Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

More Creative Ways to Save Time and Money

Sometimes, the best way to stretch a buck is to look in the most unlikely places. I’m a huge fan of the fresh produce at 99 Cents Only Stores. And milk, as compared to the price at my supermarket, is a bargain at the Walgreens across the street. But who knew we could decorate our homes from places like Dollar General? Our first reader discovered that, and I think her tactic is simply brilliant!


My husband and I recently repainted our living room for a fresh, new look and then realized our curtains no longer worked with the new color. We couldn’t find anything that we both liked. To our surprise, we found fabric shower curtains at Dollar General that worked perfectly — only $10 each. Because of how wide our window is, we needed four of them, but for only $40 we have a totally new look in our living room and we love it. — Trish


Driving fast reduces your fuel efficiency and increases expenses. While aerodynamic drag is less significant in the city, it significantly diminishes fuel efficiency at speeds exceeding 55 mph. Increasing your speed to 65 results in a 36% surge in the drag. For individuals engaged in frequent highway commuting, reaching your destination a few minutes earlier might lead to an additional expenditure of $510 annually. Sticking to a speed nearer to 55 mph and making use of your cruise control has the potential to yield favorable returns. — Greg


A water heater device allows you to program the times when your electric water heater activates and deactivates during a 24-hour period. Each household is different and you must determine, based on your hot water use and the type of heater you have, if a timer is right for you. If it is, you’re going to see a drop in your utility use. — Gerald


When my kids were younger and just learning to cook, they had many mishaps with the bottle of vegetable oil. Often they poured too much because the opening of the bottle was so large. As I was cleaning out a squeeze ketchup bottle, it occurred to me that it could be a great solution to the oil spills. I filled the flip-top squeeze bottle with oil, and now the kids use it with ease. It even helps me use less oil when sauteing. And the bonus is that the bottle fits better in the cupboard, too. — Nancy


Order a hot coffee and a cup of ice. Pour the coffee in the cup and you’ve got iced coffee. While this tactic dilutes your drink, where I live it still saves nearly 55 cents when you purchase a Grande (savings vary by state). — Tom


If you’re not a huge coffee drinker, you know the smallest size espresso option on the Starbucks menu is Tall. Here’s the tip: Order the size only on the secret menu — short. The short size will save you about 80 cents. Hint: Short has the same amount of espresso as Tall. — Susan

(I ran Susan’s tip past my Starbucks inside sources and she’s correct. And I learned that Grande espresso drinks have the same amount of espresso as Venti. I’ll let you figure out how to make the best use of this piece of information! — MH)


It happens all the time in my classroom, and usually I’m the culprit. I, or one of my students, grabs the wrong marker to write on the whiteboard. Here’s the best way to remove the permanent marks: Cover the mistaken writing with a dry-erase marker — any color — covering the mistake completely. Now wipe it away. Like magic, the board will be clean as a whistle. — Brad


If your printer is out of black ink, change the text color to dark blue — you’ll be able to print a couple more times before needing a refill. And always print in Garamond typeface rather than more popular fonts like Times New Roman, Century Gothic or Comic Sans, since Garamond uses less ink. — Rhonda


Always remember to zip up jeans and other garments that have metal zippers before laundering them. Those little metal teeth are like miniature chainsaws, tearing up and ruining other expensive clothing in the washer and dryer. — Francesca


Real cheapskates (hoarders perhaps?) know that eventually all annual calendars will be useful again. For example, your 2023 wall calendar can be used again in the years 2034, 2045, 2051, 2062 and counting (leave it in your will, perhaps? Ha). For a handy schedule and a good laugh of when you can reuse your old calendars, visit WhenCanIReuseThisCalendar.com. — Tina

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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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