I was recently shopping for a bird feeder for a dear friend. I learned quickly that squirrels are nuts about bird feeders and can outsmart just about any design to get the bird food. For me, that begs the question: Why aren't there squirrel feeders so squirrels can have their own filling station and stop tormenting the birds? If there's an answer to that, I'm sure I'll be hearing from my readers very soon.
In the meantime, enjoy these quick and clever fixes from my readers.
BECOMING SQUIRREL-PROOF. After watching squirrels hang upside down on my bird feeders, sometimes one on each side of the roof, I finally found the solution: a rubber glove and a jar of Vaseline. I smeared the pole from top to bottom with the Vaseline. In no time at all, I watched as one squirrel tried to climb the pole and had to jump off because it was too slippery. So far, none have been able to overcome the Vaseline. I am enjoying feeding many different birds at the feeder. — Marge
CATCH MICE LIKE MAGIC. I have another use for the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I bought a new one and stored it under my kitchen sink. The next day, I reached for it and noticed that something had been eating it — pieces of torn-up sponge were everywhere. A mouse, I thought. So I got out some handy mouse traps, and as I was about to use peanut butter for bait, I suddenly thought, "If he likes the Magic Eraser so much..." So I cut off a piece and used it to bait the trap (it's so much less messy than sticky peanut butter). This morning I found the mouse in the trap. He went for it! Who would have thought? — Sharon
ORNAMENT STORAGE CONTAINER. I reuse the plastic apple containers from Costco to store my Christmas ornaments. The clear plastic containers stack nicely and are rigid enough to protect delicate ornaments. Plus, I can easily see what's inside each container. — Marianne
SLIPPERY CLOSET ROD. I use a piece of wax paper to run across our clothing rods. This makes the hangers slide more easily when searching through your clothes. I do it once every six months so I don't feel like I'm doing a workout just to slide the hangers. If the rod in your closet sags on one side, don't do this until you fix the sag, otherwise all the hangers will slide to the lowest point. I learned this tip when working in a bridal shop where the gowns were very heavy and hard to push along the rod. The wax paper trick made them slide like butter. — Lea
THE TERIYAKI STRETCH. I'm a single mom of three kids. They love to go out to eat teriyaki, but at almost $8 per person, it really adds up. And they never eat all their food. So now I just order two meals and request extra meat, which only runs about $1 to $2 for each meal. Then I add some fruit or extra vegetables to stretch the meals further. The kids are happy and my budget isn't blown. — Tobi
FURNITURE SWICHTEROO. I encourage young folks moving into a new apartment to furnish the inside with patio/outdoor furniture. When they buy a house down the road, they can move their existing furniture outside and purchase new furniture for inside. — Judy
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 Web page at www.creators.com.