Tag Archives: cheap

Shopping without many shops

I do prefer shopping online to shopping in Real Life for a number of reasons – not least of which the facts that it’s usually cheaper and is always a lot easier. But there are some things that tend to go wrong with it. Things I really could and should learn from.

This dawned on me when I just sat here and counted: I now own six pairs of prescription spectaculars, and I don’t think I actually like any of them. There’s old faithful, purchased alongside my now-residing-at-the-bottom-of-a-lake megapair back in 2007/8, then there’s the other five.

They were all bought from a couple of websites offering cheap specs. Now the problem isn’t that – the lenses work, they are as advertised etc de blah. The problem is I am an idiot who doesn’t think, or really look before buying.

What this means is a pair that make me look like (more of) a 1950s nerd, a pair that also do that as well as being a bit too wide, a pair that make me look like Dame fucking Edna, a pair that are so narrow they squeeze my head and give me pressure headaches and a pair of prescription shades that make me look like I belong in the 90s teen tech-romp Hackers.

I do not belong in the 90s teen tech-romp Hackers.

The same goes for shirts, jeans, shoes – loads of stuff I have bought online. I’ve had some successes, but there are so many pairs of shorts and jeans I’ve given away or binned as a result of picking them up without paying attention to the fact they were skinny fit, or a horrible colour, or didn’t go past the knee (SHORTS SHOULD ALWAYS GO PAST THE KNEE UNLESS THEY ARE FOR SPORTS).

I’d complain more, but the grand total of what all this shit has cost me is far less than what it would be were I to just buy one or two things in the flesh. Especially the glasses. We’re talking about £80 for five pairs – less than old faithful alone cost all those years ago.

I mean, none of them really suit, but so what? CHEAP.

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New PC time? YOU DECIDE

I am very tempted indeed right now. I have the chance to pick up a few rather awesome PC bits for a stupidly cheap price, which would put me right on the path to getting myself a new rig. The unused (by me) painting gear can get tae fuck if I get a new desktop PC in my room, as that badboy will needs its space so I can rock out with my… nerdlinger out.

One problem: when I say ‘stupidly cheap price’ I mean ‘for the bits on offer’. What this means, in plain English, is it’s still clocking in at around the £350 mark, and this isn’t even taking into account the other bits I’ll need to get to make a full PC. On one hand I would be insane to overlook this chance, as my laptop is clearly on a downward spiral (THE FUCKING ‘G’ KEY BARELY WORKS*) and I would be looking for a replacement of this kind of spec anyway and I’m never going to get it this cheap anywhere else.

On the other hand I find it hard to justify that kind of spend. I simply don’t have very much money, and while in theory I could spaff that much up the wall on these bits, in practice it would mean I wouldn’t be eating much for the rest of the month. Hmm.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to try and raise funds through Paypal again. You lot weren’t exactly receptive to that last time with your whining of ‘ohhh, the minimum donation is set to £1,000’. Well of course it was – how would I raise any real money otherwise with your pathetic four pence donations? Morons.

Theoretically the rig could pay for itself, as it would mean I’m able to review more, newer PC games. Hmm. This is basically an extended Twitter post/Facebook status, as you’ve all noticed by now. There’s little to laugh at here and much for many of you to not care about.

I’ll tally the votes: yay or nay. You don’t even have to really care about any of this and you can still CHANGE MY LIFE (or not).

*Among other, what most would consider more serious, issues.

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Sales: fun, and not difficult to understand. Unless you’re Impulse.

It is the time of year that has become quite exciting over the last few years. The chilly weather sets in, the long nights take over and the feeling just hits you. That’s right kids – it’s digital distribution outlet sales time!

I’ve found myself getting increasingly excited* about the approach of this time of year, as it’s when the big online outlets for video games start to slash their prices. Now, in real shops, for real things, this might mean 25% off here, a half price there. When it comes to invisible products, like video games you don’t physically get to own, the sales are a smidge better. Like regular 75% off better, or 80%, or 90% – that kind of thing. To the point  where it’s rude not to buy these things you don’t actually get to own and will probably never even download, never mind play.

Anyway, this leads onto the vague point I had. See, the sales are great – Steam has set the precedent and all others are trying to follow suit. What this means is a fuckload of cheapities. But there are some out there that just don’t get it. I’m not going to attack Games For Windows Live, as that’s like clubbing a seal cub with learning difficulties.

No, this revolves around my need to pick up a new copy of Galactic Civilizations 2**. Keeping an eye on Impulse – the digital distribution service run by the people who make the game – I was drawn today to their one-day sale which is of the game. “Great!” I think, “I can get it for a reasonable price and the money will go straight to the developer!”

Well that didn’t last long. Off I went to a more standard retailer, offering old-fashioned things you get sent through the post and can hold/throw/burn as you see fit.

Guess what I opted for. THINK ABOUT IT, PEOPLE SELLING GAMES.

*When I say “excited” I don’t mean bouncing-off-the-walls giddy, I just mean “looking forward to”. I may be a sad nerd weirdo, but I’m not that bad.

**STOP JUDGING ME.

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I do find strange things “thrilling”

Much as I whine about travelling on trains – no, don’t worry, I do, I’m not just exaggerating for hilarious effect – I do still find some elements of their involvement with my life quite nice. For every twat there is in a carriage, there’s… well, there’s another twat if we’re honest here. But then for every goit looking over your shoulder, there’s at least another goit looking over who appreciates what you’re watching (dude watching me watch Penn & Teller yesterday: well done for laughing at the sight gag).

For every massive delay, there’s a funny cow mooing at the train (okay, that only happened once). For every time you have to change somewhere like Rugby, there’s the chance to go for a refreshing station-poo. For every rail replacement bus there’s… the fact I don’t have cancer? That’s the best I can think of there.

But the best aspect of travelling by train a lot has to be the ticket hunting. If you’ve ever put some real effort into getting tickets as cheap as possible then you know what I’m on about, mainly because that’s exactly what I’m on about. There’s a real primal winning sensation when you manage to find a ticket – no matter how stupid a journey it is – for a low, low price.

They’re becoming all the more rare these days though, what with prices inflating massively because train people are greedy cunts, or something. But that just makes it all the better when I do find the ticket that’s actually Worth The Effort – changing at Rugby, for example. But I honestly doubt I’ll ever manage to find a Bournemouth to Manchester ticket for £12 ever again. That will be my crowning achievement – the one time the thrill of the hunt was on a par with the actual outcome.

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Everything’s Premier but the EVERYTHING. Especially the weddings.

I have no money. I complain about this a lot. I get things cheap a lot of the time, and I go out of my way to scam the cheapest deals I can for things. It’s perfectly natural, as well as a little bit exciting – the thrill of the hunt and all that. But there are some things where I see them, I see they’re a genuinely bargainous offer and I think “oh dear fucking god how or why would anyone in their right mind go for something as utterly awful as this?”

Premier Inn is offering a deal for couples to get married – a package deal involving clothing (and nightwear!), food, accommodation, food, drink and lots of other things. For £199. Wow, what a great deal, seeing as weddings normally cost thousands of pounds. But how much is self-respect?

I’m not saying you should go out of your way to pay as much money as you possibly can on what is essentially one big party where everyone tells the girl how great they are and the man just gets pissed and feels confused and overwhelmed for a day or two. What I am saying is that if you are willing to pay £199 on a package wedding deal where you are hosted at a Premier Inn in Barnsley, then you might want to re-think your priorities. It’s one thing having a shotgun wedding in Vegas or being as frugal as possible with arrangements. It’s an altogether different thing to opt for the cheapest and easiest way of doing things.

There are creative ways around cost, if that’s the real issue. Scale things back, host it at a friend or family’s house, do things on the cheap or cut them out altogether or whatever else. Surprisingly it should be a special day, whether you want it indoors, outdoors, religious, better (“non religious”), upside down, domestic, foreign or even if you bother having a ceremony at all. There are options, and the option you choose to get married should not be a fucking package deal from fucking Premier Inn.

Unless Lenny Henry conducts the service, of course.

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Classic smuggling action

Being poor – as in, not having any money – can be interesting at times. I mean, there’s a lot of complaining about not having money, realising you have about £3 to last you 30 days and generally complaining about people who do have money. It’s not jealousy. Honest. But every now and then some fun little elements pop up that those who actually have money won’t experience.

And I’m not talking about the dole.

I like booze, and was often tasked with getting cheap cigarettes. Neither of these things are what you would call ‘easily affordable’ when you have no money. So what was the creative solution? Why, to trawl the internet until you find the dodgiest site in the world to make your purchases from. We’re talking the kind of sites that say “if your order is lost in shipping or picked up by customs, we’re not doing anything about it”. I was probably funding terrorism or pirates or something, but hey – cheap booze.

My first order was from a company I forget the name of, and was for a couple of bottles of Zubrowka vodka, which – at the time – was hard to find in the UK and expensive when you could, averaging about £20 a bottle. But I would not be relegated to cheap, shitty vodka. No, I wanted the bison grass loveliness to go with my pressed apple juice. So I ordered some from a site that looked like it had been knocked up in about half an hour (advice: check their payment system. I checked theirs and it was actually legit, hence no fear of ID theft) for about £8 per bottle, delivered. It took about four weeks, but soon enough a couple of bottle-shaped packages arrived with no fanfare whatsoever. They were from Israel. This was weird.

Still – cheap booze.

The fags, though, were what reminded me of this post. See, there’s currently a nasty situation going down in Kyrgyzstan, with protestors being shot by government officials and confusion as to whether or not a government actually exists right now. The couple of times I bought cigs (for dirt cheap, natch), they arrived from Kyrgyzstan – the street address was something like 32,000 Something Street, which was always funny. It just reminded me and got me thinking: where the hell do I get cigarettes of questionable legality from now if I’m asked to?

Selfish gits.

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The most dangerous website in the world

There are many websites on the internet – I’ve counted at least 3,421 and I know friends have claimed there are at least five more that I haven’t been privy to. Some are good, like penisland.net or the comments section of the Daily Mail site; some are bad, like ilovechildporn.com or the comments section of the Daily Mail site. Some, though, are downright dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. The most dangerous, damaging and categorically brutal web portal in the world though? Hot UK Deals. I’m not even going to link to it, it’s that dangerous (though the clever ones of you out there will be able to figure out how to find it, I think).

Hot UK Deals is a site that covers deals in the United Kingdom which are ‘hot’ – ‘hot’ is a colloquialism meaning ‘well good, like’. What this means is it’s a website purely dedicated to outing the cheapest things in the country right now that you can buy from pretty much anywhere. And what this also means is that you will often see things on it that you want, for cheap or downright bloody good prices, meaning you will buy them. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t the bad point – I think getting things you need, even things you want, for cheap is a good thing. It helps save that awful money thing we are forced to use like a bunch of absolute, scavenging pricks. God I hate money.

Anyway.

The reason Hot UK Deals is dangerous is because it will – it will – make you buy things you don’t want. Not only things you don’t want, but things you don’t need. Things you wouldn’t have thought about buying were it not for the fact that they’re put on a website with a big number next to them telling you how ‘hot’ they are. “1,050 degrees?! I HAVE TO BUY THAT RETRACTABLE WINDSCREEN WIPER!

I still visit the site every day, but it’s taken me about half a decade to be able to control myself. Please, for the good of your soul (and bank account, natch): do not use Hot UK Deals. Unless you’re looking for a ‘hot’ deal in the UK, obviously.

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