Penny Pinching Grandma’s Inbox

Grandma's Inbox

Grandma’s been getting tips and wish I had known about this th ideas sent in by my readers and have decided it was time to start giving credit where credit was due. That is how this page has come about, so from now on all new tips sent in will be on this page.

Right now they aren’t in any kind of order as I get more I will try to categorize them a bit. I will add them as I get them in, so please if you have some good money saving or penny pinching tips see the bottom of this page and send them.








When using a hot glue gun for a long period of time, sometimes you get long thin strings of glue and they are a problem to get rid of; use a hair dryer and they will disappear.

Ken
Navarre, Florida


If you have purchased the product called “Color Safe” it really works! But did you know that you can use them over and over again? Simply put it in your wash loads again and again until it turns a different color than white. Then you can throw it away, saves money.

Jodie
Gulf Breeze, Florida


I have found a great way to keep your bathroom mirror clean. After taking a shower and when the mirror is fogged over, take a wet but well wringed out washrag, and just wipe the mirror down real well. If it is very dirty, I go back over it with a dry rag, but most of the time just the wet one will do. As the room cools off, the mirror will dry and be as clean as if you had used a cleaner and paper towels.

Cindy
Oklahoma


Planning a vacation? Two sites you may not know:

www.floridavacationauction.com

www.citypass.com

The Florida vacation auction takes more time, you’re bidding on tickets to attractions/meals/lodgings and have to wait for the bidding to end. But paying less than one adult’s ticket price for four adult tickets is worth the wait!

I used CityPass for my Atlanta trip, paid $65 and the ticket price for the GA Aquarium alone is $55! We visited Fernbank Museum, CNN, World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, and, of course the aquarium. When you get to CityPass, you pick your city and see what is offered.

And, if you are driving, be sure to pick up an extra map for the children. They can us it to track the towns and learn skills like reading, using a graph, and determining directions and distances. (If you don’t tell them it’s math, they enjoy figuring out how far it is to the next town!) Oh, no calculators, this isn’t schoolwork!

Granny Shirley


If you, like I, work and bring home roasted chicken for supper, you can stretch it into at least two meals. Grandpa and I usually have three meals, but, with children, two will probably be the best you can do. Also, I can prep all meals on the first day, freeze the leftovers if I want to add space between chicken meals, and all three meals take very little time from me walking into the house and supper on the table.

Anyhow, for the first meal serve straight to the plate. This stops overeating; what they don’t see, they don’t eat. Remove any skin for the ones who don’t eat it and put it back with the leftover chicken.

The second meal is trickier, pull meat off the bones, chop, and make chicken salad or chicken divan. Both are easy dishes and delicious. And incorporating the vegetables into the one dish means picky eaters get nutrients from the veggies even if they don’t eat them! (Sneaky works!) Be sure to put the bones with the skins in the leftover container.

The third meal is one of my favorites: chicken and rice or chicken soup or chicken stock for a future meal. Again, I add veggies to the chicken and rice to add nutrients in a one-dish meal.

Okay, you’ve spent less than 30 minutes serving the first meal and prepping the second and third. You are now “SuperMom” or “SuperDad”! At any rate, you now have more time to spend with that family you love so much.

Granny Shirley





Convert a tank top to a tote bag!

Make a tank top tote bag in less than 5 minutes. For books, beach stuff or as a market bag; a great way to recycle some old tank tops.

  1. Collect some old tank tops.
  2. Keep in mind your purpose for the bag. Jersey knit will be quite stretchy where as cotton will be stronger and more taut.
  3. Turn tank tops inside out and lay them flat.
  4. Cut the bottom of the tank top if you want a shorter tote.
  5. If you want a long one, leave it as is.
  6. Pin the cut end together so it doesn’t move around while you sew it up.
  7. Put some very basic, non perfect pleats to make it a little more interesting.
  8. Stitch it straight or curve the stitch as shown in the image. If you curve the stitch line, the bottom of the bag will be more rounded and a little more appealing to look at.
  9. Stitch it twice to make sure it is strong.
  10. Turn it inside right and you are done.
  11. Pin on a flower, tie on a scarf, or even wrap an old vintage necklace around the handle to make it fancy.

 

Name withheld by request


Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar has a multitude of uses, but here’s one that astounded me. I applied a vinegar-soaked cotton ball with a band aid to a non-cancerous crusty brown spot on my leg every night for 3 nights. On the 4th day, it fell off! A caution to readers: First my physician said it was not cancer and I should just ignore it AND I compared the appearance to photos of skin conditions on the web before I proceeded.
The readers name has been withheld by request, but, I found this to be interesting so I asked her to further explain, if you want to read, “the rest of the story”, so to speak, you can find it HERE on my vinegar page at the bottom.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY AROUND THE HOUSE

  1. Shop at Dollar stores; it is fun and there are a lot of great bargains in groceries, household items, baby things and toys, greeting cards, wrapping paper, picnic supplies; gifts; the list is endless.
  2. Check before you throw any item out. Your trash might be someone else’s treasure. Find a way to sell it either online, at a consignment store. Of course you can just give the item to a family member or friend.
  3. Have a garage sale. Go through the house and gather all the items that you and your family no longer use. Get everyone involved and make it fun.
  4. Try to do minor repairs yourself. Leave electrical and plumbing repairs to professionals.
  5. Install a wireless network for all your computers instead of having multiple cable or DSL installations.
  6. Shop around for the best deal on a telephone/cell phone. Stay away from all the bells and whistles, and consider if you really need two phones before you buy that extra phone.
  7. Shop online for bargains.
  8. Shop factory outlet stores or second hand stores.
  9. Check on-line for gently-used items that can be recycled or re-used or refurbished into something else.

The young lady that sent in these great ideas has asked that her name not be posted so I will not do so, but she has sent in so many good ideas I need to put them on a separate  page. As I just saw an old Andy Griffith show I am going to call her Aunt Bea, so if you would like to see what else Aunt Bea has to say you can go HERE.

A friend sent to me some solutions, ideas and pictures and I’m sure she found them on the web somewhere. I’m not claiming they are mine, but thought you might find them of interest. You can find them here at Solutions to problems you hadn’t realized you had . . .

I turned the hot water off on my bathroom sinks. Just look under sink, you have a hot water and cold water knob. This also keeps grandkids from getting hot water burn. I also turned the cold water knob so water flow is less, saving on water bill. 

I don’t buy trash bags, I use grocery plastic bags for trash. The plastic bag is a perfect fit for bathroom trash cans. In the kitchen I just hang bag on cabinet knob, when bag is full take to outside trash.

We don’t eat at fast food very often, but when we do I always ASK for extra napkins and condiments. I keep napkins and use as needed instead of paper towels.

I have brick patio, (brick from my old home place where I grew up) weeds try to grow in between brick, I pour salt on weeds, no more weeds. But remember salt will kill whatever it gets on.

I do have cable, I called and asked about bundle package, when they told me would charge service fee to hook up I challenged (nice but assertive) them and did not have to pay extra charge (they are getting MY business). Always ask and don’t take no, speak with a higher up.

I love your site, came across it by accident now I check your site often.

Name withheld by request


Grandma, I ran across this and just had to share. For years we have struggled to separate egg yolks and egg whites, here is the best method I have ever seen.

HOW TO SEPARATE EGG YOLK FROM WHITE

The language in the video at the link below is Chinese. Ignore the language and just watch the demonstration.

Watch the simple and effective method of separating an egg yolk from the white… It is a simple and straight forward application of hydraulics.

Watch here http://bbs.wenxuecity.com/cooking/1160651.html

Joanie

Gulf Breeze, Fl.


I use a clothes horse to dry clothes on whenever possible. I do not use a dryer most of the time, and this saves me fifty or so dollars a month. I wash, dry, and turn on my cooler after five at night. This saves a lot of money since energy costs more in the morning and afternoon.

Hayley
NSL, Ut.


Instead of buying the refills for your plug-in room fresheners, which are expensive, go to the dollar store and buy a bottle of scented oil and refill them yourself. Been doing this for a few years and it works great!

Tamara
Palatka, FL





The mesh bags onions and potatoes come in from the grocery store generally end up in the garbage can. Instead of tossing them, I save a few and use their naturally abrasive texture to scrub pots and pans. The bags are far gentler on hands than S.O.S pads filled with chemicals.

Paper towels are ridiculously expensive. Many people have moved to cleaning with old washcloths or a sponge, and that is certainly a great alternative. However, I am one of those people who prefer to throw away things I have used to wipe the toilet. If you are like me, try using cheap coffee filters. They clean better than paper towels (especially mirrors), and are way cheaper.

Speaking of cleaning, “going green” is in these days, so why not hop on that bandwagon for some of your kitchen and bathroom cleansers? Simple ingredients like baking soda splashed with vinegar are terrific for cleaning showers and toilets, and they’re especially great at opening drains. If your bathtub drains are clogged with hair, replace the Drano with a few shakes of baking soda, a splash or three of vinegar, and a kettleful of boiling water.

Another of my favorite tips is to pour about half a cup of baking soda into a small dish, add 12 drops of essential oil (or your favorite scented oil from Bath & Body Works), and place the dish wherever a little freshening is needed. I like to put a dish in the car after I’ve forgotten to bring in a cup of coffee and the spoiled cream has left a distasteful odor.

While I’m discussing cleaning, I would be remiss in not bringing attention to the most amazing corn cleaner ever. I love corn on the cob, but I hate the corn silk that can seem impossible to remove. Now I just use an unused toothbrush to brush the corn. The bristles do a great job of cleaning out all the silk and I don’t have to spend half an hour per ear of corn.

Finally, the easiest of them all. Outdoor activities like concerts or picnics can be less comfortable if you are sitting on a blanket in soggy grass. I like to keep a cheap shower curtain liner with my picnic blanket for these occasions. The liner keeps the blanket dry, and my family and I no longer have to worry about wet bottoms after our picnic.

Name withheld by request


I had a side job of professional window washer this past summer. I learned a major penny pincher. For window washing spray instead of windex; fill a spray bottle with water and put a couple drops of Dawn dish soap. It cuts the grease on windows also. But, the cheap / fake dawn doesn’t work as well. Although for a couple bucks, you can have window spray for a year. And for those gritty windows; put some lime away on a wet sponge and wipe the window down. Let it sit until the whole window turns whiteish. Then wipe with wet rag. Then clean as normal.

Kevin
United States


For really wonderful chicken broth or stock, check with your local butcher. I can buy chicken necks and backs for 19¢ a pound. I’ll get about ten pounds, roast them in the oven at 450 for about 30 minutes and then add them along with the rotisserie chicken carcasses I’ve been saving in the freezer and the vegetable parings and scraps (also kept in freezer), a chopped onion and dried herbs from my garden in a big stock pot with enough water to cover. I cover the pot, bring it to a quick boil and then let simmer on low overnight. Next day I let it cool and strain out all the solids. Then I put the liquid back in the pan (washed) and let it simmer (uncovered this time) until it reduces by about 1/3. I can mine, but you can put it in plastic containers and freeze. My last batch made 18 pints at a total cost (not including energy) of less than $4. Beats store-bought stock by a mile!

Marie
Olathe, Ks


If you are ready to replace your refrigerator, convert a freezer (chest type preferred) to a refrigerator with a simple temperature sensor that cuts off power to the compressor at 38 degrees. Because cold air falls, when you open the freezer top to get cold water, milk, etc., none of that pre-chilled air leaves the unit, thereby saving money in electrical costs. The cost of converting the freezer to a chest type refrigerator can be recouped in the first two months’ electric bills, and savings pile up from there.

Name withheld by request


Hi! I have a penny pinching tip for acne and acne scars,

an aspirin mask! I know its been circulating on the web, but I didn’t see it on your site, I know many readers probably aren’t my age (15) but its wonderful for many skin problems, redness, dead skin, acne break outs and a lot more!

crush 10 aspirins in a mixing bowl, for acne mix with a citrus juice to kill and almost instantly knock out the nasty little zits

for dry skin mix with olive oil

for redness mix with just plain water!

you may also mix it with honey for a calming and sweet face mask all for less than $2!

mix until pasty and apply, leave the mask on for about 10-20 mins or until dry it does wonders! cleared my skin for Jr. year within a week!!

Chastity

Arlington, Tx.


Hi Grandma,

I ran into a guy a week or so ago now and he was installing some poly-nylon filters in an air conditioner at a commercial place I was in. I got to talking to him and he said they would save me money on my power bill and clean the air in my house much better then any conventional A/C filter. Save me money, I liked that idea.

I had him come out and install them in my A/C unit intake and so far they are great and only cost me about $5 a month. His name is Malone Cockrell and he in near Mobile AL (215) 680-9692.

Cal

Pensacola Fl.

I called Malone, and have since had them installed in my house also. I checked out what he was selling and if you want you can go here to Air Filters and read what I found out. It will save you some money and give you a cleaner house.Grandma

 

Home Made Laundry Detergent

1 bar zote soap bar (grated)

4 C hot water

1 C Washing Soda

1/2 C borax

5 gal bucket w/lid

  • Add grated soap to water – stir continually over medium heat until soap dissolves & is melted.
  • Fill 5 gal. bucket half w/hot water – Add melted soap, washing soda & borax – stir until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top w/more hot water. Stir & cover, let set overnight to thicken.
  • Stir & fill used clean laundry dispenser or any containers w/lid half full w/soap & then rest of the way with water.
  • Shake before each use (will gel)
  • can add 10-15 drops essential oil (lavender) per 2 gallons – add once soap has cooled.
  • Top loading machine – 5/8 C per load

 

  • Front Loading machine – 1/4 C per load. 

Money Saving Fabric Softener

1 Name Brand fabric softener

4 inexpensive sponges cut in half

  • Pour entire container softener into 5 gal. bucket.
  • Fill empty fab softener container w/water twice. (2 parts water – one part softener)
  • Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use, wring out softener from 1 sponge and add to dryer as you would dryer sheet.

 

  • When sponge is dry with your laundry add back to bucket.

Homemade Stain Remover

4 oz. spray bottle

1/2 tsp. liquid detergent

1/2 tsp. ammonia

  • Mix all together and add to spray bottle.
  • Apply to stain, use brush on stain if necessary.
  • Rinse & Blot.
  • If there is still a stain.
  • Bleach w/peroxide then ammonia
  • Rinse and wash

 

Stacy
Calera Al.


… you know that if you spray a wasp/hornet w/ hairspray, it can’t fly & will drop to the ground where you can kill it. I just learned this, this week, from my hairdresser (originally from NC & SC), & she was laughing because she knew it to be true from her southern upbringing, & another customer had read it in a book by Jeff Foxworthy (of ‘You might be a redneck if…’ fame) while waiting for his wife’s hair cut the other day. 

If only we’d known… We went through all kinds of ‘right’ methods to render harmless/remove a very large wasp/hornet’s nest from outside Ryan’s bedroom window when he was a toddler… Wait til dusk when all the ‘residents’ would be inside the nest, completely douse/soak it w/ wasp/hornet spray, carefully knock it down into a trash bag & quickly seal it… Hairspray’s a lot cheaper than wasp/hornet spray… 

Redneck lesson learned…  Carole


Hi,

Washing windows is a chore for me as some of them are high out of my reach when washing  from the outside.

I now treat them as I do my car ~ with car wash, the long handled car brush and the garden hose. I dip the brush into the solution of car wash and water, wash the window and rinse with the garden hose. The water runs off, the window air dries and I have perfectly clean windows with little effort.

I also use the same solution inside with a rag, mirrors too. It’s very inexpensive as I use only a little car wash liquid.

One more: Blood stains in clothing? Use plain old bar soap; wet the stain with warm water, work up a good lather and rinse. For years I have removed wet blood stains and dried, too.

Love the site,

Thanks,

Pat
Cumberland, RI


Hi Grandma,

I found this on the web and thought you might want to pass it on to your readers. BTW I love your site.

Peeling boiled potatoes THIS IS INCREDIBLE! (Make sure you turn up your sound)

If you take the time to watch this, you will not only be glad you did, but you will forward this to all your daughters, sisters, moms, etc…

Just when you thought you knew everything about boiling potatoes …

To all who love making potato salad but hate peeling the boiled potatoes, here is the solution for easy peeling. This will BLOW your mind. Well, we do learn something new every day.

I wish I had known about this thirty years ago. Peeling the cooked potato was the least desirable part in making a potato salad. Enjoy.

Linda
Pensacola Fl.


I just read your tip about cleaning copper pots and pans and wanted to share another method. Lemon juice and salt will restore the copper in no time. I usually pour about a tablespoon of each, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. There is no set formula. Just apply with a small rag or paper towel and swirl around until the copper is clean. 

Debra
Wheeling, IL


I buy milk (or milk products ,ie, half & half) on quick sale. Take it home and divide it up into usable servings. Generally 1 cup servings. Freeze it and take out what I need, when I need it. It keeps GREAT! Thaw without heat. ‘Ball’ canning products, sells freezer cups that are worth the price if you do this.

Cinda
Huston Tx.


We burn wood in a wood burning stove in the basement in the winter. My husband hung up some clothesline beside the stove. I now don’t use my dryer during the winter months, the heat from the wood stove along with a circulating fan dries my laundry quickly, and with the circulating air from the fan, my laundry doesn’t pick up the basement smell or the wood burning smell. We calculate that this is saving us $28.00 a month, for I do laundry often.

Name withheld by request


Greetings, from one Grandma to another! I love your site!

I wanted to share another tip on washing in cold water. We spent three in Germany, with the Air

Force. We lived off base, so the house we were in was German, all the way. The Germans didn’t use the kind of water heaters we do. Their washers and dishwashers have a feature that heats water in side, so their washer hookups provide only cold water. The base had washers and driers that we could use, which were American, so I had only cold water to wash in. I had two little boys when we got there and we adopted a third baby while we were there. I used cloth diapers, so I was faced with doing lots of laundry with only cold water. With a little experimenting, I found that I could get the laundry just as clean and fresh with cold.

One thing I found helpful was to use liquid detergent. I realized that it took the first few minutes of agitation for the powdered detergent to dissolve in cold water, so those minutes were not that efficient. Liquid detergent makes those first few minutes more efficient. Another advantage of liquid detergent is that a little in an empty dish-liquid bottle is great for spot-treating, so there is no need to buy an extra laundry pre-treater.

When we came back from Germany, I kept using liquid detergent and I still do most laundry in cold water.

I also second the notion that inexpensive detergents work just fine. It may take a little more to get the same cleaning power as the most popular detergents, but only about 10% more, where the price of those is 200% or more of the cheaper detergent.

Darillyn

Brigham City, Utah


I know mustard is pretty cheap but you can get enough for about 10 more sandwiches by cutting open the plastic bottle and using the little rubber spatula (my best tool for saving money).

Zane

Las Vegas, Nevada


Can’t remember where I first heard about this, but I’ve been doing it a month now with great results: Use white vinegar in the fabric softener reservoir of your automatic washer. Much cheaper, no vinegar smell & soft clothes! Use white vinegar in the dishwasher rinse aid reservoir, sparkling clear dishes with out the expense of high priced rinse aids! Give it a try :)

P.S. Heard about your site on SSHomestead.com

Kathleen

California


Are you familiar with the State of Florida’s Unclaimed Property program? If not, here is some info.

If you live in Florida and a company owes you money, but they can not find you, then after a period of time they must turn the money over to the State of Florida, which will list you on their website. Go to http://www.fltreasurehunt.org and see if Florida has money for you. Also, check out friends, family and neighbors.

The State of Florida is holding over 2 BILLION Dollars in Unclaimed Property.

To check if other states have Unclaimed Property for you go to http://www.unclaimed.org/

Name withheld by request


Great website Grandma, some of these tips have helped out quite a bit. I am active duty military and thus my wife is one of those wonderful Navy wives who somehow saves money, raises our son, takes care of the household, and still finds time for me.

I just wanted to share a tip we discovered for ourselves a few months ago, this wont apply to all models of dishwasher but if it does apply it can cut down on the electric bill a noticeable amount. Some dishwashers have the option of a “heated dry” well the electricity used to produce that kind of heat is no different from a dryer (which is an electricity hog) so we have noticed a drop in our electric bill simply by manually setting the dishwasher up to NOT run the “heated dry” cycle, and after the dishes are done being washed/rinsed we take them out and place them on the counter to air dry.

Hope you find the tip helpful and can pass it on.

With best regards, name withheld by request


Hi Grandma,

LOVE your site. A few tips from me that I am sure your readers will love. Sign up for Goodwill email alerts. When you sign up they send you a five dollar off coupon on a purchase of 25.00 or more in purchased goods. They will also let you know when they are having an “event” for example on July 31th Goodwill will be having half off ALL clothing. Also every week Goodwill has a different “tag” color that you can get 50 percent off on those clothing items that have that color. Then on Wednesdays they have 20 percent off for military, senior citizens and collage students.

Another tip sign up for Kohls emails. They email you a 5 dollar coupon for simply signing up. If you give them your home address they sometimes mail you a 10.00 coupon you can use on anything in the store. I get these several times per year. The store is currently having a HUGE sale of up to 90 percent off and better yet I even received emails from them over the past several weeks giving me an extra 15 percent off. I bought beautiful Vanity Fair bras there for only 3.60 each. Hope these tips have helped a little.

Jeannie
Delaware


Hi Grandma! On your Penny Pinching Around the House page, you mentioned great ways to save on dryer sheets and ideas to use dryer sheets for. I have done away with dryer sheets completely. I spent ten dollars 1 1/2 years ago on dryer balls. Not only do they keep away static cling, but they help to dry your clothes faster by beating out the water. I have also found that when they are not being used in the dryer, my 2yr old daughter likes to play with them and use them as a teething tool. Just rinse before putting back into the dryer. I will never go back to dryer sheets!

Shallon
Washington


How long can that bottle of ketchup stay in your fridge before it goes bad?   I’m thinking 5 or 10 years but if you want an expert opinion, go to the web site below.  This site lists all kind of foods and how to keep them fresh longer as well as when to get rid of them.  If you have a question click on the particular picture, and a whole list of stuff appears………….WHAT A GREAT SITE! Still Tasty.com

Joyce

Gulf Breeze, Fl.


It’s cold outside – it’s been below 15 degrees for about three days.  When I went to do my laundry this morning, I discovered that the drain from my washing machine was frozen.  Nothing else in my house ever freezes – just the washing machine drain!

After carefully pouring boiling water down the drain – which usually works – but it didn’t this time – I was at a loss on how to get my laundry done.  When I walked out into the garage to look for the drain snake, I spotted the bucket of “ice melt”.  On a whim, I scooped about a 1/3 cup and went back in and poured it down the Drain.  Within seconds the drain was open.

Marie

Olathe, KS


Several suggestions:  First, if you are in an area where there is an Aldi (Kansas & East), shop there for groceries.  Their items are equivalent to brand names (often better) and cost 1/3 to 1/2 less. Check out aldifoods.com for wonderful recipes and a printable shopping list.

Need prescription glasses?  Check out 39dollarglasses.com.  You’ll need to have your prescription available, but they have wonderful glasses starting at $39!

Need to get rid of sugar ants?  Start outdoors!  Mix 20 Mule team borax with something sweet (syrup, jelly, honey) and place drops anywhere you see ants.  Within a few days, they will all be gone.

Marie
Olathe, KS


In order to keep your plastic containers, and rubber corning ware tops looking like new, spray a little bit of PAM on them before storing food in them. the grease won’t stick on and discolor your dishes. we all know how much we’ve been annoyed by spaghetti stains!

Heather
Pasadena, Ca.


Hello, I’m an avid penny pincher and I’ve been practicing a few things that I haven’t seen on your site yet.

Install low-flow or adjustable shower heads and use at the lowest setting possible. This pays for the shower head the first month with the reduction of hundreds of gallons of water. Having aerators on your faucets also reduces the water flow.

If you have old toilets, put a (closed) plastic bottle filled with rocks or sand in the tank so the toilet uses less water.

Old Towel

Old towels have many uses: cut into rectangles and use on your swiffer to clean the floor, or use as throw away rags for cleaning the car. You can also use them as heat resistant batting in handmade potholders, trivets, coasters, placemats, and table runners.

Many people, me included, are saving money by going “no soap” and “no shampoo.” If you shower daily, washing down with just a washcloth leaves you just as clean and doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils. Washing your hair with a couple of tsp. baking soda, in about 1/2 cup water works just as well as shampoo, you just have to get used to not having soapy bubbles when you scrub your head.

Moisturizing your skin with olive oil or coconut oil is a cost effective alternative to expensive lotions, and all natural!

I have so many tips, but not enough time. I thought of starting a similar site, but then I found yours. Now I need to go finish reading some more of it.

Angela
United States


My other half found this on the web somewhere and thought it would be of interest to my readers. “Many people swear that a zip-lock bag filled half-way with water and attached over entry-ways will repel flies”. If you want to know more about it, go here.

Hi,

I am writing to let persons interested in saving money and conserving resources by buying previously owned items know that MapMuse has recently introduced interactive mapping of thrift shops across the US. There are presently over 9,000 thrift stores located on the MapMuse map. Our maps allow people to view all thrift stores on a single interactive map either at a local, metro, or regional level.

http://find.mapmuse.com/interest/thrift-shops

Cindy Jett

Washington DC


I wanted to pass along this article from the June issue of Consumer Reports in case you haven’t seen it yet: Consumers Report 

How to Squeeze a Nickel is a collection of frugality tips from readers and staff members in categories ranging from Lawn Care to Bills and Saving. I’ll paste a few of my favorite examples below. Hope you find the article useful. And, of course, feel free to share with your readers if you do.

  • Instead of throwing out the plastic from the dry cleaner, I tie a knot at the bottom to close up the hanger hole and use it as a trash-can liner.
  • Once or twice a year I won’t buy as much food as usual and I try to empty the freezer and cupboards before buying more. The freezer, especially, is full of food I forget.
  • I asked a hotel if it would price-match a deal I found online. It did, saving me $30 or so a night. The first agent said no. The next day, a different agent agreed. I’ve also found different prices when I call a hotel directly vs. the central 800 number.
  • Store wool sweaters in old cotton pillowcases instead of expensive and environmentally unfriendly plastic bins. The cotton lets the wool breathe, which helps sweaters last longer but still keeps moths out.
  • When I shop online, I always check Google for a coupon for the site before I check out. Just yesterday I saved $15 and got free shipping on shoes.

 

Name with held by request


Hello,

I just wanted to let you know about this story from Consumer Reports in case you haven’t seen it yet:

Rebuild Your Next Egg features 17 moves to help you secure your future including in-depth sections with advice specific to younger workers, the pre-retired and retirees.

This link will take you to the overview article which in turn links to sub-articles:  http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/personal-investing/nest-egg/overview/nest-egg-ov.htm

Name withheld by request,
(I found this of interest so I have included it for my readers)


Hi Grandma,

Did you know you can make your own laundry soap and save loads of money?  Here are some recipes!

Jennifer
Iowa

(There is so many recipes that I put them on another page, go here to see the recipes; and thanks Jennifer)


I just wanted to tell you that I have been reading your site and love it! I will be reading it more than any other.

A quick tip of my own: We do not fry much of anything, and seldom re-use the oil… so I put left over cooking oil and debris in a old coffee can and freeze it until it’s full, then put in the trash. This works great also for when the fisherman of the house cleans fish and it’s summertime…freeze the remains then throw in the trash! No smell to bake in the summer sun. 

(Thank you and your hubby for this site :)

Gloria
Texas


Did you know that you can take a package of unscented baby wipes and add one of those 1.7 oz high end samples of toner or face cleaner, and have luxury face wipes? 

Jennifer
Williamsburg, IA


I became addicted to the Starbucks Frappucino (the kind in a bottle you can buy at almost any store) but they are very expensive, plus have gobs of sugar in them.  

Well, now I make my own each morning.  I put some water in a 12 oz styro cup (you can use a coffee mug, I just don’t want to have to wash dishes), add 1 spoonful of instant coffee (I use Folger’s), some Splenda, and an ice cube.  Then I fill up the cup with unsweetened soy milk. Voila! Frappucino – and I love it!  Also, I love mocha, so sometimes I add chocolate syrup, but you could add whatever flavoring you like.

Pat
Houston, TX


I love your sight!  I’m a Navy wife and we are about to retire in November after 24 years. Thanks for all your helpful tips. You may already know this, I haven’t had the pleasure of looking through all your ideas, but here goes.

Take toilet paper rolls and cover them with Contact paper. They are great for holding the electrical cords to your kitchen appliances. 

Thanks again!

Amanda
Pensacola, Fl. 


Instead of buying just one bar of dove soap, buy two. One for your face, and use it as a facial. Cake it on your face and go about doing chores, you can even sleep in it! It does wonders, I had what I like to call “intuitive  acne” from when I dated one of my exes and it cleared my face up good!

Amber
Davie, NC


Mention the library! It is free. Why pay for a book that you probably will read only once, or worse yet, start reading and find you don’t enjoy it enough to finish it. (That is a good idea, sorry I didn’t think about it before. Grandma).

Name withheld by request


Another use for peanut butter!! This is one really valuable commodity. After you wax your automobile, do you sometimes find that you have gotten the wax on your bumpers and trim? Since these are made of plastic nowadays and not metal, they are hard to clean. The wax will leave a white spot (especially on black plastic). Use a soft cloth and some creamy peanut butter to clean the wax off. Because it is a ground nut, it is somewhat abrasive and the oil helps to polish the spot.  

Tony
Pensacola, Florida


Save the vet bill if you have a horse with a cut!  Clean the wound then apply a poultice of chopped up raisins with just enough water to make it like a paste.  Cover that with plastic (I put the raisin poultice in a snack-size zip bag and then cut an “I” shape down the middle so the bag could open & fold out, putting the poultice on the wounded area.) and then tape/bandage it so it will stay on the horse.  Change this out once each day.  The raisin mixture not only helps to keep infection away, it also prevents scarring!  

We used this on a horse the vets told us would probably have a bone infection and have to be put down. We tried the raisin poultice and noticed a huge improvement within the first 48 hours!

As crazy as it sounds, just a few months later my husband got injured in a farming accident, cutting off the tip of one of his fingers. He had to go to the dr. for surgery to clean up the end of his finger, but was told he’d have scar tissue. He was so disgusted about the whole thing (always been super careful when he’s working on machinery, plus absolutely hating to have the dr. remove more of his fingertip) that he decided to try to raisin treatment, too. :) I guess it worked ‘coz he never got any infection and there’s not any scarring. However, suggesting it to humans may be a bit over the edge for most folk. ;)

I just figure that if God made it, it’s gotta be good! :)

Name withheld by request


Hi, I found your website by accident but I really like it so I am bookmarking it. There are some old tips on here that I use to know but have forgotten. I would like to share some information with you that saves me money. It is a website that list the sales at local grocery stores. Then you can match your coupons to the sales before you ever leave the house. I have saved a lot of money this way and have even gotten items for free.  My cabinets and freezer are overflowing with my stockpiled sale items.  The website is http://www.groceryguide.com. Hope you find it useful as well.

Laura
Arizona


Star bucks gives away free old coffee grounds. They are neatly packaged, just ask for them.  You do not have to be a paying customer to pick up the grounds either!  They are very nice and glad you are saving them from going in the landfill.  I put them in my garden, and I am filling in holes in the yard. It saves me from having to buy topsoil!  

Got a damaged patch of grass? don’t buy a repair kit.  Spread cheap grass seed and cover with dryer lint then water.  Birds won’t be able to eat the seeds!

Make a compost bin with an old pickle barrel, or used tires. Google make your own bin for free instructions!

Save old sheets that have worn out or torn.  Tear into two inch strips and crochet with a small needle to make rag rugs.  To wash the rugs throw into the washing machine.

Name withheld by request


Mosquito spray…..

I can’t wait to try this in the summer! 

I was at a deck party awhile back, and the bugs were having a ball biting everyone. A man at the party sprayed the lawn and deck floor with Listerine, and the little demons disappeared. 

The next year I filled a 4-ounce spray bottle and used it around my seat whenever I saw mosquitoes. And voila! That worked as well. It worked at a picnic where we sprayed the area around the food table, the children’s swing area, and the standing water nearby. 

During the summer, I don’t leave home without it…..Pass it on. 

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OUR FRIEND’S COMMENTS:

I tried this on my deck and around all of my doors. It works – in fact, it killed them instantly. I bought my bottle from Target and it cost me $1.89. It really doesn’t take much, and it is a big bottle, too; so it is not as expensive to use as the can of spray you buy that doesn’t last 30 minutes. So, try this, please. It will last a couple of days. Don’t spray directly on a wood door (like your front door), but spray around the frame. Spray around the window frames, and even inside the dog house.

Carol
Florida


I really enjoyed your article on how to re-use things. You mentioned re-using plastic newspaper bags for packing things. I found these bags the ideal size for pooper scoopers.

Take them along when walking your dog; they easily fit in your pocket. If your dog goes out, put a clean newspaper bag over your hand and arm, pick up the poop and then slide the bag back over your arm and hand. The poop will be contained in the bag once it comes off your hand; you can then just tie a knot and put it in the nearest trashcan. No mess to step in, and no smell! You can use any similar sized plastic bag for this, but I think newspaper bags are the best because they’re longer.

Name withheld by request


Teeth whitening products cost a fortune.  I only get mine cleaned once a year, my hygienist always complements me when I go.  This is how I do it.  I brush twice a day with a cheap whitening tooth paste and every 2 weeks I brush my teeth with Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda.   Pour the baking soda onto the side of the sink (you can clean your sink with the left over) and put some Peroxide in a cup.  Dip your toothbrush in the peroxide and then scoop up some baking soda.  Brush teeth very well, making sure to get all surfaces.  Keep getting more peroxide and baking soda as needed.  Rinse with the remaining peroxide in your cup.   Then rise well with water. 

DO NOT swallow this mixture.  It’s not the best tasting but is a great antiseptic and it keeps your teeth sparkling! You will be amazed at the stuff that comes off, especially tea and coffee stains.  An added bonus is a clean sink and a sanitized toothbrush.

Annie
Tennessee


Well Betty from Gulf Breeze has been busy and sent a great bunch of INTERESTING IDEAS AND HINTS you can find them here. There was to many for this page so it is on a whole new page, very interesting ideas you got to check it out.

Thanks, Betty 

Gulf Breeze, Florida


I didn’t have the money to replace the door seal on my washing machine where the rubber had perished. So I stuck a waterproof plaster to the tear and it stopped leaking!  Periodically I do have to replace it, but it is a whole lot cheaper than a new door seal. Once when I was changing the plaster my little girl (aged five) saw me take the old plaster off, and she asked ‘Is it better now Mummy?’

Name withheld by request,
United Kingdom


Hi, I have been using lots of tea for many years now, including rooibos tea. Whenever I have used tea leaves they go right into my garden. I also like to make rooibos and white/green tea just for my plants (tomatoes, strawberries and peppers) and they are really seeming to love me for it. I don’t have that good of soil (very clay like) and it gets very hot with extreme climatic changes. I have plants that are thriving and full of blooms and fruits. I am guessing all of those antioxidants are great for my plants too.

Dale
Wenatchee, Washington


Instead of decreasing the wattage on light bulbs, use Energy Star light bulbs.

If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.

Tessa

Schaumburg, Illinois


Turn down the setting on the water heater.  Most people keep that water much too hot. Saves the heater; saves on the utility bill.

Wash light bulbs.  If you pass a damp rag over light bulbs when you dust, it will keep them clean.  Your house will be brighter and the bulbs will burn longer.

Even better, switch to those energy smart bulbs (the kind that look like a coil).  They burn much less energy, last lots longer and best of all generate much less heat.  So it will be cheaper to cool the house in the summer.

Close blinds on the side of the house where the sun is shining in.  Will keep house cooler and save on energy.

Change the air filter on the heater/ac every other week.  An ac man told me that a clean filter makes it easier for the AC unit to run and it cools more effectively.

Don’t buy the cheapest filters.  If you pay a little more you get much more efficient filtration. 

Name withheld by request,
Louisiana


You can use ceramic bowls as pie plates. You can use a ceramic plate covered with foil to bake a pizza.

You can use old washcloths as potholders.

GOD BLESS

Maylene
Reno, Nv. 


Used dryer sheets-during “love bug” season, you can dip a used dryer sheet in some water and use it to remove dried up bugs off of your vehicle. The chemicals in the dryer sheet soften the dried up bugs and the dryer sheet does not scratch your paint job. Then all you need to do is rinse your car off. (If you leave bugs on your vehicle, the acid in their bodies will damage your paint job).

Carmen
Panama City, Florida


Grandma did you know you can make your own flexible ice packs. Pour 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol into a zip-type plastic bag and close it. Put the zipped bag into another bag, seal, and freeze. You will have a slushy bag of ice whenever needed for sprains, headaches, or whatever. 

Name withheld by request.


A shot of vodka added to a vase will keep your cut flowers fresher much longer. A little lemon-lime soda will also work. You can also add a little sugar to the water. Be sure and change the water at least every couple of days.

Spray the inside of a mayonnaise jar white. Store it in the refrigerator as a hiding place for money or valuables.

Both from Susan

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Rock Border

So do you have a good penny pinching tip for Grandma’s website? If you do go to my Ask Grandma page and send it in to me. Looking forward to many more.