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What I love more than great tips and brilliant ideas from my readers are the lovely words of love and thanks. Yeah, I’m a sucker for friendship and I value each and every one of you more than you will ever know.

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Just knowing that so many friends are reading these columns every day makes me excited and energized to keep going!

So whatever you do, keep those tips, great ideas, questions, and the love coming.

Freeze milk for later

I use whole milk, but only occasionally in some of my special recipes. Instead of purchasing the smaller size milk container for that one recipe, I purchase the gallon-size whole milk which is much cheaper per ounce.

I freeze what I don’t need in 1-cup measurements in freezer bags. I am surprised how many times during the year this saved me from purchasing yet again a smaller size milk container for just one recipe.

I am so grateful for your daily emails—they have helped keep me on the right track. Thank you. Linda

 

Safe take-apart

I am a retired soldier. During my active career, we moved often. That meant my inner DIY needed to come out often. We disassembled many things over the years and I would like to add to your tips on taking things apart. Once the item is disassembled, always reposition the fasteners, screws or bolts and nuts back into the holes, exactly where they were. You are not putting the item back together, simply inserting the hardware into the specific slots and holes.

Packing all of these items into a zip-type plastic bag sounds like a good idea, but unless you very securely tape the little bag to the back of the item you took apart, the bag always seems to get lost some way or another.

Putting the fasteners back where they were means they will always be in the right place when and where you need them!

Now that we have retired, we still have some things disassembled in our shed for storage, and the fasteners are back in their spots waiting to be used in the reassembly, without hunting for them. Colonel T.W. Read more

I love to do laundry. I’m crazy that way. And I enjoy discovering ways to do it more efficiently—and by efficient I do mean cheaper, better and faster.

 

Blue jeans hanging on a cloths wire outside

In fact, I was about ready to give myself a proper title, The Laundress, until I discovered a couple of very bright young women in New York City beat me to it. It’s OK. They can keep the title and charge an arm and a leg for their chi-chi laundry products in little bottles.

Me? I’d rather use every tip I can find to create equally beautiful results and keep my money, too. Are you with me? Great! Here are some of my favorite laundry tips to get going.

When wrong is right

Wash your clothes inside-out to keep them looking newer longer. In this way, the wrong side of the garment takes all of the abuse and fading caused by the agitation—not the right side. Clothes get just as clean when washed inside-out.

Soft dry jeans

You’ll never experience the heartbreak of shrunken jeans if you do this: Put them in the dryer for only 10 minutes. That’s enough to soften them. Take them out still wet and hang on a hanger from ankles. The weight of the semi-wet jeans will pull out the wrinkles and keep them at their proper length when fully dry.

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Quite possibly, the thing I enjoy most about this job of mine is that I get to read, ponder—sometimes shriek WHAAT?!—all of the great tips and ideas my readers send it for me to share with you.

Here’s another batch for your consideration and hopefully, enjoyment!

 waffle iron in the kitchen. preparing homemade waffles, pouring a dough

Will it waffle?

I use my waffle iron to bake cornbread. It’s fast and doesn’t heat up the kitchen. Delora

Turn down the heat

If you end up cooking something that is too spicy, just add a teaspoon of sugar and you will counteract the spiciness of the dish. Nancy

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Whether it’s anticipating a backseat disaster, coming up with a quick dinner solution or keeping memories alive, our Readers have just the perfect solution.

TRAVEL KIT. I have a little kit I keep in the car. It contains gallon-size zip-lock bags, paper napkins, straws and antibacterial soap. It’s amazing how many times I use it. Once, my daughter became sick on the way home from an event. The zip lock bag and napkins came in very handy. Then there was the time my son had to pet a friend’s dog and then wanted to have a snack on the ride home. Antibacterial soap to the rescue. Having straws handy means I can keep my eyes on the road and take a swig of a can of soda at the same time. Mary Jo., Kentucky

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SHOO FLIES. I’ve learned that keeping fresh rosemary around keeps the flies away. A growing plant in a windowsill is a great idea. Bud M., email

ROLLS LIKE BOB’S. Sometimes I forget to buy dinner rolls to go with the entree I’ve made for dinner. Then I remember what they used to do at Bob’s Big Boy when I went there as a kid. They toasted split hamburger buns and served them in place of dinner rolls. If it’s good enough for Bob, then it’s good enough for my family. They love it, too! Jennifer B., Wyoming Read more

Today I am especially impressed if not excited by the cool and very useful money- and time-saving tips my EC readers send to me.

Not that long ago I stopped into a discount clothing store (Marshall’s to be exact) to get my husband a new belt. I enjoy the classy look of a high-quality leather belt and I know this store usually has a fairly decent selection. And they did. The problem was that not one of them was smaller than a size 52. What!? I walked out empty-handed. Then I heard from Reader Bob. Why didn’t I think of that?

Bargain belts

The discount clothing stores seem to frequently have a pretty good selection of high-quality men’s leather belts. The only problem for me is that the name-brand belts they carry are usually in sizes too big for me. I buy them anyway and take them to a shoe repairman near my home who removes the buckles, cuts off the extra inches and re-attaches the buckles. He charges me $3-$5 a belt. I spend on average $15 to $20 on a belt that retails in department stores for $50 to $80, or more. Bob W.

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Frozen rice

I cruise through the frozen food aisles at my favorite warehouse clubs (like Sam’s and Costco) to see what’s new. I figure if they can freeze it, so can I. On a recent trip I saw a long line of people waiting for samples. I sneaked over to see what it was, only to discover rice! Frozen pre-cooked plain white rice. People seemed to think that was the greatest invention ever and they were all tossing it in their carts. I went home, pulled out the rice cooker, made my own and froze it in individual portions. Rebecca M. Read more

Living frugally does not mean choosing a life of poverty. Frugality is simply the act of avoiding waste. It means finding the most economical way to accomplish a task or project.

Frugality doesn’t mean giving up, it means living better because when you have all that you need plus money in the bank, life becomes much easier. Frugality is a state of mind, an attitude you choose for a way of life that is rewarding.

 

 

Every day my mailbox fills with frugal tips from my loyal readers. Some make me laugh; others leave me wondering why I didn’t think of that. Still, others have become such a common way of life for me, I’m grateful to have been reminded of what a great frugal idea it is.

Enjoy this recent sampling:

Cheaper air

Last summer, it got so hot where we live, many nights it was nearly impossible to sleep. We have central air in our home, but to make the room comfortable for sleep would require cooling the entire house — and that gets very expensive. We decided to buy an Energy Star window unit for our bedroom, that we run just long enough to cool the room before we go to bed. Our electric bill increased by only a few dollars. Marielle Read more