By Frank and Muriel Newman
The mail bags have been full of great tips and titillations from those wanting to make a dollar buy two dollars worth of goods, and how to make the most of what we have around us.
Michelle from Whangarei writes, “My 2 year old loves books so rather than buying new books I go to second hand bookstores and buy them for $1-$3 each. This is also a good way to sell or swap books you no longer want.”
Arna from Auckland has this chilly bin tip. “Freezing the biggest bottle of milk you can find lasts longer in the chilly bin than frozen water. It serves to keep the bin cold and also to give milk for drinks. 2 large frozen bottles can keep the chilly bin cold for 4 days.”
J.O. from Christchurch says, “Special toothpaste for sensitive teeth? No more. I've been using warm water (saved from the jug in a thermos flask) and ordinary, cheap toothpaste to brush my teeth and rinse. Works well!”
Biggs from Dunedin has this rubbishy tip. “I did not like the smell of my rubbish bag sitting there for a week with the weekly food left-overs waiting to be collected, so I came up with this idea: I put all my food waste (bones etc.) in a bag in my freezer and mark it with a big black cross, just to remind me. Then I only place it in the rubbish when I have enough to fill the freezer bag. Not only did I get rid of the smell but I only need to put my rubbish out every third week, instead of weekly so I save on two rubbish bags!”
Carol from Christchurch has some tips about taking the shock out of your power bill, and some other good advice as well. “We have quite a reasonable size home but have been able to keep our power account to around $100-$120 a month. I turn off every possible switch before I go to bed at night (also when leaving a room or when finishing using the appliance). I turn off the coffee maker, the washing machine, the clothes dryer, the dishwasher, the kettle, at the wall, as soon as I have finished using them. Anything on standby (i.e. the switch left turned on even if the appliance isn’t running) uses power. We reduced the hot water cylinder down to 55 degrees even though we are on night rate water heating and it is turned off between 7am - 9pm. (This is on a special meter which automatically shuts down every day.) I have taken to using up stale-ish bread by making old-fashioned bread and butter pudding. I have been buying eggs in a tray instead of a dozen - you get lots of specials at supermarket. I now bake more often and don’t buy biscuits etc. I even make my own ice cream now – it’s easy and the family prefer it to bought brands.”
Talking about energy costs - the Energywise website has a very good calculator for working out the cost of running household appliances. It can be found at energywise.govt.nz/tools/running-costs-calculator. For example a heat pump running 8 hours a day is likely to cost between $90 and $110 a month depending on the energy efficiency. The site also has a page where you can compare the fuel consumption of your car against others. A reader from Whangarei has proudly told us about their recent trip to Rotorua. By driving at a constant speed of about 95kmh on the open roads and a light foot on the gas peddle they were able to achieve fuel consumption of 6.7 litres per 100km, instead of 8.5 litres for normal driving. That’s a fuel saving of over 20%!
Do you have a money-saving tip you
would like to share with others? If so, please send your
ideas to us at www.oilyrag.co.nz or write to Living off
the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984,
*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.