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Letters From my Readers Dear Mary: I wanted to tell you the secret of sticking to a budget on our family vacation — something we've had a hard time achieving in the past. This year, we let our teenage daughter plan the vacation. Seems too simple. We told her the …Read more. The Truth About Extended Warranties Recently I stopped into Toys "R" Us to get a little something for Eli. Yes; I am one of those grandmothers. We found the cutest toy shaving kit, just perfect for bath time. The price was under $10. At check out, and without missing a beat, the sales …Read more. Six Silly Gadgets That Make Life Easier I am nothing if not a gadget lover. Ingenious items that make my life easier are great, but when I find something that's cool and has the potential to save money? Well, that's cause for some kind of tiny celebration. Here are my current fun finds. …Read more. When it Doesn't Pay to be Cheap There is a predictable progression many of us go through as we make a decision to stop living beyond our means. We get cheap. In fact, some even call us cheapskates — a label that personally I enjoy because it proves that I'm not the person I …Read more.
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Clever New Ways To Recycle Stuff

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The television show "Hoarders," on A&E, gives me the creeps. But perhaps that's a good thing, because it helps me define in my own home what needs to be recycled and what must be thrown away right now. Assuming that you are not looking for excuses to hoard stuff that you never will need or use, I offer the following clever ways that readers have found to add second lives to things that otherwise might be thrown away prematurely.

RECYCLED NAIL BRUSH. Rather than toss out a worn hand and nail brush, I kept it to clean tile and grout. It worked really well. The bristles, although a little worn, were still good enough to work with a little scrubbing. I liked it because, unlike the big brushes, it fit in my hand. Plus, my hand didn't get as tired. — Maria, Georgia

DISHWASHER RACK CADDY. Our 10-year-old dishwasher finally gave up. I decided the bottom rack with wheels would be good for putting stuff on and wheeling around. I currently have some plastic file baskets sitting on it, which I can move easily from one spot in my office to another. I also kept the silverware baskets from the dishwasher, thinking they might be handy for carrying utensils out to the barbecue area in our yard. They also make good holders of pencils and tools. There are endless uses for dishwasher parts. — Carol, e-mail

MICROWAVE PLATE REDO. I work at a recycling center where we get loads of microwave ovens, which are readily recycled. However, there's no market for the tempered glass microwave plates.

Rather than throw them away, I place them on the "reuse" shelf at the center and encourage patrons to use them for cake or dessert plates, serving trays and plant stands. These tempered plates come in all sizes and many shapes. Maybe the best thing about using them is that when you make your favorite dessert to bring to a friend or neighbor, you don't have to worry about getting your good plate back. — Marilyn, Texas

POP-UP BAG STORAGE. Store plastic shopping bags in an empty tissue box. It holds quite a few and stores them neatly with easy pull access when you need one. — A.M., British Columbia

WATER BOTTLE PACKAGING. Several years ago, I needed to ship a breakable item to a friend. To protect the item, I came up with the idea of using empty water bottles with lids. I stand them upright in the corners of the box and, if possible, line the bottom of the box with them, too. Then I layer some Bubble Wrap. I place a few bottles across the top of the item if I have extra space to fill. There is no room for the item to shift, which is excellent. One other benefit is that the box is much lighter with empty water bottles than it is with other packaging materials. I ship Polish pottery and pack the boxes using this method. — Sherry, e-mail

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can e-mail her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Include your first and last name and state. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books, including "Debt-Proof Living" and "Tiptionary 2." To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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1 Comments | Post Comment
I'm hoping this is how I can receive Mary's e-mails each day.
Thank You.
Audinne
Comment: #1
Posted by: A. Hertz
Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:09 PM
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