Manufacturers have been making a name -- and a profit -- for themselves creating tools and gadgets to help consumers get a "better grip" on countless household tasks. But I love it when I don't have to purchase something when I already have something that will work just as well.
You'll agree when you read our first reader tip.
Pliers break the seal. I have arthritis in my hands, and it's hard for me to open things with tabs or containers with aluminum or cellophane seals. My son suggested I use pliers. What a wonderful solution! Pliers are now part of my utensil drawer.
-- Bev, email
D.I.Y. garment bags. I got such a kick out of Shellie from Texas, who wrote about using aluminum foil and an iron to seal plastic bags. My mom taught me that trick when I was a kid, and I've been doing that ever since -- I'm almost 76 years old, so it's been a long time. We used the same iron and foil method to make our own garment bags, similar to the ones the cleaners used. We folded the corners on an angle and left a small opening in the middle for the hanger to slip through.
-- Priscilla, email
Heat fries the lice. Reading the tip about using mayonnaise to get rid of lice brought back memories. My daughter has thick, naturally curly, long hair. About 10 years ago, she got lice, and I thought we would never get rid of them. In desperation, I took my Chi flat iron, turned it up to the highest temperature of 356 degrees and straightened her hair.
-- Lisa, Tennessee
Fishing line for repairs. We live in Chicago and often have strong winds. My husband has repaired our awnings several times over the years. Last year, he sewed all the seams with fishing line. This year, when the wind gusts came, there was not a single tear.
-- Charysse, Illinois
Cookware cleaner goes the distance. Cameo Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cleaner works great on cleaning burnt stains from stainless cookware. I've had my cookware for over 50 years, and it still looks great.
-- Sarah, Minnesota
Freeze takeout rice for later. Whenever we order Chinese food, we get white rice even when we order fried rice, too. I put the white rice in zip-type freezer bags to use later. I have kept the rice as long as three months in the freezer, and it still heats up tasty.
-- Joanna, email
Send tips to mary@everyday cheapskate.com or Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Include your first and last name and state.