This week we took a dip into the bulging oily rag mailbox to see what fantastically frugal, and sometimes funny ideas oily rag readers have come up with. As usual we were not disappointed and, again, marvelled at the creative ways oily raggers can stretch a gold coin into a $10 note, and turn waste into treasure!
When using spring onions, leave the last centimetre at the root end and replant in your garden. It will regrow, and you can then harvest spring onions as needed - always leaving the root in ground. We have had spring onions for seasons, all from one original purchase.
- C J Turner, Masterton.
A lot people have trouble getting parsnip seed to strike. The secret is, after you have put in the fertiliser and sown the seed in the row, pour boiling water over the seed. I know someone who always had trouble getting parsnips to strike until I told him of this method, and he has had success ever since. Make sure to use hollow crown seed so you don't get a tough core.
This method also works on older seeds.
- Diesil Den, Christchurch.
Bread crusts make great croutons. Cut them up and toast them in an oven at the same time as other dishes - or just leave them there after the oven has been turned off. Store in a jar and use on soup or salads. (The only ones missing out are the birds.) - Jaelle, Auckland.
To clean oil from concrete, place wood ash on the affected area and leave for a couple of days. You wouldn't know there was any oil spilled when you clean it up. - Diesil Den, Christchurch.
Gather old pieces of hand soap and place in a jar filled with water and let it dissolve. It becomes an ideal liquid for hand washing, washing woollens etc. - Mike, Auckland.
Go vegan. Your staples become bread, pasta, fruit and veges. You save money from overpriced fish, meat and dairy and lose weight to boot.
- CR, New York City.
I have long hair (just above my waist) and when I want to trim it, I just get a hair tie and scissors. I lean forward and brush all hair forward and put it in a ponytail. I then pull the hair tie down as far as I want to trim and then cut. It gives a great layered look without the cost. I have only done this with wet hair. - Sandy A, Auckland.
Regarding your tip on reusing old tea bags as fire starters - do you need to drain off the kerosene after adding to the jar of dried tea bags? My husband tells me his Dad used to do a similar thing with cut up old Pinex soft-board tiles. - MJP, Rotorua.
[In answer to MJP's question - yes, drain off the kero so the now kero-infused teabags are dry.]
Wendy from Kapati has a question about freshening up a toothbrush. "I have tried before the boiling water/soda and (I think) vinegar soaks but the toothbrush always seems to still end up with that strong 'toothpasty' smell so it never quite feels as fresh as new. Any ideas guys?" If you have a suggestion for Wendy, please share it with the oily rag community by visiting oilyrag.co.nz (and share any other tips you have as well).
For those who don't know, each week members of the oily rag club receive a free email newsletter with the latest tips, yarns, and questions about frugal living. Last count, the club had over 5000 members, which shows what a popular sport the good life is. Add your name to the newsletter list on our website.
Do you have a favourite tip to share? Send it to us at www.oilyrag.co.nz or write to Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.