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French toast, with scrambled eggs and a can of John West tuna with beans from Nuffnang, garnished with shallots. Delicious.


In a competition run by Nuffnangmy blog post was judged the most frugal way to spend $10 at Coles! Many kudos to Ru Jih for shopping, eating and spending a great night with me!

07 Sep 2009 | 5 comments

Update: this post won the most frugal award in the competition!

Nuffnang, a blog advertising community of which I am a member, ran an interesting contest: given a $10 Coles Group/Myer gift card a) spend it most creatively, or b) spend it most frugally. I got my $10 in the welcome pack recently.

Actually, the second challenge — the frugal one — states, “How far can you stretch $10 and what can you make it do?” (emphasis mine). Being the literalist that I can be at times, I was considering buying paperclips and stringing them together. This bears some thought: a packet of 100 paperclips, at Coles World Square, costs $0.64 — so with $10, I’ll be able to walk away with 1500 paperclips. With each paperclip spanning 2.8 cm, a little bit of arithmetic tells me that I should be able to string together something over 40 m long — beat that! But a little bit of arithmetic also tells me that I’d be stringing together paperclips for way too many hours, so we moved on from that idea pretty quickly.

I suppose, in this world of heightened awareness of financial prudence, it would be rather passé to exhibit any form of conspicuous consumption: out with the caviar, in with the roe. With that in mind, and Curtis Stone‘s omnipresent smile at Coles, we designed the perfect night out: a three-course meal, for two, for ten dollars, no cooking required. And where else would you eat such a frugal meal, apart from on a picnic rug in Hyde Park, right in the middle of Sydney?

(Note: apart from the following photos, I had photos of us shopping, but… shit happens. I took them on my camera phone. I lost said phone on the way home, on the train. Sigh.)

First course: Fresh mandarins in natural peel. Perfect for cleansing the palate, these mandarins, once peeled, transformed into succulent wedges of juicy fruitiness.


Two for only $0.54! (excluding laptop, and laptop bag)



Second course: Crusted bread, with roast chicken, gourmet lettuce and avocado dip. Simple, understated, irresistible. I suppose the name of this delicacy speaks for itself.


It’s an easy dish to prepare — here’s an easy-to-follow visual guide as to the assembly of this dish in case you think this is all way too complicated:

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The dip made all the difference I think, adding contrasting textures and flavours (a hint of onion — oh my!) to the crusty bread.

Third course: Cinnamon doughnuts. If there was a 1 in front of the doughnuts, that would accurately describe our three-course meal: 100… percent!


So, we managed to fit in all the main food groups, I think — all for $10. Eat like a king, without the price tag. Just look at our beaming smiles!

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The food: $10. The experience:


And here’s the receipt, to show that everything is above board. (Auditing is fun, I’m told.)


21 cents spare.

(more photos)


Update: It turned out to be a problem with the Lightbox plugin I was using. I’ve replaced it with another plugin that provides similar functionality, and the error has now gone away. Lesson learnt: having many scripts on the same page can be a recipe for disaster. Thanks Nuffnang for helping me work through this issue.

I recently added a Nuffnang ad to the sidebar — I hope none of you mind too much!

Anyway, all was going well until Internet Explorer threw a spanner into the works (well, well, which browser always throws a spanner into the works?).

It appears that on Internet Explorer 7 and earlier (using my particular WordPress template at least), the addition of the Nuffnang ad code can cause the page to fail to load with an Operation aborted error:


This error is particularly troublesome: after the hopelessly uninformative dialog box is dismissed, the page disappears and gets replaced by a navigation error page. (Thankfully, this hideous behaviour was changed in IE8, which might explain why I didn’t pick it up earlier as that is my installed version. But it still begs the question, why do people insist on using Internet Explorer?)

I’ve let Nuffnang know about the potential problem, and with any luck, it will be resolved soon.

In the meantime, I’ve made some changes to the ad code:

What this does is that it first checks whether the browser is Internet Explorer. If it is not, the Nuffnang script can be called upon directly. If it is Internet Explorer, an iframe displaying /nuffnang.html is added to the document. /nuffnang.html just contains a copy of the ad code as provided by Nuffnang placed into an otherwise blank HTML page.

Why? Isolating the Nuffnang ad code in a blank page by itself seems to avoid the error conditions as described by KB927917. But even if an error were to develop, the error would be confined to the iframe and the rest of the page can still be displayed.

If you’re having similar difficulties, give the above a go and see whether it works for you.

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