New Year’s money-saving resolutions

Theory has it that the New Year is a time to make some highly admirable resolutions for the year ahead – forgetting about those that we promised but didn’t deliver a year earlier!

Top of the oily rag resolutions list is:

  • Stop spending money on vices: Don’t spend any money on alcohol for a year. Stop smoking, gambling, and cut down on cafés, restaurants, and fast food outlets that serve half size burgers at a full-size price. We just don’t get it that people spend money on such needless things, and then complain that they don’t have any money.
  • Start a vegetable garden. Aim to be vegetable self-sufficient by next summer.
  • Plant some fruit trees this winter.
  • Plan your meals around what you grow, or what’s in your pantry. We know of one oily rag family that has created their own “menu” – laid out like a restaurant menu but without the prices! The family then pick from the menu what they would like that day. Only items that are good value make it onto the menu.

The New Year is also a time for reflection, so here are some oily rag mottos and sayings to help us along the way. We have also included a few tips from readers from our oily rag website – see

  • A dollar in your pocket becomes your dollar in someone else’s pocket when spent.
  • Needs are things that are really needed. Wants are things that are not really needed but are desired.
  • Understand where your money is going and you will be in a position to control its outflow.
  • “Use half as much and get the product at half price!” – an old oily rag saying.
  • “Eat it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.” – Janice, Oamaru.
  • “It’s never a bargain unless you need it.” – S.F.
  • “More is not always better.” – S.J.B.
  • “Waste not – Want not.” – D.M, Katikati.
  • “A fool and their money are soon parted.” – Sandra. (What we find remarkable is that a fool and money ever got together in the first place!)
  • “The most important things in life are not things!” – V.M, Levin.
  • “Many banks have a new kind of Christmas club in operation. The new club helps you save money to pay for last year’s gifts.” Anon
  • “Learn from the mistakes of others – you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” –  Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “Without frugality, none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.” – Samuel Johnson
  • Samuel Johnson also said, “Frugality may be termed the daughter of Prudence, the sister of Temperance, and the parent of Liberty”!
  • “Wealth hasn’t changed who I am. My feet are still on the ground. I’m just wearing better shoes.” – Oprah Winfrey
  • “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” – Mark Twain
  • “If plan A fails, remember you have 25 letters left.” – Chris Guillebeau.
  • “I spent 90 percent of my money on women, drink and fast cars… the rest I wasted.” –  George Best.
  • “Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn’t try it on.” – Billy Connolly. That’s not really an oily rag quote but we thought it was funny so we included it!
  • Cheap is good, a bargain is better, and free is best of all.

Speaking of free, we were asked recently about the “free” economy and whether it’s any harder to find free things now than it used to be. The question arose because many councils have now abandoned their “inorganic” rubbish collections, which basically allowed people to pile their unwanted stuff on the street to allow others to scavenge through it.

We don’t think that needs to be a barrier to free stuff and we occasionally see household items with a “free” sign on them. We know of one couple who tried that but had no luck in moving their item of furniture – it seems no one wanted it – so the following week they put it back on the roadside with a sign, “For sale $100″ – and in less than 24 hours it was stolen!