I call it my mailbag, but in truth its my email inbox and lately, it’s been loading up with creative tips from you, my clever readers!
My teenage grandchildren don’t want “stuff” anymore — they want cash! And I understand; being a teenager can be expensive. But I don’t want to just hand them money. For Christmas last year I got brand new $1 bills from the bank (they need to be crisp for this). I took them to a quick print shop where they turned them into glue-top pads of money. When the kids needed cash, they could just tear off some dollar bills. This year I am going to turn dollar bills into chains, like we used to do with gum wrappers years ago. Things like this make giving money more fun and interesting. — Dana P., Nevada
FROZEN OWNER MANUAL
I keep all the instruction booklets that come with new appliances in a big envelope, just in case I ever need to refer to them. I just bought a new freezer and thought perhaps I should keep this booklet handy. I sealed it in a zip-up freezer bag and put it — you guessed right — in the freezer. — Helen T., email
To make perfect pasta every time, boil according to package directions. About one minute before the cooking time indicated on the package, remove a piece of pasta from the boiling water with a fork; allow to cool for a few seconds. Taste it. If it is mildly chewy and does not stick to your teeth, it’s done. If it’s still hard and sticks to your teeth, cook for one minute longer and retest. Never overcook the pasta! — Kevin S., Ohio
SUEDE SPOT REMOVER
Recently I managed to get some kind of ugly gunk on the suede portion of my leather shoe. I grabbed the Folex Carpet Spot Remover (my favorite for carpet spots) and an old toothbrush and went to work on it. It worked fabulously! I have no connection with the Folex company, but have found stains do not reappear later when using this product, which was recommended by a professional carpet cleaner years ago. Thought I’d share this. — Melanie G., Calif.
HANDY ICE PACK
Everyone should have at least a couple of ice packs in their home, at the ready to treat a sprained ankle, nasty bruise or other injury. But don’t spend money buying the ones at the drug store, when you can so easily make your own: Double-bag one cup of liquid dish soap by pouring the soap into a Ziploc bag and sealing it. Place this sealed bag into a second bag and seal it. Put it in the freezer. Since dish soap will never fully freeze, it turns into a pliable slushy ice pack that will easily conform to the shape of any injured body part. When you’re done using it, place it back into the freezer to be ready for the next time. — Dr. Bob., Pennsylvania
Got an ugly oil stain on your garage floor, concrete patio or driveway? Don’t fret. Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, add a squirt of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid and scrub it with a plastic or other nonmetallic brush. Allow it to sit for a few hours then wash it away. Old stains may require a repeat treatment until they’re gone for good. — Tina K., Utah
Do you have a great tip you’d like to share with this Everyday Cheapskate audience? You can send it to [email protected] Please understand I offer no promises to include yours in a future column, but if it’s unique, well written and something I believe will be interesting to a large number of readers, keep your eyes open. You just might see yourself in print! Include your name and state.
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, ”Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”