Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman
Its holiday time, which for many is about sharing, caring, and food. Food usually plays a major part in the festive conviviality’s and social engagements so our thoughts once again turned to ways to entertain family and friends with frugality and fun. While entertaining at home is likely to offer the best value meal, never let it be said that those living off the smell of an oily rag don’t eat out. Oily raggers deserve a night out wining and dining from time to time, but in true frugal form they will be looking to do it at the cheapest possible price.
That does not mean you have to resort to lurking and lingering ready to swoop on leftovers at the local fast food joint. Here are some more civilised suggestions.
- Next time you go to a restaurant for dinner, order pass on the drinks order and ask for water instead. It's free.
- Keep an eye out for kids-eat-free deals or 2 for 1 deals. Take along a buddy, and split the cost so you both save.
- Have an entrée instead of a main and share a desert – just ask for two spoons – or skip the desert and make desert at home.
- Some restaurants offer an early-bird menu for early diners, or have a late lunch as the lunch menu is usually cheaper.
- Share a plate. Most restaurants will allow two people to share a plate for no additional cost.
- Seniors should ask if the establishment offer a senior citizen discount. A well-to-do oily rag couple in Auckland are always on the lookout for senior specials – it’s their Sunday afternoon treat and a source of great pleasure when they ruminate on the savings which they are happy to brag about with all and sundry!
- Check out any dining discount coupons. The coupons usually appear in local newspapers, in your mail box as junk mail, and even on the internet and are likely to appear more often when trading is a little slow – as it is nowadays! Read the fine print as often they have conditions attached, like dining on certain days or times. Recidivist diners may find savings by purchasing a book of discount coupons that are promoted commercially or as community fundraisers.
- Check out the ethnic restaurants operating from low-profile mall alley that only the locals know about. They run it off the smell of an oily rag and pass the savings onto their customers!
- Sporting clubs and RSAs usually have big good value meals.
- If you are going out for a group dinner, ask for a fixed price at the time of making the booking. Think of it like a bulk discount.
- Ask if the menu comes with chips and salad/vegetables, before ordering side dishes.
- Ask about the banquet meal and work out if it is cheaper than ordering individual dishes.
Dining out may need not involve going to a commercial establishment. A reader from Hawera writes, “My brother and his wife, along with 2-5 other couples eat out at each others house once a month. They each have a course to prepare and take. For example, they might go to friend #1's place this month and take entree. Next month, they go to friend 2's place and take mains. The month after, they might stay home and make desert. This has been working for several years now.”
Dining out is a great way to get out of the house and give the chief cook and bottle washer a day off – and don’t they deserve it!
Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available from all good bookstores or online at www.oilyrag.co.nz If you have a favourite living off the smell of an oily rag tips, share it with others by visiting the oily rag website or write 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 www.oilyrag.co.nz. The book is available from bookstores and online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.