Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

The Great Paint Rescue and Other Clever Reader-submitted Tips


Most counties have Hazardous Household Material programs and collection sites where residents can drop off items that should not end up in landfills. They get all types of paint, ranging from latex, oil-based, primer, interior, exterior and stain. Sometimes the paint dropped off at the site is brand-new — never even opened. Where I live, anyone can go and pick some up. All you have to do is sign a waiver stating that you will use it appropriately. Sometimes the workers will even look for a specific color you want and set it aside for you. — April E., Minnesota


In my state, by law, all ground beef must be sold by noon on the day following the date it was ground, or it must be discarded. Most grocery stores will mark ground beef down to a fraction of the original price first thing the following morning so it will be gone by noon. I’ve learned how to time my grocery shopping trips so I can buy the leanest ground beef cheaper than the lowest grade at regular price. — Pam D., Washington

(Your state may have a similar provision. Ask the meat manager or call the Office of Consumer Protection to inquire. — M.H.)


Crumple a wad of waxed paper and run it over your shower rod, closet rods and sliding door frames. Your shower rings, doors and coat hangers will now slide with ease! A single wad covers a large area. — Wanda K., Tennessee


If your shower head doesn’t spray like it did when new, most likely the little holes are clogged with mineral build-up. Remove and let it sit in a container of white vinegar for a few hours or overnight. Then all it needs is a light brushing with an old toothbrush, and it is as good as new and shiny, too. — Marianne C., Maryland

(If you cannot remove it, fill a strong, small plastic bag with vinegar, immerse the shower head in the liquid and attach the bag to the shower nozzle with a twist-tie or rubber band. — M.H.)


Buy a frozen tom turkey (20 pounds or more) and have your butcher saw it in half north-to-south. Use half now and freeze half for later, or share with a friend or relative. Makes cleaning and stuffing cavity easy. Bake for half the time required for the total weight. This is more economical than buying two 10-to-12-pound birds because large birds have a higher meat-to-bone ratio. — Jack G., New York


Always save your bank deposit receipts until you’ve checked them against your bank statement. My bank recently merged with another and in the process lost my deposit. I know this because I received an NSF notice in the mail and thanks to reading Mary Hunt’s “Everyday Cheapskate” columns for the last few years I knew what my bank balance was. Upon calling the bank I discovered my last deposit had not been posted. I faxed them a copy of my receipt and they allowed my checks to clear while they searched for my deposit. It took them a week to find it. Without my receipt and their important code numbers on it they would not have allowed my checks to clear during this time. — Becky H., West Virginia

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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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