Last week the Government released its Budget, and given that lots of people had lots to say about lots of things, we thought we would report on the Oily Rag Minister of Finance’s Alternative Budget.
The first paragraph of that budget speech went like this:
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my fellow Oily Raggers, that even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, hold true to the dream – a dream deeply rooted in the pockets of our people. The dream that one day we will have enough money to provide food on the table for our families and takeaways on a Friday – with sturdy shoes for our children, and cosy slippers for all. We want warmth in our homes equal to the warmth in our humanity…”
Policy announcements included:
• Making better use of “down time”. According to Statistics NZ every person watches about 14 hours of television a week. That’s equivalent to about 2 days working – or over $200 a week for the person on a minimum wage. How about using that down-time to take on casual work, or use it on money saving activities like growing your own fruit and vegetables.
• A garden and orchard for every home. Raised gardens are so easy (and transportable). Pretty much anything can be used to hold the soil, but it needs to be about 300mm high. Most people use timber, but old (free) car tyres also work. Of the many things that could be grown throughout the year, try some of the following: tomatoes, courgettes, sweet corn, silverbeet, broccoli, potatoes, beans, carrots, lettuce and other salad greens. That’s the free veges taken care of, now add free fruit trees. The biggest job is deciding which tree will grow and where to put them! Planting should be done between pretty much from now on until early spring. Dig a hole about one and a half times deeper and wider than the root ball of the tree. The perfect backyard orchard would have at least: one lemon, orange, grapefruit, mandarin (for school lunches and snacks), tamarillo, feijoa, plum, peach, passion fruit, two apple trees (one eating, one cooking), and a grape vine.
• Swapping surplus. Eliminate waste by swapping or giving away what you are not using – surplus produce from your new garden for example – for things that are useful. But remember, kindness compounds, so spread it around.
• Clear out the house and garage. Although the amount of money tied up in household items may not appear very great, most families accumulate various “bits and pieces” that are no longer of use. It needs to be admitted that oily raggers are known to be hoarders, so they usually have lots of stuff to turn into cash. Surplus assets typically include: a second car, sports gear, boats, books, caravans, clothing, old furniture, and so on. When sold, all these bits and pieces add up to serious money that can be used to knock a serious dent in a family’s mortgage – or be converted into something else that could bring the family pleasure.
• Never go past something that’s free. Everything is worth something to someone. One oily ragger recalls being offered a piece of old machinery that was cluttering up shed space. He did not need to think twice. Quicker than you could say “ummm, ahhhh” he stripped it down and sold the workable parts through an online auction site and other bits to a scrap dealer. He made a tidy sum which was a nice reward for a little bit of time and initiative. It’s amazing how much stuff is free.
• Don’t buy stuff on credit – and certainly don’t buy from door-to-door hawkers that cruise the low-income areas.
The Minister’s speech concluded with this: “Fellow Oily Raggers, these are brave and forward-thinking initiatives. Remember to always ask not what others can do for you, but what you can do for yourself. And, in conclusion, ask not what this Budget will do for your family, but what together we can do for all families.”
Commentators reported the Oily Rag Budget was the best budget in recent times – enlightening and inspirational, yet grounded in the reality of life today!
We would love to hear any tips or questions you would like us to share with readers, so please contact us via the website at oilyrag.co.nz or by writing to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.