Your letters

A big thank you for sending in your money-saving tips – your suggestions are a great support to those who need to tighten their belt to make ends meet or are saving to make tomorrow better than today.

Caro wrote in response to a column about recycling and says, “I live in Auckland and around this area there is the ‘Free Cycle’ website which people can join, where everything is free. The ‘Neighbourly’ web site also has free stuff and wanted free stuff. There are recycling depots around Auckland, where you can now go to get cheap items. I hate seeing rubbish dumped on the roadside when the Auckland Council has a recycling site.”

Caro also has some no-nonsense comments about managing money. “People spend too much on vices. They do not know how to budget. All these agencies are handing out lunches, raincoats, shoes, breakfasts etc, when other people are looking after their children – stop some of it and make people budget for the necessities. Every State house around where I live has a Sky dish, and flash cars parked in the driveway. I own my own home, have one income and cannot afford Sky! Why can they? Because their children are being provided all the free stuff because they scream poverty. Grow a vegetable garden, budget hard and be money smart – it is not hard. I brought up three strapping lads on my own with no help. I cooked, grew vegetables, shopped savvy at the markets, never ever had handouts for anything – and they have gone on to places, as did I. I feel good about the journey and it makes you a better person for it.”

Bill tells a story about a chap who was only able to work part-time because he did not have transport to get to work. “He spent whatever money was in his pocket – whatever his kids wanted, they got, until the money ran out. So his boss had a chat to him about saving and they agreed that he would hold back something from every pay and put it into a savings account. Within a few months there was enough put aside to buy a car, and he was then able to get full-time employment… “

J.P. from Auckland writes, “Anything bought from an Op’ shop saves you 15 percent GST – on top of a bargain.” The IRD website confirms donated goods and services sold by non-profit bodies are exempt from GST so they do not include GST in their prices. It’s no wonder charity shops are so popular!

Essie from Auckland writes, “Coffee. To save money, and for health, I dig up, wash and dry a few dandelion roots when they get in the way in the garden. When using the oven for something else, I pop the roots in for about 10 minutes all up to get them to dark brown colour (never burnt). Cool, and store in the fridge in a jar. When I want to spin out my morning coffee, I take about two tablespoons of dandelion root and a dozen coffee beans, and grind them up together for a nutritious, inexpensive cuppa. I don’t like strong coffee, so this suits me fine, and the dandelion is good for the liver – win, win!”

We know how nice Loquats are but Essie has this tip about using the seeds. “I steam (or boil) the big seeds until edible. They can be ground up and used in making almond biscuits with a little almond essence. A Taiwanese lady told me loquat leaves are a tonic – they pick a couple, leave them to dry in the house, then crunch them into a fine powder and steep in boiling water before drinking as a tea tonic.”

Oily Rag Ed’ – There are some who say the seeds are poisonous (and other seeds as well) so just check before using. We have some Loquat trees that will be fruiting this year for the first time so we are very interested in learning more about this. Let us know your thoughts.

Dutchapple from the Coromandel has this tip. “When bottling relish, stop the sterilised jars from cracking by placing a knife into the hot relish to help release air.”

Adriana from Auckland has a question: “What’s the best thing to do with old broken unusable phones?”  We know a family that placed all of their old mobile phones in a time capsule. They removed the batteries then wrapped them in water tight plastic bags. They took the view that they may be collector’s items when the capsule is opened! What do you do with your old phones?