It's time to dig into the mail bags again and reveal readers' tips. It's amazing that after 20 years of collecting frugal living tips, readers can still come up with new and innovative ways to make more from what they have around them.
Here's a case in point.
M.E. from Auckland writes, "When using rubber gloves I usually find the glove I use most - being right-handed - is the one that rips or splits. Splitting one this morning while cleaning my oven and not wanting to take a trip to get more, I turned one of the many left-hand gloves I was reluctant to throw away inside out. I found that it was quite acceptable for using and instead of having 12 useless gloves I now have six pairs of gloves to carry on with."
Here is how Waste Not Want Nots from Whangarei make use of the abundant harvest from their passionfruit vine. "Use passionfruit to make tasty cookies. All you need is: 150g soft butter, 1/2 cup caster sugar, 1 egg, 1/3 cup passionfruit pulp, and 2 cups self-raising flour. Cream butter and sugar, add egg and beat well. Stir in passionfruit pulp, then flour. Roll into small balls, place on baking tray and flatten with a fork. Bake 15 mins at 180C. They can be iced but they are yummy and crunchy as is!"
Tired of peeling spuds? Faye from Auckland says there's no need to peel potatoes when mashing. "You can usually get away without peeling potatoes - just trim a little. When the boiled potatoes are cooked, smash them the usual way."
D.B. from Featherston has this tip for making breakfast porridge more appetising. "Whiz a can of fruit to juice and pour it on porridge. It is really tasty and makes a can of fruit go a long way."
Diana from Whakatane has this money saving tip. "I 'make' my own postcards using a collage option - Picasa have one, as do most editing programs. I did one using various shots of young grandsons while they were here on holiday - printed it at one of the stores for next to nothing ... It probably cost less than the stamp!"
Diana has also sent in a number of excellent fish recipes that have been posted on the Oily Rag website. Here's one for baked fish: "Place mashed potato in bottom of shallow Pyrex dish and place hake or cod fillets on top of the mash - after dipping first into melted butter. Bake until fish is cooked, about 12-15 minutes at 180C. Mix together 1/2 cup of mayo, 1/2 cup of grated cheese, 2 egg yolks, a tsp of dried mustard, and stir into the whisked egg whites. Place over cooked fish and bake until nicely browned in a moderate oven."
Raglob from Dunedin also has a fishy recipe. "Raw fish salads are great. Dice pieces of fish, mix with chopped red onion, red peppers, celery, tomatoes, and other favourite ingredients, then pour over a vinaigrette dressing. This salad is good left to marinate for a while, but can be scoffed as soon as it's mixed."
Lynne from Dunedin writes, "I have lived the oily rag existence out of necessity. My husband left and took our life savings. I had to exist on a benefit, which I just hated, but ill health has left me unable to work again. My biggest savings came from our local hospice shop and second-hand stores. I have bought everything from clothing to gifts from these shops. Unfortunately, they don't sell food, but by buying home brands or things on special and using a shopping list I can still save money from my benefit. I save all of the gold coins in my purse left over from shopping trips. I put them all into a tin I have and last year the amount came to $3000. It was money I never missed at the time. I put the money saved towards a holiday with friends. I have already saved $250 this year."
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