Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grown-up lunch bags

Don't head off to work with your lunch in an old takeaway container in a plastic bag. What are you – a hobo?

Until 6 February, Kmart has some pretty jaunty neoprene adult lunch totes for $10. They zip up securely and have a carry handle. As well as being easy to carry should your work bag not be large enough to fit lunch in, they'd also be good for preventing those disastrous food-to-paper and food-to-fabric spillages.

There are also more rugged, manly-looking insulated lunch bags for $9 that look like miniature versions of those soft eskies you can get. They look as if they're meant for tradies to take onto construction sites. But I personally think they look pretty ugly.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beanbags for peanuts

Everyone loves a beanbag! Seductively comfortable… yet nigh-impossible to get up with any dignity. Reading, listening to music, watching movies, bonging on… beanbags are great for many leisure activities.

Anyway, until 6 February Kmart has what it calls 'beanskins' in red, chocolate brown, purple and black, plus an '80s-looking leopard print, for $19. This doesn't include the beans, which are an additional $12 for 100L.

Even if you feel as if you're too sophisticated for a beanbag, they'd make an excellent gift for a kid or a share-housewarming present for a student about to head to uni.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Race through your work

Is your job the pits?

Does your workday feel like it's stuck in second gear?

Do you spend all day longing for a podium finish?*

Well, I have good news for you. I was just flipping through the Officeworks catalogue and noticed the following, hilariously named product: the Bathurst Racer Chair!

Yes, in this chair designed to superficially resemble the driver's seat of a V8 Supercar, you can brmm-brmm your way through your working day. Look at this baby. Swivels like it's on rails.

It comes in blue or red, but we all know that red goes faster. At the bargain price of $129.87, you can be assured they'll be gone in 60 seconds.

*This joke will only make sense once you realise that I used to work in the HWT Towers building in Southbank, where the ground floor reception lobby is known as the 'podium'.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Animal accessories

Round 2 of back-to-school catalogues has hit my letterbox, in case you missed it. Most of the same bargains are still there until the end of January. However, here are a couple more things that caught my eye:

Officeworks has novelty animal-shaped pencil sharpeners for 54c. A cute back-to-school gift, or just something silly to cheer yourself up on your own desk.

Kmart has rad kids' backpacks for $12 in the shape of either monkeys or owls, with googly eyes. I REPEAT, WITH GOOGLY EYES. I wish there was some excuse for me to carry such a backpack and still be respected by peers and employers, but there isn't, so I'll just move on.

And The Reject Shop has novelty animal-shaped paper clips in packs of 20 for $2. (Ignore the 'Gesture' variety.) Choose from crocodile, pig or rabbit, although the rabbit is my favourite because its haunch is incorporated into the curve of the paper clip.

Contact crafts

Back-to-school is an excellent time to stock up on stationery supplies that you can then use in cool craft projects.

At Big W until 30 January, selected 1m rolls of adhesive book covering are $2.48. These include various prints, plains and metallics. And plain clear contact is just 50c for a 1m roll. Meanwhile at Kmart, 2m rolls of plain coloured contact (colours include purple, aqua, hot pink and apple green) are just $1 a roll.

Here are some DIY projects I like that use contact paper.

Draw on the contact (still with backing paper attached) with textas and cut out the shapes. You've just made your own stickers! (This is a great project for kids.)

Use clear contact to 'frost' over a pane of glass. This design is basically a lot of identical shapes cut out of contact using a stencil, and carefully stuck on the window.

Cut the paper into geometric shapes to make decorative wall decals.

Stick tissue paper to clear contact to make 'stained glass' decorations.

Jazz up an old chest of drawers. (I've also seen this done with a filing cabinet.)

Zany polka-dot walls!

Line an old baking tray with contact and hang on/prop against the wall as a magnet board. Useful for storing notes and documents in other places than the fridge – say, at your desk, or by the phone or the front door.

Easy party bunting!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Things to do with Sharpies

Until 30 January, Big Dubs has multi-packs of Sharpie markers for $5 – either four Stained by Sharpie fabric markers, or five 80's Glam (pink, orange, purple, yellow and green). Meanwhile, Kmart also has the same 80's Glam set for $5, or the entire set of eight fabric markers for $10.

Sharpie clearly recognises that lots of people already use their permanent pens to draw on T-shirts, sneakers, pencil cases and other textiles. The fabric markers supposedly have brighter, more durable ink.

Here are 20 DIY projects you can do with Sharpies. But below are some I particularly like.

Draw on the placket and collar of a plain shirt to make it jaunty.

Colour in some sunglasses.

Apply over the top of your nail polish, then seal in with a topcoat. If you make a mistake, you can erase it using rubbing alcohol.

Bake your colour onto mugs for 30 minutes at 175°C, then let the mugs cool in the oven.

Missoni-esque shoes. ("Missoni-esque" is fast becoming one of my favourite adjectives.)

Jaunty wrapping paper. (The white is white-out.)

Trompe l'oeil ceiling. Sort of in a Howard Arkley way.

Who's a pretty boy, then?

These novelty bird-shaped solar garden lights crack me up! Who even decides, "Yes, let's make some lights on sticks to illuminate the path to people's front doors in the dark, but we'll make them in the shapes of birds that don't come out after dark and, in the case of this toucan, are very unlikely to be found in a suburban Australian garden at all?"

They are 66cm high, including the sticks. The springs on which they're mounted make me suspect they might bobble hilariously. I presume that at night, the birds glow from within like those animal-shaped night lights you put in kids' bedrooms. Wouldn't it be funny if instead they had menacing glowing eyes or something.

If you'd like to create an inexplicable tropical atmosphere in your garden – perhaps as a fun decoration for summer parties – why not get these lights? The set of four birds (cockatoo, macaw, rosella and, uh, toucan – is $20 from The Reject Shop until 27 January. Hell, at these prices, you could invest in an entire flock.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ray says relax

Remember when Ray's Outdoors was called "Ray's Tent City"? These days, rappin' Ray has expanded from camping equipment into home entertaining equipment. And until 3 February, there are some good bargains to be had on summery backyard stuff.

Renaissance 2.7m market umbrellas in coffee or navy are $39 (save $50). I am very interested in this as I have an outdoor table with a hole in the centre, just waiting for a market umbrella.

There's also a variety of hammocks, the cheapest of which is a padded hammock chair for $19. Depicted above is a striped double hammock (weight rated to 180kg); there's also a Mexican-style hammock (a net-style woven hammock in vibrant stripes, weight rated to 150kg). Both are $29 (save, respectively, $10 and $20).

There's also 50% off hammock accessories including chains, pillows, ropes, etc.

If you like industrial-aesthetic metal fans rather than the white plastic sort, there are either high velocity or heavy-duty floor fans for $29 (save $30). I wonder if this is the same sort of fan my brother has in his apartment. Recently my brother's girlfriend demonstrated their fan on its lowest setting and I was blown away by how powerful it was!

Storage boxes for under $25

Some real talk, people. You probably have a lot of stuff. Why not invest in some giant plastic boxes to store it properly?

I've stored my towels and bedlinen in wheeled plastic boxes since I moved into a house that had no cupboard storage. I also have more that I use for socks and tights, sleepwear, stuff I'm putting away to see if I do well enough without it to donate it to charity, and stuff for craft projects.

My bed is high enough off the ground that I can store the boxes underneath and wheel them out when needed, but such boxes are also useful to keep if you have to store things in damp or dusty conditions such as roof lofts, garages and sheds – for instance if you're going away and giving up your house.

At the moment, Officeworks, The Reject Shop and Big Dubs are duking it out as to whose boxes are cheapest. It really depends what size you want.

Officeworks has 9L boxes with white lids in colours including yellow, tangerine (pictured), white, green and blue for $5.97. These are 33cm long, 27cm wide and 14cm high, making them a good size to store books, CDs, DVDs and documents. (Storing books in small boxes is important when it comes to moving them, I have discovered over the years.) You could use the various colours to code the contents.

But you'll pay $6 for a 15L clear roller box at The Reject Shop, and $8 for a 30L box. The Reject Shop also has a wider, flatter 38L underbed box for $12, designed to fit under low beds (not everyone has an old-fashioned high bedstead like me).

For a smallish but still quite roomy 55L box, Officeworks is your best bet – they have clear wheeled boxes that are 54cm long, 31cm wide and 39cm high and cost just $5.97. These are the sort where the handles snap closed against the lid – important when the box is full and you're struggling to get the lid on.

If you'd like coloured rather than clear plastic, Officeworks also has stackable periwinkle blue or red 52L boxes (56.5cm long, 40cm wide and 32.5cm high) for $7.97. Compare this to Big Dubs' 48L clear box for $7.47, and The Reject Shop's 60L clear box for $9.

But when you start to get into larger boxes still, Big Dubs becomes better value. They have an 81L clear(ish) box for $15.86 (compare to Officeworks' equivalent for $20), and a 100L box for $20 (compare to Officeworks' $24.98).

But at The Reject Shop, a 90L box is $15, an a whopping 140L box is $25.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Australiana food

Major retailers tend to assume everyone hosts a massive nationalist fiesta on Australia Day rather than just enjoying a day off work (which is arguably more Aussie). Should you be taking this opportunity to host a picnic, a barbecue or other party on Saturday, here are some true-blue products to buy.

Many ordinary products are getting rebranded with flag motifs to cash in on the day. MasterFoods tomato sauce is now MasterFoods Australian Grown Tomato Sauce in a blue bottle with a red lid. It's currently $2 at Coles (save 99c). Also at Coles, Campbell's Chunky Fully Loaded canned soup has an "Aussie Lamb Casserole" variety with pasta for $2 (save $1.29), and you can get Edgell Aussie-branded canned corn kernels and sliced beetroot for $1 a can (save 49c).

Other quintessentially Australian foodstuffs are also on special at Coles. A twin pack of Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea (that's 200 teabags) is $15 (save $4.99). Excellent value if you drink a lot of tea, and this is a nice variety.

As a treat to have with your Aussie tea, why not pick up some Unibic Anzac Biscuits for $2 (save 95c), a six-pack of Coles Bakery Australia Day Donuts (lemon icing; green sprinkles) for $2, or Coles Lamington Fingers for $1.99 (half price; save $2).

Planning on making a pav? Coles Bakery Pavlovas are currently $7 each (save $2.25), but this is just the meringue shell; you have to add your own cream and fruit.

How about a Chiko Roll? At Woolworths you can get 2 packs for $7 (save $2.38) – that's eight Chiko Rolls to get your fish'n'chippery nostalgia engines revving. Motorbike optional.

And I don't know about you, but there's nothing more old-school Aussie than a platter of kabana and cubed cheese. Head to the deli at Coles, where Don Kabana is $12/kg (save $3.39/kg), while Cracker Barrel Gold Release Cheddar (fancy stuff covered in wax) is $20/kg (save $10/kg). (FYI: toothpicks are $1.63 for 200, and cocktail onions can be had from $1.19.)

Since Victorians are jocularly known as Mexicans, why not have an Australia Day spread including Aldi chicken enchiladas ($5.49 for two) and Tabasco sauce ($1.99).

And on behalf of the Croweaters amongst us, I am pleased to learn that Aldi is selling Coopers Pale Ale six-packs for $12.99. This is great value, considering they're $14.99 at Dan Murphy's.

Australiana paraphernalia

As 26 January approaches, the shops become full of distressing nationalist tat. If you must buy this seasonal stuff, here's where to get it cheaply.

At Aldi you can get giant Aussie flags, just the right size for wearing as a cape (sigh), for a mere $3.99. For the same price Aldi also has coloured face paint, and those obnoxious padded top hats in either green and gold or an Aussie flag design.

They also have T-shirts and singlets for men, women ($4.99) and children ($3.99). Some are more tasteful and subtle than others (one says "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!!"; another one says "Young Hot and AUSSIE"). The kids' ones are actually the cutest – you could mistake them for ordinary surfwear tees.

If you're after some Australiana swimwear, Big Dubs has flag-print men's board shorts for $9.94, and girls' or boys' board shorts for $8.92. As with Aldi, the kids' ones are the least obnoxious – I especially like the boys' shorts, which have an abstract flag pattern in red, white and blue rather than the depressing navy-with-the-Union-Jack-and-stars that's par for the course in nationalist apparel.

Big Dubs' women's swimwear is a little better than your bog-standard triangle bikinis – a cute bandeau bikini with halter tie and a red ruffle decoration is $14.98. The pants are plain navy with red ties; the Southern Cross is emblazoned on the left boob. For the less exhibitionist, but at the same price, there's a rash vest and a navy halter-neck 'tankini' with the Aussie flag across the right hip.

Aldi is boasting that its thongs – either ladies' sizes in an Aussie flag design or unisex in plain black – are 15% cheaper than last year. They're $1.69.

Aldi also has Aussie flag beach towels for $8.99, and Aussie flag beach chairs for $9.99. But at Big Dubs, similar chairs are just $7.88.

Oh god, where does the Aldi merch stop! Australia Day golf umbrellas for $7.99! Stubby holders! Picnic rugs! Big Dubs also has a ridiculous thong-shaped inflatable pool toy for $10, and to mitigate against road-rage incidents by bogans, an Aussie flag for your car for $2.

But if you're planning a more tasteful and less jingoistic public holiday, perhaps Aldi's four-person wicker picnic basket set is for you. It's one of those nice ones with a gingham lining, leatherette straps and an insulated cooler section. It includes four sets of stainless-steel knives, forks and spoons; four melamine plates; four plastic wine glasses; four cotton napkins; and a bottle opener (IMPORTANT). All for $49.99.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Treat yourself to Nutella

1 jar of Nutella + 1 spoon = guilty pleasure. I guess you could also spread it on bread if you must.

I have been very disciplined and haven't had Nutella in the house for many years, but this special at Coles could lure me back to the dark-brown side. A 400g jar of Ferrero's seductive choc hazelnut spread is $3.50 (save $1.19). On sale until 29 January.

Meanwhile at Woolworths, the larger 750g jar is $5 (save $2.59) until 22 January. This is a better deal, as it works out to 67c per 100g, versus Coles' 88c. However, you are really committing to Nutella if you let that baby into your house.

Praise baby cheeses!

Remember this '80s ad for Mini Babybel cheese?

I still sing the jingle to myself whenever I eat these little cheeses. I love unzipping the red wax, which I then warm in my hand and mould into shapes.

Anyway, enough nostalgia – time for NOW! which is when Mini Babybel cheese is on special at Woolworths. They're selling 2 bags of five cheeses for $6 (save $1.98) – that's 60c per cheese!

They're being sold as a lunchbox filler ("Refuel for school!") but honestly I just like 'em as a snack. On sale until 22 January.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Men's leather shoes at Big Dubs

I was in Big Dubs QV earlier, where back-to-school season is in full swing. I thought I'd check out some of the shoes I'd seen in the catalogue. I tried on the Bata Scouts as I can just squeak into the bottom end of men's shoe sizing. They weren't bad.

Anyway, I saw some other men's shoes on special that I either had missed or that weren't advertised.

These grey suede desert boots are half price at $20. They're leather, and the colour is a little warmer than these pics show. Here's a closer look.

But if you are not into the desert boot look and instead would like to project an Ivy League image at community-college prices, how about these leather boat shoes for $15?

I will never understand why boat shoes are cool now. When I was a teenager, they were the exclusive preserve of obnoxious private schoolboys in rugby shirts. But anyway.

Of course, you'd have to pick your pair carefully to make sure you didn't get one with munted stitching. Some ideas to make them more jaunty include replacing the laces with white or colourful ones (white would look quite fresh and crisp, IMHO), or colouring in the white stitching or the sole with brightly coloured permanent pen.

There were also some black canvas loafers by Mambo that had a sort of creeper-ish sole. They were $30, if you like that sort of look.

Sporty bargains at Aldi

This week Aldi is having a bit of a sport and fitness jag, with all sorts of sporting clothes and equipment on sale.

What caught my eye was that they're selling inflatable gym balls for $7.99. Also known as 'fit balls' or 'Swiss balls', these are the sort of balls you sit on at your desk instead of a chair, or that you hold or lie on to do various exercises.

They come in black, aqua, lime and pink, and in 55cm, 65cm, 75cm or 85cm, depending on your needs. They take a maximum user weight of 120kg.

If you're a bit WTF when it comes to gym balls, here's a list of 10 manly exercises recommended by AskMen, and 10 exercises recommended by Weight Watchers.

Also at Aldi, a waterproof mp3 player for $29.99. I was pretty excited about this as I have recently taken up swimming again. It's suitable for water sports and activities and is waterproof up to 3m. Considering my local pool is 1.9m at the deep end, I should be okay.

It's nothing fancy – it has a 4GB internal memory and its only functions are play, pause, reset, and volume up or down. It comes with a clip, armband, USB cable and earphones. It's available in blue or black.

The pictures show the player clipped to a lady's goggles and the earbuds tucked inside a swimming cap. Perhaps it is a little ridiculous to go to so much effort. One of the things I like about swimming is the quietness of the mind it instils. But you could also just use it as a small mp3 player to wear while exercising and not have to worry about damaging your 'good' mp3 player in rainy conditions.

Esky buys, A-listed

Every summer I decide to buy an esky then demur, aghast by how expensive they are. But I guess they are an investment. My parents still use the coolers I recall from my childhood. They must be 30 or more years old by now.

But never fear; if you want to see numbers in action, there are some good bargains to be had on coolers right now. If you'd like a small, easy-to-carry esky to take to picnics and BBQs, at Ray's Outdoors the Frostbite 8L BBQ Cooler is $14.99 (save $15). By comparison, an Esky brand 10L cooler is $24.97 at Big Dubs.

If you'd like something bigger, head to Ray's Outdoors for a Frostbite 40L wheeled cooler for $59.99 (save $20), and a 70L wheeled cooler is $89.99 (save $30).

Compare this to a Willow 44L cooler at Big Dubs for $73.84, or a 65L Esky Ice King that's actually on special at Big Dubs right now for $118 (save $30).

Coles has a red-hot bargain at the moment – a 55L Willow Wheelie Cooler for $50 (save a monstrous $46.57). This is on sale until 22 January, but I wouldn't be surprised if they run out of stock.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Schmeatherston chairs at Plush Furniture

To my chagrin, Grant Featherston's R160 Contour Chair has entered into the pantheon of Ripped-Off Design Classics, along with Noguchi coffee tables, Eames lounge chairs and Barcelona sofas.

The original chairs date from 1951-55 and are inspired by a bent tram ticket. Those sell for big bucks in the midcentury antiques market – even a busted frame can fetch four figures on eBay.

Most replicas cost $700-$1500. Matt Blatt charges $1395 for its version, which it claims is an exact replica of the original.

Anyway, so that's the context for me looking at the latest Plush furniture catalogue and seeing they're now doing Featherston ripoff "contour accent chairs" in baby-blue, red, taupe and chartreuse for just $499. That's by far the cheapest I've ever seen this style.

I don't know whether to feel pleased or annoyed. I'm pleannoyed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tresemmé, très bon marché

My shampoo and conditioner of choice is Tresemmé, for no other reason than that the 900ml bottles are nice and big so I have to restock them less frequently.

Honestly, almost all shampoos have similar formulas (here's a quick rundown of what the various ingredients are and do), so there is no point believing the claims the manufacturers make for their particular products. If their use of sulfates bothers you, here's a good starting point for sulfate-free shampoos.

Anyway, I am used to spending about $8 a bottle (it's currently $10.74 at Woolworths), so I was pleasantly surprised to see it on sale at Foodworks for $4.99. That is officially a Nice Price.

Cheap skating for cheapskates

It's odd, but those little retro plastic skateboards must be back. When I was a kid in the '80s, they were deeply uncool and frowned-upon (you had to have a 'proper' deck with the sandpapery surface), but maybe things have changed.

At Kmart, 55cm Southern Star "retro cruiser" skateboards are $15. They seem to come in purple with blue wheels, red with green wheels or blue with red wheels.

Meanwhile at Big Dubs, Mambo skateboards in the same size and style are $20. They come in red, hot pink, orange and yellow, again with contrasting-coloured wheels. I guess you pay an extra $5 for the Mambo brand.

The style is apparently a ripoff of Penny, an Australian brand of plastic skateboards that's been around since 1983 and seems to have a fair bit of cachet in some skating circles.

Considering Penny boards cost upwards of $150, these are very cheap indeed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back to basics at Kmart

I love plain, block-colour cotton basic garments such as T-shirts and skirts. Of course I am troubled about the nightmarish exploitation of people and resources that enables the low, low prices at discount department stores. Don't treat them disposably; wear them often and in the long term, as the building blocks of your wardrobe.

Kmart's clothes are astoundingly cheap. Men's V-neck T-shirts are $4, "ultimate polo" shirts are $8 and "ultimate tee" shirts (round necked) are $5.50.

Meanwhile, women's tank top-style singlets are $4, with a high back and a scoop front. Women's V-neck T-shirts are also $4, while spaghetti-strap singlets with a shelf bra are $6. All these garments come in a great range of bright, summery plain colours, from the traditional white, red, black, navy and grey to interesting shades of blue, green, pink and purple.

Chicks: Kmart has stretch midi tube skirts (roughly knee-length, depending on your height) in plains and prints for $12 each, and mini tube skirts for $10. I own plain coloured skirts in both these lengths and get so much wear from them, except my mini skirts came from Cotton On and my knee skirts from Cocolatte.

If you have ambitions to look like a Robert Palmer video chick, Kmart also has what it calls "extreme mini skirts" in black for $5.

Dudes: want to go for a swim but forgot your bathers? At Kmart, $5 gets you a pair of plain board shorts in yellow, aqua, navy, emerald green or black, with contrasting-coloured drawstring waist. They have a roomy cut that sits just above the knee and they look much like regular shorts (unlike those ugly, juvenile 'surfwear' prints).

DVD bonanza

I have a policy never to spend more than $10 on a single DVD. I also only buy DVDs I'm happy to watch repeatedly. This means my DVD collection is surprisingly small for a professional film reviewer. Luckily for me and any other cheapskates, there are some good DVD bargains around until 16 January.

At Big W, TV shows on DVD are 2 for $50. These mainly include mainstream commercial procedural shows such as Rush, NCISSupernatural, Castle and The Mentalist, plus such guilty pleasures as Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Jersey Shore and the truly lamentable Geordie Shore. These same shows are either $29 or $35 at Kmart, so Big Dubs is your best bet if you're a fan.

However, the Big Dubs deal also includes some upscale costume dramas, such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey and Rome. Meanwhile at Kmart, such cult shows as Mad Men, Smash, The Walking Dead and Once Upon A Time are $35 for the most recent season.

Kmart's TV selection is depressingly Kardashian-heavy, but you can also pick up the original BBC Pride and Prejudice (essential comfort viewing; I start to relax even hearing the theme tune), the grim fourth season of Breaking Bad or season one or two of Community for $16.

For kids, and just fans of great animation, excellent films including the Toy Story cycle and Puss in Boots (which contained one of my favourite running gags of 2011) are just $16 at Kmart. It's also well worth forking out an extra $4 for Tangled at $20.

Kmart has relatively recent release movies for $16. These are mainly horrible crap such as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Cowboys & Aliens and The Five-Year Engagement, but I wouldn't mind getting The Grey (aka Liam Neeson Punches Wolves). Also at Kmart are movies, including multi-packs, for $13. There are quite a few stinkeroos, but my picks include The Hunger Games and Abduction (the most inadvertently hilarious film of 2011!).

If you want to get cheaper, Kmart has movies for $9, my favourites of which include 21 Jump Street, Burlesque, Point Break, Step Up 3 (not Step Up 3D, as it was marketed in cinemas) and Easy A.

Big Dubs also has some fairly decent movies at 2 for $15. The ones that caught my eye – that I totally recommend as 'classic' investments – include GoodFellas, Mean Girls, Pride and Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley – surprisingly great, even though I loathe Knightley as an actor), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, 10 Things I Hate About You and Black Hawk Down.

If even $7.50 sounds like too much to lash out, there are even more movies at Big Dubs for just $5. The ones I like include The Crow, Lawrence of Arabia, The Virgin Suicides, Being John Malkovich, Boyz N The Hood, Secretary and Sleepless in Seattle.

Mo' Moët, no mo' problems

As I've previously observed here, there are currently supermarket price wars on French champagne.

The Champas Wars continue at BWS/Woolworths Liquor, where you can currently get two bottles of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut NV champagne for $95 – a saving of $44.98 off the individual price.

At the risk of sounding like a dick, Moët is not my favourite French 'champas'. We had some at Christmas and I found it too acidic for my taste.

However, what I like about this bargain is that normally with wine bargains, you have to buy six or a dozen bottles before you see real savings, whereas two bottles is a more reasonable quantity to buy. You could split the cost with a 'champas'-loving friend.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fake meat, real cheap

We've mentioned Quorn fake meat products previously at JMB, but until Tuesday 15 January at Coles, they're just $4.

Meat Free Soy Free Mince is $4 for 300g (save $1.99).

Meat-Style Balls are $4 (save $1.99). Both the mince and the schmeatballs have Australian Heart Foundation ticks, I notice.

Not so for the Southern Style Burgers, which are intended to resemble chicken, and which are crumbed in a "crunchy pepper coating". They're – you guessed it – $4 (save a whopping $2.29).

Teatime specials

I am a big tea drinker, so I was hugely excited that Twinings 100 teabag varieties are currently $6 at Woolworths (save a whopping $4.09).

When I was in there last week, I snapped up some Good Earl, but all the English Breakfast had sold out already. A lady was searching for the EBT and as I watched her reach for it she gave a consterned sigh when she saw there was none there.

"You could try Irish Breakfast," I suggested brightly.
"I know what I wanted," she pouted.

Aww, too bad.

To go with your tea, Woolworths cinnamon donuts are currently half price – $1.94 for a dozen. They're freshly baked daily. Be the hero of your workplace and come back with donuts for everyone's morning tea!

Tim Tams, Royals, Mint Slice and other Arnott's chocolate biscuits are on special for $2 at Woolworths… but also at Foodworks!

Or you could try the intriguing Little Chef's frozen sweet pastizzi for $2.49 each (also half price). I am a massive fan of frozen pastizzi as they're a fancy catering option for parties and yet all you do is take 'em out of the freezer and bung 'em in the oven.

The flavour featured in the Woolies catalogue is Berry Bliss (strawberries and ricotta), but apparently there are also Grandma's Strudel (apple and ricotta) and Zesty Lemon (lemon and ricotta).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bargain price for Bonsoy

Soy aficionados regard it as the king of soy milks, but Bonsoy is also one of the most expensive items in the non-dairy milk aisle of the supermarket.

(It was also recalled in 2009 amid concerns about excessive iodine levels. There's a class action afoot for people who suffered thyroid problems as a result.)

But anyway, until Tuesday 15 January it's on special at Coles for $3.50 (save $1.29). Nice. Get on it.