Today’s first great reader tip makes me laugh. Imagine a chicken standing to attention in a Bundt pan. This is the best idea I’ve heard all day, and I think you’ll agree.
Stand the Bird
To roast a whole chicken more evenly and quickly, set your Bundt pan on a cookie sheet. Now, stand that chicken over the center cone of the Bundt pan, pushing it down to stabilize it in the pan. Roast as you usually do or at 375 degrees F until done. A standing chicken browns more evenly and cooks faster. —Priscilla G.
No More Ugly
I bought some shoes that I love and that fit perfectly at a clearance sale. The only problem was the ugly color. I am hard to fit, so I bought them anyway. I stopped by the shoe-repair shop on the way home and bought a can of black Meltonian Nu-Life Color Spray. I sprayed the shoes black, and they turned out beautifully. The secret is to cover the soles with masking tape and then to spray lightly. But I didn’t stop there! Recently, I sprayed a handbag ($220 marked down to $20 because of the ugly color) that is gorgeous in its new color. —Kim L.
Fire Ant Extinguisher
In many areas of the country, fire ants are a very serious problem. The hills they build are difficult to get rid of; they attack very quickly; and their sting burns for a long time. Instead of spraying with poisonous, expensive pesticides, pour enough uncooked grits over the hill to completely cover it, and then water the hill very well. The ants eat the grits, and when the water is applied, they swell up and die. It works great and leaves no toxins in the surrounding areas to which children and pets could be exposed. —Elaina M.
If your hobby is genealogy, creating a notebook of the family history information, including scanned photos, is a welcome gift for family members—especially older teens and others who are hard to buy for. This could also be a great wedding gift for a couple who will be starting a new family, especially if you have access to both the bride’s and groom’s family histories. This history can be as simple or as elaborate as your time and finances allow. —Jeanette P.
Here’s a simple and foolproof way to take lipstick stains out of white cotton. Mix 3 equal parts of household laundry bleach, warm tap water, and milk in a spray bottle. Spritz the stain, and then scrub it with an old toothbrush. Presto white-o, the lipstick is gone! Don’t use this on anything but whites, because it does contain bleach and will discolor dyed fabrics. —Marjoree F.
Peel and mash the bananas (which is speedy in the blender); stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice for each banana; and freeze the banana mixture in an airtight container for up to six months. Defrost the banana puree overnight in the refrigerator, and use in breads, cakes, daiquiris, drinks, puddings, etc. Brilliant! —Jessie T.
I have a young daughter who is very hard on tennis shoes. Whenever her shoes start looking a little ragged, I use 1 tablespoon of Soft Scrub cleaner on a clean, smooth rag and wipe the scuff marks, chewing gum, play dough, and dirt from the smooth parts of the shoes. (This also works well for white cloth shoes, but not colored shoes, because there is a small amount of bleach in the Soft Scrub.) I add a new pair of shoelaces, and that extends the useful life of shoes that I might otherwise have discarded because they looked so shabby. —Sharai K
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, 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. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Copyright 2020 Creators.com