Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Does anyone give a toss?

Ah that’s better – I’ve gone back to being “incognito”.  I don’t like the way Google tries to take over your on-line life, tracking your every move, and announcing everything that you do to the world, his wife, his pet hamster, and every other creature in the known universe (and probably the unknown universe as well)!  I somehow found that my blog had become part of my Google + account, which I try desperately not to use in the way that Google intends.  It’s hard enough keeping up with Facebook, and I certainly don’t want to start making “Circles” in Google +! 

I don’t really have a particular subject for today’s musings.  Thought I’d just ramble on a bit and see what comes out.  My last blog, just over a month ago, was to summarise how I was doing against my targets for not-wasting-money.  Curiously, that particular blog was read my more people than any of my other blogs.  It didn’t result in any more followers – I think those that found the blog through the title “Confession time”, were, perhaps, a little disappointed with the content?  What sort of a world is it when you have to put something in the title that makes them think they are going to find something titillating?  I guess I will just have to put suggestive titles on all my blogs in future to get some “traffic”. 

So, here we are, in March already.  It’s pancake day, and Spring is just around the corner.  We seem to have got through winter without having any school closures due to snow, although with the crazy weather we have in this country, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got snow in June this year!  
I thought I would just comment on something that was on the news this morning about the number of people that buy ready-made pancake mixes – ie you add water and mix your batter.  I am definitely one of the people at whom these sort of products are aimed – short of time, not that confident in the kitchen and happy to pay a premium for things that will make life easier; but even I will be mixing up my flour, eggs and milk in a bowl in little more than the time it would take to open a packet of mix.  I could understand buying the ready-made whole pancakes, as that saves the hassle of trying to cook the damn things without having a soggy pile of batter bits in the pan and a pile of washing up, but the mixing up in a bowl is surely the EASY bit? 
I suppose I could ask why people are willing to pay through the nose for a small bag of ready peeled and chopped onions/peppers/etc, which cost about 5 times the amount of the equivalent unpeeled article, however I am most definitely guilty of buying these!



Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Confession time

Well, now that the first month of the 'new' year has almost past, I’m sure you’re DYING to know how restrained I’ve been in sticking to my list of things-I’m-not-going-to-buy.  So, one by one, here is the truth:   

1.       Handbags – 2 (a smallish cross-body, and a largish shopper/cross body – from TKMaxx, of course...)  I think this particular addiction is going to take some serious treatment to overcome
2.       Travel bags – 0 (although we don’t have any trips planned right now, so probably not a good test)
3.       Storage containers – 0 (feeling good!)
4.       Skirts/dresses – 1 of each – in the sale….  Although I have actually worn both items more than once so far (with long boots), so that isn’t too bad!
5.       Tights – 2 (see previous item)
6.       Cookbooks – physical – 0, virtual – about 8 – although I have resisted the urge to add another glossy hardback book, with lots of exciting pictures, to my bookshelf, I have purchased around 8 e-cook books.  They were VERY cheap though….
7.       Kitchen appliances and gadgets – 0
8.       Fitness equipment – 0 (Fitness equipment used – 0)
9.       Apps – hmmm, I recently bought a Nexus tablet, which runs on Android so some app purchases were necessary.  More details to follow at a later date…
10.   Black trousers - 0
11.   Black boots – 1 pair (I HAD intended to get rid of an older pair when I got them home, but I just couldn’t choose which pair had to go…)
12.   Heston’s popcorn ice-cream – 0 (although I have bought 4 tubs of Haagen Daaz Strawberry Cheesecake, which is ALMOST as irresistible)
13.   Travel size toiletries – 0 (see point 2)
14.   Bikinis – 0 (as if!)
15.   Indian spices – 0 (and managed to cook 2 curries using the spices I bought before my blog)
16.   Bargains – FAILED!  See items 4, 6, 11, 17, 27, 29…
17.   Food bought on its “use-by” date – fail!  Have definitely continued to buy these ‘bargains’
18.   Clothes for DS – 1 - a tiger ‘onesie’ for Christmas (he loved it!)
19.   Fleeces – 0
20.   Earrings – 0 (although Santa brought me a pair of long silver ones…)
21.   Stuff to put in bath – 0 (Santa didn’t bring me any of this!)
22.   Tins of chopped tomatoes – 0 (managed to use up a few tins from stocks)
23.   Deodourant - 0
24.   Stationery – some sticky labels, but that wasn’t too much of a splurge!
25.   Novelty items as gifts – totally failed!  Well, it was hard to fill up an 11 year-old’s stocking without resorting to some of the items I vowed not to buy.  Items included some “Bush Tucker critters”, which he wouldn’t try - and neither would anyone else; some little puzzles, which never get done; some silly little books, which never get read; various other over-priced c**p that I have already forgotten!)
26.   Learn to speak Spanish books – 0 (I think I’m ‘fixed’ of this urge – for now….)
27.   Fresh food on offer – definitely didn’t stick to this one.  Bought lots of 3 for 2s, 4 for 3s, etc, over the Christmas period.  Didn’t waste TOO much
28.   Bed and bath linen – 0 (although we did buy a new bed for DS)
29.   Comfortable clothes – hmmmm – I guess I have to come clean about the cashmere tracksuit I bought in the sale from Tesco.  They are lovely and soft for lounging around in (and were a fab bargain), but they look like PJs, so not the sort of thing to be caught wearing out!
30.   Cheap versions of expensive items – as I mentioned in item 9, I bought a new Nexus 7 tablet.  I really wanted an iPad mini, but it was almost twice the price.  I don’t think this really counts, as the Nexus is a pretty good device (is has, of course, required some additional investment in Android apps…)
31.   Costco items not on my list – popped in to Costco for a few items on my list (24 tins of baked beans, lots of bottles of wine, some meat, etc), and did come away with some additional meat and frozen food that wasn’t on my list.  Shouldn’t have done this as I didn’t have enough room in my freezer!  (note to self – must start using up all the stocks in the freezer….) 

Well, we’re at the end of the first month, and it has been a bit dismal really.  I had hoped that by broadcasting my intentions to the world (!!), I might actually stop and think before purchasing any of the items on my “banned” list.  Obviously it hasn’t worked, so I think I need to try an alternative approach.  Perhaps I should have a month when I am only allowed to spend cash!  Having to prise grubby little notes out of my purse, and hand them over to receive lots of little coins to carry around in return might go some way to making me give a little more thought to what I purchase.  However, unless someone forcibly removed all internet access, I wouldn’t be able to control the urge to accept the offer of “buy now”, “add to basket”, “checkout”… It is just soooooooooo easy, and you don’t even have to enter your name and address or payment details on many sites.  It isn’t even like spending money!  (until the credit card bill arrivesL ).  Perhaps I need one of these "Smart" cards?