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Fantastic Money Saving Tips

8683 Money Present
8683 Money Present

 Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman

Frugality is continuing to sweep through the nation faster than a winter flu. More and more people are joining the oily rag community and enjoying the wholesome benefits, the titillations, and financial savings of a frugal lifestyle.  Here are some of the tips received this week.

Melanie KB from Auckland has this excellent easy and super cheap ice cream recipe. “Freeze left over ripe bananas in slices or chunks. Blend in a food processor until ice cream consistency. Add flavouring ideas – like shredded coconut, a splash of cream or coconut milk, a spoonful of Milo or cocoa, nuts, peanut butter, chocolate chips. Give it one more blast and you’re good to go. Easy, cheap, healthy and yummy!

Carol from Adelaide has this unique money-saving idea. “I am using my coffee maker to cook my small meals. It uses less power than the slow cooker! Great for cooking 2 minute noodles, eggs, fish, chicken, veges… lots of thing's you can do with it – just use your imagination!”

Shih Tzu Mum from Auckland has a number of tips:

  • At our place I make all our costly sauces and recently some other things, rather than buy their pre-made relatives. Everything from hummus, tabouleh, satay, pasta sauce, aioli, mayonnaise, and pesto. I bulk buy ingredients such as olive and sunflower oils, and grow all my own herbs. And best thing – next to low cost – is everything is natural, fresh and without a single artificial ingredient or preservative. I found it took me ages to make this stuff to start with, but now I can easily whip up a fresh satay or pasta sauce in 5 minutes when I get home from work. My advice for those wanting to start out – have a decent recipe, the right supply of ingredients and the right tools for the job.
  • I tend to bake once a fortnight. Purchasing ingredients in bulk is best value for money and making 2-3 items at a time is the most energy efficient. All my recipes come from my Grandmother's old handwritten recipe books. I will mix and match recipes so we have a combination of eat fresh and eat from the freezer recipes. While home baking is not necessarily the cheapest way to 'get' your sweet indulgences, I have found they last longer than the commercial rubbish as you only need 1 or 2 to get the satisfaction. All of that aside, all my baking has real ingredients, not ingredients with numbers as names and they taste soooo much better!
  • We shop at the supermarket once per month, meat shop once every 3 months and vege/milk/bread shop weekly. I spend no more than $250 for the month for 2 people on general groceries – which is $29 per person per week for food.  This also includes lunches for work. I buy meat in bulk, package into meal size portions and freeze. I do not buy pasta sauces or satays etc – I make them all from scratch.  Initially I thought it was much more expensive to home make, but that is really only for the initial outlay for specialised products.
  • Buying ingredients in bulk is the way to go, but only if you have the capacity to store what is left over. Using fresh herbs grown in your garden makes for very tasty seasoning – easy to grow herbs are mint, parsley, basil, chives, coriander and thyme.
  • And my final oilyrag suggestion is to run a household system which is "one product in use and 1 spare” in the cupboard.  This works out well, particularly for cleaning products. I will often buy 2 spares if these are on special.

A couple of oily raggers have some questions they would like to ask readers:

  • Sylvia from Napier asks, “Has anyone got a recipe to cook rhubarb with not much sugar but adding baking soda to the cooked rhubarb?”
  • Bob from Tauranga asks, “I need help. I have a swag of pumpkins coming on in the garden. I would love to hear from those with favourite pumpkin recipes – for breakfast, lunch, dinner or desert!”

If you can help out Sylvia or Bob, we would be pleased to hear from you.

Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. If you have a favourite tip then share it with others via or post it to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei 0140.

* 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