auto mechanic at work cleaning and repairing brakes

More Creative Ways My Clever Readers Save Time and Money

Sometimes I wonder how Everyday Cheapskate readers discover their handy ideas. I mean, who would have thought something that cleans brake parts would also remove stains from clothes? Go figure!

auto mechanic at work cleaning and repairing brakes

Cleans more than brakes

I have found that using my husband’s brake parts spray cleaner (there are many; currently Brakleen is sitting in the garage) works really well for getting out grease stains. It doesn’t affect the color and works when other stain removers have failed, even if the item has already been washed and dried. Cam

(You should always, without fail, test any stain treatment in an inconspicuous place first to make sure your fabric is colorfast. These days, most are but please, do not assume anything. -mh)

Nothing goes to waste

Our town has two thrift shops that accept worn-out clothes. They remove the buttons and sell those. Then they bag up the clothes and sell them to a “rag man,” who gives them 7 cents a pound. So really, nothing has to go to waste. I’ve begun doing this myself. My kids love the buttons for craft project, I make good use of the rags, too. Marcelle

Double-duty salad

Mary’s tip about turning leftover salad into soup (What To Do with Leftover Salad) is genius. My Greek salad from a recent dinner did not end up in the disposal. Instead, it crossed the Mediterranean and changed nationalities—becoming Gazpacho the next night. I did what Mary suggested, tossing the leftovers in the blender and adding a little V8 juice. Betsy

M.O.M eliminates odors

I have always had very strong body odor. It didn’t matter what kind of deodorant or antiperspirant I used, it never worked. Then I heard that regular milk of magnesia worked as a daily deodorant. I tried it, and I’ve been using it for over a decade. I pour a little bit of the store-brand milk of magnesia on a cotton square and then pat it on my armpit, then repeat with the other armpit. A little bit lasts all day. Milk of magnesia can dry out quickly in the bottle, so just add a little water and shake well. Lynda

Plastic cuts it perfectly

When I bake brownies, I cut them with a plastic knife when they are still warm. The brownies don’t stick to the plastic knife or roll up when cut, but you have to cut them while they are warm. Sally

Quick tick remover

When my little ones get a tick while playing outdoors, I easily and painlessly remove it with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. I place the cotton ball where the tick’s head appears, and the tick backs out. It’s fairly quick and definitely painless. Dena

Contact lens case recycle

Ever since reading about the tip to cut open a tube of lotion to get to the last bit of product, I’ve been amazed at how much I’d been wasting all these years. (I’ve even started to wrestle open the pump bottles with a pair of pliers to get that last $$ eye cream bit!)  But how to store that last bit of lotion to avoid it drying out?

As a contact lenses wearer, I have many extra contact cases and realized they make perfect storage containers for those last lotion bits. Added bonus: These containers are perfect for travel. I write the contents on the lid and take my pomade, hair gel, eye cream, etc. without the bulk. Kate

Wasp trap

We have a lot of wasps in the summer, and commercial wasp traps at my grocery store cost $12.99 each, so I make my own. I take an empty plastic sports drink container, cut the top off just below the point where it tapers up to the screw-on lid, then inverted the top and place it inside the bottom portion and put a couple of inches of orange juice (anything sugary will work) and set it on my deck.

The wasps fly or crawl into the bottle, but can’t figure out how to get out, and eventually die. It works like a charm, and it’s free! When the trap gets full, I toss it and make another one! Linda


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  1. Linda Ketcham says:

    For many years I have had a drawer in my desk full of long envelopes for any store where I shop. I tuck the flap into the envelope first, alphabetize the envelopes, and face the open part toward the front of the drawer. When I get home from shopping (or receive an online purchase), the receipt goes into the front of the envelope, so they are in order by date. This saves a lot of hassle if I have to return something, or find a product to be defective after opening the package.

  2. Susan O'Neal says:

    When my pump bottle of lotion no longer pumps I use a bread knife as a saw to cut it open just above the remaining lotion. (Hold up to a bright light to see where that is.) Then I cover it with a small one of the shower-cap-like bowl covers that save me lots of money on plastic wrap. Amazing how many days that lotion lasts!
    BTW, I wash, dry and save my used hotel shower caps to serve as larger bowl covers. They last longer than I expected the first time I brought some home from a trip. They augment my bowl covers bought on line.
    I have cut open tooth paste tubes with scissors since I ran low during exam week in college many years ago. I was in the class of 1958, so I wonder how much I have saved in toothpaste over the years.
    I still have my grandmother’s button box that she kept in a drawer of her treadle Singer sewing machine. I’ve been able to replace a number of lost or damaged buttons from that box, and, of course, I continue to add to it.

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