Last week’s mail certainly proved my theory that we have the best expert community going on here at Everyday Cheapskate. Even better, we’re willing to share. As an added bonus, three of today’s tipsters included photos with their tips!




I wish to share a sweet corn trick with you and your readers that allows one to cook fresh corn in the husk, in the microwave. I am including a few photos to demonstrate. Dick

  1. Cut through the husk right up to—not through—the cob at the stem end (where the ear was attached to the stalk), and all the way around.
  2. Microwave on high, 3 minutes per ear. Example, if you have two ears, microwave for 6 minutes.
  3. Remove from microwave carefully, then grasp and pull the corn right out of the husks. 
  4. No muss, no hairy corn silk!


Preparing fresh corn on the cob is quick and easy in an Instant Pot. Pour one cup cold water in the pressure cooker. Set the trivet in place, then place four ears of shucked and cleaned fresh corn-on-the-cob on the trivet. Close the lid and cook at High Pressure for 2 minutes no matter how many ears you are cooking. Turn off the heat and Quick Release. Open the lid carefully. Serve immediately with butter. Fresh corn- on-the-cob comes out perfect every time! Rob

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If you’ve ever experienced the heartbreak of shrinking your favorite pair of jeans to a length that would make them perfect to wear to a flood, you’re going to be particularly fond of today’s first great reader tip. And like me, you’re probably going to wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that!”

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I can’t think of a better day than today to reach into the mailbag and pull out a few great tips submitted by—you guessed it—my great (loyal, faithful, awesome) readers!

Two cats on a bed


As the owner of two cats, I finally found a wonderful solution to the problem of finding a bedspread fabric durable enough to withstand the constant removal of fur and chafing of paws. Outdoor Living Tablecloths makes custom outdoor tablecloths using Sunbrella® material. Following their directions for taking measurements, I ordered a custom “tablecloth” bedspread for my queen size bed and have been using it now for seven months. It has held up beautifully, cleans like a dream and for sheer hardwearing, long-lasting quality, I think the price is a great deal. ~ Robin

Previously: Best Inexpensive Stick Vacuum—Finally!



I never used a rinse aid in my dishwasher, because we live in an area that doesn’t have particularly hard water that results in water spots left on glassware. I learned the hard way that rinse aids (like Finish Jet-Dry) have another more important use—they help to keep the dishwasher’s drain line running clean. Found this out from the repairman when our dishwasher wasn’t draining. The line was completely clogged—Yuck! ~ Elizabeth

Must read: Know Thy Dishwasher

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Want to learn more ways to save time and money every day? Your fellow readers are ready to share their best tips. Get ready, you’re about to say it more than a few times—what a great idea!

Trade school student painting car

PROJECT FREE PAINT JOB. My car is 7-years old with 127,000 miles—and paid for. I wanted to get it painted to last me another 3 years but didn’t want to spend the $700 I was told it would cost. I have a friend who is a teacher at our a local BOCES school (a training center for adults and high school students) and he said they would do the job at no cost—the only thing I would pay for is the paint. I checked into it and learned that many trade schools that teach automotive painting need cars for student projects. They were happy to get my car for the students to learn on and they did a masterful job, with teacher oversight. John

SEE CLEARLY TILL THE STORM PASSES BY. Rain-X Windshield Treatment is a product that repels water from a car’s windshield. It really works. I can still see well, even when a truck passes me splashing water, mud and slush over my windshield. You have to really rub hard to get the streaks off and the windshield must be totally dry when you apply the Rain-X. Being able to see at all times during a blinding rainstorm saves me much more than money. Brittany
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The only thing I love more than great tips from my readers are the words of love and thanks. Yeah, I’m a sucker for friendship and I value that more than you know.

laptop with mail arriving in form of letters in envelopes.

Just knowing that so many friends are reading these columns every day keeps me going. So whatever you do, keep those tips, great ideas and questions coming

NEUTRALIZE BUG BITES. I read your column every day with much interest. I really enjoy re-affirming the practical life lessons and habits that I have lived by for most of my adult life We are definitely on the same wavelength. I saw the article today with the many uses of Vinegar (acetic acid).

You may not know that a very important use for vinegar is for bites and stings of any kind. Spiders, ants, mosquitoes, all have a venom which can be neutralized very effectively if you can apply a cotton ball soaked with vinegar to the bite as soon after you notice it, as possible. Give the area a good firm rub with the cotton ball—even squeeze it into the bite so it penetrates.

The venom (PH basic) is chemical opposite to the vinegar (PH acid), so the itching and swelling can be reduced or eliminated if caught quickly. Love your blog and your work ethic, keep up the good work. Robert Read more

I’ve always found it ironic that the places in our homes that should be the cleanest—the washing machine, kitchen sink, bathroom tub, shower, sinks—are often the dirtiest.

Harsh chemicals, soap deposits, food stains, rust, hard water minerals, and water spots, when allowed to build up, will eventually not only look bad but cause permanent and irreversible damage.

The good news is that you can halt—even reverse—much if not all of this kind of damage.


DE-STAIN SURFACES.  Erase those orange and brown streaks and spots with a paste made of 1/2 cup powdered borax and the juice of one-half lemon (or the amount needed to make a thick paste). Dab a clean sponge in the mixture, rub over the stain. Once you see the stain fade, rinse with running water. This works like magic on sinks and tubs made of porcelain enamel, stainless steel, or any other material. An old, stubborn stain may require multiple treatments, allowing the mixture to sit on the stain for a few minutes before rinsing. (It’s always a good idea to test any treatment like this in an inconspicuous place, first.)

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Once again, it’s great reader tip day, when I reach into my overflowing email inbox to pull out handy hints and great ideas sent in by you, my Dear Readers. The tips you send me are always appreciated, often amusing, and frequently make me wonder, why didn’t I think of that?

preparing chocolate cake batter

CHOCOLATE CAKE. I use one cup of leftover coffee in my chocolate cake mixes instead of a cup of water. The bottom of the pot is the best! Vicki

PILLOW PROTECTORS. I used to iron cotton pillowcases but no more because I no longer use pillowcases! Instead, I use cotton pillow protectors with a zipper—two of these per pillow: One to protect the pillow and one to wash when I launder the sheets. The zipper has never been a problem. The pillows look neater and blend in with decorative pillows used on the bed. Ginny

Related: Best Inexpensive™: Mattress, Bed Pillow, Duvet Cover

REMOVE PERMANENT MARKER. You recently published a tip from a reader who had difficulty removing a permanent marker stain from her refrigerator. I am a teacher, and here’s what I do, no cleaner required: Simply use a dry erase marker to write over the top of the permanent mark, then wipe it away. This trick, which I actually learned from a student, has saved the whiteboard in my classroom on more than one occasion! By the way, thanks for all of the great tips! I’ve been reading your column for years and have learned so much from you! Jennifer Read more

Well, you’ve done it again! You clever readers have come up with another batch of fabulous ways that all of us can save time and money doing stuff like cleaning the annoying, cloudy film from your car’s headlight covers—and lots more. 


AUTO CLEANER. Use plain old baking soda on a damp rag to remove bugs, tar and anything else from your vehicle. Works great, even on the grill and chrome work. Leaves no residue or odor and won’t harm the paint. I just make a paste with baking soda and water, clean away and just rinse off. Works better than any commercial product I’ve tried. This method even cleans away the cloudy film on headlight covers. Bud

CUSTOM FLOOR MATS. I wanted floor mats for our mini-van so I stopped by our local car dealership. Boy, was I floored (pardon the pun). I checked a discount department store and while their mats were priced more reasonably, they didn’t fit well. I found a perfect solution by buying clear plastic runner material that is available by the yard at the home improvement center. With a utility knife I customized the fit around the seat hardware. This saved a lot of money and works beautifully. Judith

FRIDGE DEODORIZER. Used coffee grinds can eliminate even the worst refrigerator odors. I store kimchee (Korean pickled cabbage with a distinct odor) in my refrigerator regularly and I don’t smell it anymore! Simply take out the used coffee filter with the coffee grinds in it and place it in your refrigerator in an open container. It works better than baking soda or any other commercial remedy. I’ve tried them all. Just replace the coffee grinds when they dry up. Jay Read more