twice, and charged us twice for them. We only bought one lot of sweet potatoes. I am not normally someone who asks for a refund but it was nearly $10, so I took the receipt in and explained what happened. They gave me a refund.”

That event taught me to stand in a particular spot and watch as we check out, so I can spot any mis-keys and prevent us buying 2.5kg of red capsicum when I purposely chose green because it was cheaper, or accidental double ups like above.

We are far more conscious about how much we buy and how much we use. We have a good idea of the base number of items we need each fortnight so that we do not run out of essentials like milk or toilet paper.

There is less food wastage than ever before in our kitchen. Part of that is due to freezing more items – in particular mushrooms.

We are better able to purchase items on special and bulk process and freeze them. Last fortnight I bought 2kg of mushrooms on special at $3.99, part cooked them and froze 7 packets, which will give me 7 weeks of pizza mushrooms. If they are on special again in the meantime, I will buy more and process them. In the meantime I can enjoy not having to buy them for $4.99.

This spreadsheet has been extremely useful for us and I cannot imagine we would stop doing this.

What Next?

The Spreadsheet Maestro has already begun creating useful ways to look at the data we are collecting. At the end of the year we will have a lot of data to play with and it will be interesting to see exactly where our grocery shopping dollar goes.

Aldi keep adding more products to their range meaning we have less to buy at Coles – just recently they added lactose free yoghurt. It would be fantastic to be able to do all our shopping in one place, however I think the reality will always be as it is now, most of the shop at Aldi with just a few items from Coles.

If you would like a copy of the spreadsheet with all the Aldi line items let me know in the comments and I will email it to you. I will take out all the Coles data and also all our shops.

2018yobn, spreadsheets

Things I Did Not Buy April

In April I did not buy an item of food. At Christmas we had family and friends over, and one of them brought a double cream Brie by Castello. I’d not eaten any cheese at all in over 6 months but planned to cheese board it up on Christmas Day, so I had heaps of cheese already available.

The brie went into the fridge where it stayed until mid-February, when we had family and friends around again and I thought I would use up the left over cheese. And wow. WOW. That cheese was amazing, probably the best cheese I have ever eaten in my lifetime.

So at our second April shop, I thought maybe I would buy one of these. I went to pick it up from the fridge but was stopped by the price – it was $7.40 at the time. Err, no thanks, that will blow our budget and it is a tiny amount of cheese for that price. I gave the cheaper Aldi version ($4.99 for 200g) a try at our first May shop. I think it tastes just as good.

The one reason I was going to break my self enforced cheese abstinence was that I had some Beerenberg quince paste to go along with it. I am only a recent soft cheese and quince paste convert and I think it is lucky that I have given up cheese for the most part, with only an occasional cheese eating, otherwise I would like this for a snack every day. I’d like to do a brie & quince paste chicken kiev sometime. Maybe with the strawberry and champagne paste pot.

If this were not cold shoulder I might have been tempted, just look at that gorgeous print! They are lovely and long, too. Why, designers, WHY?

Last winter I got very cold due to my thyroid issues. I mostly survived thanks to hoodies, beanies, gloves, scarves and these Ghanda crew neck long sleeve fleece jumpers. I had one in this same shade of pink and one in blue for around the house wear, and they are looking pretty ratty. I am thinking about replacing them but I might have to go in store and see if they have anything different this year. Sometimes they do not put everything on the website.

OMG TVSN WTFBBQ!!!!Q!QQ!! This is the worst thing you have ever done to me. Long sleeve tops that have some sparkle, length and a decent neck line? If this was not The Year Of Buying Nothing, I would have been tempted to purchase this top in all four colours.

And I would purchase this top in both colours. While I am not a big fan of the V-neck, I do love a stripe, plus it has sequins. If you have been looking for this kind of top maybe you can head over and grab it if they have it in your size.

2018yobn, Things I Did Not Buy, TVSN