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Whose Kids Know How to Turn Off Lights? I got a good chuckle when I read today's first reader tip from "Dad." For a split second there, I could hear my own father asking the age-old parent/child question: Don't you know how to turn off the light when you leave the room? MOTION SENSOR …Read more. Of Pet Accidents and Malfunctioning Keurig Machines Dear Mary: I saw in your column a long while back an article about the carpet scrubber (was it Bissell?) and poo-pooed it at the time. Now I am ready to cry UNCLE since I discovered to my horror that one of my cats was shut in a bedroom and peed on …Read more. Best Holiday Gifts for Grandparents As far as gifting seasons go, the biggest one of all is just around the corner. The longer you wait to make or buy gifts, the fewer options you'll have. Last minute shopping is a surefire way to run up mountains of unintentional debt. Been there, …Read more. Solutions for Stains on Shirts and Windows, Too From time to time I reach into the proverbial EC mailbag and pull out a few of your questions to answer here. My goal is to select questions I believe the answers to which will have a wide appeal. But I can tell you for sure that when the question …Read more.
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Where to Find Good Free Stuff


Every day, perfectly serviceable items find their way to landfills simply because they are no longer wanted or needed by their owners. And that's a shame because there are so many people who could really use the very items being cast off by others. There's a fabulous movement in this country that is matching up useable cast-offs with anxious users.

FIND FREE STUFF. The website is a great resource to find free furniture and all kinds of items in your local area. If you have usable items that you don't want or need anymore, instead of filling up the landfills, post them on FreeCycle and let someone else take the item for free! Anyone is welcome to sign up and post or to take free items. — Tamara W., email

TABLECLOTH STORAGE. My great hint for storing tablecloths is to fold them the long way and hang them from a hanger in the closet. They are easy to find and can be stored by the season. — Dawn W., email

OPENING A JAR. I have a great tip when a jar lid won't open. Put on a pair of leather gloves, grasp the jar and the lid and twist. The gloves give each hand some traction and make it easier to remove the lid. — Linda M., Pennsylvania

CHEAP TUB CLEANER. Keep a bottle of cheap shampoo on hand to clean your tub and sinks. Just spread the shampoo around, let set for half an hour or longer and then rinse when you are ready. This even cleaned up the rust-colored deposits of organic iron from our well water. — Linda H., email


Everyone needs a can of Bar Keepers Friend, a household cleanser available in the cleaning supplies aisle in most supermarkets or online at It has many uses, but my favorite is for removing rust. It removes rust from countertops and stainless steel in the kitchen. It does a great job of removing rust from fabric without damaging the garment (be sure to test on a hidden area first). It even removes rust from concrete! Best of all, it is cheap. — Jacqueline G., Georgia

BOWL COVERS. When we go on vacation, I always take the little unused shower caps home. I then keep them in a kitchen drawer, and when I have a bowl or cake pan that needs to be covered, I just use one of these little bowl "caps" and put it around the container. The elastic keeps it snug and the shower cap is puffy enough that it doesn't stick to the food. — Janet K., Iowa

NO-RUST STEEL WOOL. My steel wool pads (the kind with soap in them) were rusting before I could use them up. I discovered that when I put them in a plastic bag and put the bag in the freezer, I can use them for a longer time because they won't rust. I take a frozen pad, dip it in warm water, and then it's all ready to scrub. — B.C., South Carolina

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can email her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Include your first and last name and state. Mary Hunt is the founder of and author of 24 books, including her 2013 release "The Smart Woman's Guide to Planning for Retirement." To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



1 Comments | Post Comment
Re OPENING A JAR with leather gloves: rubber gloves work well too.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Claude
Wed Feb 5, 2014 6:17 AM
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