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Happy penny-pinching holidays

Happy penny-pinching holidays

By Frank and Muriel Newman

9 January 2014

It’s the holiday time of the year and oily raggers are out and about enjoying themselves. So here are some ways to make these holidays fun, enjoyable, and relaxing, without stressing out about the cost!

Go camping. Borrow the gear, or if you must buy it look for second-hand equipment, which is a fraction of the new cost - although one has to admit that even the new stuff is pretty cheap nowadays. Your local information centre will have details of freedom camping sites if you don’t want to use camping grounds, and don’t forget to pack your fishing gear so you can feast on free fish.

Why not holiday at home? Pitch a tent on the lawn. For “holiday” activities, do all of those “odd jobs” that never seem to get done - or use the time to preserve fruit and vegetables, make curtains, collect firewood, or put in a raised garden.  All of these things will save you money. If you need a break, why not explore local sites and events - there is so much going on in our own communities that we never seem to have the time to see. Have you been on the local bush walks, or ridden the bike trails? What about viewing local gardens or roaming the galleries.

Have you thought about staying with relations - that’s if you can put up with them, and they with you! Why not work on a reciprocal arrangement - you stay with them and they stay with you, or better still, house swap with them. There are lots of house swapping networks listed on the web if you want to extend the arrangement beyond those you know. Basically you start out by joining one of more of the listing agencies (fees vary) which will allow you to list your house and search through the directory.

And for those who are footloose and fancy free, what about couch surfing. There are thousands of couches waiting to be slept on. It works a bit like a social networking site. You put up your profile and list your couch on the couchsurfing website. People make contact and sleep on your couch when they are passing through on their travels, and you get to sleep on members’ couches when you are cruising around. Google Couchsurfing New Zealand.

If flying these holidays be sure to take advantage of frequent flyer points. An oily ragger writes, “One year we arranged a trip to the United States. It would normally have cost an arm and a leg but we cut the cost in half by buying a ticket to Honolulu (we had to fly economy because the baggage compartment was full!) and then a special rate ‘within US’ ticket to take us to mainland America. But the real bonus was we accumulated so many points crisscrossing America that we earned the equivalent of a bonus flight to the USA (or four flights to Australia). 

For airfares check out Air New Zealand’s deal site, grabaset.co.nz. At the time of writing, you could grab a seat from Auckland to Nelson for $59 each way.

There are also cheap deals to be had on campervans and cars. Rental companies are often looking for drivers to deliver vehicles to a desired destination. For example, a deal available now is driving a 6-berth campervan from Queenstown to Christchurch with an earliest pick up on 24 January and latest delivery 3 days later for just $5 a day. (There are of course conditions, but you get the general idea.). Google standby cars.

If you’re travelling overseas, enquire about the availability of standby tickets. We also are aware of people overseas who act as air couriers. These are passengers who accept the responsibility of carrying time-sensitive documents (or freight) on board their flight on behalf of a third-party. In most cases they are able to get flights at little or no cost, but of course the “cost” is the scheduling inconvenience so it will not suit most holidaymakers.

One oily ragger says they are using one of their four weeks to take on casual work. Their thinking is now that they are legally entitled to four weeks holiday instead of three, they may as well work a week and get paid twice!

Let us know if you have some special summer tips you would like to share with others. You can contact us (and join our newsletter list) through our website www.oilyrag.co.nz or by writing to us at Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

*Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at www.oilyrag.co.nz. The book is available from bookstores and online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.

ENDS

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