Affordable Charitable Giving This is in response to the "buy one, get one free" offers at local stores. If your family doesn't use that particular item, buy it anyway and then donate it to your local shelter or Salvation Army. There are many people in need. Because it costs a little at a time, I feel this is a good way to donate. C.W.
Stale Bread? I make most of my own bread. Because it does not contain preservatives, it can get stale quite quickly. I heard someone say that they store their bread in the microwave, so when my old microwave "gave up the ghost," I turned it into a breadbox. Because it seals so well, the bread stays fresh much longer! Diane L.
Free Spring Wardrobe Having a new spring wardrobe may be out of reach, but if you have a friend who has similar tastes in fashion and who is (or was) your size, there's a way around it. Simply have a clothing swap. If your buddy goes to a different church, perhaps you can trade Easter dresses. Each person would then be able to wear a new (to her) Easter outfit to church. Or maybe you would prefer to trade business outfits or items you'd wear to special events, such as a night on the town or a vacation. The trade can be temporary or permanent. If it's a temporary trade, work out in advance what will happen if the garment is torn or stained. LB
Picture Framing for Less I recently needed a poster-sized frame and mat for a beautiful poster I picked up, but the cost to frame it was outrageous. Instead, I picked up a matted and framed poster at a garage sale even though the mat was the wrong color. I took the picture from the frame and painted the matting using some leftover paint. Since it was double-matted and I wanted a contrasting color on the inside mat, I just took a fat Sharpie marker and colored in the small space between the mats. The result is absolutely stunning and it looks like I had it professionally done. J.
My Weekly Valentine This past Valentine's Day, my husband and I had a frugal romantic dinner at home after putting the kids to bed. We both dressed up. I cooked a nice meal beforehand that I could just reheat when he got home. It was incredibly nice. We reconnected by talking instead of our usual TV watching. We even danced a little to some music from the radio. It was such a success that we have decided to do it once a week at least. Since going out has gotten to be so expensive, why not have our date night at home? We'll have our Valentine's Day once a week and save money in the process. Julie S.
Younger Skin Forever Several years ago, I was given this tip from a woman in her sixties whose skin looked years younger. She told me that she used baking soda to exfoliate her skin. Ever since then, I have been using it, and it works wonders. I mix about a tablespoon in with my facial cleanser and gently rub on my face, neck, hands, etc. I am careful to avoid my eyes. It is amazing how smooth my skin looks and feels. Barb in TX
Small Plants in Large Pots To save on potting soil in large pots or containers, such as wine barrels, place empty milk cartons or soda bottles on the bottom first to take up some of the space. Don't use this trick if you're planting a tree in the pot, but only if you're using the pots for smaller plants that don't have a large root system. Carrie J R
The Fry Line Whenever sausage and/or bacon go on sale, I buy up several packages. Frying them in the kitchen leaves my clothes and kitchen smelling like bacon or sausage all the rest of the day and leaves my stove rather greasy. I have a large old electric skillet, so I plug it in on my patio and fry up several packages of these all at once. I just make it a project I do maybe once a month or so. I reserve some in the fridge (as much as I'll use in a few days) and then I package up, label, and freeze the rest. I only have to wash the skillet once, have no greasy mess or smell in the house, and have pre-cooked meats ready for many meals after that. If you don't have an electric skillet, an indoor grill will work well for this job also. GH
Getting Rid of Lice Safely My grandkids had lice and the parents had tried every commercial preparation on the market and all the home remedies they heard about and nothing worked. I found this one online, and after one application, the lice were gone. Also, it is perfectly safe. Soak head with full-strength Listerine(r), and generic will do. I put it in a spray bottle and held a wash cloth along the hairline, so it wouldn't get in the kids' eyes. Cover with shower cap and leave in for at least two hours or even overnight if you like. When you remove the shower cap, you will see dead lice in the shower cap. Rinse. Next soak head with full strength apple cider vinegar. Again I put it in a spray bottle. Cover with a shower cap. Leave in for at least two hours or as long as you like. This kills the nits. Remove shower cap and rinse. Finally, cover head with cream rinse and start combing. Every time you feel like you have hit a tangle, it is a nit that was stuck to the hair. Rinse. You can do this as often as you like, but we only did it one time and the lice were gone. Cara