Sometimes the tips my readers send me make me smile because they're so clever or so much fun. Who would have thought to hide a photograph in a bike as a way to ID it?
ID your bike: When buying a new bicycle (and for the bikes you have already), place a photograph of the owner inside the handlebar. Simply remove a handgrip, insert photo and replace grip. If the bike is stolen and later recovered, you have a positive ID of the owner. I suggested this when I worked at a store that sold bicycles. It saved many parents the cost of buying a new bike.
-- Ryan, Texas
Quickly chill drinks: If you need to chill wine, champagne, beer or other drinks quickly, salt and ice will do the trick. Place the bottle in an ice bucket or other tall plastic container. Add a layer of ice on the bottom and sprinkle it with a few tablespoons of salt. Continue to layer salt and ice until it reaches the neck of the bottle. Then add enough water to bring it up to the level of the ice. After 10 to 12 minutes, open and serve surprisingly cold beverages to your guests.
-- Monica, California
Soapy bugs: I discovered the best way to stop the bug invasion on my flowers and veggies. It's a solution of shredded Fels Naptha, a bar soap found in the laundry aisle, mixed with water in a spray bottle. Shake vigorously and spray. It's nontoxic, and it works.
-- Debbie, Tennessee
Baby gate bargain: Instead of buying baby gates to keep the baby safe in the
-- Brenda, New York
Rust prevention: I live at the beach where the salt air tends to rust anything made of metal. The technician at my bike shop told me to spray furniture polish on the gears, spokes and other parts of my bike to protect and prevent them from rusting. It's fairly inexpensive and works like a charm.
-- Becky, California
Water cure: I found a cheap way to cure my leg cramps, a problem that was so perplexing even my doctor couldn't figure out how to help me. A friend suggested I should give up my diet sodas and drink more water instead. I tried it, and it worked.
-- Margaret, California
Quilt roller: The long, foam pool toys called noodles are great for storing quilts. Roll the quilt around the foam cylinder and slide it under the bed for storage. Your quilt will last many years longer without repeated creases from folding. The quilt also looks nicer when you go to lay it out on the bed.
-- Cheri, Oregon
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.