Rag Club Newsletters
week we publish new ideas and tips for the frugally inclinated
(otherwise known as inclined!). Here are the latest issues.
||Winter cooking >>>
||Kids money >>>
||Beautiful broccoli >>>
||Corporate chooks, ticker
tape, and more >>>
|| Happy chooks >>>
||Cleaners, heaters, and
||Milk, tots, and teens >>>
newsletters, see here >>>
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your oily rag tips?
you have a favourite money saving tip, a funny frugal yarn, or a comment
about living on the cheap? How about sharing it with others. Click
Callum from Torbay, North Shore, Auckland has a question. “I havea cat
problem – they are using my mulch around the garden as a toilet, which
is very unpleasant if one steps on it. What’s the best way to keep
them away from Mulch and section please? Click
here >>> if you can help Callum with cat poop problem..
reader is asking the oily rag community for fish recipes. This summer
they are going on a fishing holiday and are keen to try try lots of new
fish recipes. Click
here >>> if you can help.
Thanks for the information on where to buy the draught excluder for less
than $10. I live a long way from the shops and have made my own. I got
two sticks, cut or break them to the width of the door and got an old
towel, which I folded in half and is the same width as the door. I
rolled one stick into one side of the towel and put a few small nails in
it. Then I did the same with the other stick, rolling it in the other
side of the towel, leaving about 5 cm free, enough room to slide it
under the door. It doesn't look fancy but it sure does the trick. The
only thing is, that it doesn't work on carpet but it does on lino. I'm
searching for a kind of material that will slide on carpet. Has anyone
got a good idea? - J.O. Springfield
from Auckland asks, "Have just joined your site and have
spent a good part of the day reading all the money saving tips. So many
of us out there trying to live off 'the smell of an oily rag'
. I do have a question. Years ago I was given a banana tree and has
grown so big. Cut a lot of it back and now my clothes are covered in
banana sap stains. Any suggestions?
here >>> to
tips and recipes!
I decant a biggish bag of milk
powder, skim or full cream, into a glad container or such and pop in the
freezer. It does not go solid and can be spooned out as and when needed.
– AK, Kaikohe
Ants in letterbox. We've found an effective yet non-toxic ant bait is 1
tbsp baking soda, 1 tbsp icing sugar, 1 Tbsp active yeast mixed together
(replace if/when it gets wet). - Margaret from Mt Maunganui
kids save for their own college fund by encouraging them from a very early
age to earn money by getting paid for what they enjoy doing! Our little
boy who is now three loves dogs, so we offered to walk the neighbours’
dog for $5 a week. It makes us get out for exercise and gives the dog half
an hour of much needed attention while their owner is at work. I know it
doesn't sound like much but each year he earns himself $260 for his
college fund so I'm calculating by the time he is 18 he will have well
over $4,000 towards his college education - just from this hobby alone.
Similarly our daughter enjoys baking so every week we invite her friends
over to a baking session making simple things like scones, biscuits,
raisin buns etc. They are learning something new and having fun. The mums
are more than happy to contribute $5-$10 for the ingredients and the
pleasure of not having to mess up their own house. We put half in the
kitty for the ingredients and half goes to my daughter’s college fund so
she can save between $10 and $20 each week. If we are able to do
something like this every week until she is 18 she would have over $8,000!
burnt pots, cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice and rub the lemon on
the burnt area, then scrub with goldilocks or the steel pot mitts which
are a lot cheaper. I find the burnt-on food comes off easily. -
a cake of sand soap to clean bad water spots off your glass shower. You
can pay up to $100 for simular products.
- Mervyn, Dunedin.
Too keep away the winter chills
here is a tip for a DIY heater. You will need some tea light candles, a bread
baking tin, and two ceramic flowerpots! “The tea lights (up to four)
are placed into a bread loaf baking tin then covered with the smaller
upside-down flower pot so the pot sits on top of the edges of the baking
tin. The drainage hole in the top of the upside-down pot is covered
(sealed) with the metal casing leftover from one of the tea light
candles. Then a second larger ceramic flower pot is placed over the
first (making sure they don’t touch). The hole in the bigger flower
pot is left uncovered.” Apparently this creates a very efficient
heater. If you want to see this technique in action, go to YouTube and
search “flower pot heater”. - Pamdelilah, Christchurch [A word of caution.
The pots get
very hot and there is of course a flame from the candles involved so
only do this on a hard surface that is not at risk of burning … we
don’t want you burning your house down!' - ed]
We have found that by placing a fan in front of our built
in fireplace we use less wood and get more heat from the fire.
Basically, the increased airflow over the fires surface, transfers the
heat to the air at a faster rate, which makes the room much warmer. The
same fan can be used with free standing fireplaces, just aim the fan at
the flue and feel the increase in room temperature. -
C A S, Whakatane
Free recycled curtains for bedrooms and living areas are available to
people on low incomes through the Community Energy Action's Curtain
Bank. Call 0800 GET WARM for a measurement form. -
Jess, Community Energy Action, Christchurch
Do-it-Yourself window insulation is available through
Community Energy Action. It starts from $29 and can be as effective as
retrofit double glazing in reducing heat loss and condensation. It will
help keep your home warmer and healthier for a fraction of the cost of
double glazing!” Check them out on their website, www.cea.co.nz; they are
doing great work in their community. -
Jess, Community Energy Action, Christchurch
Check out www.whatsmynumber.org.nz
to see if you can get a cheaper deal on your power. Power companies
constantly change their prices and you may find a cheaper company who won't
lock you in to a contract. - Lucie, Wellington.
How fuel efficient is your car? Click
Calculate the energy cost of your household appliances. See
reader has asked about loo paper... specifically if we use the
"flat roll approach" mentioned on page 107 of Living off the
Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Here is my reply: "Nowadays visitors
are subject to a quota per visit system. Each visitor is provided with a
toilet roll as they are greeted at the door and the number of squares on
that roll inventoried. They are given a usage quota of 1/2 a square per
hour of their stay (or part thereof). On their departure a stock take is
done of the remaining squares on that visitors roll. Visitors can elect
to become part of an emissions trading system (ETS) modelled on the
internationally recognised carbon trading approach, whereby a
group of visitors (typically a family but not necessarily so) may trade
their allocated quota. This we believe is a fair system as it
accommodates individuality and diet. Those visitors who exceed their
tissue allocation are required to provide suitable compensation in cash
or bartered goods (at a rate determined by market pricing), while those
under quota are provided a return invitation." Just kidding.
Oily Rag Ed.
wee note from Oily Rag Ed'
We have received great feedback from the column about frugality and home
ownership. Many have said “well said”, which was nice, and a few have
said they remain of the view that home ownership is an impossible dream.
It is impossible if one does not save, and for most, saving means giving
up the things we can do without: like smoking, drinking, gambling, flash
cars, and so on.
no coincidence that smokers and drinkers are usually the people who have
the least money – and for obvious reasons: they spend it on smokes and
booze! Save and invest $50 a week
and within 14 years a person will have $50k for a house deposit. A couple
could do it in 8 years. If people don't want to give up something to get
something then, yes, they will forever rely on others to provide their
Here's the article, 9 Sep Hints on home ownership >>>
The Best Comment of the moment is
(drum roll please!)...
have lived the oily rag existence out of necessity. My husband left me and
took our life savings. I had to exist on a benefit which I just hated but
ill health has left me unable to work again.
My biggest savings came from buying nearly everything from our local
hospice shop and local second hand shops. I have bought everything from
clothing to gifts for my family from these shops and I really enjoy buying
from them or having a sniff around. Unfortunately they don't sell food but
by buying home brands or things on special and a very careful shopping list
I can still manage to save money from my benefit. As well I save all gold
coins in my purse left over from shopping trips. It is surprising how fast
it grows. I put them all into a tin I have and last year alone the amount
came to $3000. It was money I never missed at the time, and the money saved
I put towards a lovely holiday with friends. They just could not believe I
had a holiday with the savings I had made from gold coins.
Already this year I have saved $250 so it can be done.” - Lynne,
I think your site is an excellent one and I will be informing our city
Missioner about it too. BTW last year we ran some budgeting and cooking classes for the low
incomed entitled Living on the smell of an oily rag. I took the budgeting one which was quite successful and had requests to speak on
the subject around Wanganui. The base line most found challenging was my statement that shopping for $40 per week per head would allow one to
enjoy not only the basics but some luxuries like chocolate, ice-cream, ginger beer, and the occasional dozen cans for those times my mate wants
to lollygag with a beer. Actually we do more than just fine as we shop only once a month and draw out $340.00.......$320.00 for ALL our
groceries and $20 for petrol for our van.
We are both long-term beneficiaries, I handle the admin side, and so speak from a do as I do point of view. - Lynda.
I am 76 years of
age so was brought up in the days of "waste not want
not". It amazes me sometimes when I see waste especially
electricity eg: lights being left on, food being thrown out when it
could be used the next day, vegetable scraps going down the thing in
the waste disposal unit, huge pieces of land covered in lawn or
weeds instead of it being a vegetable garden etc."
Rosana from Opotiki writes, “Your great oily rag ideas have really
inspired my lifestyle. From Townie to Coastie, now 51 years old it’s
time to get back to nature. We do a swap – hen eggs for duck eggs or a
cake or a batch of fried bread for some cows full-cream milk. But the
best part is making new friends. I am hoping to revive a small orchard
and grow all my veges this summer.”
"Many years ago I read with
delight your Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag and our family have
been leading a very simple life ever since thanks to your wonderful
book! After seeing Good Morning recently it reminded me of just how much
I have got out of your book and thought it would be a wonderful idea to
buy two more for my two oldest children that have since left home. (I
have implemented so many of your ideas in your book over the years, they
are second nature to me and our home now)...
"Thank you so much for a
wonderful book. I hope my son and daughter get as much reward (financial
and contentment knowing they have done it/made it themselves) We are
about to embark on the next adventure of our life – buying a little
bit of land so we will soon be the family on the front of your book –
free range chooks included! Can’t wait to extend our veggie garden and
plant fruit trees and save even more whilst having fun! Also enjoying
your emails on new tips now that I have joined your club." - T.
wee note from Oily Rag Ed'
The contributions that
appear on this site have been entered in the way they have been
submitted. Any editing is of a grammatical nature only (and from time to
time we even add our own grammatical errors!). Our policy is to
not exclude suggestions that some may think unfashionable or not
politically correct. Freedom of expression is one of our oily rag
mottos (actually, we just make up the mottos as we go!). We also do not
test every tip that is sent in and posted on this site, so miracles are
not guaranteed! - Oily Rag Ed
wee note from Oily Rag Ed'
What I enjoy most of all is the
humour of oily raggers We know living off the smell of an oily
rag is fun, and you display that in your comments. Thank you everyone for
sharing your oily rag tips. Just keep on sending them in! - Oily Rag Ed
another wee note from Oily Rag Ed'
We have developed this
site on the smell of an oily rag. We don't employ experts, we just learn
as we go. So don't expect a seven figure site. This is living off the
smell of an oily rag in action! Your thoughts and suggestions for
improvement would be appreciated. - Oily Rag Ed
Oily Rag Club
Join the hundreds (thousands!) of people who are
already members of the Oily Rag Club. It's fun, it costs nothing, and we
will email you when a real pearler of a tip is sent to us. Be part of the
oily rag community! Click
>>> for more.
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(as at ) - and growing by the day!
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you have any oily rag questions you would like to ask the Oily Rag
Research Department? They have their clip-boards in hand, pencils at the
ready... to ask a question click here
the real simple life
New Zealander and his family live on a fifth of an acre section in the Los
Angeles community of Pasadena.
To view the video click
to Earth blog. Australian site, very interesting stories and tips. Go
boy...what have I done now?
When we first wrote How to Live off the Smell of an Oily Rag in 1991, we
didn't realise what we were getting ourselves into! Since then the Oily Rag
tips have been published as a syndicated column in 30 or so community
newspapers in New Zealand and as far afield as Norfolk Island. We have
received thousands of letters from those eager to share their favourite penny
pinching tips. It would be a shame not to share these gems
and what better way to do so than through the web. So here goes...
Zealander's are joining the oily rag movement in their droves! Lots of
kiwi's are becoming disenchanted with the rat race. Millions of New Zealanders (OK, that may be an
exaggeration!) are realising they don't have to sell their soul for the sake of a few extra dollars when they can save heaps
around the home and have a better quality of life by living off the
smell of an oily rag.
live off the smell of an oily rag?
There are lots of very
good reasons why so many people are living off the smell of an oily rag.
To view or add your own reasons click >>>
"I have read your 'Living
off the Smell of an Oily Rag' book and think it is fantastic!…
Thank you for such an inspiring book. I have told all my friends
about it.” – Wayne.
you so much for a wonderful book. I hope my son and daughter get
as much reward (financial and contentment - knowing that they have done
it / made it themselves) from the book as we have. We are about to
embark on the next adventure of our life - buying a little bit of land
so we will soon be the family on the front of your book - free range
chooks included! Can't wait to extend our veggie garden and plant fruit
trees and save even more whilst having fun! Thank you -
book is fantastic and now has a permanent place on the coffee
table, where we can brush up on ORT's (Oily Rag Tips) whilst
chilling on the sofa. Our enthusiasm for keeping our money in our
pockets has been ignited and we look forward to many happy hours
of ORA's (Oily Rag Adventures). Many thanks." - Sarah
price of milk
much is a 2L bottle of milk? Where to find the best buys.
To read the results of our nationwide survey click
PDF (printable version) >>>, or HTML
(web page) >>>
play catch-up on milk pricing
| TV3’s Campbell Live
have discovered what oily raggers have known for quite some time. Read more
can you do with a can of baked beans
|We want to know what you can do with a can of baked beans. send in your
tips and suggestions. Click
For reader tips click here
Rag survey - how do you hang the toilet paper roll?
To see the results click here