Frugal living is thriving and our mailbags have been overflowing with creative ways to keep more dollars in your pockets and purse. Our oily rag webmaster was telling us the other day that we get more than 100,000 visitors to the oilyrag.co.nz website a year - most from Oilyragaroa, but an increasing number from overseas. This week we have a tip from Scotland, but first, some ideas from the Bay of Plenty.
The first, from P.R. of Kawerau, is a nifty tip for a mini garden: "Use a couple of old car tyres on top of each other, then put all your potato peelings inside, covered with some compost and dirt, then top up with lawn clippings. Before long, you'll have a tyre full of fresh potatoes."
P.R. also writes: "When cleaning your wood box or woodshed out, shovel all remaining bits of wood, etc., onto newspaper then wrap up. This can go into your fire when you're lighting it or as a quick fire boost."
Lisa from Whakatane is bubbly about bubble wrap: "In response to your article about keeping warm in winter, bubble wrap simply sticks on a window with a little water. It is amazing what a big difference it makes to the temperature in the house.
If you're lucky you can find free bubble wrap (some businesses receive their goods in it and throw it away), but it is not too expensive at stationery retailers. On frosted windows it is hardly visible. On windows with a view (such as the living room) I put it up when I draw the curtains and take it down again in the morning. I am very, very happy with it."
Penny from Balquhidder in Scotland writes: "I was reading that someone was looking for Pearsons sand soap. On the internet [eBay] I saw lots of what is called 'pumice soap', which is the same thing - much beloved by chimney sweeps, motorcycle restorers and farmers. If one is mushing up ends of soap, why not add pumice powder and make your own?"
Impala writes from Lower Hutt: "There are many very good markets other than farmers' markets. For example, the Lower Hutt Riverbank market attracts massive crowds - the main attraction is still the fruit and vegetables."
S. from Christchurch has a tip for making silverbeet more appealing to young ones: "Children prefer the taste of the coloured Bright Lights silverbeet as it is sweeter than regular silverbeet. Looks more interesting, too." What a great addition to a children's garden!
A reader from Wanganui has a question for oil raggers: "I am looking for a bread slicer for my home. I saw one for $55 dollars which was too expensive for me. An electric knife makes it easier but won't give even slices. If somebody knows about a not very expensive bread slicer, please let me know". If you can help out, contact us via oilyrag.co.nz and we will pass your comments on.
May from Northland replies to a tip from Tamzin who was turning off her water cylinder at night but finding her power bill was not going down: "What's happening is that the power is being used heating the water up again. This will keep happening so it's better to leave it on and find other ways to save costs, like getting rid of leaks, limiting hot water use, and insulating the hot water cylinder." The general Oily Rag Rule of Thumb is that if you have a modern cylinder it's unlikely to be worthwhile turning it off - unless you are going away for about a week.
Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at www.oilyrag.co.nz.