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More Money Saving Tips from Readers

 Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman 

Yet again we are reminded how inventive and creative the oily rag community is. Here are more money saving tips that have arrived in our mail bag recently.

Rosana from Opotiki writes, “The great oily rag ideas have really inspired my lifestyle. From Townie to Coastie, now 51 years old it’s time to get back to nature. We do a swap – hen eggs for duck eggs or a cake or a batch of fried bread for some cows’ full-cream milk. But the best part is making new friends. I am hoping to revive a small orchard and grow all my veggies this summer.”

Dee from Culverden has a variation from the old clean the windows with newspaper trick: “Clean windows with scrunched up newspaper and vinegar. Wipe off with a dry cloth. Works every time!”

Betty from Masterton has a toy tip: “Halve children's toys, and store in the ceiling for six months… then swap them over.”

B.H. from Pakaraka says, “I have a use for the small extra pieces of pvc guttering. I buy 2 stop ends for the piece and glue into place and this makes a great feeding trough for my chooks.”

Lil from Whangarei says, “Here are some of the tips I use when cooking potatoes. If I need to bake potatoes fast I precook them in boiling water for about 10 or 15 minutes. I coat them with cooking oil before placing in a roasting dish. It reduces the baking time to less than ten minutes. Another trick is to put a metal skewer through the potato. The skewer acts as a heat conductor that delivers heat to the centre of the potato.”

Carolyn from Otorohanga says, “Seven of my friends and I have given up smoking by reading Allen Carr's ‘Easyway To Stop Smoking’ book.  It worked for all of us, cost a lot less than patches or lozenges and we have all been free for over a year.  We have all saved $000's.” (The book is available from libraries.)

Kris from Kerikeri says, “Being a traditional oily rag type of person I don't like to throw things away. I even ‘recycle’ citrus peel! I dry the peel on a plate when using the oven. After it is dry I grate or crush it and store the "spice" in an air tight jar and use it in baking to add flavour.”

On a similar citric theme, Heather from Owaka in South Otago writes, “When I buy oranges, I always grate the skin and use it for adding to recipes (muesli, puddings, cakes, muffins etc). I freeze any grated zest I haven't used for a later date.”

Mum of Two from Auckland has a tip for treating head lice. “Add 1-2 drops of tea tree oil to a bit of shampoo in the palm of your hand at bath time and wash hair as normal and rinse out.  Repeat 2-3 times weekly, & comb hair with a nit comb to remove dead lice.  Watch it doesn't get into the eyes as it can sting, and smells quite strongly.”

Joan from Tauranga says, “I make the most of a tin of salmon by adding grated carrot. It bulks it up and makes it go twice as far.”
While on the subject of food, we want to know what you can do with a can of baked beans! Send in your tips or visit

Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available from all good bookstores or online at If you have some favourite money-saving or money-making tips, share them 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 The book is available from bookstores and online at