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More Tips and Interesting Questions

Oily raggers have been busy again, sharing their tips and asking really good oily rag questions.

 Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman

Oily raggers have been busy again, sharing their tips and asking really good oily rag questions.

Firstly, the new tips. Cat from Auckland has a great tip to save money on water during what is looking like another dry summer. “We have just moved into a rental in Auckland and heard from our neighbours that last summer the landlady charged the last tenants a lot for summer water rates.  We want to avoid any drama with unexpected unaffordable fees and have arranged with the landlady to attach a big plastic drum under the vertical spouting pipe coming off the garage.  It will be easy to put back together when we move out and it’s another great water source for our garden.”  

Nige from Wellington has one of those fancy fuel consumption devices which we have been keeping an eye on. “Since getting my recent car which shows your fuel consumption as you drive, I have adopted the 'using gravity' approach to driving. I was amazed to see that when cruising I'm using around 7 or 8 litres per 100 km but when accelerating you can use in excess of 20 litres per 100 – do the maths yourself! The converse to accelerating is braking. Take your foot of the accelerator well in advance of your braking point and let the car slow down. You will save money while not accelerating and jumping on the brakes at the last minute. Driving smoother can also save lives as well as money… happy motoring.”

Mishka from Mooloolaba in Australia is an oily rag reader. “I love crumbed steak and I remember my Mum making this. She did it the hard way – I cheat and buy the ready made crumbs! I buy two or three slices of lean topside and then pound them with a tenderiser and cut the slices into meal size pieces. I crumb them the normal way with egg and milk etc but the crumbs are the secret. I use a ‘no name’ stuffing mix and at 75cents a packet it goes a long way. I then place all the steak in the fridge for an hour or more then simply cook it and freeze it. I cook it as it comes out of the freezer as the crumbs tend to go soggy if you let them defrost first. Serve with mashed potato and fresh beans or peas and carrots. I have kept this steak in my freezer up to 3 months and it's as fresh as a daisy. BTW I wrap it in cling wrap then in foil.”

Susan from Whangaparaoa is after an economical recipe for ice-cream. If you can help Susan please drop us a line at

Another reader has written to us about the cost of cigarettes and then asked about the savings that can be made by giving up the habit. With all the media attention about kids living in poverty, we thought it would be a good exercise to see what can be bought for the $14.20 it costs for a packet of 20 cigarettes. Here are some examples using online supermarket prices.

You could buy 1kg bacon, or four packets of 500g butter, four dozen eggs, four 680g jars of fruit jam, seven packets of 500g cornflakes, a size 18 whole chicken, eight loaves of 600g sliced bread, 7kg of fresh carrots, 6kg of potatoes, eleven 420g cans of baked beans, a 700g rump roast, 1.2kg beef mince, seven litres of milk, 3kg of fresh apples, and so on!

After a year, that’s a very large pile of food for the person smoking one packet of cigarettes a day.

Send in your favourite penny pinching tips by visiting the oily rag website or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

The book Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available online at

* 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