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Oily Rag - Milk, tots and teens

Oily Rag - Milk, tots and teens

By Frank and Muriel Newman

This week we dip into our mailbox and find great ways to save on the milk money and we have some money saving suggestions for tots and teens.

Bernie from Christchurch writes, “Being a one-person household, I find that milk often goes off before I can finish the budget-priced 2 litre container I have bought. To get around this, I decant the milk into recycled plastic cream bottles and freeze, leaving enough room at the top for expansion. I just take one out every couple of days and defrost on the bench overnight. And, for hot drinks, I keep a small container of instant skim milk powder next to the tea and coffee canisters. To use, just stir a teaspoon of milk powder straight into the hot cup of tea or coffee. It is so convenient, dissolves instantly and although I am a fussy person when it comes to food, I can't even tell the difference from fresh milk - but best of all, neither can my friends! Skim milk powder makes great custard too - just mix together 2 tablespoons of custard powder, 2 tablespoons of sugar and half a cup of milk powder in a 2 litre Pyrex jug. Add half a cup of cold water and mix to a smooth paste with a balloon whisk. Top up with one and a half cups of cold water and stir well. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes, or until thick, stirring every minute.”

Now, there are lots of ways for tots and teens to participate in the joys of the oily rag lifestyle.

Reader M.H says, “We made our children a play area using sawdust instead of sand and an old bath instead of a paddling pool - it's deeper and elicits louder screams of delight.”

TwinMum from Christchurch says, “Don't bother buying cot sheets - they look pretty, but your child will outgrow the cot in a year or two. Instead, buy and use single bed sheets, which (if you buy the right ones) will last the child until it leaves home! Simply fold them in half when using them in a cot.”

M.W says, “The best money I have ever spent on toys for my children is my annual toy library membership. Our toy library has no per toy charge. We get a wide range of toys and puzzles and they get changed every two weeks so the kids always have something new and interesting. The second best money I spent on toys was a set of coloured wooden blocks (a gift actually) which we added to until we had over 100. When my eldest girls were three and four they literally spent three hours a day for months playing quietly with them. (I expect these children to grow up to be architects and engineers as a result!)”

Dee from Whangarei says, “We bought a near-new baby buggy on Trademe for a fraction of the new price. It goes a treat and we are sure to get our money back when baby has outgrown it.”

There are heaps of cool money making opportunities for older children. Ideas include: raking leaves in the leafy well-to-do ‘burbs, buying and selling second hand goods, babysitting, shopping for the neighbours, house cleaning (yeah right!), picking and selling fruit, selling flowers from your garden (ask mum first!), growing and selling Xmas trees, convincing mum and dad to increase your pocket money if you get better grades at school(!), standing in a queue (every queue is an opportunity and the longer the queue the higher the standing price), recycling aluminium cans, delivering papers and pamphlets, lawn mowing, making greeting cards for friends and relatives, car washing, giving computer help to those who are new to computers (and still searching for the on button!), collecting autographs (and selling them on Trademe), cleaning computers, busking or street drama (drama comes easy to kids!), entering competitions, collecting golf balls or acting as a caddy, retrieving tennis balls so your friends and family can spend more time playing and less time finding the ball, tutoring younger kids, walking dogs… the list is endless!

With winter now upon us, why not send us some of your favourite low-cost hearty recipes to share with the oily rag community, by visiting or by writing to Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.


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