TOY BUCKET. Use a large plastic bucket to store children’s plastic toys. Drill several drainage holes in the bottom of the bucket, and you can wash the toys in the bathtub or outdoors with the hose when the kids are finished playing.
EXTRA CASH. If you get paid every two weeks, you have probably settled into living on that same amount each month. And you know that twice a year you receive a third paycheck in a month. Since you live within your means on two paychecks the other 10 months, plan to use these two “extra paychecks” to boost your savings account, fund your holiday shopping or get a jump on a college fund.
FREE HELP. Many credit unions offer counseling to members, and it’s absolutely free and not reported to the credit bureaus. Check that out before considering other types of credit counseling if you are a member of a credit union.
MEASURE N’ SAVE. You may be using too much detergent when you do the laundry. Read the box to determine the amount of detergent recommended. You might find that the manufacturer’s plastic cup holds almost twice the recommended amount. When the cup is filled, the box will hardly wash half the number of loads indicated in the directions. Instead, replace the cup included in the box with your own 1/3 cup dry measuring cup. Now you’ll get twice as many loads per box of detergent as before.
THIS FOR THAT. Have a craving for yogurt? Don’t sweat it. Cottage cheese blended until smooth makes an excellent cup-for-cup substitute for plain yogurt.
ARMY TRICK. After polishing and buffing white tennis shoes, use an old Army trick and spray them lightly with shellac. They keep a nice, polished look for awhile and wipe clean easily.
CLEANING CREAM. Who says shaving cream is just for our bodies? You can use shaving cream to remove hairspray from walls, woodwork and mirrors in your bathroom. It works great and leaves no nasty fumes or smells.
50-CENT SOLUTION. To clean your silver without harsh commercial chemical products, use the miracle powder in your pantry: baking soda. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water and massage in gently with an old, ragged, soft toothbrush. Wash in warm soapy water, rinse and dry well. Warning: You may never go back to $10 cleaners once you try the 50-cent solution.
DISPOSAL FRESHENER. Instead of throwing citrus peels into the trash, throw them into your disposal. The oils from the peels do a great job of cleaning and refreshing the disposal.
TOOL CADDY. Use a terra-cotta flowerpot to hold all your kitchen-cleaning tools under the sink. The terra cotta absorbs moisture, and that will help to keep your tools dry and rust-free.
Reprinted with permission from the more than 500 tips in the book, Everyday Cheapskate’s Greatest Tips, by Mary Hunt (Running Press, 2005), $12.95.