Oily Rag: Ideas from our frugal friends

By Frank, Muriel Newman

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Look for cheap clothes at garage sales where people are leaving the country.
Look for cheap clothes at garage sales where people are leaving the country.

The Oily Rag mail bags are overflowing, so this week we take a dip and share some of the creative suggestions sent in by our frugal friends on how to live well for less.

Here's a tip for buying clothes at second-hand shops. "Always check the clothing labels to see how worn the garment is before purchasing. Also, we find clothes can be cheap at garage sales during the summer - and especially at sales where people are moving overseas." - E. Loo.

"Instead of throwing out the root end of the celery, place it in a jar of water. In no time, roots will develop and it can be planted in the garden for lots of free celery." -- Faye, Auckland.

"I only buy the cheapest flannelette sheets, and they can be prone to pilling/fluffing. I put them -- while still in their plastic wrappers -- into the freezer for at least 24 hours, then wash as usual. They wear evenly, with no pilling, and are lovely and warm. It works with kids' flannelette pyjamas too!" - Karen, Palmerston North

"When the price of milk escalated a few years ago I had two kids who all loved milk -- as a drink, in hot chocolates, in cereals and in baking. It was becoming very expensive to buy fresh milk at the rate we were consuming it. In my own childhood -- I grew up in Sydney and was the eighth child of an 11-child family -- we used mostly powdered milk. The fresh milk was delivered at night but by the morning it was normally all gone. My memories of powdered milk are quite bad, mostly due to lots of lumps, which made it most unpleasant to drink. So I decided I would try out powdered milk here in Auckland and see if it was something I could use to reduce our fresh milk costs. I was so surprised, as the powder seemed to melt into the water and mixed up beautifully -- with no lumps at all! I even did a 'taste test' of a cup of fresh milk vs a cup of made up milk with my son, who loves milk, and he chose the powdered milk cup as being the fresh milk. Since then I have used powdered milk for everything except my cups of tea. I have found the taste is noticeably different in a cup of tea. So now I buy a litre that I keep for tea only, and for the rest, I use made-up powdered milk. Apart from the massive savings I am making, I find that having powdered milk in a container ready to go means I am never having to rush out and get milk or ask my husband to pick up milk on the way home from work. Just before I retire for the night I quickly mix together a jug of milk and put it in the fridge for the next morning's breakfast and it is delicious." - Margaret, Auckland

Many thanks to those who rose to the challenge and offered Annette from New Plymouth some advice to her problem, "Have you any ideas what takes ballpoint pen off wallpaper?" (small child drawing!)

Steph from Tauranga suggests, "To get ball point pen off walls, spray hairspray on to it, then wipe off -- works every time!"

KS from Morrinsville writes, "Try using white toothpaste and very gently rub on the ball point pen stain."

PB from Auckland says, "To get ballpoint ink off of anything try sponging with white spirits, working from the outside in. If white spirits are unavailable, meths will do the job also, but strain through a slice of bread to remove the colour, or you may have a problem with another stain."

Mike has this suggestion. "Use a spray can of WD-40 to dissolve and remove the ballpoint ink. Use it sparingly. Only use enough to get a result; do not flood the liquid on to the stain. Good luck!"

If you have a favourite recipe or Oily Rag tip that works well for your family, send it to us at www.oilyrag.co.nz or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei, and we will share it with the readers of this column.

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