Old Coolers This time of year is a great time to replace any broken coolers you might have. I recently replaced ours. I almost threw away the old one until I needed something to hold wild bird food. It’s perfect. I no longer have opened bags (which attract squirrels and mice) all over the shed. J.
Veggie Spray Alternative I find the spray to clean fruit sold in the veggie section of the store way too pricey. In reading the ingredients of this spray, it lists baking soda. I wet the apple, peach, etc., sprinkle baking soda on it, rub it around the fruit, and rinse. It’s a lot less expensive, and it does a good job. C.
Paper Delivery Bags I save the long skinny bags that my daily newspaper comes in and keep them in an empty tissue box for easy dispensing. They are great to put used disposable diapers in. To help control the odor, I knot the bag before putting it in the trash. They also make great disposal bags for chicken bones and such. In my diaper bag, I carry one of these bags with a new diaper in it, so I’m ready for a change anytime. S.
Finding the Best Bargains I found that the best bargains occur at some of the most expensive stores. Many of these bargains occur during unannounced sales. The key is to shop often and look in the out of the way parts of the store, usually in the back or in the corners. A well-made item on sale will last you a lot longer than a cheaper one of poorer quality. Looking costs you nothing and makes you aware of what things cost normally. You will be able to tell what is a true sale or a ploy. C.
Frugal Furniture Pads There are beautiful hardwood floors in the home we recently rented. I had a few felt pads that I used under furniture on the flooring at our last home. The pads were expensive. While shopping at a dollar store last week, I realized that the welcome mats sold there for a dollar would be a great replacement. For $2 (two welcome mats), I had enough material to make furniture pads for under all the furniture. My pads have a rubber side. I put the grip side up. They work perfectly. Linda B.
Non-Toxic Heavy-Duty Cleaner Place the peelings of two oranges (or two grapefruits) in a mason jar. Add white vinegar to the top, and put the top on tightly! You can place in the sun if you want. In two weeks, it is ready to use as a household cleaner. It will take the iron stains off of the sink, faucets, showers and toilets. Did I say it was non-toxic? Of course it is! Shirley M. (via Facebook)
Lunch Fun When my kids were in elementary school, I packed their lunches with a new picture sentence card each day. On a 3x5 note card, I wrote out a simple sentence or phrase, using hand-drawn pictures and stick figures to represent some or all of the words. For example, “spelling bee” could be represented by the letters “ABC” and a picture of a bumble bee. If a word was divided into parts such as “sleeping,” it could be depicted by a person lying in a bed with “+ing” to form “sleeping.” The answer was written on the back of the card in fine print. This was fun for my kids, a hit among the other kids at the lunch table who were eager to help solve the daily puzzle, and a good way to make new friends. As the year progressed, my kids accumulated a stack of picture sentence cards to play with. Lorraine in NH
Seasonal Kitchen Decor I love to spruce up my kitchen with seasonal vinyl tablecloths. Many times Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc. will sell them at the end of a holiday season for a fraction of the original cost. Since they’re folded, they always seem to crease. I discovered that ironing the cloths on their wrong sides with the wool setting gets rid of those awful creases. Since I reuse many of my stored away tablecloths year after year, I am glad I finally found a solution. K.
A Pumpkin Plan I have a ridiculously good tip for what to do with those $3.88 pumpkins that are stacking up outside grocery stores right now. You can bake them whole for hours and hours on low and then just scoop out the pulp and throw away the skin and seeds. It works great! I always heard that only the “pie” pumpkins can be cooked, but it’s not true! Just take out the extra rack in your oven to make room. Line your biggest cookie sheet with foil. It’s better if you have a lip on the edge of the cookie sheet for drippings. Turn your oven to 250 degrees, put the pumpkin on the sheet, and bake it overnight. In the morning, it will be very well cooked. Just peel off the skin and scoop out the pulp, discarding the seeds. You’ll get probably eight to ten cups of pulp out of that $4 pumpkin. I divide it into two-cup portions in zipper bags. So, buy the pumpkins now and use them as fall decorations. They last for a month or two as long as they’re not cut. Then when you’re tired of them, you can bake them and use them for pies, soup, muffins, pancakes, bread, etc. They’ll get double duty. Now that’s stretching your dollars! Anne W.