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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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