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EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE (R)- Helpful Home Hints for Cleaning, Cooking, Storing PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARY HUNT, Creators Syndicate   
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 22:11

As the story goes, my father-in-law, a Baptist minister, once received a bottle of liquor as a holiday gift.

Deciding to use it as a teaching moment for his young children, he summoned the family to the kitchen, where, with great dramatic flair, he dumped the contents down the sink. Had he known about today's first reader tip, he might have moved the venue to the bathroom and used the shower drain as the receptacle, but only after first spritzing down the walls and floor.


At my sister-in-law's suggestion, I cleaned my large fiberglass shower stall with cheap vodka. It worked like a charm! I sprayed it on, wiped it off with a clean cloth and enjoyed instant results. The vodka cuts through the residue left behind by soap, shampoo and water. It certainly kills germs with all that alcohol, and it's much cheaper per ounce than the pricey cleaning products on today's market. I plan to try this on Formica countertops and all my sinks, too. The vodka is 10 years old, a leftover from a family wedding. I did take precautions to keep the vodka away from the material that seals the drain.

— Judith, e-mail


I have another trick to make sure our closets don't get overrun with clothing that we don't wear. Every time my daughter buys a new item, she has to take one older item out of her closet and put it in my donation bag. I do the same. Our theme is "One goes in; one comes out." — Diane, e-mail


I've solved the problem of detecting scanning errors. I take a picture of the shelf bar code or sale sign of the item with my cell phone. At checkout time, I've got proof of the advertised price. The store almost always honors the advertised price without question.

— Jean, Ohio


I use the clear plastic containers that lettuce comes in at the big-box stores for storage. They are handy for storing loose items — such as gloves, tools and rags — and they fit nicely on a shelf. They also work well in the pantry for that last granola bar or packet of hot cocoa. They are also great for organizing and storing vitamin bottles. When you need something, you can see through the plastic and get what you want easily. — Louise, e-mail


When I need to hard-boil just three or four eggs, I don't waste the energy to heat up a pan on my gas stove. Instead, I cook them in my electric teakettle. I add the eggs and fill it to the top line with water. I allow the water to come to a full boil, turn the kettle off and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. I pour out the water, refill it with cold water and let it sit for five to 10more minutes. Swish a little soapy water in the kettle and it's ready to go for tea again. — Susie, Washington

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can e-mail her at mary@everydaycheapskate. com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Include your first and last name and state. MaryHunt is the founder of and author of 18 books, including "Debt-Proof Living" and "Tiptionary 2."