Rag Club Newsletters
week we publish new ideas and tips for the frugally inclinated
(otherwise known as inclined!). Here are the latest issues.
||Jingle bells without the
jingle bills >>>
||Frugal and safe motoring
||Xmas pav' and kai >>>
||Silly season about to
grip the nation >>>
||7 Nov 2013
||Oily rag mailbags >>>
||Waste not, want not >>>
||Payday loans >>>
||14 Oct 2013
||Kids gardens and big
||7 Oct 2013
||Better budgeting >>>
Frugal millionaires >>>
tips on frugal living >>>
|| Fantastically frugal ideas from readers >>>
|| Hints on home ownership >>>
|| Spring has sprung >>>
newsletters, see here >>>
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>>> for more.
reader is asking the oily rag community for fish recipes. This summer they
are going on a fishing holiday and are keen to try try lots of new fish
recipes. If you have a favourite fish dish send in your comments
and ideas >>>
I have found that cooked rice in a fish pie will extend the amount
without affecting the flavour or texture of it. Adding turmeric powder
will give a nice golden colour and is good for you too. - J.S., Taupo.
mashed potato in bottom of shallow Pyrex and place hake or cod fillets
on top of mash after dipping first into melted butter. Bake until fish
is cooked about 12-15 minutes at 180C. Mix together - half cup of mayo.,
half a cup of grated cheese, 2 egg yolks, a teaspoon of dried mustard,
and stir in the whisked egg whites. Place over cooked fish and bake
until nicely browned in moderate oven. - Diana, Whakatane
fish. 3 minutes to prepare, 12 minutes to cook. Serves 2 people.
Ingredients: 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, cumin, turmeric; 1 teaspoon of
chilli powder (if you think this is too hot, use half the amount), 2
tablespoons of groundnut oil, 2 cloves garlic peeled and sliced, 250g
fish fillet cut into 50mm pieces, 200ml canned coconut milk, and
coriander leaves to garnish. Mix together the spices with 1 tablespoon
of water and set aside. Heat oil in pan, put in garlic until lightly
browned. Add fish and sauté for 2 minutes.
Stir in spices and cook for another minute.
Pour in coconut milk, cover and simmer for 3 minutes. -
fish salads are great.
Just dice pieces of fish, mix with chopped up red onion, red
peppers, celery, tomatoes or whatever good ingredients you have and
like, then pour a vinaigrette dressing over it. This salad is good left
to marinate for a while, but can be scoffed as soon as it's mixed. -
your oily rag tips?
you have a favourite money saving tip, a funny frugal yarn, or a comment
about living on the cheap? How about sharing it with others. Click
wee note from Oily Rag Ed'
We have received great feedback from the column about frugality and home
ownership. Many have said “well said”, which was nice, and a few have
said they remain of the view that home ownership is an impossible dream.
It is impossible if one does not save, and for most, saving means giving
up the things we can do without: like smoking, drinking, gambling, flash
cars, and so on.
no coincidence that smokers and drinkers are usually the people who have
the least money – and for obvious reasons: they spend it on smokes and
booze! Save and invest $50 a week
and within 14 years a person will have $50k for a house deposit. A couple
could do it in 8 years. If people don't want to give up something to get
something then, yes, they will forever rely on others to provide their
Here's the article, 9 Sep Hints on home ownership >>>
Question: Cleaning/ Sterilising Your Toothbrush: I have tried before the
boiling water/soda and (I think) vinegar soaks but always seem to still
end up with that strong "toothpasty" smell so it never quite
feels as fresh as new. Any ideas guys? Thank-you – Wendy (Kapiti) Click
here >>> to
Can anybody help me clean the
underside of my iron? It has black sticky residue on it which stains any
clothes I might want to iron. I have tried baking soda, and ceramic
cleaner (the iron is ceramic after all) but nothing will get it off as
yet. – RJ, Auckland. Click
here >>> to
help our reader.
I use a detachable teflon sole plate, not cheap but they last a long time
and nothing will stick to them! Before that, I used to do the old 'salt
trick'. Spread a layer of table salt on a sheet of newspaper. Move warm
iron back and forth until clean. Discard salt and repeat with clean salt
if necessary. Wipe iron on clean, damp cloth, tapping on ironing board to
dislodge any salt in the steam holes. Finish by rubbing a candle stub over
the plate and iron over clean newspaper until all traces of dirt and
grease are gone. Never, ever, use abrasives (like sandpaper) to clean! -
My mother would place salt (the fine pouring kitchen salt) onto a piece of
brown paper and run the hot iron surface over the salt - work the iron
back and forth until it comes clean. This was for metal iron but imagine
it might also work on ceramic. – Jayasri, Christchurch.
I remember cleaning the base of the iron by turning it on and then ironing
salt on brown paper. Worked a treat! - Summer Day, Auckland.
This is a tip that
was given to me years ago and it really works. Use wet and dry sandpaper
to clean the soleplate. Use
the sandpaper wet, then wipe off. Take
care not to get the steam holes gunked up with the resulting black goo and
do a test iron on an old piece of cloth before you start ironing. – LM,
reader has asked about cooking offal. If you cook offal please share your
recipes and tips with the oily rag community. Click
here >>> to
help our reader.
I only cook ox kidneys and liver and absolutely love them.
One kidney is generally enough for 2 of us but usually I buy 2,
just so I have some left over for the following day. I just dice the
kidney removing all the fat and dice up an onion with them.
Add 1 tsp salt and a good shaking of pepper for added flavour.
I cook this like I would a stew for about 30 -40 minutes on a
slow heat then thicken with some cornflour and water.
Yes it smells but on goes the range hood and the lid on the pot
reducing the smell. For liver,
remove the sinew running through the centre and soak in milk for as long
as needed. I cut the liver into pieces about the size of a small steak.
I usually prepare it in the morning ready for tea at night.
Remove from the milk and dry with a paper towel.
Dredge it with flour and put into a dish in the oven with a small
knob of butter. It can be
fried if you like but we tend to love it oven baked with some bacon
pieces and when cooked make a gravy and pour over it. We love having
these dishes maybe twice a month. I
only ever cook up ox kidney and dislike the smaller sheep kidneys
immensely. My father used to
love the sheep kidneys halved and fat removed then fry them.
He always had a large pot of cabbage to eat with it.
As for my own family we don't ever fry food but the sheep kidneys
have quite a different flavour and none of us like them at all. –
Lambs fry (lamb liver), sheep
kidneys, sheep hearts. Slice thinly, dip in flour and fry until cooked.
Ox heart can be stuffed and roasted. – Robin, Palmerston North.
from Tirau asks, “What can I do to make my washing smell nice without
spending a fortune on conditioner.” Click
here >>> to
Use left-over perfume or aftershave that no one likes as fabric
freshener. - Ann, Matamata.
If you add a few drops of
essential oils to your load they will come out smelling nice. Also if
you use a dryer try adding a couple of drops to a clean rag or face
cloth and add to the dryer with your load. That way the smell lasts
longer. - Kla, Stratford
few drops of tea tree oil in your wash will make it smell fresh and lovely
and have the added benefit of being antibacterial. - LAJ, Sydney.
Buy baking soda from Bin Inn and add
to wash with laundry powder. You can also reduce the amount of laundry
powder by about 1/5 as baking soda is also a cleaner. I use equal amount
of baking soda and laundry powder. - Motel Owner, Whakatane.
When my son came
back from flatting he asked me what washing powder I used to get my
washing to smell nice. I discovered that he had been overloading the
washing machine and drying the clothes in a poorly ventilated room so
they ended up smelling musty. I do a cold water wash with unperfumed
washing powder. I hang it to dry in the wind and sun or inside in the
sun on an airer and if necessary put a fan heater going to speed up the
drying time. I hope this is helpful to Chris. - Rosemary,
"I have read your 'Living
off the Smell of an Oily Rag' book and think it is fantastic!…
Thank you for such an inspiring book. I have told all my friends
about it.” – Wayne.
you so much for a wonderful book. I hope my son and daughter get
as much reward (financial and contentment - knowing that they have done
it / made it themselves) from the book as we have. We are about to
embark on the next adventure of our life - buying a little bit of land
so we will soon be the family on the front of your book - free range
chooks included! Can't wait to extend our veggie garden and plant fruit
trees and save even more whilst having fun! Thank you -
book is fantastic and now has a permanent place on the coffee
table, where we can brush up on ORT's (Oily Rag Tips) whilst
chilling on the sofa. Our enthusiasm for keeping our money in our
pockets has been ignited and we look forward to many happy hours
of ORA's (Oily Rag Adventures). Many thanks." - Sarah
tips and recipes!
This is a trick I learnt when I was
tired of paying for haircutting. I
have long hair (just above my waist) and when I want to trim it, I just
get a hair tie and scissors. I
lean forward and brush all hair forward and put it in a ponytail.
I then pull the hair tie down as far as I want to trim and then
cut. It gives a great
layered look without the cost. I
have only done this with wet hair. – SandyA, Auckland
Regarding your tip on reusing old tea bags as firefighters do you need
to drain off the kero’ after adding to the jar of dried teabags?
Very drippy and smelly and it lingers on the fingers for ever!
Have used a wooden skewer to fish them out and put the whole thing in
the fire. By the way my husband tells me his Dad used to do a similar
thing with cut up old Pinex soft board tiles. - MJP, Rotorua. [In answer
to MJP’s question, yes, drain off the kero’ so the now kero’
infused teabag is dry.]
When using spring onions, leave the last 3 / 4 cm at the root end and
replant in your garden, it will regrow, can then just cut spring onion
leaving root in ground. Will have for spring onions for seasons from 1
original purchase. - C J Turner
Gather all the old pieces of hand soap and place in a jar.
Fill with water and let it dissolve. It becomes liquid and is
ideal for hand washing, washing woollens etc. – Mike, Auckland.
Bread crusts make great croutons.
Cut them up and toast them in an oven with other dishes, or after the
oven has been turned off just leave them there. Store in a jar...use on
soup or salads. (The only ones missing out are the birds!!) – Jaelle,
A lot people have trouble getting
parsnip seed to strike. The secret is after you have put in the
fertiliser and sown the seed in the row pour boiling water over the
seed. I know someone who always had trouble getting parsnips to strike I
told him of this method, and he has had success ever since. Make sure to
use hollow crown seed so you don't get a tough core. This method also
works on older seed. - Diesil Den, Christchurch
To clean oil from concrete, place
wood ash on the affected area and leave for a couple of days. You
wouldn’t know there was any oil spilt when you clean it up. - Diesil
As a Kiwi settled long-term in Melbourne, here's a budgeting tool I find
extremely helpful. You will need to change the odd government allowances
term. Just fill in the details and hey presto! – LP, Melbourne moneysmart
When visiting a supermarket which has a deli section keep an eye out for
ham bones. When the staff
have sliced off as much as they can with the big industrial slicers they
wrap it in gladwrap and generally sell it for under $4. I
attack it with a small knife when I can get home and can usually cut off
enough ham for several dinners and quite a few sandwiches.
In winter I use the bone and fatty pieces of meat to make a stew.
- Aaron, Auckland.
Go vegan. Your
staples become bread pasta fruit and veges. You save money from
overpriced Fish, Meat and Dairy and lose weight to boot. - C.R., New York.
make a natural weed killer, mix 1 gallon of white vinegar, half a cup of
salt, add eight drops liquid dish soap - put it all in a spray bottle to
apply. Marion says it will kill weeds in two to three days. - Marion,
I decided to start tidying my small vege garden today, ready for spring
planting. In the centre of it there was an old square recycle bin, lying
upside down. As I lifted it up I just about fainted; the inside was
covered with snails! There must have been a thousand! Now, what to do
with them all? I half-filled a bucket with water and a liberal amount of
salt. Within 2 minutes they were crawling their way up to the top. So
much for salt. Cut long story short, it took more than an hour before
they finally gave up the ghost. I then remembered an old trick: Strong,
fresh- brewed coffee is the thing - kills them dead! - Emma, Auckland
Put food scraps in bread bags and store them in the freezer until
rubbish day. This avoids unpleasant smells and means you don't have to
pay for rubbish bags that are only partially full. - Eru, Whangarei
Dishwasher powder is really expensive and this works just as well if not
better: equal parts borax and Baking soda. I bought both in bulk from
Bin Inn. - P.W., Christchurch
Every child I know loves this soup.
750 gm cubed potatoes, 1 bunch of silver beet with stems removed and
roughly chopped. (stems can be sliced up into mince, stew, or stir fry
etc), 5 cups chicken stock (vege stock works just as well), 1 cup of
cheese, 3/4 cup sour cream. Boil potatoes in stock then add silver beet.
When cooked, remove from heat and blend. Add cheese and sour cream.
Season to taste. - Liz,
I make my own washing liquid for the laundry which has saved our family
of seven a fortune over the years. Use 1 cup Lux Soap Flakes (you can
grate a bar of soap but I like the flakes) 1/2 cup washing soda (do not
confuse with baking soda!). Bring 2 litres of water to the boil, drop in
1 cup Lux flakes and stir gently till melted. Remove from heat and add
1/2 cup washing soda and stir until melted. Use a large lidded bucket
that easily contains 10 litres and fill with 8 litres of hot tap water.
Pour the soap mixture into the bucket and stir. You can add drops of
essential oil of your choice to this mixture. It will thicken on
cooling. I use a very long soup paddle and mix it up several times and
use 1/2 cup for a normal sized load. Keep this mixture locked up and
well away from young children. - Tina,
For a toilet cleaner mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour
into the bowl and leave for a few hours or overnight. Scrub the bowl
with a brush and rinse. - Aliza,
Here's a playdough recipe. You will
need: 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 4 tsp cream of tartar, 2 cup
water, 2 tbsp cooking oil, and food colouring of your choice. Mix dry
ingredients together. Add water, oil and colouring. Blend until smooth.
Stir over heat until mixture comes away from the sides and forms a ball.
Tip onto board and knead well then store in an airtight container. This
is really nice playdough. - Aliza,
For the cleanest windows in the world mix Equal parts water, meths and
kerosene [and elbow grease! - ed]. - Miriam, Christchurch
Blue gum trees shed bark as they grow. Collect, cut into suitable lengths
with loppers while moist, allow to dry and use a few on top of paper. Just
as good if not better than pine cones. - M.T.,
our favourite chives die down in the winter and we miss that yummy flavour
in our meals. So why not use onion weed instead? It's a similar
but different flavour, yummy yet mild - and prolific in winter. Most
people have it in the back yard and treat it as a nuisance weed. Enjoy
it in your meals instead. Anywhere you'd use chives, you can use
onion weed, finely chopped. Here's a few suggestions for a quick
scrambled egg or omelette
grilled cheese on toast or in a cheese and onion sandwich - toasted
mashed potatoes (with lots of butter and zap of white or black
hot toast with avocado and lots of black pepper
scones - add cheese if you like.
you have a few extra eggs freeze them. Just beat a couple together and put
in small jar or container and into the freezer. Use for baking or scrambled
eggs and particularly useful for Christmas or birthday cakes. - Jan,
Mary G from Auckland has this rather cheeky tip.
Each week she sneaks a few extra free sachets of salt and pepper
while frequenting fast food outlets! She says it soon adds up. (So too does
the cost of going to the fast food outlets Mary!)
of growing leeks, plant spring onions instead! They will grow just as big as
leeks, have the same taste and are more useful over a longer period. - TB,
daughter loves to give her teacher a gift each year. Not costly, around $10.
However, this year, she decided that she wanted to give a gift to 3 other
teachers and also those who care for her after school. I realised this was
going to be too costly so made a batch of Russian fudge, brought 6 cheap
pretty glass containers from the warehouse, some ribbon and everyone got
lovely ribbon wrapped Russian fudge for a gift! Definitely going to do it
again this year as it's a very cost effective way to cater for all the
teachers. - SG, Wellington.
a tasty tip to use with a tin of baked beans. You will need: 1 x capsicum
diced, 1 x onion diced, 2-3 tablespoons jalapenos, a tin baked beans, and
eggs. Fry capsicum and onion, add jalapenos (mine are from a jar), and baked
beans - stir until hot, drop to a medium heat and crack eggs on top of the
mixture - poaching the eggs on top of the baked beans - serve when eggs to
your liking (I like mine semi-soft) - and enjoy Kids love this and have
requested this several times lately. - Mum of 4 hungry kids, Christchurch.
windows, get one piece of wet newspaper scrunched up into a loose ball and
wipe all over the area of window, rubbing over dirt until it moves then wipe
over with a piece of dry newspaper scrunched into a loose ball until the
area is dry and clear of marks. - LS, Christchurch.
a simple way to make hummus. All you need is 1 tin of chickpeas, 5 cloves of
garlic, and the juice from 1 lemon. Whiz them together in blender, place on
plate add a tablespoon of oil. And we are all set to spread! - Heza,
is an easy way to use passionfruit to make tasty cookies. All you need is:
150g soft butter, 1/2 cup caster sugar, 1 egg, 1/3 cup passionfruit pulp,
and 2 cups self-raising flour. Cream butter and sugar, add egg and beat
well. Stir in passionfruit pulp, then flour. Roll into small balls, place on
baking tray and flatten with a fork. Bake 15 mins at 180C. They can be iced
using 2 cups icing sugar mixed with 35g butter and a few drops vanilla but
they are yummy - and crunchy! -
the year round you can get away without peeling the potatoes - even a little
trimming is okay. When the boiled potatoes are cooked, smash them the usual
make breakfast porridge more appetising whiz a can of fruit to juice and
pour on muesli really tasty and makes a can of fruit go along way. I am
going to try it in my porridge tomorrow. - D.B.,
make my own postcards using a collage option (Picasa have one, as do most
editing programmes). e.g. I did one using various shots of young grandsons
whilst they were here on holiday - printed it at one of the stores for next
to nothing... eh voila a personal postcard. Probably cost less than the
stamp! - Diana,
using rubber gloves I usually find that the glove I use most (being
right-handed) is the one that rips or splits. Splitting one this morning
while cleaning my oven and not wanting to take a trip to get more, I turned
one of the many left gloves I was reluctant to throw away inside and found
that it was quite acceptable for using, so now instead of having 12 useless
gloves I have 6 pairs of gloves to carry on with. - M.E.,
absolutely love your book and I use it in combination with other frugal
advice websites. The amount of information about frugal living available is
astounding. I am a living example of living a frugal life style. I have 4
children and a husband who all have learnt how it works. Mu eldest son is
saving for a house and has told me he would rather pay me rent or board than
putting the money in a stranger's pocket. So he is able to save up for his
own house while helping his family financially by paying board. What
are families for? We are here to look after one another and build each other up.
As a unit we are stronger than when we are scattered. By the way we
love our vege garden and hot water solar heating system Our average power
bill yearly is $140.00 for 6 people in the house! Well I could go on
and on. - Anneke
Check out www.whatsmynumber.org.nz
to see if you can get a cheaper deal on your power. Power companies
constantly change their prices and you may find a cheaper company who won't
lock you in to a contract. - Lucie, Wellington.
How fuel efficient is your car? Click
Calculate the energy cost of your household appliances. See
reader has asked about loo paper... specifically if we use the
"flat roll approach" mentioned on page 107 of Living off the
Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Here is my reply: "Nowadays visitors
are subject to a quota per visit system. Each visitor is provided with a
toilet roll as they are greeted at the door and the number of squares on
that roll inventoried. They are given a usage quota of 1/2 a square per
hour of their stay (or part thereof). On their departure a stock take is
done of the remaining squares on that visitors roll. Visitors can elect
to become part of an emissions trading system (ETS) modelled on the
internationally recognised carbon trading approach, whereby a
group of visitors (typically a family but not necessarily so) may trade
their allocated quota. This we believe is a fair system as it
accommodates individuality and diet. Those visitors who exceed their
tissue allocation are required to provide suitable compensation in cash
or bartered goods (at a rate determined by market pricing), while those
under quota are provided a return invitation." Just kidding.
Oily Rag Ed.
can you do with a can of baked beans
We want to know what you can do with a can of baked beans. send in your
tips and suggestions. Click
For reader tips click here
The Best Comment of the moment is
(drum roll please!)...
have lived the oily rag existence out of necessity. My husband left me and
took our life savings. I had to exist on a benefit which I just hated but
ill health has left me unable to work again.
My biggest savings came from buying nearly everything from our local
hospice shop and local second hand shops. I have bought everything from
clothing to gifts for my family from these shops and I really enjoy buying
from them or having a sniff around. Unfortunately they don't sell food but
by buying home brands or things on special and a very careful shopping list
I can still manage to save money from my benefit. As well I save all gold
coins in my purse left over from shopping trips. It is surprising how fast
it grows. I put them all into a tin I have and last year alone the amount
came to $3000. It was money I never missed at the time, and the money saved
I put towards a lovely holiday with friends. They just could not believe I
had a holiday with the savings I had made from gold coins.
Already this year I have saved $250 so it can be done.” - Lynne,
I think your site is an excellent one and I will be informing our city
Missioner about it too. BTW last year we ran some budgeting and cooking classes for the low
incomed entitled Living on the smell of an oily rag. I took the budgeting one which was quite successful and had requests to speak on
the subject around Wanganui. The base line most found challenging was my statement that shopping for $40 per week per head would allow one to
enjoy not only the basics but some luxuries like chocolate, ice-cream, ginger beer, and the occasional dozen cans for those times my mate wants
to lollygag with a beer. Actually we do more than just fine as we shop only once a month and draw out $340.00.......$320.00 for ALL our
groceries and $20 for petrol for our van.
We are both long-term beneficiaries, I handle the admin side, and so speak from a do as I do point of view. - Lynda.
Rag survey - how do you hang the toilet paper roll?
To see the results so far click here
I am 76 years of
age so was brought up in the days of "waste not want
not". It amazes me sometimes when I see waste especially
electricity eg: lights being left on, food being thrown out when it
could be used the next day, vegetable scraps going down the thing in
the waste disposal unit, huge pieces of land covered in lawn or
weeds instead of it being a vegetable garden etc."
Rosana from Opotiki writes, “Your great oily rag ideas have really
inspired my lifestyle. From Townie to Coastie, now 51 years old it’s
time to get back to nature. We do a swap – hen eggs for duck eggs or a
cake or a batch of fried bread for some cows full-cream milk. But the
best part is making new friends. I am hoping to revive a small orchard
and grow all my veges this summer.”
"Many years ago I read with
delight your Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag and our family have
been leading a very simple life ever since thanks to your wonderful
book! After seeing Good Morning recently it reminded me of just how much
I have got out of your book and thought it would be a wonderful idea to
buy two more for my two oldest children that have since left home. (I
have implemented so many of your ideas in your book over the years, they
are second nature to me and our home now)...
"Thank you so much for a
wonderful book. I hope my son and daughter get as much reward (financial
and contentment knowing they have done it/made it themselves) We are
about to embark on the next adventure of our life – buying a little
bit of land so we will soon be the family on the front of your book –
free range chooks included! Can’t wait to extend our veggie garden and
plant fruit trees and save even more whilst having fun! Also enjoying
your emails on new tips now that I have joined your club." - T.
wee note from Oily Rag Ed'
The contributions that
appear on this site have been entered in the way they have been
submitted. Any editing is of a grammatical nature only (and from time to
time we even add our own grammatical errors!). Our policy is to
not exclude suggestions that some may think unfashionable or not
politically correct. Freedom of expression is one of our oily rag
mottos (actually, we just make up the mottos as we go!). We also do not
test every tip that is sent in and posted on this site, so miracles are
not guaranteed! - Oily Rag Ed
wee note from Oily Rag Ed'
What I enjoy most of all is the
humour of oily raggers We know living off the smell of an oily
rag is fun, and you display that in your comments. Thank you everyone for
sharing your oily rag tips. Just keep on sending them in! - Oily Rag Ed
another wee note from Oily Rag Ed'
We have developed this
site on the smell of an oily rag. We don't employ experts, we just learn
as we go. So don't expect a seven figure site. This is living off the
smell of an oily rag in action! Your thoughts and suggestions for
improvement would be appreciated. - Oily Rag Ed