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Money Saving Tips From Frugal Readers

Frugal living is thriving, and the mail bags have been overflowing with creative ways to keep more dollars in your pockets and purse.

Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman

Frugal living is thriving, and the mail bags have been overflowing with creative ways to keep more dollars in your pockets and purse. Our oily rag webmaster was telling up the other day that we get more than 100,000 visitors to web site a year – most from Oilyragaroa but an increasing number from overseas. This week we have a tip from Scotland, but first, some suggestions from the Bay of Plenty area.

P.R. from Kawerau has a couple of good ides – the first, a nifty tip for a mini garden: “Use a couple of old car tyres placed on top of each other, then put all your potato peelings inside, covered with some compost and dirt, then topped up with lawn clippings. Before long, you'll have a tyre full of fresh potatoes.”

P.R. also writes, “When cleaning your wood box out, or cleaning your wood shed, shovel all remaining bits of wood etc onto some newspaper then wrap up. This can be placed into your fire when lighting it or as a quick fire boost.”

Lisa from Whakatane is bubbly about bubble wrap: “In response to your article about keeping warm in winter I would like to share my enthusiasm for bubble wrap. It simply sticks on a window with a little water. It is amazing what a big difference it makes to the temperature in the house. If you’re lucky you can find free bubble wrap (some businesses receive their goods in it and throw it away), but it is not too expensive at stationary retailers. On frosted windows it is hardly visible. On windows with a view (such as the living room) I put it up when I draw the curtains and take it down again in the morning. I am very very happy with it.” What a great use for bubble wrap!

Penny from Balquhidder in Scotland writes, “I was reading in the soap category, that someone was looking for Pearsons sand soap. On the internet [eBay] I saw lots of what is called 'pumice soap' which is the same thing – much beloved by chimney sweeps, motor cycle restorers and farmers. If one is mushing up ends of soap, why not add some pumice powder and make your own?”

Impala writes from Lower Hutt, “There are many very good markets other than Farmers Markets. For example, the Lower Hutt Riverbank market attracts massive crowds – the main attraction is still the fruit and vegetables.”

S from Christchurch has a tip for making silver beet more appealing to young ones: “Children prefer the taste of the coloured "Bright Lights" silver beet as it is sweeter tasting than regular silver beet. Looks more interesting too.” What a great addition to a children’s garden!

A reader from Wanganui has a question for oil raggers. “I am looking for a bread slicer for my home. I saw one for $55 dollars which was too expensive for me. An electric knife makes it easier but won’t give even slices. If somebody knows about a not very expensive bread slicer, please let me know”. If you can help out, contact us via the and we will pass your comments on.

May from Northland replies to a tip from Tamzin who was turning her water cylinder off at night but finding her power bill was not going down: “What's happening is that the power is being used heating the water up again. This will keep happening so it's better to leave it on and find other ways to save costs, like getting rid of leaks, limiting hot water usage, and insulating the hot water cylinder.” The general Oily Rag Rule of Thumb is that if you have a modern cylinder it’s not likely to be worth your while turning it off – unless you are heading away for about a week.

Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. If you have a favourite money-making or money-saving tip, please send it in to us so that we can share it with others. You can contact us via 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