Queens on a budget

Kate Giles
My friend Gerda and I love going out. But we do not spend a lot of money. We have found ways of having fun at cheap prices. Free public transport helps. We also use discount vouchers. We recently went to Warrnambool on the train. We had a half price lunch using a shopping docket discount coupon. We had a great day. There are many different ways of getting discount coupons. They can help people save a lot of money. Using vouchers enables us to enjoy things that would otherwise be out of reach.
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Kate Giles on 21/09/2011
A drawing of a pink piggybank with a one dollar coin above its money slot.

We don't like to spend a lot of money.

My friend Gerda and I love getting out and about. But we don't like to spend a lot of money. We have found unique ways of doing things at bargain prices. We call ourselves "queens of the cheapskates". If there's a bargain to be had, we will track it down. We usually manage to have a wonderful time for just $20 each.

Our respective disabilities certainly don't stop us. Where my friend needs help, I assist her. And where I need help, my friend assists me. Our disabilities are very well-suited. Together we are quite enabled.

Ours to explore

Free travel on public transport certainly helps us get around. Add a selection of discount vouchers and the lovely state of Victoria is ours to explore.

"Where are we off to next?" says Gerda. "You know, I'd really love a trip to Warrnambool one day."

"Then Warrnambool it is," I reply. We organise the free transport and a shopping docket offering half price meals. We are on our way to another adventure.

Wonderful trip

It's a wonderful trip to the coast. The train meanders through forests and farms. With some frost on the ground, the animals look a bit cold. But we are warm and snug inside the train sipping on a cup of hot chocolate.

We reach our destination with the sun shining and a beautiful day before us. We leisurely wander around the city centre. Eventually we find the hotel offering discounted meals.

" Wow! Are we in luck today?" says Gerda. We make our way inside. "They have specials with two courses and a glass of wine for $15."

Our shopping docket is accepted. For just $7.50 each, we wine and dine like queens. We then spend the afternoon hopping on and off local buses at various points of interest. We even manage a stroll along the beach. Then we have coffee and cake at a beachfront cafe.

Mighty pleased

"Another wonderful time we've had," says Gerda.

"Where to next?" we ask each other as we board the train home. We were well under our $20 budget and feeling mighty pleased with ourselves.

There are many different ways to obtain discount coupons. We have discovered many businesses are offer discounts to attract new customers. Some vouchers are given away free, others are sold online. Some are as low as 90 per cent off the original price. In some cases you have up to a year to use a voucher. You may also purchase extras as gifts. Many websites now send daily emails about hundreds of specials. With a little planning, you can save a lot of money. But you do need to be careful as Consumer Affairs Victoria says it has received an increasing number of inquiries and complaints about people purchasing vouchers that cannot be redeemed.

Coupon books

Coupon books can also help you save money. They include coupons for restaurants and cafés offering 25 per cent off the total bill or a two dishes for the price of one. Coupon books can also offer special deals for:

  • Accommodation
  • Movies
  • Concerts
  • Theme parks
  • Museums and other attractions.

Charities, schools and clubs often sell these books as part of their fundraising activities. They can make great gifts.

Shopping dockets

Gerda and I also always have a few shopping dockets handy. You can often find bargains on the back of your supermarket or department store receipts. Our indulgences on the cheap have included:

  • Gold Class movies in a reclining chair with snacks and a glass of red wine
  • A new hairstyle
  • Massage and facial (complete with a glass of champagne)
  • Canopies and cocktails in a city high rise bar
  • A seafood banquet
  • Deluxe accommodation, including dinner and breakfast
  • A six week body and soul course
  • A photographic sitting
  • Dancing lessons.

More fun

These "queens on a budget" will always stay on the lookout for bargains. The more we seek the more we find. And the more we find the more fun we have.

Some of our activities are a little more expensive and require saving. But without our vouchers and coupons, living it up as we do would definitely be out of reach.

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