Fitness on a Budget Recently I got a frantic letter from Barbara, who lives in Florida. It seems that her teenage son has taken up bodybuilding and her husband is adhering rigidly to the Atkins diet, both of which are protein heavy. Barb got through the first week with …Read more. Home Improvement Money-Saving Secrets If you've been putting off updating or sprucing up your home because of the high cost of home improvements, today's readers are sure to inspire you to do those projects yourself, for less! HARDWOOD FLOORING. My husband and I wanted a hardwood floor, …Read more. Life in the Middle Between Parents and Adult Children Every day I drive by a beautiful new assisted living complex under construction close to where I live. As beautiful as this place is, it's become a daily reminder to me for how difficult it can be to talk to aging parents about their health and …Read more. Unclog a Drain without Chemicals A plugged-up sink, shower or tub drain sends most people running for either a bottle of caustic drain cleaner or a plumber's phone number. But wait. This could well be a job you can do yourself without chemicals or a big bill. Assess the situation. …Read more.more articles
Skip the Kit, Grab the Eraser
Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that for every situation there's an expensive way to solve it and there's a cheap way. Discovering the cheaper alternative is what readers of this column do so well. And when they share their discoveries with all of us, it's a good day!
HEADLIGHT MAGIC. The plastic headlights on my old car had yellowed, and replacing them was going to be costly. The kit to restore them cost $15 at the auto parts store, so I decided to try Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It worked great. I suggest testing a small area first. You can always buy the headlight kit, but Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will save you money. — Ginny, Wisconsin
INSIDE THE SALE. Pillow forms can be very expensive. When I need one, I shop the clearance sales at my local department store. I find hideously ugly pillows that no one would buy, for a much, much lower price than I would pay for a pillow form at a fabric store. The key is to find pillows with a zipper, or at least make sure there is a liner between the stuffing and the cover. I recently purchased two down throw pillows for $5 each. I removed the ugly Christmas-themed cover and sewed new attractive covers that now decorate my couch and living room. — Jennifer, Oregon
BABY THE STAINLESS. My stainless steel stove always had fingerprints and smudges. I would clean it and polish it, but it never stayed clean. I recently got a new stainless steel dishwasher, and my cleaning lady told me she only uses baby oil to clean stainless steel appliances.
CRACKER CRUNCH. A delicious and inexpensive alternative to croutons is to break up crackers and put them in salads. Any cracker works well. I love those little oyster crackers. I've grown to actually prefer crackers to croutons! — Rachel, email
PLANT FOOD RECIPE. Instead of buying expensive plant food, I mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in a gallon of water. I water my plants once a week with this solution. My plants love it, especially my Geraniums. — Marj, Kentucky
DAILY DOGGIE SCRAPS. I keep a small covered bowl on my countertop. During the day, when I open a can of veggies or fruit and I don't want the liquid, I pour it into the bowl. Depending on what my family has for dinner, I may scrape the food from the pots and dishes into the bowl, too. For their evening meal, I take the day's tasty mixture and add it to my dogs' food. — Jil, email
Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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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