Last week we asked a couple of questions readers had sent in. True to form, the frugal community has lots of penny-pinching answers.
Rachel from Tauranga asked, "How do you feel about sodastream machines and yoghurt makers? Do they save money; are they worth it?"
Here are some of the suggestions from readers:
Charmaine from Whangarei writes, "I just love my sodastream, but am also extremely careful not to purchase sweet drinks. I use mine mainly to carbonate plain water, which I find much nicer to drink than ordinary water. To this I can also add fresh orange, lime, lemon, or any natural juices. So, Rachel, go get your sodamachine -- if used wisely they are great."
Caroline from Wellington says, "I am able to make a healthy, lightly sparkling drink for next to nothing. Called water kefir, it is made with just water, sugar and kefir grains. The grains are probiotic and eat the sugar, creating the fizz as a by-product. Grains are reused, and the drink can be flavoured with vanilla, fruit or drink syrups."
Penny-pincher from Taihape has this suggestion. "My husband uses his yoghurt-making machine -- it only takes of the packet to have great yoghurt. Instead of using the other , substitute with whole milk powder. It is a lot cheaper than buying it at the supermarket and you can be creative, adding different flavours and experimenting."
We did a quick online check to see what savings can be made by making your own yoghurt. The difference between the everyday price of a powder sachet to make 1kg of strawberry yoghurt and a 1kg tub, which cost $5, was 31c.
There are other advantages too. Other oily raggers say they like the convenience of making their own. "We live out of town so it's great having sachets on hand to make it when we need it. And the kids seem to love being engaged in choosing a flavour and making it."
Thrifty recently asked: "Does anyone have an economical homemade recipe for fabric softener, including the amount to use per load?"
Karen from Palmerston North suggests white vinegar. "Depending on the size of the load, use a cup or so in the final rinse. It will also remove the shine from the seat of uniform pants, for example, and keep black fabric dark."
Tramore from Whangarei agrees. "It also kills bacteria, brightens colours, reduces lint, eliminates soap residue and reduces static cling. Use cup of white vinegar in the final rinse as a softener in your washing machine."
Tramore also has this advice: "Washing soda is also a water softener; it's great to add to the washing if your water is very hard and makes the clothes hard and dry. The soda stops that and also keeps the washing machine clean from built-up suds."
Doreen from Paraparaumu also swears by washing soda. "I suggest putting a couple of handfuls of washing soda into the machine. It costs very little at Bin Inn shops."
Kate from Hawera says: "I have shifted to a house with a Hawera plum tree, I would love some recipes and tips."
If you can help Kate out with a plum recipe then please drop us a note. We checked out more about this plum and found this on Wairere Nursery website: "Originated from a chance seedling found on the roadside near, you guessed it, Hawera. Large, dark red fruit with very firm, dark red flesh. Yum yum. One of the best deep red plums. Heavy cropper, freestone, ripens January. Self fertile."
Sounds like it's worth a try.
Thank you to everyone for sharing your questions and tips, please keep them coming.
You can write to us at:
Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.
Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Read our wealth of tips at www.oilyrag.co.nz