Cool Things Readers Do to Save Time and Money Every Day

By Mary Hunt

June 21, 2016 4 min read

If you are taking salad for lunch, pour the amount of dressing you will need into a small plastic bag. Tilt the bag so the dressing goes into the corner. Tie a twist tie above the dressing to cut it off from the rest of the bag. When you are ready to eat just snip off the corner and pour the dressing onto your salad. — Kristine

My toddler only eats a small portion of a box of macaroni and cheese. Leftover mac and cheese is never a hit, and the individual packs are too pricey. Instead, I buy the boxes when they are on sale, and then store the cheese powder and noodles in separate jars so I can prepare individual servings as needed. I use 1/3 cup of dry noodles and one heaping tablespoon each of cheese powder, butter and milk. — Michel

To get rid of mineral rings in the toilet, put some warm water in the toilet bowl and add one or two denture cleanser tablets. Check the toilet after 30 minutes, or go ahead and leave it overnight. The toilet should be sparkling clean afterward. — Amy

I hang a shoe bag on the inside of my coat-closet door. My family stores gloves, scarves, sunglasses and even the dog's leash in it so we have a quick and organized morning departure. — Steve

I save water by washing my car with early-morning dew. The condensation on my car plus the suds on the sponge does the trick. I only turn on the hose for a quick rinse after the scrub down. — Helen

To get a dark stain out of whites and light-colored clothing, I dip a Q-tip in hydrogen peroxide, rub it to the spot and let it set overnight. It bleaches the stain without removing any color. — Rachel

I have accumulated many cloth tote bags over the years from different seminars I've attended or book clubs I've belonged to. Instead of purchasing reusable cloth bags for groceries, I use the tote bags. They are machine-washable and environmentally friendly, and I save money! — Cindy

Several years ago, I bought a package of plastic clothespins to use in the kitchen. I bought colors that match my decor, and I use them to seal bags of bread, chips, sugar and other items. They even work in the freezer and the refrigerator crisper drawer. — Jean

I save money by putting dish soap, body wash, shampoo and liquid soap in pump dispensers. I find that I use much less of a product each time when it's in a dispenser. Now I buy soaps and body wash much less often. — Tess

When I paint, to avoid having to clean a paint tray I slip it into a large, plastic supermarket bag and pour the paint into the tray over the plastic. After painting, I simply turn the bag inside out and discard it, and I am left with a clean tray. It saves a lot of time and costs nothing! — Tony

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 Web page at

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