Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

How to Replace Lost US Savings Bonds and Other Highly Useful Tips and Tricks

You know those U.S. Savings Bonds, the ones you gave your kids but now cannot be found? Today I have information for how to have them replaced. And that beautiful sweater you accidentally laundered with the kids play clothes and now looks as though it was made for your toddler? I have a trick to unshrink it back to its original size, shape and glory. All that plus a few more equally useful tips.


Mix a solution of 1 gallon lukewarm water and 2 tablespoons baby shampoo. Soak the shrunken garment for about 10 minutes. Now, the important part: Don’t rinse! Simply blot out all the excess water with a dry towel and very gently lay it flat on a fresh towel. Reshape slowly and carefully stretch it back to its original size. Dry out of direct sunlight or heat. This tip comes from the Wool Bureau, which verifies this technique will work provided the fibers have not become permanently damaged.


Can’t find them anywhere? Provided you have a fairly accurate memory, you may be able to get the bonds replaced. The Bureau of Public Debt, the branch of the U.S. Treasury Department that issues all the various types of bonds and treasury notes, has come up with a simple system for replacing bonds. First, you will need to get Form 1048. Fill in the approximate issue date along with your complete name (as it was then), address and Social Security number, and if possible, the bond serial numbers. Whoever gave them to you may have recorded those numbers, so keep looking. Once the form is processed, the Bureau will issue you a new set of certificates. You can get the form by writing to: Bureau of Public Debt, Parkersburg, WV 26106. Visit the Bureau’s website at www.publicdebt.treas.gov for more information. If you should find the original bonds in the future, don’t try to cash them. When new ones are issued, those originals will be canceled.


Pet owners know that soap and water can irritate dogs’ ears. Trying to avoid getting soap in their ears at bath time can be challenging, even impossible. Here’s a great solution: Quickly slip a shower cap on your pooch to cover ears and eyes. You might get a bit of resistance, but positive reinforcement and working fast will get the job done!


When buying replacement tires, ask the tire store manager if they have any “take-offs” to fit your car. These are nearly new tires they remove when someone replaces tires on a new car with special, fancy (expensive) ones. Often, the tire shop will sell these new tires at deep discounts just to move them out. I just heard from a reader who recently purchased a set of four take-offs for less than the price of two new tires. He called three tire companies in his area and all of them reported that yes, from time to time they do have these kinds of tires for sale. Make a few phone calls to tire stores in your area to make sure you really are getting a great deal. Caution: Always make sure the tires you purchase have passed a safety check and carry a warranty.


Instead of paying $10 or more for trendy new “banana tree” that sits on the counter and allows the fruit to hang properly to ripen evenly without getting bruised, buy one large cup hook from the hardware store and screw it into the underside of an upper kitchen cabinet. Now your bananas can hang properly and they’ll be up and out of the way — all for about a quarter.


The next time you pass a photocopy machine, empty the contents of your wallet on the screen and snap a photo. Then turn everything over and hit “copy” again. Keep that copy at home in a safe place. When you travel, carry a copy in your carry-on bag. In case your wallet is lost or stolen, you’ll have all the account numbers handy and an exact inventory of what you were carrying.

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Mary Hunt

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 https://www.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."

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