This week the Government released its Budget, so we thought we would have the Minister of Oily Rag Finance deliver an 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 citizens, so 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 and takeaways on a Friday for our families, shoes for our children and cozy slippers for everyone else – and a warmth in our homes equal to the warmth of our humanity.”
The transformational policy positions announced included:
- Removing excise duty. The Minister has announced, “We are also pleased to advise that we will remove the excise duty on cigarettes and alcohol. As of tonight, anyone who does not buy alcohol or cigarettes will not have to pay the duty”.
- Fantastic frugality. Spend less, more efficiently, by looking at want-not and need-not items – those things that you don’t really need to spend money on.
- Transport policy. Buy a used car instead of a new vehicle. A reader writes, “The best advice I can give about buying a car is to buy a Toyota that is a few years old with about 60k on the clock. In our case we had ten years and hundreds of thousands of kms of repair-free driving. By the time we sold it, the engine was still going well – it just got a bit scruffy inside because, being a station wagon, we used it to cart all sorts of weird and wonderful things!”
- Downsizing TV time. According to Statistics NZ every person watches about 14 hours of television a week. That’s time that could be used for casual work, or on money-saving activities like growing your own fruit and vegetables.
- Removing GST on fruit and vegetables. Why pay GST on veges when raising them yourself is so easy. Pretty much anything can be used to hold the soil, including patio pots. And for fruit, the biggest job is deciding which fruit trees to grow and where to put them! Planting should be done between pretty much from now on until early spring.
- A waste free Oilyragaroa. Eliminate waste by swapping or giving away what you are not using – surplus produce from your new garden, for example. Kindness compounds so spread it around.
- Clutter free NZ. Most families accumulate various “bits and pieces” that are no longer of use. 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.
- Freebies. Never go past something that’s free. It’s amazing how much stuff is free – or sells for next to nothing on online auction sites. Everything is worth something to someone.
- Debt free. Don’t buy stuff on credit and declare yourself a debt free home!
- Money laundering. Reduce the money spent on laundry by following this tip from a motel owner in Whakatane, who said, “You can reduce the amount of laundry powder you use by adding baking soda, which is also a cleaner. I use equal amounts of baking soda and laundry powder.”
- No is OK. The Minister has announced, “And we have not short-changed social policy. As of today it will be OK to say ‘No’ to buying stuff you don’t need – like saying ‘No’ to the door-to-door hawker who comes knocking and offering something you don’t need at a price that you would pay elsewhere. It’s now OK to say ‘No’!”
The Minister’s speech concluded with these words: “My fellow citizens, these are brave and forward thinking initiatives – ask not what others can do for you, ask what you can do for yourself; ask not what the Budget will do for your family, but what together we can do for all families. And don’t forget to vote for the Frugality Party on 23 September so we can make your frugal endeavours something your children and their children will be proud of.”
Commentators reported that the Oily Rag Budget was the best budget ever, anywhere in the world – enlightened and inspirational, yet grounded in the reality of life today and the possibilities of tomorrow.