Two bargain buy books for kids.

"Fun to read... and my kids loved it too! I liked its messages about values. Good stuff."

"Very clever and outrageously funny...."

"Awesome! And I haven't been a kid in decades."

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Tests put acid on bathroom cleaning aids
By Morgan Tait, Oct 8, 2013, NZ Herald

Product testing has revealed the best - and worst - bathroom cleaning products to remove soap scum. After testing 18 different spray, wipe, liquid and gel products, Consumer New Zealand recommends just three products and reveals five low-ranking cleaners. The top scorers were Dettol Power & Pure Bathroom and Oz Kleen Shower Power with 5-star ratings, and Ecostore Bathroom & Shower Cleaner with 4.5 stars. At the other end of the scale, Domestos Thick Original Liquid, Easy-off Bam Active Foam Soap Scum & Shower Spray, Exit Mould Spray, White King Power Clean Bathroom Gel and Select Scrub & Wipe Multi-Purpose Wipes earned 2 stars.  The NZ Herald >>>

Cool customer's bill so low it worries power firm
By MIKE WATSON - The Dominion Post, June 12 2010.

Adrian Jeurissen's power bill is so low that a utility company wrote to ask whether anyone lived in the house. "They said it was unlikely anyone lived in the house with a power bill that low, and gave me 30 days to prove it." The Dominion Post >>>

Trash Treasure
Dominion Post, June 6, 2009.

The Dominion Post talks to oily rag editor, Frank Newman, about garage sales and other things. The Dominion Post >>>

Frugality hits the land of buy now and pay later
NZ Herald, Nov 25, 2008 - AP

Fearful that economic conditions could get worse and stay that way, Americans are showing an enthusiasm for thriftiness not seen in decades.

This behavioural shift isn't simply about spending less. The New Frugality emphasises stretching every dollar. It means bypassing the fashion mall for the discount chain store, buying secondhand clothes and furniture, or trading down to store brands.

Not long ago, yoga teacher Gisele Sanders didn't think twice about dropping US$30 ($55) for a bottle of Chianti. That was before her husband, a real estate agent, began to feel the brunt of slowing home sales.

Now Sanders, 53, picks up grocery-store wine at US$10 or less per bottle, shops for used clothes and plans to take her mother's advice about turning down the thermostat during winter.

That kind of scrimping has the potential to reinforce the miserly mood. Yet with home prices, company-sponsored retirement plans and job stability suffering, such frugality is likely to be more than a fad.

"It is a whole reassessment of values," said Candace Corlett, president of the consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail. "People are learning again to say 'no, not today'." More NZ Herald >>>

Wedding costs take the cake
NZ Herald, Nov 16, 2008 By Alice Hudson

Happy couples planning their wedding day may be taking a closer look at their quotes as the financial crisis grips the country. Photo / BOP Times You have picked your dream venue, agonised over choosing the photographer and plumped for the perfect cake.

Now comes the real shock: your already big wedding bill is likely to be much larger than necessary.

Suzanne Carson, director of Christchurch-based Events and Wedding Professionals said it was common for suppliers to boost their prices for weddings.

Overseas couples getting hitched here - often without relatives, guests and a full reception - were commonly charged "horrific" bills of up to $1000 for wedding photos. "That's just to take a few shots, put them on a disc and send them on their way." More NZ Herald >>>

Cheap meats feast

Tightening budgets and soaring meat prices are fuelling a revival in the cheaper, old-fashioned cuts that granny used to cook.

Butchers say requests for ox and lamb hearts, ox livers, spare ribs and neck glands and offal are on the rise.

Pork hock, similar to a lamb shank, and pork mince are becoming more popular for price reasons, with the latter $4 cheaper per kilo than its beef counterpart, according to industry board NZ Pork.

The past two months have seen beef and lamb prices increase by an average of $2-$3 a kilo for most cuts and an industry source said the price of chicken was tipped to rise again next month.

Taranaki Master Butchers Association president and owner of New Plymouth's Kiwi Butcher, Peter Morrison, said more people were seeking cheaper cuts and specialist advice unavailable at supermarkets.

Whole pig heads weighing 6-7kg were selling for $7, while wing rib roasts, at $14.95 a kg, were a cheaper alternative to porterhouse.

Beef cheek was the "most succulent" meat, but if cooked incorrectly tasted like "old leather," he said.

People were even buying brisket, or beef chest, and sweetbreads, but there was a long way to go before shin overtook eye fillet - despite the $24 a kg price difference.

He said: "A lot of the young ladies don't know what skirt is - aside from the one worn around the waist - even though there are four varieties when it comes to beef, and it's the best meat you can buy for stews."

Morrison sold beef skirt for $8.99 per kilo, much cheaper than the most expensive cut - eye fillet - which is $32.99 per kilo, but could fetch up to $7 more at a supermarket.

Cheaper cuts didn't mean the meat was unhealthy, he said. "It's all very nutritious - it's just so many people aren't aware of what's available."

Jeremay Viall of the Aussie Butcher in Auckland's Birkenhead said the price of most meats had shot up.

Even "proper" sausages were expensive, due to increases in hog intestine casing - though he still sold flavoured snags for $5 a kilo.

Viall had noticed customers cutting down on the amount of meat they bought and others were saving by stocking up on mince.

Hadleigh Smith of NZ Pork said buying old-fashioned cuts was a fun way to experiment with food.

The cheaper cuts often came from tougher parts of the beast and required slower cooking.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand nutritionist Fiona Greig said customers on a budget should consider going for mince, lamb shoulder chops, beef topside steak and chuck steak to save money. She said many Kiwis were now returning to traditional cooking methods such as making casseroles and using slow cookers, which were ideal for cheaper cuts of meat.

NZ Herald, Sunday Sep 28, 2008 view story >>>

The Art of Boiling an Egg

A top chef says it is "pretty basic", but for many young Kiwis the simple art of boiling an egg is beyond them.

A Colmar Brunton poll that asked nearly 1000 people about their confidence in boiling, scrambling and poaching eggs found that one in 12 Kiwis aged under 30 were not confident, or had never even attempted, boiling an egg.

The survey, commissioned by egg producer Farmer Brown, also showed that one in 10 people under 30 had never tried to poach an egg or make an omelet, and 15 per cent had never scrambled an egg.

Chef Simon Holst was surprised younger people did not cook eggs more, but suspected it was because people were increasingly skipping breakfast, especially cooked ones.

Eggs might have "slipped out of fashion", he said. He had heard similar stories about young people not cooking potatoes "because they don't have instructions on the packet. I hope that's not the case".

Though young New Zealanders are not confident cooking eggs, Kiwis are among the biggest consumers of them. Figures from the Egg Producers Federation show that per capita we consume 218 each year.

Dominion Post, 12 August 2008, See story >>>

Heat pumps blamed for power bill rise

As winter weather bites, so have the electricity bills, with heat pumps being blamed for skyrocketing accounts.

Some South Island consumers who complained after seeing their power bills more than double from last year have been have been told there is nothing faulty with their metering or billing.

Contact Energy told the Southland Times it had investigated a number of complaints this week, including several from customers who had power bills leap by more than $500.

Retail general manager Jason Delamore said the company had looked into each case and established a change in user patterns, such as the installation of heat pumps and the use of oil column heaters, was behind the increases.

Contact communications manager Jonathan Hill said estimated accounts were based on usage at the corresponding time the previous year, so if the company was unaware of change in energy use, the next actual reading would factor in a significant catch-up.

The installation of a heat pump in Christchurch woman Selena Cannell's home was "almost certainly" the key reason her bill had more than doubled from $160 in May to $400 in July, he said.

Heat pumps were efficient but still impacted heavily on power bills, Mr Hill said.

"There is a perception out there that heat pumps are almost free to use - that is not the case at all.

"We don't think it would be uncommon for people who are running them really hard to incur costs of up to $5 a day," he said.

Trustpower staff told disgruntled Timaru customer Moira Melhopt that a heat pump could cost up to $7 a day to run.

"More and more New Zealanders are getting heat pumps, so all retailers will be facing similar issues," Mr Delamore said.

However, Ms Cannell disputed Contact's claim a heat pump had caused her power bill to double.

The company that installed the heat pump had told her it should be costing only $60 to $70 maximum a month, she said.

Ms Melhopt said she felt disappointed about what she had been told.

"We have been promised efficient heating and therefore lower costs with a heatpump."

Daikin New Zealand, which specialises in heat pumps, said they cost between 10c and 20c an hour to run.

August 01, 2008, NZ Herald, see story >>>

They are pinching our penny pinching ideas!

The following article appeared in the NZ Herald, August 18, 2006.

Work and Income cookbook has flavour of Newman

Labour MPs used to ridicule Muriel Newman's books on penny pinching - now the former Act MP could be forgiven for thinking they're stealing her ideas. Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope was on hand yesterday for the launch of a Work and Income cookbook billed as "a simple practical guide to affordable cooking and good nutrition".

Dr Newman, who lost her seat at the last election, was famous for three books on how to live cheaply- one of them a cookbook entitled How to Feast on the Smell of an Oily Rag.

Her political rivals used to mock her books, which included tips such as how women could model lingerie for extra money. However, sections of Work and Income's Great Little Cookbook bear uncanny similarities to some of Dr Newman's work.

Her cookbook was billed as "delicious mouthwatering meals without a lot of fuss and bother".

The Work and Income book is full of recipes that are "simple, nutritious and easy to prepare".

But yesterday Mr Benson-Pope had only praise for the idea of a cookbook for beneficiaries. "We can no longer take for granted that people know what ingredients are needed for a good, nutritious family meal, or that they know how to put these ingredients together."

He said the Work and Income staff who came up with the idea felt basic skills such as gardening and cooking were no longer being passed down. As well as suggesting affordable meals, the book focused on healthy eating. Mr Benson-Pope said the book, developed in conjunction with Nelson- Marlborough District Health Board, was free of charge.

Politicians ...they are shockers!

Oily Rag goes to Parliament!

If you think the oily rag movement is nothing but mere frivolity then read Hansard (the transcript of New Zealand's Parliament). There it is recorded forever, recorded in the Nation's history forever, the oily rag club! And not is it just mentioned in passing - oh no, the oily rag movement is far more important than passing. 

On no less than three occassions have honourable members of New Zealand's highest House of horrors recognised the achievements of the oily rag establishment. But, I have to report my fellow oily raggers, the three honourable members in question are not quite ready to send in their oily rag membership forms just yet. 

Wini’s not a happy chappy; The Right Honourable Wintintin Peters has taken exception to us oily raggers using the colloquial expression, “Beg, borrow or steal” when describing the desirability of sharing rather than owning. How dare theft be encouraged!, he says. On the issue of theft, we reckon the honourable MPs should swear on the Oily Rag Bible to promise that they be as oily raggish when spending our money on themselves as they are when spending their own money (and upfront when declaring their donations from wealthy benefactors!).

And the "Honourable" Judith Tizzy Tizard is in a tiz about oily raggers earning a few extra dollars by selling party plan merchandise (24 April 2002). Maybe Tizzy is doing pretty well on the taxpayers payroll and pension plan but others in the real world do have to earn a few extra dollars to make ends meet.

And Lizzy is also in a Tizzy. The Honourable Lianne Dalziel (24 April 2002) wants to curb the artistic talents of budding artists by banning oily raggers posing as bare-all models. Lizzy may not be a work of art but others may have a canvas worth showing! Perhaps we should also ban Picasso from displaying his more revealing works? Should we shroud the statue of David so that his more personable features are concealed? What would real-life artists do without real life models? You tell me! Manoquins? Playmate pictures? Or would these struggling artists have to reply on imagination and life experience alone? For a Party happy to give $100 million of someone elses money to the arts, one would have thought Tizzy Lizzy would support the plight of those working hard to master their artistic talents of the natural form!
[One reader has suggested Wini, Tizzy and Lizzy and nine more of their fellowship bare all (tastefully) in an charity calendar. They said it worked very well for the Country Woman's Institute in the UK. Can you imagine it! Tizzy baring all as Ms August! Lizzy as Ms Maybe! Wini as Father Xmas in his birthday suit! What a hoot! - Oily Rag ed] 

Oily Rag Club Newsletters

7 Dec 2013 Jingle bells without the jingle bills >>>
30 Nov Frugal and safe motoring >>>
22 Nov Xmas pav' and kai >>>
14 Nov Silly season about to grip the nation >>>
7 Nov  Oily rag mailbags >>>
28 Oct Waste not, want not >>>
21 Oct Payday loans >>>
14 Oct Kids gardens and big pumpkins >>>
7 Oct  Better budgeting >>>
30 Sep Frugal millionaires >>>
23 Sep More tips on frugal living >>>
16 Sep Fantastically frugal ideas from readers >>>
9 Sep Hints on home ownership >>>
2 Sep  Spring has sprung >>>
Oily Rag Infants
Savings survey
Spring clean
Farmer markets
Milk, best buys
Latest tips
Penny pinching holidays
An Oily Rag Christmas
Free lunches

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