Christchurch has had its share of troubles over the past few years, but oily rag habits are helping see some of its residents through tough financial times. This week we feature tips from Cantabrians, and throw in a few tips received from Australian readers.
Y.M. from Christchurch writes, "Don't waste money buying garden twine. Grow a small flax bush and use pieces of the leaves. You may pay for the flax bush once, but you will have it forever." (Cabbage tree leaves also work well!)
Anne has been feeling the Christchurch cold but has an interesting solution. "I have a lightweight polar fleece throw rug that's sometimes on my bed. One night I was cold in bed, but didn't want to get out of bed to find another blanket or fill a hottie. Instead, I dragged the throw into the bed with me and sort of cocooned myself in it. It was amazingly effective - I stayed cosy all night. I think it works because my body heat is trapped really close to my body instead of having to warm the whole bed. I certainly notice a difference in temperature in the rest of the bed. If I drag the fleece blanket from on top of the bed to between the sheets, I'm warmer."
L. McCall has a timely tip. "I bought a Michael Hill watch quite a few years ago. The best thing about buying their brand is that when your battery goes flat every couple of years take it in and they put a new one in for free! I have had two free batteries so far and the watch is going strong. It has to have the MH emblem on the watch face."
Norelle Owen has a comment about the bubble wrap phenomenon. "We bought a huge 30m roll of bubble wrap for $16 at Mitre 10 Mega, along with foam tape, for lining the window joins in our damp, draughty rental. Apparently the demand for bubble wrap has been overwhelming. "
E.L. suggests living in a motor home/bus/van can be inexpensive. "Join the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association to get tips about places where you can still camp for free." See www.nzmca.org.nz
Plingie writes, "Making your own baby food can save hundreds. Easy but not the cheapest: buy tinned fruit and puree it, then freeze in ice-cube trays. Cheapest but a bit more labour-intensive: Boil your own veges and puree and freeze as above. Just cook extra when you're making family meals and puree it and freeze. When it's frozen in ice-cube trays you simply pop them out and use one or two at a time. Perfect for baby-sized portions."
Old dame from Mooloolaba, Queensland writes: "I live in a small unit with a courtyard. I buy potting mix, which I put directly into bags. I bury the bags in the courtyard and plant directly into them by simply cutting small slits in the bag.
"No mess no fuss. I also have a potato with lots of eyes on it that I have saved to plant for new potatoes, and I am thinking about tomatoes - who knows what I can grow in those bags."
Don't forget to let us know if you have a favourite money-saving tip so we can share it with other oily raggers, here and overseas.
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 at www.oilyrag.co.nz.