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Corporate chooks, ticker tapes, and more…

Corporate chooks, ticker tapes, and more…

by Frank and Muriel Newman
Week of June 30, 2014

We have had lots of mail regarding last week’s column about chooks.

Karen from Morrinsville writes, “I was smiling from ear to ear reading about hens/poultry. We have 15 head of poultry at the moment- some roosters and some hens mostly about 12 weeks old and rare breeds. I spend a lot of time with them each day as they are just fantastic to watch. This week my hubby and I were planting fruit trees in the new orchard and I turned around and all 15 were sitting on the tree branch in their run watching us. They had that ‘what are you doing’ look on their faces. Then this afternoon our son was building them new laying boxes in their house and when I looked in through the run cage all 15 were sitting on the ground in a line watching what he was doing. They have such personalities - each and every one - and bring me a lot of joy every day.”

Bernie from Christchurch says, “I work in a large corporate office where most days there are catered meetings but it would break your heart the amount of high-quality food that gets thrown in the bin. As I keep three hens in my backyard, I started a “chook bucket” in the office kitchen and now all the leftovers go home to three very appreciative ladies each night - sometimes they eat better than I do!” Great idea Bernie. Now here’s a challenge for all you corporates and government agencies that claim to be environmentally friendly: have a chook bucket and add “Chook friendly” to your corporate credentials (and on your business cards!).

Patricia from Auckland has this very good tip for saving money at the supermarket. “Check your docket! I did this a year ago and found I'd been overcharged. Luckily my supermarket has a scanning policy to let you keep overcharged items and refunds what you've paid as well. Since that day I check every week and find that I'm regularly overcharged and I've never found it works the other way. So savings as well as keeping the supermarket honest!”

There are a few other tips we suggest for supermarket shopping:

• Think of your grocery bill in terms of work hours. If your after tax pay is say $15 an hour (in the hand) then a $150 grocery shop is 10 hours of hard labour!
• Don’t shop when you are hungry. Those rotisserie chickens are just too tempting, and the cream donuts... oh they are irresistible!
• Always check out the specials before you shop.
• If you do buy fruit and vegetables, then only buy in season. Better still grow your own.
• Shop at supermarkets near closing time to pick up the last minute bargains of perishable items.
• Ask your local deli if they have “end pieces” - the ends left over that they can’t reach when cutting with the electric slicer.
• Allow plenty of time to compare prices and find those hidden specials. This may involve complex calculations like dividing the price by the quantity so take a calculator!
• When shopping look on the lower shelves for the specials and cheaper alternatives. The least expensive items are usually the least convenient to reach!

Patricia also has this very good tip. “I've given up glad wrap long ago and find that the plastic supermarket vegetable bags work very well in the microwave and for storing leftovers in the fridge.” The vegetable bags are the very thin but very strong plastic bags you will find on a roll in the supermarket vegetable area. As Patricia says, they are very handy in the kitchen.

Vicky from Wellington has this bathroom cleaner recipe. “White vinegar mixed with baking soda. Rub it on water spots on a shower door, leave for a few minutes then wipe clean. Far more effective than anything else I've ever bought!”

Don’t forget to send your money-saving tips 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.


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 The book is available from bookstores and online at

© Scoop Media

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