Favourite Tips for Cheap Living
Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman
The mail bags have been full of really good tips from the oily rag community. At this time of the year many oily raggers are enjoying daily reminders about the virtues of the self-help oily rag lifestyle as they reap the harvest from their oily rag gardens and fruit trees.
This week, one of our international readers has lots of shopping tips (which just goes to show how international the oily rag movement has become).
Helen from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland writes:
- I have a friend who brings me day old bread rolls. I freeze them and when I want to use them I reheat them in a turbo oven which uses less energy than a microwave.
- With meals, I cook up a storm and will make a fortnight’s worth of dinners to freeze - same with deserts. As I tend to cook from my mum’s old cookbook I have found some wonderfully cheap meals.
- I have a 2 single burner gas camping stove that I frequently use for simmering and quick fry items.
- I have an ice cream churn and make my own from scratch.
- I buy cheap steak and pound it, cut up, and dip in a flour/egg/milk mix and then into a cheap seasoned stuffing mix to coat it for crumbed steak.
- To make butter go further I mix light olive oil into some butter and whip it. It almost doubles the amount and still tastes like butter. I can put it in the fridge and will still be able to spread it as and when needed.
- When my favourite vegies are on sale at a good price, I buy extra to blanch and freeze.
- I buy my clothes at op shops.
- My oven is rarely turned on and has become a storage space for my bake ware.
MN from Hastings has a number of great tips:
- Fritters are a good way to use up left-overs. If making fritters with meat or fish, you will find a little goes a long way. Sweet corn fritters are also a yummy snack. Keep a can of corn in the pantry for unexpected visitors.
- If making tea for more than one person use a tea pot. You won't need the equivalent of one tea-bag per person.
- Use egg replacement powder (great for egg allergies, but cheap as well!) – it’s cheaper than eggs and very convenient for meat loaves, pikelets, etc.
- To cut down on cooking costs make "one-pot" meals or use a steamer on top of the frying pan or sauce pan. Steamed vegies are much healthier too.
- Use bacon stock to add flavour - without the expense - especially in soups and stews. If you do purchase bacon, ask for ends, they are much cheaper.
GP writes, “Pumpkins freeze well. Cut into meal sized pieces, clean the pulp from the centres and freeze in plastic bags. Do not thaw before using - put straight into the water or roasting dish for cooking. Alternatively, pulp the pumpkins – freeze in ice cream containers, and use for soup or jam as the time permits.”
And BP has this imaginative tip when harvesting cabbage from your oily rag garden. “If requiring a small amount of fresh cabbage, simply cut a wedge from the cabbage and leave the rest growing!”
MW has saved thousands of dollars making their own bread. “I am sitting in my kitchen looking at our bread maker. We have saved thousands of dollars a year using our bread maker! We are a family of bread eaters (for breakfast, lunch and snacks) and I normally make two loaves per day at a cost of 50 cents per loaf. Prior to buying bread maker I bought 10 loaves a week, but I only had one toddler and a baby who hadn’t started on bread yet. I sold an unused item to partly fund the purchase price of the bread maker, and after 3 years 8 months we have probably make 2600 loaves, at a saving of at least $1 each. It takes only 2-4 minutes to put on a loaf of bread, and it’s also a good topic of conversation.”
Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. If you have a favourite tip then share it with others via www.oilyrag.co.nz
or post it to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei 0140. * 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.