This week we have more reader tips and we revise some of the basics to save you money.

Tony from Blenheim points out that members of Grey Power can get cheaper electricity from From what we can see, Grey Power has done a deal with Pulse Energy, a power retailer. The website does not give any examples of the savings but they do make the promise of "low prices, price protection and additional discount options".

To gain these benefits you need to be a Grey Power member, which costs $20 a year.

EL from Christchurch has this tip. "This is not a new tip as such, but a big thank you for the idea of making one's own gift baskets. I followed the idea of creating themes and made one on baking, and another on scone-making. It is great to be creative and the cost of these baskets is so cheap compared to ready-made ones."


Muff from Birkenhead writes, "I have read many suggestions for making soap ends into liquid soap or soap cakes but didn't want to wait until I got a good quantity. I took the foot of an old pantyhose, put in the soap ends and tied a knot. I have used this pad for cleaning my hands after gardening and find it great for scrunching fingernails in - no need for a brush!"

Shar from Wellington has this recycling tip. "I save my empty plastic Maggi stock containers (washed and dried), remove the label, and re-label for my spices and herbs. I use one side as a sprinkle, the other side if I want to use a bit more."

Dordy from Auckland has this lemon tip. "I freeze a few lemons whole and grate them as needed into sauces etc when cooking, and also bottle preserved lemons using Annabel Langbein's pre-frozen quartered lemons recipe. After trying different processes this one worked the best for me."

Pauline from Tauranga has this teeth-whitening formula: 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon water and a dab of toothpaste. Apply weekly until desired results, then reapply monthly.

This week we had a lovely chat with a very nice young lady writing an article about ways households can save money on their food bill. It was a useful exercise to go over some really simple can-do ways to save massive money. So for those who have yet to travel down the garden path of Tom and Barbara Good of The Good Life, here are some basic starting points:

Grow your own fruit and veges. It's so simple. For those who need help, we suggest checking out gardening magazines at your local library; you will soon find your shrinking lawn will become an ever expanding garden patch. Fruit trees, too, are just so simple. Plant them, give them lots of natural organic fertiliser and mulch (and talk nicely to them) and you will be on the right track.

Fill your pantry with specials. Stocking up with bargains means you will always have cheap meals at your fingertips and you won't need to nip down to the dairy for a cup of sugar - assuming the neighbours are away!

Shop for specials at more than one place. We suggest shopping for specials not only at your local supermarkets, but also at farmers' markets, fruit and vege retailers and directly from local growers.

If you have a favourite oily rag tip that works well for your family, you can share it with thousands of others by sending it to us at, or by writing to us at Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei, and we will relay it to the avid readers of this column.