Sunday, December 30, 2012

A surprising avocado bargain

Recently I joined some online market research panels, mainly for the lure of winning cash prizes, but also because I enjoy doing surveys. Yesterday I did a very extensive survey comparing various supermarkets, and let me tell you, Junk Mail Bargains has equipped me brilliantly for comparing them.

In general I think IGA and Foodworks are the dirt supermarkets – the ones you only go to in country towns on holiday, or if you are unfortunate enough to live in North Melbourne. I get these catalogues but their specials are never very good, and they have the worst own brands. (Black & Gold should be renamed Poverty & Depression.)

However, at the moment Foodworks has avocados for $1.68 each. Currently they are $2.98  each at Woolworths and Coles.

Really nice leather couches

Now, usually I only get depressing bogan furniture store catalogues that make me feel sad, but I was pretty impressed by the Bay Leather Republic catalogue. Not that I could ever get a leather couch: a) I can't afford one; b) Graham would scratch it up in no time. But I quite liked the look of the Apartment three-seater in black, which is currently $999, save $500 (other colours are a bit more expensive).

Also, the Copenhagen three-seater for $2399, save $300.

Award-winning baby wipes

Would you like to wipe your baby with the baby wipes that won the silver medal for Baby Wipes of the Year in this year's Australian Mother and Baby Magazine Awards? Well at Aldi you can – and they're only $2.49 for a pack of 80 – that's 3c per wipe.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Keep your insides healthy

Aldi has Bee Vital Manuka honey for $7.99, which is Active 5+. I looked into WTF that means, and apparently all honey contains the glucose oxidase enzyme, which produces hydrogen peroxide, giving the honey mild antibacterial properties; however Manuka honey has an additional antibacterial component which is not due to hydrogen peroxide and can fight more resistant bacteria. This is known as 'active' honey and if it's been lab-tested against a regular antibiotic it gets a UMF rating. Ratings of 0-4 are negligible; 5-9 is 'maintenance', 10-14 is suitable for therapeutic use and 15+ is the most medicinal. So there you go.

Years ago my friends Renée and Gemma gave me an Eziyo yoghurt maker for my birthday. To my annoyance I have misplaced it somewhere – it might be in a box or something – but currently at Aldi you can get a yoghurt maker for $14.99, and the yoghurt mix sachets for $2.49, which is cheaper than Eziyo.

Googly-eye crafts

How about some googly-eye crafts? Officeworks has a pack of 160 googly eyes of varying sizes, some red and blue as well as black, for $3.17. Here are some things you can do with googly eyes:

Invest in cast-iron cookware

Aldi has a six-piece cast-iron cook set for $69.99. It includes a 9-quart camp oven with a wire handle, 3-quart saucepan and wire base, 12-inch skillet, 2-burner BBQ hotplate, 43cm lid-lifting stick and a wooden chest to keep it all in. Holy shit it is heavy.

It's designed for use in open fires while camping, but honestly I love cast-iron cookware and find it very hard to buy cheaply. I get so much use out of my skillet, which Sandor gifted me as a cherished heirloom from Donald Street. It's the same pan in which my housemate Matt used to make his patented meal, 'skillet'.

If you'd like to know how to rejuvenate old, rusted cast-iron cookware, here's a good step-by-step guide.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The globe's your oyster

Officeworks also has 20cm world globes on a classic pedestal stand for $9.91. They come in the classic blue as well as black and white, and the countries are highlighted in different colours. I'd like one just for decorating. I've seen some Pinterest stuff in which people make quite striking mobiles out of old globes.

If you want to be a dickhead whose obnoxiously over-styled home is featured on Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table, you could also make a massed display of globes in your house.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kit yourself out for summer home entertaining

Aldi has cheese knives for $2.99, and a glass multi-function cake stand for $19.99 that has a pedestal and a domed lid. When you tip the pedestal base upside down you can use it as a chip'n'dip; the upside-down lid holds desserts such as trifles; or you can display and store cakes.

And for more entertaining, Aldi has rigid wire domed food covers for $4.99, citronella candles in tin buckets for $4.99, and packs of three jaunty striped tea towels for $4.99.

I am in the midst of a Summer of Champas, and so I was interested to learn that from 29 December Aldi is also selling bottles of Grandin Méthode Traditionelle, which is one of the better French cheapies, for $12.99. You can get it right now at Dan Murphy's for $13.60.

Another Dan Murphy's bargain I can recommend is the Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux Brut, which I (shamefully) bought because the label superficially resembles that of Veuve Clicquot. It's $13.99.

And just finally, you can't beat Aldi's price on blueberries$1.99 for a 125g punnet, which works out to $15.92 per kilo. By contrast, Coles has them for $3.40, or $27.20 per kilo.

Everyone loves a laminator

Maybe you are not lucky enough to be related to a primary school teacher, and you wish you could get documents laminated at the drop of a hat. Well at Big Dubs you can! An A4 laminator is just $15.

Officeworks is running a Back to School promotion already (a depressing thought for parents and teachers). The Big Dubs laminator is still your best bet for laminators, but Officeworks has one for $15.94, which is also what you'll pay for 100 laminating pouches for said laminator.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A good night's sleep

Big Dubs' post-Christmas sale includes 30% off pillows, doonas, mattress protectors, etc, and 40% off the Tontine Good Night range. I am in the market for a new pillow so I will be looking into this. And just so that your pet is not left out, there will also be $15 memory foam pet beds.

Meanwhile, Aldi has either a European (square) pillow or 2 regular pillows for $9.99, and 225 thread-count percale sheets in a range of jaunty colours for $24.99 QB and $29.99 KB.

Cost-effective hydration

Would you like to take up boxing in the New Year? Big Dubs offers a low-stakes entry with $10 Everlast boxing gloves. And to stay hydrated, how about a Sodastream machine for $55 (save $9.88)? They reckon the gas cylinder is good for 60L. When my housemate Paul had one of these, it was a golden era. I drank so much bubbly water.

In other water bargains, Aldi has Brita water filter jugs for $19.99. Holds 1.4L filtered water. I got one of these when Is Not Magazine had the Vesta House office and the water came out of the tap a weird brown colour. It was astonishing how it made the water normal.

NYE disposable revelry totems

New Year's Eve is coming up, and both Coles and Woolworths have your disposable revelry totems covered. They work out to the same price but the pack sizes are different. So at Coles you can get 16 sparklers for $1 ($1.49 for 24 sparklers at Woolies); party poppers are $2.39 for 20 at Coles, and $3 for 25 at Woolies (but $1.88 for 20 at Big Dubs so I'd go there); and "party glow bracelets" are $4 for 10 at Coles and Woolies alike.

Coles also has glow sticks for $2 each, which Woolies is clearly refusing to match. Come on. It is not the 1990s any more. However Big Dubs wants $2.97 for 20 of those satisfyingly old-fashioned 'blowouts', which are those things that inflate and unfurl with a sad toot when you blow into them.

Treat yourself at Christmas

An excellent bargain may be had at Coles: a 25L Willow esky for $20 – half price! To put that in perspective, Big Dubs has a 27L Esky brand esky for $48.

A beauty bargain at Coles: Pantene shampoo and conditioner in giant 750ml bottles for $7.50 – that's half price!

Also, I know I go on about BB creams, but the Rimmel BB cream is currently $10 at Woolworths, which is a $3 discount. I've tried this on, and it offers the best coverage of the non-Asian brands I've tried; the others are basically just tinted moisturisers. I also like that it's SPF 25 which is quite high for a cosmetic sunscreen.

Last-minute Christmas gifts under $30

If you are still looking for some last-minute gifts (especially for a not-very-close relative), Woolworths has some half-price beauty gift packs for $5! I quite like the look of the Floral Collection, which is some rose-scented hand and body wash, and matching lotion, with a pink rose-shaped object that might be a soap. (Actually, I investigated instore and it turns out it is a loofah thing for applying body wash in the shower.)

There's also a collection of eight mini nail polishes in a good range of colours, also for $5.

Kmart has women's summer pyjama sets for a ridiculous $5. The top is like a short-sleeved collared shirt, and the pants are 3/4 length. They come in powder blue with white spots, pink with white spots, or white with pink and blue butterflies. And they're sized from 8-10 to 20-22.

And if there's someone you know who takes long showers, you could give them the Bush Shower Radio from Big Dubs – $28. Presumably it's waterproof.

Kmart has some really nifty-looking kitchenware gifts for just $12. Choose from a stainless-steel pasta machine, a spice rack consisting of a sort of carousel with spots to put little round glass jars, a pizza stone with matching guillotine cutter, and a mortar and pestle. I'd go the mortar and pestle.

And if someone you know likes tea but says loose-leaf tea is too much of a drama, Kmart also has little 500ml ceramic teapots in red, white or black, with built-in infusers, for $5. I don't want to be one of those dipsticks in the ads roaming around the store marvelling at the low, low prices, but honestly I was astounded today to see quite nice, plain glass vases at Kmart for $2. I really worry about the conditions of satanic cruelty under which these products must be manufactured.

Did you know that you can buy Bunnings gift cards at Coles? This might be handy if, like me, you have a Coles within walking distance but no Bunningses for miles. Nasty Bunningses!

You probably don't want to buy these, but did you know there are board game versions of The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family? These are $28 from Big Dubs.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Celebratory foods and drinks for intolerances

Here's my Food And Drink Intolerances Corner! If you know someone who can't or won't eat gluten, Ajitas Vege Chips are on special at Coles for $2.15.

And if you are in the market for non-alcoholic wines during the festive season, Woolworths has Fronti red and white varieties on special for $3.89. Appletiser sparkling apple juice is 2 for $5 – a saving of $1.84. And Aldi has Ariel dealcoholised wine in 'rouge' and 'blanc' for $9.99. They also have Paulaner Alcohol Free Beer for $1.79 per 500ml bottle.