Who’s seen this? Agh, the irony. Just as I come out of my May spending freeze, Farmers gets fully into bed with MAC: Now you can buy their goodness online. And I find this out in the same week that Kmart go online. Goodness. What a week for retail in NZ. All we need now is Ikea and Aldi. Why go shopping in Melbourne for a weekend?

Anyhoo, if you missed the memo, last month we were SKINT as a result of a bunch of unexpected bills and me needing to take nearly two weeks off work in late April, unexpectedly. I’m self unemployed: No annual leave, sick or, in my case, bereavement leave for me. No pity party: Life happened. Rubbish happens.

In terms of financial survival, I decided we weren’t going to dip into our (relatively modest) savings to live in May: Nope, we were going to live on those Spar specials we got the other week, we only have a few pingers left. You know, like live with what we have got. Even though we all know that’s why God created credit cards.

For me: I gave myself a stiff talking to: No clothes; No beauty (my two biggest spends); No trips for hubby and I to Liquorland – a few bottles of craft beer here and there adds up, noting we are not messy, anymore. For the family: No takeaways, no coffees, no pub trips, no eating out. Thankfully, as it was hubby’s birthday last month, we’d booked and paid for a weekend away for just the two of us back in April and I had a small stash of cash for some meals out. We, cough, stayed in our motel room for the best part of 24 hours and had free entertainment, LOL. We had budgeted for dinner and breakfast out in Taupo. Dinner was awful (let’s not go there, I can’t even remember what it was called it was that bad) but breakfast was fantastic at the Paddle & Spoon.

Speaking of food, that brings me to groceries. In an attempt to live within our mediocre means, I decided we’d do #shopmypantry. I am a prolific supermarket shopper. I go weekly. I leave the supermarket and go to the butchers, Vetro, Bin Inn and the Asian Grocery. Oh, and the green grocer. So, there was quite a stash of ‘reserves’. By doing this we saved loads. Hundreds. We also cleared a whole heap of room in the pantry, which was overflowing. I am, technically, doing #shopmypantry again this week, as I last went to the supermarket two weeks ago on Saturday: We ordinarily shop weekly. Thanks to a freezer full of food, we’ve moved into #shopourfreezer mode currently and we still have quite a few meals up our sleeve. Our favourite meal in the last month was this chicken pie, a recipe inspired by a Destitute Gourmet recipe. Great news, I emailed DG and she’s given me permission to blog the recipe. Boom. Watch this space!

On the shopping front… I am pleased to report I purchased NO beauty items. Nada. Nothing. Not even an eyeliner, nor a single cleanser from the supermarket, because here’s the thing: I had 4 tubes of cleanser (now down to two!) and I own enough makeup to start my own online makeup store. Unsurprisingly I’ve rediscovered old favourites, figured out ‘how to wear’ eyeshadows that I bought that I thought looked ‘meh’ (like MAC Mulch eyeshadow, I’ve cracked it! It’s a stunner). I wouldn’t have sussed this out, or rediscovered old faves. Hurrah for #shopmybathroom and #shopmymakeupstash.

Which brings me to my wardrobe. No clothes shopping for a month. Hello #shopmywardrobe. Well, I had a tiny fail there, but I only bought three things (sigh). After weeks of comfort eating leading up to Dad dying (and the after comfort eating) I needed some work pants so I hooked myself up with some from Max (once I found some that fit).

They are awesome and I’m thrashing them. Note, I’m pleased to report they are now slightly loose as I’ve shifted the afore mentioned kilos by walking for free entertainment and not eating out/drinking (a great by-product of being on a tight budget). Oh, I also got some fleece lined tights: Which have been great as I’ve dug out a few skirts and wrap dresses that can lend themselves to winter attire, so long as my legs are snuggly. At $20 for the tights, I can tell you they were a cracking investment.

The third thing…? An impulse purchase: A warm wrap/jacket statement piece from Envy. $210 (I think). It’s gorgeous. However, I can’t actually wear it: Hubby will have my guts for garters given the song and dance I’ve made about Cutting Back. What can I say, I’m a rule breaker.

Still on the topic of clothes, my buddies and I got together in May and had another ‘Swaparama’ night. Essentially, we all had a clothes clear-out. We pooled all the clothes together and swapped up a storm. All unwanted clothes go to the Op Shop. I came home with a couple of scarves (yet to be worn… At this rate they’ll go to the next Swaparama!) and a top with a history. The history is: It was Portia’s. She gave it to me. I had it for a month, decided it wasn’t for me, so it went to December’s Swaparama. Philly had it, but decided she didn’t want it, so off it went to May’s Swaparama. I decided I still liked it, so it’s come home. I also got a size 12 funky jacket. I’m size 14. It’s an Aspirational Jacket.

On the entertainment side, I’ve been entertaining my buddies: They come to my house for makeovers. I do their makeup (which is my ultimate happy place). They leave feeling rather gorgeous. Check out Portia. When she got home her husband, not a man prone to compliments, pulled done out of the bag “Woah! You look pretty”.

Another source of fun was a get together with my usual neighbourhood posse to celebrate a mate getting a new job (career move, so proud). I know just how hard they have worked to finally get this job, and now that it’s finally happened, I couldn’t be any prouder. All the blood, sweat, and tears were definitely worth it. From enlisting the help of a professional resume writing company like Arc Resumes in Virginia (https://www.arcresumes.com/local/virginia/) to give her resume a bit of a boost, to attending all the job interviews, my mate really has worked hard to achieve this. Now, they can finally start the career of their dreams. So, there was only one thing for us to do.

“Let’s go out and celebrate” Alex said on our usual group Messenger chat. I whinged back “Pllleeease can we not go OUT because I’m on a budget and I can’t come, please can we go to someone’s house, it’ll be cheaper!” (yeah, I was that friend). I could hear the collective sighs go out across the posse, alas, they indulged me. “Where shall we go then?” was Alex’s short reply. Genius struck from me “Let’s go to Portia’s, she’ll be away! Let’s get REALLY dressed up!”

Lisa and I (my whacky idea) got glammed up alright: PJs and full evening makeup, complete with glittery eyelids. I even wore my ball earrings: Night out in my PJs, Rotorua styles. Alex thought we were bonkers when we arrived, but she saw the funny side (she was glammed up). Portia, bless her, gave us a key to our house, laid a fire all ready to go and left us out ingredients for mulled wine. Alex hit Vetro and whipped up a tasty antipasta platter. We lit the fire, got the wine cranking, and had Spotify blaring. Nek minnut it’s nearly midnight and we’ve had an amazing night that cost a fraction of hitting the pub.

Today, I did the maths. I sat down today, the first day of the month and looked at our bank statements and worked out the numbers. Long story short, if we’d had our typical income last month, we’d have saved HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of dollars. I know we didn’t have the money, but you get my logic, right? Hand on heart, it wasn’t that bad and I’m FIRED up to keep these purse strings held tight for another month*.

So, will Farmers and MAC be getting my pingers anytime soon? No… But it’s handy they are online! Anyway, I’ve discovered four lovely MAC lipsticks that I haven’t worn for ages, that are gorgeous and, best I use them before they expire. Starting tomorrow with MAC Rebel (I’ll see you in the morning with Friday Face).

*With the exception of buying some furniture for my home office: I’m moving into the spare room as I’ve become Snap The Angry Mother from trying to work in the corner of the dining room among the evening noise! “SHUUUTTT TF UP!” Why can’t my husband watch the TV at a reasonable noise level. #$%**@#. Anyway, speaking of furniture, naturally I’ll be buying all I need from Kmart, I’ve given myself a budget and I’m dead excited about this – should I do a before and after photo?. I’m combing Pinterest for buget inspo.

Free entertainment: Walking with my favourite kid.