I love the ingenuity of my readers, especially the ones who send me their tips. Just when I think I've heard it all, here comes another batch of tips that have me saying it again: "Wow, what a great idea!"
Enjoy today's offering of great tips from my great readers. I hope they will spur you on to submit your own great ideas* on how you save time and money every day.
DOG TREATS. I hate to pay the going price of doggie treats — $4 to $8 a pound or more. What's more, most of them look to me like artificial food. So, I came up with the idea of cut-up hot dogs to use as treats and rewards. Supermarkets always have cheap, store-brand hot dogs for around $2 a pound — even cheaper on sale. I slice the hot dogs into 1/2-inch pieces and keep these doggie treats in a container in the refrigerator. I get quite a few treats per pound. I'm giving our dogs real food instead of treats that look like plastic — at a considerable savings per pound. — Rachel
EMERGENCY EARRING FIX. I recently lost the back to an earring while at work. I made an emergency replacement that has since lasted several wears. I cut a small piece from a wide rubber band — about 1/4 inch long — and then pushed the hook of the earring through it, snugging it to the back of my ear. It worked great and did not show — maybe too great, because I keep forgetting to buy a proper replacement! — Judy
RECYCLED VINEGAR. My coffee maker requires occasional cleaning by running white vinegar through it. After the vinegar has been processed, I pour a little baking soda down my bathtub drain, pour the pot of hot vinegar into the drain and plug it up. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and hot vinegar cleans the drain pipe of built-up soap scum and hair, and plugging it up funnels the reaction into the drain instead of letting it bubble back up into the tub. My tub uses a rubber stopper, so I hold it in place with pliers to avoid being burned with the hot vinegar. This saves me money on expensive drain cleaner and saves the environment by using a natural product to keep my drain clean. — Susan
DOG HAIR MAGNET. The best way to remove dog hair from the carpet in a car or truck is with a pumice stone. It's what car detailers use, and it works like a charm. Just rub it toward you and the pet hair just balls right up in seconds. Pumice stones are available cheap at most dollar stores. — Christina
HOMEMADE DEODORANT. Due to the heavy toxins in store-bought deodorants, I've wanted to stop using it for years. But I didn't know what the alternatives were. Recently, I stumbled on a recipe for homemade deodorant. It has three ingredients: 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup cornstarch and 5 tablespoons unrefined organic coconut oil. Mix ingredients together well, and then heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds to melt and fully incorporate. Allow it to cool and set. Apply it to underarms with fingers.
I've been using this homemade deodorant for months now, and I'm thrilled. It works as an antiperspirant and prevents odor.
The best part? The recipe made 6 ounces for roughly $1.30 in supplies. For 6 ounces of the clinical strength deodorant I'd been using, I would've paid approximately $28.25. Plus, I use way less of the homemade than I did the store-bought, so my 6 ounces will last much longer than 6 ounces of the store-bought stuff would have. — Carmel
COPPER CLEANER. I have a copper-bottom saucepan, which I inherited. It is beautiful, but the copper discolors, which is normal. Here's how I clean it: When I have leftover dill pickle juice, I pour it into a pie plate and then set the pan into the brine and leave it for 20 minutes or so. The copper comes out sparkling clean with no scrubbing. — Gwen
*Got a great tip you'd like to share? Send it to [email protected] with the subject line "My Great Reader Tip." Then watch for it to show up in the near future.
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.