My readers come up with the greatest tips, tricks and ideas for how to save time and money every day. Today is no exception. From tomato paste to puppy poop and better space-saver bags — fasten your seatbelts because we're about to cover a lot of frugal ground.
TOMATO PASTE WASTE
Many times, a recipe will call for a small amount of tomato paste. If you're like me, this means what remains in the can is stored in the refrigerator for future use. It also means that months later, I find it and toss it in the trash because it has now gone bad. But no more! Now I take the remaining tomato paste and spread it out in a thin layer in a sandwich bag I store flat on a freezer shelf until it's frozen. The next time I need tomato paste, I simply break off what I need, zip up the bag and replace it in the freezer. Works great — no more waste! — Karen
FREE DOGGY POOP BAGS
When you get a delivery that includes those bags of "air" used to pack around items, turn them into free doggy poop bags. This is easiest done with two people: Have one person hold the end of the bag(s) while the other person takes a pair of scissors and cuts along the seam of the bag where the air was injected. This should give you 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 and cut them into a continuous roll. Tear a bag of at the perforation, as needed. A useful way to recycle and not have to pay for bags. — Snuggles
DONATE PHONE CHARGERS
I work in a hospital, and at least once a week, my patient will ask me if I have a cellphone charger that will fit their phone. Often, patients are admitted unexpectedly and have their phone with them but no charger. In my unit, we have a file drawer with chargers that other patients have left behind and go unclaimed. But frequently, we don't have the particular charger needed. 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 service and a good way to clear clutter. — Julie
BABY BATH BASKET
Here's another way to safely bathe a baby old enough to sit up — in a standard laundry basket, the kind with lots of cutouts, set in the regular bathtub. Any type of plastic or rubber mat inside the basket will keep the baby from slipping. I used a rubber shelf liner from the dollar store, cut to size. The basket also corrals bath toys so they are within easy reach of the baby. — Bonnie
(NOTE: Never, ever leave a child unattended in any amount of water.)
COMPACTOR OR CONTRACTOR BAGS
The space-saver bags that are advertised on TV are nice, but they don't last long. Within a year — sometimes much sooner — the bags begin to break down and tear. I found that plastic trash compactor bags or heavy-duty contractor trash bags are great alternatives. I put my items in the bag, wrap the opening around the vacuum hose and vacuum out the air. I twist the hose and bag as I pull out the hose and tie the bag closed with twine. These bags are thicker, hold up longer and cost a lot less. — Debbi
Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."
Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay