Sharing their super cool tips and tricks for how to save money on herbs, keep produce fresher longer, make buttermilk last longer, keep toys under control and more, my readers are the best!
Finding your clever ways to save time and money makes opening my mail a treat! Keep 'em coming, you hear?
ALIVE, GROWING AND CHEAPER, TOO!
I went to the supermarket to pick up what I needed for a cocktail to bring to a BYOB pool party. One ingredient on my list was fresh mint. In the produce department, I noticed live plants in small starter pots for $2.50, including mint and basil. The plant was cheaper than the mint that was packaged and ready-to-use.
I purchased the plant, which stayed perky and fresh for my cocktails at the party, and then brought it home to plant in a pot on my patio. I had fresh mint all summer long! I have done this before with basil, too, when I needed it for a recipe. — Monica
STAINLESS STEEL, SILVER AND FRESH PRODUCE
I have found that keeping produce fresh long enough for it to be consumed can be quite a challenge. A large slice of fresh ginger (cut from the larger piece so that at least one surface is fresh-cut, but not peeled) in a bag of potatoes, oranges or apples slows spoilage. Stainless steel bowls have kept my veggies fresh for weeks.
I keep romaine lettuce fresh for up to six weeks in stainless steel. I keep melons in the rind because the rind is a life-providing, life-extending protection to the inside. We are organic food eaters, so the produce we buy does not come coated with preservatives, making it twice as difficult to keep produce fresh for an extended period.
Stainless steel naturally inhibits bacteria growth, as does silver. Early settlers put silver dollars in the bottom of their water barrels to kill life-threatening bacteria. It works the same in the bottom of a food storage bowl. These tips work! — Deb
DABS OF BUTTERMILK
From time to time, I'll use a recipe that calls for small amounts of buttermilk. I now buy a quart at a time, freeze it into ice cubes and keep them frozen until I need some. In my ice cube trays, eight ice cubes equal one cup, although yours might differ. — Naomi
QUICK TOY CLEANUP
My son has lots of Legos. I love the creativity this kind of play encourages in him, but not the headache of picking all those toys up! Here is a simple solution that everyone should know about.
I store a large tablecloth in the bin on top of the Legos. Lay down the tablecloth and dump the bin. My son understands he can spread out as far as the tablecloth. (Make it a sheet if you need more space.) When it's time to pick up, grab the four corners of the cloth, dump the Legos in the bin and there you go — all picked up! Thanks for all the great tips you and your readers share with us! — Heidi
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 website at www.creators.com.