Going Green, Second-hand Scavengers

I op[t to] shop

Opportunity shop n. Aust., NZ a shop run by a church, charity, etc., for the sale of second-hand goods, especially clothes. Also, op shop. (via Macquarie Concise Dictionary 4th Edition)

Once the territory of Centrelink/pension cardholders, op shops are now frequented by shoppers on all sorts of budgets. According to The Age, they’ve ‘defied the doom and gloom in the retail sector and experienced a surge in sale. The increase…has been spurred by two things – the mainstream adoption of op-shopping and a reduction in discretionary spending’.

With op-shopping on the rise, op-shop blogs and bloggers have started popping up online. I Op Therefore I Am is one such blog and acts as a communal trophy shelf for treasure-hunting locals. While posting up some finds on the site, I managed to convince bloggers I Love to Op Shop and Lisa@SimplyMe to talk about their love of the humble op shop. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***, Reviews

A frugal diet: Smart Food – 101 recipes that won’t break the budget

All the ingredients can be bought at the supermarket—nothing is exotic or expensive—and the dishes are delicious and simple to make. (blurb from Smart Food)

Using pantry staples such as carrots, canned tomatoes, and mince, the Australian Women’s Weekly’s Smart Food trots out predictable fare: soups, pastas, stews, pies, and the occasional curry or stir fry. A North African pork and cabbage rolls recipe is the only oasis in a culinary dessert, and even then it requires mince and canned tomatoes.

There’s logic behind the lack of imagination. By showing what can be done with a restrictive list of ingredients, Smart Food reduces waste in the kitchen, potentially saving households $1,036 each year*. Continue reading

Money Matters

Is haggling un-Australian?

Like many freshly-minted Australians, my parents’ friends, the Ducs, have a healthy respect for money. They’re not afraid to shop around. Their daughter and I used to be fairly close—we went to Vietnamese school together—so I got to tag along when her mum took her computer shopping.

We traipsed from Donvale to Springvale, from Harvey Norman to the corner tech shop. Her mum wasn’t content with comparing price stickers; she’d wring out profit margins from the sales assistants, before making a move on the manager. After the third or fourth store, my friend was begging her to stop. I wriggled in my seat, equally mortified. Haggling and bargain-hunting, I thought, was something our parents did. It was so very un-Australian. I’d rather eat stinky shrimp paste than make a beeline for the sales rack of any clothing store.

But how can something so universal be considered un-Australian? Continue reading