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Help Available for Family Through a Difficult Time Help Available for Family Through a Difficult Time Dear Mary: I have been a fan for more than 15 years. Thanks to following your advice over the years, we have paid off our house, and we are currently two car loans from being completely debt-free. …Read more. Tips to Make Cooking Fun and Rewarding I remember my grandmother saying, "If we didn't need food, we'd all be rich!" This may be true. But then, a life without food would be a little less pleasurable. Still, there are so many ways to make great food cheap, make perishable food last and …Read more. Chromebook: Inexpensive and Awesome You may recall a few months ago I wrote about the new inexpensive laptop computer series that is sweeping the tech world called Chromebooks. I'm still onboard in a big way. These little laptops that run on Google's Chrome OS are great budget-…Read more. Give Yourself a Promotion Worried about layoffs? You're not alone. About 6-in-10 Americans worry that they will lose their jobs because of the current state of the economy, according a recent Pew Research poll. Losing a job can be a terrible blow especially if you were …Read more.
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Make Your Own, and Save Money


Often we end up compromising on a style, color or size of something because we just can't seem to find exactly what we want. Maybe we need to think outside the box, like our first tipster.

CREATIVE CHANGING TABLE. When we were expecting, we couldn't find a sturdy changing table in our price range, so we built one. My husband found an oak workbench kit at the local hardware store. We put it together and placed a 1/4-inch layer of foam padding from the fabric store. Over the foam I placed a rubber-backed fabric and stapled it in place to the underside. It's wonderful. It has more work surface than the typical changing station, with two shelves for diapers, wipes and a baby tub. All this for under $30. And when our son outgrows a changing table, we'll have a great workbench. — Michelle, Oklahoma

CLOROX CLEANUP. Quite by accident, I discovered something that works as a "last resort" spot and stain laundry treatment. It has even worked for me on colors. It is a kitchen and bathroom cleaning product called Clorox Bleach Pen Gel. The added benefit is it works great in the kitchen and bathroom, too. — Charlene, Maryland

POISON IVY TREATMENT. When you suspect you've been exposed to poison ivy, bathe and wash thoroughly with a bar of Fels Naptha — the sooner the better. We've been doing this for many years, and it really works, provided you can act quickly. — Susan, Alabama

FREE FLOWERS. Last year, I noticed a lot of perennial flowers being pulled from flower beds at entrances to large business parks and prestigious housing developments.

One day, I decided to ask the workers if I could have some of the flowers if they were just going to be thrown out. They gave me all that my van could hold. It was a lot of work at the end of the season to get them back into the ground, but the flowers are now starting to bloom all over my yard. All that for free! — Tonya, North Carolina

CANDLE WAX REMOVAL. I discovered an easy way to remove all of the wax and black residue left in my votive candleholders once the candle has burned down. Turn them upside down in a vegetable steamer. Put water in the bottom as you would to steam vegetables, cover, and allow to steam for 10 or 15 minutes. The candleholders will be clean, and once the water cools, you can simply skim off the hardened wax, making it easy to clean the pot. — Phyllis, California

CUSTOM MINI-BLINDS. Our two living room windows are taller than the standard size. Instead of paying for custom blinds, we bought three blinds that were the correct width. We used the sections of the third blind to lengthen the short ones. Following the instructions on how to shorten blinds, we removed the bottom portion, tied on the correct length, and replaced the finished bottoms. We saved almost $50 doing this. — Jeanne, Ohio

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 20 books, including her January 2012 release "7 Money Rules for Life." To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



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