Ingenious Ways to Beat Frustration and Save Money, Too

By Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com
June 22, 2021 Updated: June 22, 2021

Secretly, I feel like a genius when I discover a secondary use for this or that—in case I run out of this but have plenty of that. Like using a paper coffee filter to wash a glass top or mirror when I’m in a pinch for paper towels. Or using a paper towel to create a coffee filter when I discover at the worst moment that we’re out of filters!

You’re going to feel like a genius, too, once you read today’s tips from ingenious readers.

Foil the Fools

Since it’s not recommended to put your home address in your GPS in case your car is stolen, I’ve set my “home” address as my local police station. I figure if a thief is dumb enough to think they can steal a car, they’ll be dumb enough to pull into the police station. While I don’t know if it would actually work, I’d have the story of stories if it did! And by the way, I do know the way home from the police station. —Tim

Car Keepers

My children like to have blankets in the car. Keeping these clean on the ride home from school is hard. I bought cushion covers at Target. I quickly fold up their blankets after I drop them off in the morning and stuff them into the cushion covers. I wash the cushion covers and blankets every week instead of washing the blankets every day. They also serve as pillows when the kids are tired and need a little nap. —Juni

Single-Serving Pizza

I’m a single girl and live alone, so I’m always looking for ways to save money. I love to cook, but sometimes, I opt for a frozen pizza. Instead of cooking one and then having leftovers, I open the pizza box as soon as I get home from the grocery store, cut it into quarters, wrap each slice individually in foil and put them back in the box and into the freezer. On those days when I’m too tired to cook, all I have to do is pull out a slice and pop it in the oven. This way, I only eat about one frozen pizza a month, it never goes to waste, and I never eat more than one slice at a time. —Sheri

‘Open First’ Box

As a military family, whenever the movers arrived to move us to the next assignment, I always had one box I marked “open first.” In it were bedsheets, towels, soap, a coffee maker, and a toaster. No matter how late we arrived at our new home, we didn’t have to spend another night in a hotel. We could make our beds, get cleaned up, and start the next day with coffee and toast, without having to open multiple boxes looking for stuff. —Cindy

Safe Lock Spray

So as not to damage your locks for the long term, use only a graphite-based spray to keep your locks from sticking in all weather conditions. We use Lock-Ease brand, after finding that many other brands can cause damage at greater cost! —Kathie

Doggie Bags

My husband and I love to host dinner parties for our family and friends. I like to send leftovers home with our guests in repurposed gift bags. The bags add a bit of charm and are much more tidy and pleasant-looking than a plastic grocery bag. —Maggie

Shout It Off

Even after trying oven cleaner, stove door cleaner, and other products, we could not get rid of the crud on the glass front of our wood stove. Finally, we found the solution! We place newspapers on the floor under the open doors and spray full-strength Shout Triple Acting laundry stain remover on the glass. Let soak for five to 10 minutes. Using a single-edge razor blade, scrape the black off the glass. Spray again lightly, and wipe with a paper towel. Works like a charm! —Lyle

Breakfast Rice

Leftover cooked rice serves as a wonderful hot cereal. Steam the rice with a little bit of water, and then serve with milk, chopped nuts, and raisins or some other dried fruit. My children love it. —Gigi

Vacuum Cord Saves Time

I save a lot of time vacuuming my large home since purchasing a 50-foot extension cord that I keep coiled up in an attractive wicker basket. Now I can vacuum almost the entire house without retracing my steps or taking time to unplug and replug my vacuum cleaner. —Linda

Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com

Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com