Cheap Source for Quality LED Lightbulbs and More Great Reader Tips

Not all companies are starving for business these days. In fact, some are setting records for growth. Any kind of repair business is doing great during these economically turbulent times.


Makes sense. After all, it doesn’t require a Mensa membership to know that most often it is cheaper to repair than to replace. And how about those dollar stores! If you can separate the good stuff from junk, it’s likely you’ll discover lots of ways to spend less.

This leads me to today’s first in a fun collection of my readers’ great money-saving tips, tricks, and bright ideas!

LED light bulbs

Another dollar store item you can buy cheaper without sacrificing quality: LED light bulbs! I got this tip from a man who works at my town’s Home Energy Audit office. According to this expert, the quality is equal to those found at Home Depot and Lowe’s, but so much cheaper. I now keep a stash of bulbs from my local 99 Cents Only store. Other dollar stores stock them, too. Jan

Windshield repair

Call your insurance agent to report a small crack in your car’s windshield. Many insurance companies will fix cracks or “stars” for free, provided they’re smaller in size than a quarter, in order to prevent larger claims in the future. Some companies will even send a repair person to your home or work to make it convenient for you. Mark

DIY drinkable yogurt

I love drinkable yogurt, but it’s expensive, and in my opinion, too sweet. I discovered it’s easy to make your own. All you need is a blender.

Equal parts:

  • fruit-flavored yogurt (I use a single serving of Chobani peach and then use the container to measure everything else.)
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • milk (cow’s or nut, whatever kind you like)
  • frozen, fresh, or canned fruit (I use peaches I froze this summer)

Blend it all up and then store it in an appropriate container (I use an empty milk bottle) in the refrigerator. Shake well before use. This makes a healthy drinkable yogurt that is not nearly as sweet. For sweeter yogurt, add two containers of flavored yogurt instead of plain. Ceil

Sunglass readers

I bought some sunglasses from the fishing department at Walmart—magnifying glasses used for tying fishline. They are very similar to traditional over-the-counter “readers.” I love them and they work great while reading a book in the sun. Cecelia

Cord corral

To corral a group of cords under your desk or behind a TV, buy a plastic shower rod cover (dollar store, Walmart, Target, or online). Cut it to your desired length. Then spread it open and enclose the cords. You can even match it to your carpet color to make the cords less visible. Maggie

Fresh scent

Scented candle stubs from used candles will keep your car smelling fresh. Put the wax pieces in a can or a small container and leave them in your car, under a seat. On a warm day, the wax will melt and fill the car with a nice fragrance. Tricia

Fire station fun

Throw an affordable children’s birthday party at your local fire station. Some stations allow their facilities, including the kitchen, to be used for parties for only a small donation to a local charity. At our station, parties are supervised by firemen and may include a tour and a chance to sit in a fire truck. Rick

Drapery closer

Bring a large binder clip when traveling. Hotel drapes will never completely close without one, no matter what! (You’ve got a better chance of winning a carnival prize than you do of getting a set of hotel drapes to overlap enough to shut out the light.) A big hair clip, a chip clip or even a small clip can also do the job. Keep it with your other toiletries and essentials. Zzzzz’s will then be a breeze without that band of light stabbing you in the eye! And should you forget? Look in the hotel closet for a “pants hanger,” the kind with two clothespins attached. Don’t remove them, but use those clips with the hanger attached to clip the drapes closed! Name withheld

Reuse mousepads

If you have more mousepads than you know what to do with, use them for other things around the house.

  • They are great furniture protectors for indoor clay flower pots. Just cut the pad to fit the size of the pot
  • Cut a pad into 4-inch squares for drink coasters
  • Use it as a hot pad to protect your table from high-temperature scars.
  • Leave a clean mouse pad in the kitchen for opening stubborn bottles and jars

Silver cleaner

To clean tarnished silver flatware, line the bottom of a large dish with aluminum foil. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of baking soda on the foil and pour about an inch of boiling water into the dish. Place the silver pieces on the foil, under the water. The tarnish will disappear as long as each silver piece is touching the foil. Susan

Squeaky clean

Clean the inside of your dishwasher with two packets of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid. Pour the packets of Kool-Aid into each of the dishwasher’s detergent cups and run it empty on the longest and hottest cycle available. Lemon Kool-Aid is loaded with citric acid, just what you need to remove soap residue and hard water minerals that collect inside the dishwasher. Katie

Good to the last bit

When you get to the bottom of the cereal bag and there is still a significant amount of cereal but you don’t want all that cereal powder in your bowl, pour it all into a colander. Shake the powder out and pour the cereal into your bowl! Nothing wasted! Jane

Refill foam pump

I put 25 drops of liquid soap in the empty foaming hand soap container and slowly fill the remainder with cold water. Screw the pump back on and shake well. Perfect consistency. The best for refilling are Dial foam pump. I’ve tried all and these last the longest. Soaking the pump in white vinegar once a month will increase its lifespan. Kath


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20 replies
  1. Elizabeth Sheehy says:

    Found magnifying SUNGLASSES among the readers on the rack at Dollar Tree last summer. They had a variery of strengths, from 1.00 to 4.00 when I was there – worth a look? Nice place to check for eyeglass cases, too, IMO – what’s the point of having scratched glasses no matter how inexpensive!

  2. Mary Keegan says:

    Last week you mentioned a hack for the Starbucks “medicine ball” drink. I found that Bigelow Tea makes a green tea bag with peach flavor already added in. It is quite yummy!
    I put a small amount of honey in the bottom of my tea mug (I use a 16 oz mug), add lemon and then some boiling water. I stir the hot water, honey and lemon to dissolve, then add the rest of the water and 2 tea bags. Steep for a few minutes and enjoy the savings! It’s even good iced.

  3. Linda Looper says:

    I have tried the silver in hot water and baking soda on foil. Did not work.
    Anyone have other ideas for cleaning silver?

    • beth swantek says:

      I’ve been using Wrights Silver Cream for years. So easy. I keep it under my sink and use whenever I take a piece of silver out that need shining up. Get it at the grocery store.

    • Maria says:

      I use the homemade granite counter top cleaner below. Spray and wipe with a microfiber cloth. I use it to clean my stovetop and the inside and outside of my microwave, too.

    • Sheri says:

      I have stainless steel pots and pans and when my son uses one of them to make a box of mac and cheese it always leave hard water marks on the botton. I just soak it it vinegar and it cleanes it.

      • Mary Hunt says:

        Careful! The fumes from household ammonia are toxic. (Never mix ammonia with bleach. This causes the release of toxic chlorine gas, which can be deadly.)

  4. Cindy Reimel says:

    I always use one of the hotel hangers with clips to keep the drapes closed when I stay at a hotel! No need to remember a binder clip.

  5. Ann says:

    I have found that the lemonade tip works but the cheap kind does not work as well as Kool-Aid. Even using this brand is so much less expensive than dishwasher cleaner.

    • PJ says:

      What about just purchasing a container of citric acid? They sell in in a small jar in the canning section of most stores to prevent fruits from darkening during canning and storage. Look for ‘Fruit Fresh’ or other similar names. Check the ingredients, but I think it is mostly citric acid, probably more than would be in a packet of drink mix. Measure how much is in a typical packet of drink mix and use an equal amount of the citric acid.

  6. Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    We make a super easy fruit smoothie for my daughter’s breakfast.
    1 individual carton of fruit yogurt
    1 handful of frozen fruit
    Fill the yogurt carton with water and add that
    Blend well.

    We use frozen strawberries with the strawberry/banana yogurt and sometimes add some fresh banana. With the peach yogurt we add a frozen fruit mix that has peach, mango, pineapple and strawberry in it.

    So easy and delicious. And most importantly, inexpensive.

  7. Katy says:

    I, too, reuse foaming containers, but the big thing with them is when they suddenly just don’t work anymore. There are Youtube videos on how to fix them, but you can stop the problem (or at least delay it) by NOT shaking the container. Use a chopstick or the end of a knife to stir the concoction after you refill it, then put the pump back in. Getting liquid into the pump mechanism is what seems to kill it. So stir, don’t shake!

  8. Ingrid Asta says:

    regarding the windshield repair be aware that it will be a considered a claim by your insurance. We found out the hard way, having a windshield repaired and our insurance company (liberty Mutual) raised our rates beyond the normal for having a claim.

    • Sharon Henderson says:

      Can’t resist replying. Liberty Mutual is one of the biggest rip off insurance companies out there. We had it for a few years, no claims. Finally, checking premiums, they had become exorbitant, almost twice other companies.


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