Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

Keep Important Papers in the Freezer

I am always entertained and often educated by the tips readers mail in. Today is no exception. I’m pretty sure you’re about to agree with me.


I am on a waiting list to get a safe deposit box at my bank. While I wait, I am keeping my important papers in a heavy freezer bag, in the deep freeze. I hear that in a fire, the inside of the freezer doesn’t burn easily. — Jill N., Florida


I love to see the artwork that my young boys bring home from school, but we can’t keep all of it. Instead, I take photos of each piece of artwork with my digital camera and put the pictures on my digital photo frame at work. That way, I can see their artwork all the time and it doesn’t clutter my house. — Erin J. Illinois


I keep white vinegar in a used detergent bottle by my kitchen sink. When I have something greasy to wash, I squirt a small amount of vinegar into the dish. This works wonders in containers that have had tomato sauce or some other tomato product in them. The vinegar quickly cuts the film of grease and residue. — Janet M., Florida


I have found that Rain-X Wipes are great for more than just your windshield. I use them on the exterior side of my house windows, my stainless steel sink and my shower walls and door. This keeps them all spot-free for weeks. — Angela R, Oregon


Use shaving foam to clean the rubber webbing on outdoor furniture. Just spray it once, let it stand for a bit and then wash off. It cleans all the spots and gunk left on over the winter. Made my furniture look like new. — Bobbie H., Illinois


Wish you had the funds to update your kitchen? Instead of installing brand-new cabinets, save some money by switching out the old handles or knobs for some brand-new ones. They’ll give the whole room a new look. — Grace M., Michigan


To roast a whole chicken evenly and more quickly, set your Bundt pan on a cookie sheet. Now stand that chicken over the center cone of the Bundt pan. Roast as you usually do or at 375 F until done. A standing chicken browns more evenly and cooks faster. — Priscilla G., email


I bought some shoes that I love at a clearance sale; the only problem was the ugly color. I’m hard to fit, so I bought them anyway. I stopped by the shoe repair shop on the way home and bought a can of color spray ($7 for a 4-ounce can). I sprayed the shoes black, and they turned out beautifully. The secret is to spray lightly and cover up the soles with masking tape. Recently, I sprayed a handbag ($220 marked down to $20 because of the ugly color) that is gorgeous. — Kim L., North Carolina


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, just 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 for your children and pets to be exposed to. — Elaina M., Florida


To achieve two of my New Year’s resolutions — to get more exercise and do more volunteer work — I’ve signed up to walk dogs at my local animal shelter. — Lorna B., California


I have curly hair. Instead of buying gel for curly hair, I use regular conditioner and just leave it in. I don’t rinse it out and then just towel dry. I blow dry my hair and then scrunch it without a brush. Some frizz may appear again, but I simply place a small amount of conditioner in my hand and work it through the frizzy areas. My hair stays soft and not at all sticky. — Marianne R., Pennsylvania

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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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