Wow! What a Great Idea: Readers Share Favorite Tips

By Mary Hunt

June 28, 2017 5 min read

Of all my resources I rely on for time- and money-saving tips, my readers are the best. For everything from a super cheap but awesome foot soak, to washing windows, to finding coupons to cut the cost of vacations, EC readers have the latest scoop!

PEDICURE SOAK. This is crazy! Mix 1/4 cup Listerine mouthwash (any kind, but I prefer the blue), 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup warm water. Pour into a suitable container, and soak feet for 10 minutes. When you take them out, the dry dead skin will practically wipe off, leaving your feet and heels really soft. Amazing. — Polly

SINGLE SERVE. When I make sloppy Joes, I always make too much. So I line muffin tins with paper liners, fill them with the sloppy Joe mixture and quickly put the pan in the freezer. Once frozen, I remove them from the pan and place each one in a plastic freezer bag. Each "cupcake" makes a perfect single serving, so it's easy to take out exactly what you need. As a bonus, when heating in the microwave, flip the cup over in a small bowl and the paper liner acts as a splatter guard. — Kathy

SOFT BROWN SUGAR. Keep brown sugar soft by storing it in a container with a couple of marshmallows. — Deanna

CHROME AND STEEL POLISHER. Dryer sheets aren't the best idea if you or a family member have respiratory issues or are prone to itchy skin. Use them instead to clean your faucets or other chrome or stainless steel items in your kitchen or bathroom. Simply wet a sheet, scrub and rinse. Your metal will shine like new without too much fuss! — Laura

THE LIST. Keep a whiteboard or pad of paper on the fridge for everyone in the family to write on when they run out of something (like toiletry items) or use up the last bit of milk or cereal. At our house this is called "The List," and if you don't write it down on The List, do not expect it to magically appear in the house. — Ellen

WINDOW CLEANER. To clean windows, put 5 to 6 drops of shampoo (any kind without conditioner) into a container of warm water. Wash the windows with this solution and a sponge. Follow with a microfiber cloth to dry. Your windows will be beautiful. This solution is great because there's no need to rinse, and it's not hard on your hands. — Marilyn

COUPONS FOR TOURISTS. My family and I like to visit amusement parks in different cities. But there are many invalid amusement park coupons out there, and the parks are increasingly strict on what they accept. In order to get free valid coupons, I log on to the tourism website for the state or city where the park is located (Google the name of the city plus the word "tourist") and request tourist information. In about two weeks, we receive an official tourism guide loaded with coupons and great ideas for free- or low-cost activities. — Donna

SAVE THE TOP HALF. If you are only going to use half a bell pepper, slice from the bottom and keep the top with the stem intact. This way, the remaining half of the pepper will last longer in the refrigerator and stay crisper. — Tina

SUPERFUN GIFT. Here's a great idea for a kid's birthday present: Assemble your own craft box. Purchase craft items like pipe cleaners, colored glue, glitter, paper, stickers, Popsicle sticks, stamps and ribbon, along with a container to hold them. (Many of these items can be found at the dollar store.) Then, personalize the container and include a few instructions for some craft projects. It makes for a great rain-day activity kit. — Allison

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

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