Okay, so right off the bat I will say that this was not my best week of doing the Dollar Diet.
I spent more than I intended on transport and incidentals while I was in Adelaide.
Upon arrival I discovered that both ear pieces on my sunglasses had snapped off in my bag. I never leave home without my sunglasses (the sun in NZ is very harsh on eyes) so I had to buy a new pair. They cost about $25, but still, I was really irritated that my old pair got so damaged in my hand luggage. I had also planned to catch the bus to my hotel, but I was so knackered when I finally got to Adelaide (at 11:30pm NZ time, having left home at 10am) that I caught a taxi instead. Fortunately I knew that the airport is only 8km from the city centre so the ride only cost me $25. But by now, I have spent $50 more than I would have liked.
I had to go with the flow in terms of where we ate, but none of us have expensive tastes. I think the dearest meal I paid for cost $30 which included drinks. I bought small gifts for the babysitters who helped looked after my children while I was away, and very inexpensive gifts for D and the kids. I found it impossible not to do gifts. Gift-giving is an integral part of who I am, plus it feels like good manners to give a gift to someone who has done something nice for you (like babysitting or feeding your cat) while you swan off on holiday. Having a little something to give D and the kids just says ‘See? I thought of you while I was away’. I probably get this from my parents, who are wonderfully generous gift-givers, and I don’t know that I could ever bring myself to stop the practice. The most expensive gift I bought was a toy Kangaroo (complete with joey) for Sausage which cost $9.50, so I don’t think I did too badly.
And for myself: I bought two items that I have been looking for for a really, really long time. I got a pair of bike shorts for $6; and a salad spinner for $3.50 from IKEA. So I broke my no clothing rule for this year, but considering I have been trying to find a decent pair of bike shorts that don’t cost a packet in what feels like forever, I don’t care (because clothing manufacturers seem to think that plus size people don’t exercise…). Ditto for the salad spinner! I have been scouring secondhand stores for well over a year now, as I thought it was the kind of kitchen implement people buy and then never use – but I never found one. I have salad almost every day so I knew I would get good use out of one and had resigned myself to putting up with soggy lettuce (oh the trauma!), because I refuse to pay $20 for what is essentially a plastic bowl. (Seriously, that is how much they retail for here in New Zealand. Outrageous, right?) My glee at finding a cheap salad spinner at IKEA is still giving me a warm glow.
I haven’t worked out exactly how much I spent during my time in Adelaide, but I do know that I spent far, far less than I usually do on holidays.
I saved money by driving from Whanganui to Wellington (2 1/2 hours) rather than taking flights there and back. Driving meant I got home at 3am, but the money saved was worth a bit of lost sleep.
I caught the bus back to Adelaide airport instead of the taxi ($5.10) and we caught a bus out to the lovely village of Hahndorf ($13 return) – my friends and I are all seasoned travellers so catching buses in a strange place isn’t daunting to us at all. We went to the South Australia museum (free) and attended Adelaide’s Blinc Festival down on the waterfront (free). I normally hit the shops when I am overseas and it felt very strange not to do that. Part of me was quite put out by it! But I sat with my feeling of disappointment, and was helped along by the fact that shopping in Australia is nowhere near as exciting as it used to be, as we have many of the same shops here in NZ (don’t get me started about these big multinational chains!). Until now, I had no idea that shopping was so integral to my idea of having a good time while on holiday. Ridiculous really when you think about it.
I also often take in a show or play whenever I am in a large city, but the Blinc festival filled that gap nicely – and the time difference meant I was ready for bed early anyway.
On my last morning in Adelaide I’d planned to hit a museum or two but unfortunately they didn’t open until midday. My friend J and I then decided to visit IKEA which is just over the road from the airport instead. Totally random I know, but we don’t have IKEA in New Zealand so my friend and I had loads of fun reminiscing about all the times we’d walked out of IKEA in England with silly things we didn’t need, like star-shaped ice cube trays. You might think that going to IKEA was just asking for trouble, but we had a blast and I only walked out with one item that cost $3.50. We were unable to resist the lure of their famous meatballs, and even though it was totally un-Trim Healthy Mama, their $8.35 lunch kept me sated for the entirety of my long journey home.
So not my best Dollar Diet week, but definitely one of the cheapest holidays I have ever had.
In non-overseas trip news, D broke his debit card and had lost his EFTPOS card several weeks ago. When told a replacement card would cost $15, he remembered he had yet another debit card for a different account and got his accounts reassigned onto this one remaining card for free, rather than get a replacement. How very Dollar Diet.