My readers often come up with their own great tips, tricks and ideas for how to save time and money. Today is no exception. From bugs and tomato paste all the way to puppy poop and phone chargers, we're about to cover a lot of ground.
THE CUTEST LITTLE LEAK DETECTOR. I had a toilet leak that cost me $500 because it went unnoticed for too long. My plumber told me about this ingenious little device called the LeakBug, which alerts you with a loud beep (like a smoke alarm) if it detects even the smallest amount of standing water. I purchased one for each of my bathrooms and sinks and next to the water heater. My peace of mind is well worth the initial cost! — Mack
TOMATO-PASTE WASTE. Many times a recipe will call for a small amount of tomato paste. If you're like me, you store the leftover paste in the refrigerator for future use. But I often find the container months later and have to toss it out because it has gone bad. But no more! Now I spread the remaining tomato paste inside a zip-close sandwich bag and store it in the freezer. The next time I need tomato paste, I simply break off what I need, zip up the bag and put it back in the freezer. It works very well, and there's no more waste! — Karen
FREE DOGGY POOP BAGS. If you get a package delivery that has those air-filled plastic bags, keep them and turn them into free doggy poop bags. It's easiest with two people. One person holds the end of the bag, and the other uses scissors to cut along the seam of the bag. Now you have an open bag to use for your poop-patrol duties. If you are fortunate enough to get a string of these packing bags, leave them attached to one another. Then tear a bag off at the perforation as needed and cut the end. This is a useful way to recycle and save money on doggy bags. — Snuggles
DONATE PHONE CHARGERS. I work in a hospital. At least once a week a patient asks me if I have cellphone charger. Often, they are admitted to the hospital unexpectedly and don't have their charger on them. In my unit, we have a file drawer with chargers that other patients have left behind. However, we often don't have the particular charger needed. So, if your readers have phone chargers for phones they no longer own, they should consider donating them to their local hospital. It would be a great deed and a good way to clear clutter. — Julie
WEIGHT LOSS INCENTIVE. I have been struggling with my weight for years. I am about 50 pounds over my ideal weight. I recently learned that my health insurance company will pay for a three-month gym membership, and if I show weight loss at the end of three months, it will continue paying for a year. I just completed my three months, and I've lost nine pounds. I am so excited! For those of you who may want to join a gym to help lose weight or get healthier, check with your health insurance company. — Lydia
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.