Author Archives: Oily Rag Ed'

No-cost family activity

An oily rag family from Northland has written to us about their no-cost family activity. Grandma and four kiddies packed a picnic lunch and had a great time at their local reserve. The kids each made a stick raft from dried flax flower stems, which they dropped off a bridge for a race down the […]


Paul has this tip for frugal motorists. “There is an APP for mobile phones called ‘gaspy’. It’s a kiwi bit of software that uses the GPS on your phone to show the cheapest petrol stations near you – and the distance from your current position.” We were aware of the APP and first looked at […]

Gaspy APP

Paul writes, “On the subject of motoring costs, a frugal traveller recently reported that they save quite a lot of money by shopping around for the petrol stations with the lowest fuel price. ‘I have found the Gull self-service stations the cheapest by far. On a recent trip to the Bay of Plenty we saved […]

Landscaping costs

A reader has asked if there are ways to save money on landscaping costs. In particular, they would like to know which plants are easy to propagate from cuttings. If you can help our reader, please drop us a note. From experience, we can say that Yucca plants are easy. They are very fashionable and […]

Glycerine cleaner?

PAL from Christchurch is asking for help. “Many years ago I recall a mixture I made up and wiped over clean windows. This helped prevent condensation from forming on them. I have asked several friends and they seem to think I may have dreamed it. But not at all. I recall making this mixture up […]

Fuel tax

Low petrol prices is good news for frugal motorists, but an oily ragger has asked why, given the collapse in crude prices, petrol pump prices are not a lot lower. The answer is actually quite simple. At US$27 a barrel, crude oil prices are at their lowest level since 2003, and a long way from […]


With spring in the air it’s a good time to start seedlings for the garden. A reader has this suggestion for re-using egg cartons. “Fill with top soil and use to propagate seedlings. When the seedlings are ready to plant, cut the carton into portions. The cardboard will disintegrate and the plant will not suffer […]

Whiteboards, cleaning

PHS from Fielding has this suggestion to remove permanent marker from whiteboards. “To get vivid permanent marker off surfaces, use Lynx deodorant spray.” We are pleased to say it works and smells good too! Perhaps others can see if it works for all deodorant brands.


Here are some tips for renters: • Ask your landlord to reduce the weekly rent in return for work around the home. In one case the tenant (who happened to be a painter) had the rent reduced for redecorating the unit. It worked well for everyone – the landlord had his unit upgraded on what […]

Bored? Try board games.

We recently came across a chest full of well-used board games. We had a great time with the grandkids playing Battleship and other classics. Many of the great board games can be found in garage sales at really good prices. Games can be both educational and entertaining, and encourage participation and active communication (like shouting!). […]