Dollar Diet: The cost of keeping feet shod

This week bought its usual share of expenses, most of which were not a surprise.  I went to the dentist for an initial check-up and will have some work done in a few weeks time.  Our dentist is very reasonably priced so it’s not going to blow up our bank account.

I bought some seedlings for the first time in ages because I just hadn’t gotten around to planting seeds over the holidays.  The weather has been so terrible that pretty much every good-weather day was spent out and about making up for the bad days.

I went to a cafe as a treat, and I must admit I find this a hard habit to break at times.  It’s really interesting though, because it highlights my ‘need’ to have a treat.  I’m working on where this may have come from, because it is a strong impulse.

I went with friends to the lovely Ashley Park (petting zoo, picnic area) , and had a great time feeding the animals and watching the children enjoy themselves.  I think Ashley Park is really cheap compared to similar places, and I thoroughly recommend it.

I bought Sausage a bookcase for her room, as she has more space now Chip has vacated his cot for his big boy bed.  Sausage, like all children, has various trinkets and treasures that seem to multiply overnight.  Due to lack of space they would invariably end up on her dressing table or the floor, but now they are nicely corralled into the bookcase.  I found a small, low bookcase which I think is made of rimu at a second-hand store for $45.  This is a bit pricey for the size of the bookcase, but I’d rather have that than the MDF options that were available.  It has the bonus of being low enough to fit under most windows, so it may come in handy if we ever move house.  Which looks likely in a  year or three.

Our biggest expense was shoes for the children.  They both outgrew their shoes at the same time, so inconsiderate of them.  Finding decent shoes in New Zealand is a problem.  I often have to source mine online, which I don’t like as I do prefer to shop locally when possible.  Most department stores here get cheap shoes from Asia which a) don’t fit properly and b) fall apart if you so much as sneeze in their direction.

Fortunately we can find good shoes here in Whanganui for children, although they are two or sometimes three times the price of the cheap shoes.  My tots trash their cheap shoes really quickly, so it is a false economy to buy them.  Buying the more expensive shoes saves us money in the long run as they withstand all that play quite well.

With Sausage, we’ve often needed to buy two different-sized pairs of shoes because she has a club foot.  Even though her foot has been treated successfully, it will always be smaller than her other foot.  In her case her foot is one size smaller than the other, and in some people it can be up to three sizes smaller.  As you can imagine, buying two pairs of $80 shoes that she’ll grow out of in a few months gets me right in the wallet.  Not to mention have to chuck out the two shoes that are perfectly fine!

Fortunately one of our local stores has a great range of Bobux shoes.  They are quality, NZ made shoes that are recommended by podiatrists.  At the visit this week, I discovered that they hold Sausage’s feet so well, I didn’t need to buy two sizes.  Her smaller foot is totally fine in a slightly bigger size.  Phew.  Oh, did I mention the shoes were on sale?

I got Sausage a pair of Mary Janes and a pair of sneakers, and Chip got a pair of boots.  He is almost out of his sneakers, so I’ll be back for more soon.  I reckon tots only need three pairs of shoes: a good, serviceable pair that they can play in and that might do for a special occasion, a pair of sneakers, and gumboots in winter/sandals in summer.  And that’s extravagant in many countries.

So yeah, buy quality.  You know this.  A good pair of shoes will outlast several cheap and nasty pairs.  I think it’s getting harder and harder to find goods that quality these days as brand names are no longer an indication of something well made, but that’s a rant for another time!

This week I saved money by:

  • Staying home a lot.  I pottered around the house and garden with Chip.  He spent an hour and a half playing in his sandpit or watering the plants the other day!  Which is 2.7 years in toddler time.
  • Packing lunch and snacks when out/at work
  • Having an at-home date night
  • Baking (I made a THM cheesecake, which was terrific, hooray!)
  • Meal planning
  • Inventing whanau night.  Our friends hosted this week’s dinner, and we bought a side and dessert.  It’s a fun and simple way to catch up on a weekly basis.

Next week will involve lots of jam and chutney.  I have a surfeit of plums and grapefruit.  Yeehah!



I am not affiliated with Ashley Park or Bobux shoes in any way.  All opinions are my own.  They both rock.


Dollar Diet: Week 22 – aberrations

Tots in Tawhero

Okay, so this week was not the best in terms of expenditure and frugal living.  We were very spendy over the long weekend, as that extra day off gave us more opportunity to get into the garden.

D tried to borrow a chainsaw to do maintenance around our property for about a year, but chainsaws are the sort of equipment that people aren’t keen to lend out.  Everyone with a chainsaw attests to the temperamental nature of their own machine.  A builder friend of ours offered to come over and do some chainsawing for us, but as he is a busy guy with a family it just didn’t happen.

We have several large trees that are in serious need of trimming, and some trees that need to be removed because they are too close to power lines or they were planted in rather odd locations.   Along with a slightly derelict chicken coop, we also inherited a shed full of wood – which is brilliant as we have a wood-burner, but the pieces of wood were too large to fit into said wood-burner!

Normally I recommend trying to borrow items like these, but we caved in and bought a chainsaw after seeing one for an excellent price at one of our local hardware stores (D had trouble assembling it and took it back to the store where it was discovered the chainsaw was defective, so D got the next, more expensive model up for the same price as the original.  Score).  The chainsaw has almost paid for itself in terms of firewood that we don’t have to buy this winter, now that we can chop up the wood in our shed into useable pieces.

D also bought a water blaster as it was half price, but I am not so sold on the ‘need’ for it.  Oh well, we will at least be able to lend it to our neighbours.

I spent about $40 at one of our local garden centres buying plants for a part of our garden that has been a nightmare to maintain.  I still cringe when I see this strip of garden that runs up the side of our house (which we almost never use) as much of it is still in dire need of weeding.  Again, this garden was um, strangely planted, with almost no covering plants so there is considerable room for weeds to grow quite comfortably.  There are several lovely rose bushes up against a fence, but it is almost impossible to weed by them due to a reasonably high box hedge planted right in front.

A strip of bricks was also put down between the fence and the path, and was also a weed-friendly zone.  While I love, love, love bricks in the garden, these beauties served absolutely no purpose (it wasn’t a wide enough strip of bricks to walk or sit on) so D and I took them out.  I replaced them with several groundcovering plants, so at least this section of garden will be easier to maintain.

Deciding where to put my plants

Deciding where to put my plants

It is very tricky to garden with my 10 month old in tow as he tries to eat everything in sight, but when I get a chance, I will be looking to give the rest of this side garden a similar treatment.  Even though I balked at spending that much money for such a small strip of garden, I truly believe the new plants are a good investment as I won’t have to spend hours and hours weeding that area any more.

I have plans to recycle our lovely red clay bricks, which are a slice of Whanganui history as they are quite old and possibly put in the garden several owners ago.  I haven’t quite decided on what I will do with them, but I like this idea, or this fun idea, and this one too.  I have plenty of bricks to do all of them when time permits.Another thing we did was not meal plan before we went shopping, something we’ve not done in years.  We managed to come in under budget, but several things were forgotten and neccesitated further shopping trips.  Admittedly our first non-meal plan trip happened accidentally.  As it was a long weekend we popped in to grab a few things the day before I’d normally shop and ended up just going ‘what the heck, let’s just do a big shop now’.  I can’t even remember shopping this way in the past, without a meal plan in mind, but I did prior to getting married.   I certainly won’t be doing that again!