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and entertainment off the smell of an oily rag
- Gain extra benefit from a
day at the beach. Pick up a load of seaweed to feed your garden or some
driftwood to fire the BBQ or fireplace (but only use in a stone fireplace
with stone chimneys because driftwood is saturate with salt and will corrode
a metal flue pipe.
a book costing, say $1 from a second hand book exchange provides many hours
of entertainment. Not only is this an incredibly thrifty form of
entertainment, but you will also learn a great deal.
the local public library and your reading entertainment will cost you
nothing – newspapers, magazines, novels, reference books and educational
are a cheaper than the published versions. This is ideal for short
publications like short stories and childrens stories.
camping one year we had trouble keeping things cool, milk,
butter, cheese and meat, and flies were also keen to get our
supplies. I found an old beer crate (or use a box with holes
or a grate box, like a bird cage for instance). Place a
shallow tray, like foil oven tray or old baking dish (use
imagination anything that will hold water will do). On top of
the box/cage and pull a muslin bag over the lot and then hang
this up in a cool shady place where there is a breeze, like
under a tree or at least in shade. Now weight the muslin into
the tray with some stones no bigger than say about fist size,
and fill the tray with water. Put your food items inside the
box and let the Muslin fall down to cover the box and its
contents. Hang all this on a previously prepared hook or wire
or tree branch in the previously chosen shady place. The water
will slowly wick down the muslin and keep it wet. The action
of the breeze through the shade will evaporate the water from
the wet muslin and lower the temperature inside the food store
box so much so that I guarantee the butter will go so hard you
will not be able to spread it easily on your bread. If you
walk through you wet washing hanging on the line, even on a
hot day it is very cool, as long as it is wet, same principle.
To take this contraption to the next level fill a glass jar
with water and stand it upside down into the pool of water in
the tray, chicken feeder style, and you can leave your new
fridge for hours unattended, bigger jar longer periods between
filling. A fridge of the grid and good for camping as long as
there is water in the tray. - Shane Dumbell, New Plymouth.
We love camping but with not having a fridge I was finding it
really hard to keep everything cold in the chilly bin. The
slicker pads are good for a picnic for a day but not really
for much longer. I have now found a way to keep a chilly bin
and contents cold for at least 3-4 days at a time. Find an old
wire fridge shelf, measure about a 1/4 from the bottom of the
chilly bin and then cut the shelf to fit. Freeze a couple of
old lemonade bottles of water, place them on each long side of
the chilly bin, fill the space in between with ice and then
put the cut shelf on top. Place all you food, milk etc on the
shelf. The ice and bottles of ice keeps everything cold for at
least 3 days whilst the shelf keeps everything off the wet.
When the ice is melting too much simply replace with another
bag of ice. I'm going to try burying my frozen meat in
containers under the ice this trip - thinking it will work
brilliantly. Happy Camping. - Jayne, Christchurch.
If you are camping or don't
have a clothes dryer, there is enough heat in your car on a
sunny day to just finish drying out clothes not quite dry.
Leave one car window a little open. - N.W.,
- My brother and his wife, along with 2-5 other couples eat out
at each others house once a month. They each have a course to
prepare and take. For example, they might go to friend #1's
place this month and take entree. Next month, they go to
friend 2's place and take mains. The month after, they might
stay home and make desert. This has been working for several
years now. Around the end of the year, they will all go to a
restaurant. It's up to your own imagination how many courses
you do, but it seems to work with 3-4 - Oily
ragged chook, Hawera.
- Next time you go to a restaurant for dinner, order pass on the
drinks order and ask for water instead. It's free.
let it be said that those living off the smell of an oily rag
don’t eat out. Oily raggers deserve a night out wining and
dining from time to time, but in true frugal form they will be
looking to do it at the cheapest possible price. That does not
mean you have to resort to lurking and lingering ready to
swoop on leftovers at the local fast food joint. Dining out is
a great way to get out of the house and give the chief cook
and bottle washer a day off.
an eye out for kids-eat-free deals.
an entrée instead of a main and share a desert – just ask
for two spoons – or skip the desert and make desert at home.
restaurants offer an early-bird menu for early diners, or have
a late lunch as the lunch menu is usually cheaper.
a plate. Most restaurants will allow two people to share a
plate for no additional cost.
for 2 for 1 deals. Take along a buddy, and split the cost so
you both save.
add-ons are usually the biggest cost of dining out. Avoid
ordering the drinks by saying “water please” when you are
asked for your drinks order. Give the side dishes a miss. The
mark-up on wine and fizzy drinks is out of this world. If you
want to drink something other than water with your meal take
it with you.
a doggie bag, but instead of giving the leftovers to the
doggie have it for a second meal. That way a $25 meal becomes
two meals at $12.50.
should ask if the establishment offer a senior citizen
discount. A well-to-do oily rag couple in Auckland are always
on the lookout for senior specials – it’s their Sunday
afternoon treat and a source of great pleasure when they
ruminate on the savings which they are happy to brag about
with all and sundry!
out any dining discount coupons. The coupons usually appear in
local newspapers, in your mail box as junk mail, and even on
the internet and are likely to appear more often when trading
is a little slow - as it is nowadays! Read the fine print as
often they have conditions attached, like dining on certain
days or times. Recidivist diners may find savings by
purchasing a book of discount coupons that are promoted
commercially or as community fundraisers.
a mystery shopper. There are companies that pay people to
mystery shop. Their clients include restaurants so you may get
a chance to be paid for dining for free!
out the ethnic restaurants operating from low-profile mall
alley that only the locals know about. They run it off the
smell of an oily rag and pass the savings onto their
clubs and RSAs usually have big good value meals.
you are going out for a group dinner, ask for a fixed price at
the time of making the booking. Think of it like a bulk
if the menu comes with chips and salad/vegetables, before
ordering side dishes.
about the banquet meal and work out if it is cheaper than
ordering individual dishes.
friends at home on special occasions rather than in restaurants. Try a
progressive dinner, or take your guests on a trip or picnic. Others will
remember a special occasion by what they do, not by how much the meal cost.
There are hundreds of ways to make an evening entertaining. Friends want
your company, not expensive gourmet meals.
a neighbourhood bonfire night – complete with sausage sizzle and effigies.
A reader from Auckland has some advice
about dinner parties and BBQ evenings. "I have lots of bread for
people to eat because it is filling an cheap. Sausages are the main meat
which sounds a bit boring but I make it interesting by having different
flavours for people to try. For drinks we have lots of water, and large
bottles of drink rather than cans. We discourage alcoholic drinks by making
it a BYO! Fortunately most of our friends also live off the smell of an oily
rag so they go for the water and fizzy drink instead!"
Family fun night
- Recently we wanted to play Happy Families
but not having the cards we gathered shoes and distributed them and then had
to find the matching one. We each hid behind sofas/chairs in four corners of
the room with our little collection and peeped out to ask for the missing
shoe we were after. The children thought it was great fun. This was an ideal
teaching situation for the child that finds its hard to lose. – A.C.
Fun for kids
Holidays... Can't afford a school holiday programme? Then get
together with friends and start your own. If you can only get
one day a week off work, then get your mates to do the same
thing, (different days), and drop your kids at the appropriate
house with their packed lunch. Arrange between yourselves
different activities for each day depending on what each can
provide. For instance one person may be able to take all
swimming while another may not have the transport necessary,
so maybe they could do art and crafts, video days, pizza
making, board games, a wheel outing, (skateboards, bikes,
skates or scooters). Remember to join the kids in the
activities because the kids will appreciate it more especially
if it embarrasses you or if you have trouble doing it. They
then learn that nobody is perfect and that they too can
participate in difficult challenges and enjoy it. - Mean Girl,
Here are some free and fun ideas for the kids on cold, wet
a drop of food colouring on their tongues – this should
entertain them for five minutes or so.
them an ice cube in a cup and ask them to melt it – this
could occupy them for about 10 minutes or until the ice cube
map of a messy room, including the items you want tidied up.
The kids have to pick up all the items and cross it off the
map. There's about 20 minutes of entertainment here, even
more if the room is really messy!
bucket and some rolled up socks and have a tossing game down
the hallway - entertainment times may vary on this one, but
usually lasts up to half an hour.
There you go. You could get over an hour of entertainment for no
cost at all! - R.H.
- Hire CD’s from your local library at about
$4 pw. You can get a recent release for about
$6. Cool, aye! – K.C.
- If you
are lucky enough to have a swimming pool, consider using
salt-water treatment rather than chlorine, it’s cheaper.
Join a local theatre group and get involved.
You'll not only meet a great bunch of people and
improve your social life cheaply, you'll also save power by
spending less time at home where you might otherwise be
watching TV, playing video games or 'socialising' on your
computer. - J.C.,
a video is much better than taking the family to the moviews. It costs half
the price of a single admission ticket to the movies, and what’s more you
can usually have it for a number of days. This give you the chance to swap
videos with your friends and invite a group around for a BYO video evening.