If you've ever experienced the heartbreak of shrinking your favorite pair of jeans to a length that would make them perfect to wear to a flood, you're going to be particularly fond of today's first great reader tip. And like me, you're probably going to wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"
NO MORE HIGH WATERS.
Dear Mary: While doing the laundry one day, I got to thinking that if cotton shrinks, it probably stretches, too. I decided to experiment on my kids' jeans, thinking that if I could make the legs longer, we could squeak out more wear.
After washing, I laid a pair of wet jeans on a beach towel on the floor. Then I stood on the jeans and grabbed the hem of one of the legs. I carefully but forcefully began to pull up. I could feel the fabric stretching. I flipped the pants over and did the same thing to the other leg.
When I was done, I hung them up to dry. After they were dry, I tossed them in the dryer for a couple of minutes to take away the stiffness. Jeans come out a couple of inches longer with this method than if I simply toss them in the dryer. — Sandy
FROM EYELASHES TO KEYBOARDS.
Dear Mary: I cleaned an old mascara wand with dish soap. It makes a good brush for cleaning and dusting in small spaces. — Ann
BABY POWDER FOR SPOTS.
Dear Mary: Baby powder is a great clothing saver. I use it to remove oily spots from silk and cotton sweaters. I cover the spot with baby powder and let sit overnight. In the morning, I brush off the powder with a towel. I have had several colorful silk suits last for years, thanks to this trick. And I always pack it when I travel. — Darcy
CAP THE BOWLS.
Dear Mary: When I stack bowls or kitchen equipment that I rarely use, they end up getting dusty before I use them again. To prevent this from happening, I take a shower cap and stretch it over the top of the items. The cap protects my bowls from dust. — Christy
Dear Mary: When I'm making eggs for my grandkids, I pour the egg into a metal cookie cutter that I've spritzed with PAM and set on the hot frying pan. The egg cooks in the shape of the cookie cutter, and the grandkids love it! — Margie
Dear Mary: When chopping herbs like basil, cilantro or parsley, I use a pizza cutter instead of a knife. It cuts a large amount of herbs, and fast! — Sharon
FRYING THE BEANS.
Dear Mary: Like you, I roast my own coffee beans. But I'm not ready to invest in a coffee roaster, and I don't have an air popcorn popper. So, I roast my beans on the stove in a cast-iron frying pan (with the windows open and lots of ventilation). Not only is the coffee delicious but the frying pan loves it. The oils in the beans give it a beautiful, smooth, seasoned finish that it never had before. — Rosie
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 www.DebtProofLiving.com, 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 www.creators.com.