Oily Rag Budget 2012

22:33, May 27 2012

Last week was Budget week for the government.

This year our learned politicians in Wellington have recognised the electoral dangers of using the “austerity” word, so they are now preferring the much brighter connotations of “fiscal responsibility” - which really means living off the smell of an oily rag! Changing the language does not change the fact that for most, financial success comes at a price or an inconvenience, so we have come up with our own Oily Rag Budget.

Inconvenience is not something many wannabe families welcome so we imagine this Oily Rag Budget statement will not be greeted by foot-stomping applause by some, or many.

The principle theme behind the Oily Rag Budget 2012 is this simple reality: If you want to save more you have to either spend less or earn more. 

Earning more means spending less time in front of the TV and more time on income earning activities - a second or third job for example, or turning that hobby into an income stream. Even an additional $100 a year can create a massive financial gain when that money is used to repay your mortgage. Yes, we appreciate spending more time working and less time on the couch may be inconvenient, but you have to learn to live with it or even better start enjoying work - if you want the benefits. In other words, get stuck in!

Spending less means not spending money you don’t have. The easiest budget is the cash in the bank budget. Whatever is in your bank is the maximum that you have available to spend. The “hitch” is that before your money ends up in the bank you need to take care of the basics: mortgage repayments or rent, and savings (like Kiwisaver but it could also be a bank savings account).

Those who don’t save will always live on Struggle Street and will have to depend on others to survive. The alternative is to save and if that means living off the smell of an oily rag then that’s what it means. 

This is where oilyrag.co.nz comes in. It has literally hundreds of ways for people to become “fiscally responsible” without compromising their lifestyle.

Here are some examples from the site:

•    Ali from Nelson says, “Interest rates are the lowest they have been in decades. Use the money you are saving on interest to repay the debt principal. You do this by telling your bank to keep the repayments the same.

•    Here’s a money laundering(!) tip from a motel owner in Whakatane. “Buy baking soda from Binn Inn and add it to your wash with laundry powder. You can also reduce the amount of laundry powder by about 1/5 as baking soda is also a cleaner. I use equal amount of baking soda and laundry powder.”


•    Beat GST on vegetables by starting your own garden and have a constant supply of vegetables for free.

•    Beat the tobacco tax! Stop smoking if you haven’t already.

•    Buying unbranded products at your supermarket.

•    Buying a second hand car instead of a new vehicle will save you thousands of dollars on depreciation alone.

•    And from the Oily Rag International Desk LAJ from Sydney has this tip, “A few drops of tea tree oil in your wash will make it smell fresh and lovely and have the added benefit of being antibacterial.”

The final sentence from Oily Rag Budget 2012: “ask not what the government can do for you, ask what you can do for yourself” (to paraphrase a famous US president!).

Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ .If you have a favourite money saving or money-making tip, send it in to us so that we can share it with others. You can contact us via the oily rag website (www.oilyrag.co.nz) or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei

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