• Online Shopping (NZ)

    Hereby, a list of the best shopping sites for NZ (according to me and what I buy!)

    The Deal
    Awesome, awesome site. Gets heaps of random last minute/ends of lines, that kind of thing. The Deal should be your first stop for random browsing! Clothes, shoes, beauty, makeup, homewares, basically everything. Of course the range varies widely so it pays to check back often. You can be really lucky and score stuff up to 90% off, and they sometimes do free shipping too.

    Dump It

    Cheap looking site, but has some gems from time to time. It’s a discount store where suppliers dump stock they can’t move. Categories are a bit limited.

    Strawberry net

    The place to get makeup and skincare online! Big brands, at lower prices. They don’t have absolutely everything by everyone but the selection is pretty good. There’s a huge range; I’ve honestly never heard of some of the brands.

    Less for Specs

    Site is not the flashest, but the service is unbeatable. It’s really personal; they go the extra mile to help you. And cheap! Not so much the frames maybe (at least in my case) but certainly the lenses. Online is where it’s at!

    Lenses Online

    There are a bunch of contact lens sites but I like this one. Prices are super competitive. That’s really my only criteria for lenses, as long as they’re in stock! I had issues processing my payment, so I rung up and we did it over the phone. Seriously, if you’re still buying your contacts in store, STOP. You’re being ripped off.

    Price Spy

    Really hard to read and navigate, but it’s amazing how much is on here. Basically this is the place to compare prices and check out if something is a good deal or not.

    If you’re interested in starting your own ecom site, I highly recommend using Shopify as ecom platform. Its highly customizable, easy to learn and great to work with. You can sign up for shopify 60 and 90 day free trial as well.

  • I haven’t been very impressed with the sales assistants I’ve come across this week. We tripped it over to the Warehouse and picked up two shirts and two singlets for the boy (30%, came to just under $5 each!) Got to the car, realised we’d been charged for five things instead of four, and had to get in line at the infamous customer service desk queues. They refunded the money to my credit card – something which I think is really cool but am always a bit wary about – how can you REALLY know they returned the money, until you can go away and check your statement? Even more so with a credit card, as transactions don’t show up for a few days.

    Yesterday we spent about two painful, arduous hours at Dick Smith. We unfortunately had the pushiest, most annoying sales lady. A super fob Asian type, whose favourite phrase seemed to be “Yes, this is the same, but different” when asked about various computer models. Even when one was far superior, with double the RAM, hard drive and a way better intel chip. Pissed me off no end. That, and the fact she asked “So which one do you want?” about five times. Lady, I get that we were the hardest sale you ever made. You were annoyed. You wanted us the hell out of there but wanted your commission. You were trying to close the deal. IT DID NOT WORK. WE WEREN’T READY. And phrasing it that bluntly did not endear us anymore towards you!

    DSE needs to train their staff up a bit more. For example: one of the laptops clearly stated: 2 year warranty. One of the salesmen who nudged in was insistent it only had a one year warranty, despite the contrary evidence. He also refused to believe that the Toshiba came with a $1 camera, phone or tech pack deal, despite it very clearly being advertised in their current mailer (but for some reason not on the stand).

    Same with the fobby woman. I went to ask her what was included in the camera pack, to which she responded “that deal is finished – no more!” That’s when I nearly lost it, after her constant nagging “which computer do you want?” I pointed out the mailer was current until 16/2, there was no “limited time only” or “until stocks last” disclaimer. Lady had to go consult her manager, for christ’s sake. I always thought that advertised specials should be honoured in store, no dramas – clearly an outdated concept.

    So to summarise – I did, in the end, get me a Toshiba – and a camera with SC card, batteries, cable and bag for 849. Well, half of that, courtesy of my dear mother. It’s great to rejoin the online world! it’s a bit of a step down – the specs on my stolen Compaq were approximately double everything on this. although, I do prefer the keyboard on this one. As long as it lasts the rest of the year, I’m happy.

    I was keen on an Acer with dual core processor and 2g with two year warranty, however my mum preferred a similar Compaq with a one year warranty. BF couldn’t stomach the thought of getting the Compaq as the Acer had far superior graphics for the same price… but as I was only paying half, I didn’t really feel I could push the issue. And I went with what I’d planned to get all along, this Toshiba with the Olympus Fe-20 camera. Beggars, choosy, etc. However, I’m not keen to repeat that two hour ordeal – as much as I appreciate my mum’s contribution, I think next time I’ll suck it up and pay for it all – and choose a better computer, with longer warranty, and be out in half an hour, tops.

  • I used to enjoy reading other people’s money diaries, but now I find myself actively shunning them. I just can’t relate! Nor do I like reading PF bloggers break down their expenditures and budgets anymore. For me, most of the week is a no spend day (that would never be a challenge for me). Maybe once a week I’ll buy lunch, but apart from that spending is generally reserved for weekends – we get paid at the end of the week, everything is bought over Saturday and Sunday and everything is pretty much spent (with a little bit banked) by Monday. Boring. But necessary.

    I guess if you tracked our weekend spending it might be quite shocking – we spend a bit on eating out (we might spend on four or even five separate occasions on a bad weekend) and occassionally have cause to buy the odd toiletry or piece of clothing. But otherwise everything is allocated to essential things and there isn’t much discretionary. So when I read about people’s coffee and alcohol binges, or shoe purchases, or gym memberships, I’m just like, whatever – that’s such a different way than the way I’m accustomed to.

    It’s been hard for me to resist spending recently, though. I usually go through phases – I’ll have a total drought, then need to stock up on clothes, shoes, underwear etc (some are worn to be almost see through, but I love them and refuse to give them up). And right now there’s so many things in stores that I want, RIGHT NOW, so I’m avoiding the shops altogether.

    For a tightwad my inner shopper is surprisingly stubborn.

    As much as I think, I work hard, for once I’m making decent money, and BF is working, and I deserve something nice…I can’t justify it right now. Not when we don’t know how stable his employment is, when I’m back at uni in a month, and have fees to pay, insurance to buy and a laptop to replace, and we are looking at getting away for Valentines weekend…..if we DID have anything spare I’d try to find cheap tickets to Eric Clapton of Kings of Leon or stock up BF’s wardrobe – he desperately needs it although he may not agree with me. But seriously, he has two pairs of shoes, three of jeans (none of which are very nice now) three pairs of boardies (ditto, as they’re all worn to work), several work shirts, two semi decent shirts and no nice bottoms at all. It’s not often he has occasion to dress up, but when he does (as he did recently) he shouldn’t have to BORROW pants and shoes!

  • Shopping spree

    Last weekend I ventured down to Savemart in New Lynn. I like that place! It’s good for super ultra basics. Not so much for work basics with a twist. There are lots of too-worn singlets, tanks and camisoles. Formal dresses and ugly boardshorts. But there are invariably gems, if you go at the right time and are lucky enough. You’ve really got to devote the time to combing the racks carefully.

    I was looking for some tailored black shorts/three quarter pants, a short cardi and a nice top in a particular colour (kinda pink/maroony/fuschia – it’s a very specific shade I have in mind and can’t find the right piece. On cardis it looks too nanna-ish. So I’m looking for something in a more luxe material, maybe a silky satiny number.) And possibly some sort of skirt for work/play.

    What I ended up getting: a pink Cotton On cropped jacket (pretty much the same hue as my pink Cotton On cardi, which I love so, for $6; a black and pink spotted skirt with zigzag hem for $7 and black long Ricochet shorts for $15.

    I wasn’t looking for a cropped blazer, and agonised over getting it. I figured, though, I’d need some more professional wear for doing interviews and working on stories this year (especially when we trip out to the regions for a week). I also think I need to get rid of my pastel pink cord blazer which I never wear and replace it with a more neutral, practical colour!

    The skirt was just so darn cute. It’s actually from Urban Angel but fits me nicely! I thought it was maybe a bit fussy, but I figured it would be okay for work, and definitely if I end up doing work experience at somewhere like nzgirl (somewhere a little more quirky/funky than a straight up new organisation). See, I was really thinking ahead that day!

    And the pants. I had given up on finding anything suitable to try on. Then I wandered down one “Designer” aisle with hardly anything on the racks. Lo and behold, I stumbled upon a hanger bearing one pair of long black shorts. Even before I clocked it, I knew it was a size 8 I had to try it.

    It slipped beautifully on and sat just right on my hips. It was fitted, not clingy, not loose, and you could tell it was made to last. They fell JUST below my knees – the perfect length! So when I sit down they don’t ride up too high.

    After $6 and $7, I wasn’t sure about paying $15. And I wasn’t sure I needed long shorts anymore. But they were so well made and so well fitted, and where can you get designer pants for $15? I snapped them up and wore them on Monday! That’s an investment; I imagine I’ll wear them for years and they’ll last forever. Unless I gain weight…

    It’s made me really realise why it is that people buy designer clothing – and pay designer prices. Sure there’s the whole high fashion aesthetic, but another reason designer stuff costs more is the materials and the manufacturing. They USUALLY use better quality fabric and have better tailoring. Which, for a person like me, is a godsend.

    Size 6-8 tops are not hard to find. You can come by them in basically any shop. Not so much pants. And when you do, they rarely fit in any way. Butt. Waist. Width. Cut. Length. That’s a lot of variables, and when they’re all fighting, well, you never ever get them all to line up in cosmic perfection.

    So I’m really glad that I came across that one pair of pants hanging lonely on the rack. Someone had obviously tried it on and discarded it. It didn’t fit them, but they fit me perfectly – they could have been MADE for me.

    Thank you Ricochet! You know it. And you understand a petite person’s body.

  • Post Christmas wind down

    I’m pretty stoked!

    Boxing Day was a success.

    My lovely mum gave me $100 for a DVD player (in an envelope on which she taped numerous ads for DVD players), so we went forth and conquered. I’ve always been taught that Sony is the shiz for electronics and we got a shiny new black Sony player from Hill and Stewart (oh it’s beautiful, sleek and streamlined and sexy). It was one of those deals – sign said $84 but please negotiate at counter. The boy said $70. They said $78. Okay, whatever. Still almost 20% off the original price (97).

    We bought the boy some fishing hooks for his trip today, and two beach towels for $8 at Bed Bath and Beyond. I didn’t make it to the Warehouse until today. So I didn’t get the bras I wanted (no special today) or pillows. But I did head over to Valleygirl where I got two pairs of dress pants (black and grey) for 10 and 15 each. And I spoke up! One of them was coming through at $20 but I said it had come from the $15 rack, and I got it for $15. Big, big milestone for me. I’m a chicken. I wouldn’t have negotiated the DVD player price.

    Pants never fit me perfectly, and neither do these. They look great around the butt. They’re a bit too straight (not even sure if they are straight or bootcut? I wanted slight flare) but look good otherwise and are almost the right length. A bit too low rise and am not far off the dreaded camel toe, but they’re comfy, feel nice and will do for the price. In fact they are the closest I’ve gotten even compared to pricier pants.

    I did however get three bras from Real Me (random I know) for $10…they’re cute and comfy and will tide me over till I find the perfect bra! Now I just need new knickers..desperately. And a plain dress. and a long line cardi…

    And I’m loving my bronze jandals! I’m living in them, in fact. Yay shopping!

  • Christmas

    I have been saying I don’t want anything for Christmas, in the spirit of frugality. However, after a little thought, I came up with a few things I’d like – little luxuries I wouldn’t buy for myself, and I wouldn’t mind getting. Hereby:

    New pillows

    MP3 player (with decent capacity, say 5-10G)

    Makeup bag (something sturdy with a few different compartments)


  • Disappointment and frustration

    The hunt for glasses has become rather depressing.

    Mainstream chain places – zilch.

    Ugly, half-rimmed glasses – all the rage.
    There’s not much choice between the trendy chunky frames (too thick and overpowering for my face) and the nanna wire-frame type ones.

    And I’m really not liking the new plastic craze – I like the lightweightness but I want something sturdy to last a few years, and HATE that the new plastic ones don’t have actual nosepieces. How can you adjust them to fit your face properly? They only have small plastic ridges, which might work fine if you are almost any ethnicity but Chinese. I HAVE NO NOSE. I have nothing to perch these plastic frames on; pushed up my nose, they sit millimetres away from my eyeballs. I look like a goldfish. Each time I blink my eyelashes touch the lens. It’s very, very uncool.

    However, I  succeeded in finding a pair at Beale and Beale in town, and plan to buy them online from lessforspecs. The frames are something like $60-70 less and lenses up to $200 less. Hurray!

    I also had a rather unpleasant experience at Auckland Uni’s Grafton optometry clinic. First I signed in at reception and asked if they had a range of frames I could look through. She said I’d need a student to help me out (WTF? Since when does trying on frames mean you need supervision?) and asked when I last had my eyes checked. She then disappeared into the back for ages and came out saying she couldn’t find my file anywhere. At this point I patiently explained I had not had my eyes tested there.


    What the hell. They were all happy as Larry, until it turned out I hadn’t had my eye test there? I told a friend had recommended the clinic for eye tests and frames to which she told me that they must have it all wrong.

    I asked her, “So where did they (my friend) get their frames from then?”

    Her response: “Oh, they must have gone to their own optometrist.”

    Huh. And yet she had been willing to oblige right up till then, when I explained I hadn’t had my eye test there.

    So my friends are stupid, and liars, and so is their own website?

    I walked out puzzled and frustrated that I’d wasted all that time and energy walking to Grafton over the bridge and then missioning it all around that particular building trying to find the bloody place. Worst waste of time ever.

    I was going to email in and complain, and suggest to them to remove the following: “Spectacle Dispensing – a selection of quality frames available” from their webpage, but can’t find an email address on their site.

  • I’ve decided to use some of my poster money to buy a new foundation. I’ve been using the old one forever (way, way, way past its shelf life, which can’t be good for my skin). Specifically, a mineral foundation.

    I was looking at the body shop’s version today. Normally you flip the product over and the label unfolds like an accordion for you to read the ingredients. Not this time. I like to know what I’m putting on my face. But I get the feeling since Loreal bought them they’ve been doing shady things and don’t want us to know what actually goes into their products…

    When I asked the salesgirl what ingredient provided the SPF protection in the foundation, she looked at me as if I’d sprouted a third eye.

    Plus given the fact that the application brush cost more than the foundation itself, needless to say I decided not to purchase there.

  • I don’t think I’ve bought one single thing this year without going back, looking at it and trying it on at least twice this year.

    It’s not just I want to get the best deal, but I don’t want to make the wrong choice – I don’t trust my memory and I’m getting increasingly more indecisive. My coat, my boots, a couple of tops, bathrobe, my shoes… and most recently glasses. That was somewhat ridiculous, I must have made three trips back and forth between the same two shops. On different days, of course.

    So my indecision’s increased along with my fear of making the right choice… But on the bright side, I haven’t regretted a single purchase. Which is proof my way is working, right?