“Simon Says” – Refund Desk Anyone?

I will be the first to admit this…starting a budget for me was it a bit painful at first.  It was a massive change to my old ways and I found it hard to stick to; very hard…  But nothing easy is worth doing and nothing worth doing is easy!  If we were all budgeting masters, everyone would be a millionaire!  From what I see out there in the world we are far from that reality.

Now that I have and follow a “budget,” I have found I look at things in a totally different light now.  I used to burn $1000 and think very little of it or convince myself “I really needed & deserved it.” Nowadays if I waste $10, I get annoyed at myself.  This has led to another new thing in my life, the refund desk at Bunnings.  I never knew it existed!  It was like unicorn poo… I have made it my best friend.  It’s a forgiving mistress… refunding my hard earned foolishly spent money on shit I don’t need.

This is one bonus to budgeting that is totally understated… refunds!  When you go to Bunnings with great ideas and life changing projects…. then a day later when you realise not only is it not in the budget… you simply don’t need it, then let your white light shine oh refund desk!  Light my path of foolishness and overspending, guide me back to the soothing sounds of money going back into my account, forgive me of my trespasses against the budget.  I have found the refund desk to be a truly spiritual experience to say the least!  Really if you look at it, a refund… or better still a “no questions asked” refund is a get out of jail free card in regards to the household budget.  You can mess right up when caught up in the moment… realise the error of your ways… regain some self-control, self-discipline and composure… then trot on back down to the refund desk… and be forgiven. Undo all the wrong doing you have transgressed against your budget… then move on with your life not hating yourself for blowing the budget yet again.  Budget balanced… simple as that!

If only it was… so simple that is.  Bunnings is one thing… retailers in general often give no questions asked refunds… some of the biggest retailers over the end of year holiday period have a no questions asked refund for Christmas presents… a truly helpful thing for unhappy kids and parents alike.  But what if you buy something that you can’t take back?  Ever tried to take a new car back after a week, with the excuse… I changed my mind or… I really can’t afford it?  Or one of my all-time favourites… “it doesn’t fit…” (Bunning’s love that one).  See how you go!  Now I’m sure there are dealerships out there that just might accommodate your request, but I think for the most part, you will end up driving away disappointed in your brand new no longer affordable or wanted car.  Selling cars is their business, not taking them back.  People do this with many and varied high price items even; and especially houses!

Back when the banks were throwing money out to anyone who would take it people put themselves in positions that they simply could not afford.  Now I’m not going to get dragged into this predatory lending thing… the recent royal commission is all over that…releasing their findings to the government in the past weeks.  Those that care enough to look into it can only hope the government make changes to legislation to really keep the banks in check.  One thing I will say is let us learn from the mistakes the USA made…an example you ask?  NINJA home loans… here is the “Investopedia” description:

 What is a NINJA Loan?

“A NINJA loan is a slang term for a loan extended to a borrower, with little or no attempt by the lender to verify the applicant’s ability to repay. It stands for “no income, no job and no assets.” Whereas most lenders require loan applicants to provide evidence of a stable stream of income or sufficient collateral, a NINJA loan ignores that verification process.”

What the?  Are you serious???  No Income, no job or assets, and you qualify for a home loan?  If this does not have you reeling in your seat… then maybe this is for you… I wish you the best of luck with it.  Just a quiet word of warning… look how that kind of predatory lending worked out for the USA and the rest of the world… GFC anyone?

Want a strategy that works better than the refund desk?  I have one, it serves me well even though I have been only using it in regards to my finances for a short time.  I come from a “mining” background, been working FIFO for many years; more than I care to remember!  Now in the mining game, safety is of the utmost importance… (I can hear all you fellow miners mumble “b@llshit”)

One of the tools we use to identify hazards is the step back system.  There are many different ways of doing it, naming it and all companies have their own step back system.  One common thread is to stop, step back from the job at hand, take time to think about potential hazards and identify ways of removing the hazards or doing the job in a way that is not hazardous.  I “try” to do a similar thing

BEFORE I buy something… anything really.

  • STOP – don’t spend a dollar!
  • STEP BACK – from the counter or the item sitting on the shelf.
  • TAKE TIME –  to think about the purchase.

Do you really NEED it?  Think about your “Needs and Wants.”  Can you get it cheaper anywhere else?  Have you even looked?  Can you afford it?  Does the budget accommodate it?  What are you going to have to sacrifice to make this purchase?  Whoops!  I said the “S” word… sacrifice!  Just stop; think about the purchase you want to or are about to make.  I “try” to do this before I am even in the shop!  So far, I am finding it pretty effective at curbing my unnecessary spending, which for me is a positive change!

Got to go… leave for work in a few days and the kids are playing rock and roll wrestling… the little one is winning so far, should be a good match!

Later all

Simple Simon.

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“An effective budget is knowing which numbers belong where; and what the values of these numbers are to make the magic in your life happen…”


“Simon Says” is a real client of Adelaide Budgeting who chooses to remain anonymous to protect their families privacy.  Simon may not even be called Simon, but something else instead…

From time to time Simon has emailed us with great content which is not only relevant to their own situation but to that of every single Australian when it comes to budgeting, cashflow, spending & over-spending.  Simon is passionate about the awareness around Afterpay and the power it has over consumers who sign up to “debt” and purchase things without the use of cash that can result in consumers over-spending, spending money they don’t have, without the capacity to repay.

There is a Simon in all of us… we hope you have enjoyed the reading as much as we have enjoyed the feedback and encourage you all to share part of Simons epiphanies along the way.  Andrew & Alyssa Mates, Adelaide Budgeting.