February 04 2015

February 04, 2015

*All-purpose paper towels: Costing only Rp10,000 per roll), food can be wrapped in paper towels when steamcooking in microwave to make healthy meals and snacks; wrap herbs and other leafy greens in dampened towels to keep fresh longer while refrigerated; wrap bread in paper towels before placing in freezer to keep it from getting soggy; add a little vegetable oil to wadded up paper towels and drag across grill grates to keep food from sticking; clean the cutting wheel of a can opener; run a towel through a sewing machine to pick up excess lubricant; clean rubber edges of car windshield wiper blades with a dampened paper towel (add glass cleaner, water or small amount of detergent) to extend the life of the wipers. Sheets of paper towels can also be used to clean up counter messes; absorb excess cooking oil from fried foods; put a colander in a new pot, place a towel in the colander and pour in broth to strain away grease; lightly clean woks and frying pans to keep them rust-free without taking away all the oil; test if seeds are viable by sandwiching them between two wet towels in a warm place for two weeks. BUT don’t use rough paper towels for cleaning eyeglasses, camera lenses and TV screens (use microfiber cloth instead) or for washing windows (use squeegee instead). Note: Eyeglass lenses are best cleaned using warm water with a drop of dish detergent, then dry with soft tissue.

*Clay cooking stoves (kompor tanah). Balinese use both LPG stoves (Rp350,000 to Rp450,000 for a good Rinnai model) and clay or cement stoves which use wood and agricultural wastes such as corn stalks and rice husks for their cooking needs. In the countryside, the women of the household wake up early, cook a big pot of rice and boil water on an outside or sheltered clay or cement stove. In the rainy season, LPG stoves are used more but in the dry season they are only used to quickly boil water for hot beverages, for example if guests arrive. City dwellers use LPG stoves almost exclusively. Both urban and country people boil water for both drinking (if they don’t have a water filter) and to fill a large thermos so they are able to make tea or coffee throughout the day. Balinese in the villages prefer to do all their cooking on cement stoves made from molds or traditional clay burning stoves that are extremely well designed for very small cooking fires. These types of stoves confine the fire and its convective heat to just the area under the pot, resulting in increased efficiency. Tungku (paon in Balinese), sold in Kapal (Rp100,000-Rp140,000) are hand made from sandy clay, and come in a variety of sizes from those for use by small families up to larger models for use in busy food stands or preparing food for a large a number of people on ceremonial occasions. Models have 2 or 3 holes, providing equal heat if pots are arranged side by side. In some clay stoves, cook pots are slightly elevated on 3 or more humps built into the stovetop, allowing the fire and heated air to pass up around the base of the pot.

*Minitips. A bargain isn’t a bargain unless it’s something you need. If you don’t want to get sick in Bali keep your fingers away from your mouth. At a nasi padang restaurant, choose takeaway (nasi bungkus) because there will be a larger portion of rice; if you eat on the premises, order free teh hangat/air putih (warm tea). For cheap meals in shopping malls, head for the cafeteria located downstairs in the basement where there are plenty of cheap warung catering to mall employees. Cataflam (Rp7000 per 50 mg pill) is an amazingly effective and fast-acting painkiller for toothaches; for children get the 25 mg pill (Rp3500). Ponstan (Rp3000 per pill) is not as good, but still better than aspirin. American Medical Association reported in 2014 that eating whole grains substantially reduces the risk of dying. If something is too good to be true, it probably is. On Bali if a foreign driver hits a pedestrian (even if it’s not his fault) or a motorcyclist (even if they aren’t wearing a helmet or have a driver’s license), he will most likely be held responsible. It’s far too messy refilling printer ink cartridges by yourself; have them filled by a print repair shop instead; very affordable at Rp35,000 black; Rp50,000 color. If you can build or repair it at home, why buy it? Your bargaining power is greatly enhanced if you don’t really want the item; but be careful: if you offer what you feel is a ridiculously low price, it still might be three times what a Balinese can buy it for. Brake fluid should be checked whenever you make an oil change and should be replaced every two years or 38,000 km (24,000 miles). Never give personal or bank information in response to a phone or email solicitation. Quick to borrow is slow to pay.

*Vegan is cheaper: If you’ve ever had any doubt that animal agriculture isn’t ruining the planet (by some UN estimates a staggering 51% of global pollution), see the terrifying, infuriating and abysmally depressing documentary Cowspiracy which convinces almost any viewer that they can not now call themselves a true environmentalist without following a vegan diet. Cheaper and easier than eating meat, dairy products, eggs, cheese and other food that come from animals, you can get all your protein from a plant-based diet, i.e. grains, beans, nuts, peanut butter, soy (lots of vitamin B12 in tempe) and vegetables like kangkung and avocados. Protein can be found in all these foods; they only must be consumed in greater quantities to get the same amount as their counterparts in meat. The end result is that vegans can get the same amount of protein with less fat or toxins. Studies also show that you can also get sufficient carbohydrates whether you’re a vegetarian or a carnivore. Many cereals are fortified with B1, there are hemp-based protein and amino acid supplements and plant-based protein powder. Vegetarians are generally healthier than heavy meat eaters, have less risk of heart disease and tend to weigh 6-10 pounds less. To become a raw vegan by not heating food above 112 degrees Fahrenheit is even healthier. Other revealing food-focused documentaries: “Food, Inc.,” “Forks Over Knives,” and You Tube’s “What happens to Food.”

*Gas hot water heater vs. electric hot water heater: We just wasted Rp1.5 juta buying a gas water heater about six months ago and it has caused no end of problems. Though gas heaters and electric heaters cost about the same, take it from us and buy a more reliable electric hot water heater. On the plus side, gas water heaters are 2-3 times less costly to run than electric ones, and they tend to have higher flow and faster heating rates than electric ones. On the negative side, gas water heaters can waste energy if they are equipped with a pilot light, can more easily get clogged up with water containing sediment and are infinitely more complex, temperamental and high maintenance appliances. We found that you almost need a mechanic on standby to keep them running properly and safely. They also need to be hooked up professionally to a natural gas (LPG) tank, are more difficult to install, the batteries and LPG gas tanks need to be continually replaced or refilled (3 kg Rp20,000; 12 kg Rp125,000), they need to be vented properly near an outside wall, and are not as safe to run as electric water heaters. Electric models have longer life spans, require only heating elements and thermostats to heat water, require less maintenance and can be installed easily (using your existing electrical system) anywhere in the home or business, including at point-of-use such as a laundry, pool or hot tub. Rinnai electric water heaters are the best; easy to repair and easy to get spare parts for. A good gas water heater is Bosch, which has a long life but is difficult to get spare parts for. Krisbow (Ace, Hardy’s, Carefour, Mitra 10) is another popular brand for both types of water heaters.

*Vehicle rental tips: Bali is extremely good value when it comes to renting vehicles. Price depends on where, how old the vehicle and on what kind of car or motorcycle you rent. You can rent a good car with insurance in Bali for as little as Rp250,000-Rp350,000 per day. But in Flores you have to pay twice as much – and without insurance. You may pay Rp300,000 to rent a motorbike for a week or even Rp500,000 for a month on Bali but in Ambon tourists are charged Rp1 million per week. And in Papua it’s even way more expensive. A Suzuki Karimun on Bali can be rented for Rp2 million per month (no insurance). Old Mitsubishi and Toyotas can be rented directly from individuals for Rp3-4 million per month (no insurance). Rental companies can charge up to Rp1-2 million per week (includes insurance). Entry and parking fees for the car at certain destinations are at your cost. If you have guests arriving on the island and want them to be in good hands, rent a car from Andre Sewatama (Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai 330 (opposite SMP 9) in Sanur, tel. 0361-288-359/ 203-2400, email: andresewatama@gmail.com. Charging US$55 per day for a Toyota with English-speaking driver for 10 hours, including cost of the driver’s lunch, good insurance, all taxes, unlimited km and even recommendations appropriate to your area. You can add hours but just give a tip to the driver. Payment is either in US$ or rupiah directly to the driver or if you visit the office you can make a credit card payment.

*Tech online: The technology and internet apps website, UK-based MakeUseOf posts information on software, browsers, cool web apps, useful websites, gadgets, tech news and opinion written by knowledgeable contributors. They publish a free new eBook (in EPUB or PDF formats) about once every 10 days, so there’s already a huge, free library of thorough and cleverly written guides to download or read online that’s just a click away. Sample guides: Useful Tools For The You Tube Enthusiast, 8 Android Apps Every World Traveller Needs, 10 Awesome iOS Apps, How to Make Your Own Android app using the MIT App Inventor, Top ten Website Building Tools, What you need to know When Buying A Refurbished Mac, Ten Best Websites for Downloading Open Source Apps, Editing Photos on iPad, Upgrade tips for Mac Mini, etc.

*Rice mills: Your local rice mill (selep penyosohan) husks rice, but there are also milling machines (selep tepung/bumbu) in general goods shops (toko selep tepung/bumbu) that will grind up your rice to make flour (tepung beras) and grind your coffee beans to make coffee powder, as well as other hard grains into flour. The service fee for grinding is Rp3000-Rp5000. The coffee habit is cheaper if you buy the beans. One kilo of coffee beans (biji kopi) costs Rp20,000 while one kilo of coffee powder (tepung kopi) is Rp50,000. Grinding 1 kg of coffee beans (Rp20,000 in the country; Rp25,000 in the city) will produce 2 kg of coffee powder (value: Rp50,000 per kg), so each time you’ll realize a savings of Rp80,000. If you want to do grate coconut and cassava yourself, use a parut listrik (Rp350,000 in Dapur Prima or in a shop that sells farming machinery like rice fields tractors, generators, water pumps (toko disel dan pompa air).

Please send your budget ideas, bargain deals and moneysaving tips to pakbill2003@yahoo.com.
Copyright  2015 Bill Dalton
You can read all past articles of The Frugal Balinist at? www.BaliAdvertiser.biz