Now and then, a friend will look at me, bewildered, and say, "How do you know all this stuff?" It makes me laugh because, well, I do know a lot about how to save time and money every day. And I've learned most of it from my clever readers who, over 20 years, have taught me some amazing things. I mean, who would have thought to outfit a baby with an alarm clock?
Toddler alarm clock. My son and daughter-in-law were struggling with their 2-year-old getting out of his "big boy" bed before they were up in the morning. They purchased a child's alarm clock and set it for the time he can get out of bed. They use a baby monitor to make sure he is OK, but now when he wakes up, he stays in bed and sings or plays until the alarm goes off.
-- Colleen, California
Chop 'n' freeze. I enjoy having celery on hand, but I could never use it all before it spoiled. Now I wash it, chop it for cooking and freeze it in small portions. I'm never without celery for a spur-of-the moment dish or when I need that special little taste we enjoy so much. This tip works for bell peppers, too.
-- Glenda, Oregon
Industrial-strength weed "cloth." We are reroofing our house, and we didn't want to pay the cost of hauling away the old shingles. We have an area in our yard that we are landscaping with decorative white rocks, so we placed the old shingles under the rocks to prevent weeds from growing up through them.
-- Bonnie, Louisiana
Minty fresh without the
-- Linda, Wyoming
Creative tool carrier. When shopping for a lightweight shop-vac, I liked the tool-carrier accessory for the vacuum, but it was not included in the price. I bought it without the carrier and now use an old fanny pack to carry the tools. It's lightweight and works great.
-- Ginny, email
Get a grip without slipping. Have you ever had a shampoo bottle slip out of your hand in the shower? I took a thick rubber band and put it where my hand grabs the bottle. This provides a grip so I can securely grab the bottle without the risk of slipping.
-- Judy, Washington
Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can email her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Include your first and last name and state.