Darren Bancroft using a laptop

Repair—Don’t Replace—and Pocket the Savings and More!

Not all companies are starving for business these days. In fact, some are setting records for increased business. Any kind of repair business and also thrift stores are doing great during these financial 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 you can clean silver for a fraction of the price of a commercial cleaning product for a fraction of their new price tag. Which leads me to today’s first in a fun collection of random tips …

Darren Bancroft using a laptop

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.

CORD CORRAL. To corral a group of cords under your desk or behind a TV, buy a plastic shower rod cover. 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.

COUPONS FOR KIDS. Turn grocery shopping into a game for kids. Pick out which coupons you plan to use and give them to the kids. Let them try to match the items from the coupons to the items on the shelf. Then, at check out let their reward be the money that you saved from using the coupons.

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. On a warm day, the wax will melt and fill the car with a nice fragrance. 

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. Parties are supervised by firemen and women and may include a tour and a chance to sit in a fire truck.

MAGAZINE CO-OP. Get your neighbors or a group of friends together and share magazine subscriptions. Set up a workable rotation and everyone gets to read their favorite.

REUSE MOUSE PADS. If you have more mouse pads 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.

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 the silver piece is touching the foil.

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.

blue jeans hanging by their ankles from a clothesline in a wooded grassy area
A clear glass shower door, with Leak and Toilet
A man working on a car
Control panel and Machine
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7 replies
  1. NF says:

    I use Yankee Candles all the time(I never pay full price for these, but they are still expensive) but when they burn down, of course, I’m left with about an inch of wonderfully scented wax with no wick. Well, hang on to those jars with some “candle” left in them. For $3-5 I purchased a candle warming plate. You can eek out the last of the candle by using the the candle warmer. It melts the wax and releases the scent with no flame. Sometimes I will have several jars with a small amount of wax in them. As i use the candle warmer, i take the melted wax and carefully pour it into another candle jar of cold wax and create a layered effect. I then can use the candle warmer to melt my multi-layered candle to create some wonderfully unusual scents(grape/cedar, vanilla/beach, jasmine/lilac). This can be used with any scented candle, I am just partial to the Yankee brand. I love the car idea, may try that next. Thanks. And unsweetened Kool-Aid in dishwasher works great, slightly better than vinegar.

  2. Courtney says:

    A few years ago, my Samsung tv had a bunch of white dots on it, so I did a search on the issue. Turns out it was a bad chip, and because a lot of others were having the same issue, Samsung offered a free replacement chip. They came out and put the new chip in (no cost to me), and the dots were gone. Had I not done my research and gone with someone else, I would’ve been out quite a bit of money.

  3. Melanee says:

    An even less expensive and more “green” cord keeper is toilet paper and/or paper towel rolls. Just slit the roll down one side and fold the roll over the cords. Cheap and green! 🙂

  4. Christine Murphy says:

    When it comes to appliance repairs, I highly recommend a site called RepairClinic.com. A couple of years ago, our dryer stopped working. We suspected that it was a broken belt, but we didn’t know how to open the dryer to look. The dryer, an older model, came with the house and the previous owners did not leave a manual. So I Googled the brand and model number of the dryer, hoping to find a manual or any other info that could help, and I came upon RepairClinic.com. They have a wealth of YouTube videos there, including one that showed how to open our exact dryer, as well as how to replace the belt. It turned out that it was a broken belt, and I was easily able to order a replacement from the website. They ship quickly and have great customer service. So we were able to fix our dryer for under $20. Why spend hundreds on a new appliance, when it could be very cheap to fix the old one?

  5. Laurie says:

    At my work, we have a coupon group that we circulate a coupon holder, adding coupons we won’t use for others to take and take the ones you want. It works out great – the rule is give a little and take a little.
    On another note, when we have a repair or something wrong with the car, we Google and YouTube searches to see what background others can provide and have found very inexpensive ways to do some of our own repairs. It is not always a failsafe process, but has been a great starting point already saving us considerable money.

  6. Chris says:

    I can only imagine how many fire stations across the country will get a call asking if they allow birthday parties! Maybe a better way to suggest that would be to say “Some fire stations will allow you to bring a group for a tour and you could also ask if you could bring a birthday cake to have and make the outing into a birthday party while there”…it might make it not seem so much like a Chuckie Cheese kind of thing! And of course, they could still give the donation.

    Also a comment about magazines – many libraries are now subscribing to online digital magazine services you can access for free from your home computer using your library card!


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