Readers Share How They Save Time and Money Every Day

My readers have no doubt that I am a big fan of finding every possible way to save time and money. And when they take time to send me their latest ideas and efforts, it pretty much makes my day! Check these out:


In an ongoing effort to educate my 12-year-old I have started a new tracking system. On a large white board I have a tally of income, expenses, and bills to be paid. I start off with my gross income, subtract taxes and insurance (boy, was that an eye opener for him — about 25% of my gross), 10% gross tithe, 10% gross savings, then a list of bills. Each time we spend money, my son writes it down. He also keeps track of his allowance on the white board. He’s in the process of saving money for video gaming equipment and decided he could live without fireworks this past summer. He said his money would go up in smoke … no pun intended! — Pam, email


When on vacation, check out thrift stores in the towns where you’re staying. Look for clothing pieces in particular. When I travel to New England, I find great summer stuff that’s scarcely worn. The items are very inexpensive due (my guess) to the short summer season. The opposite is true in Florida, where I saw wonderful winter shoes, boots, coats, sweaters, etc. Winter wear in Florida had been donated even though the items were brand new. Not much need for winter clothes there. In both New England and Florida the cost of these items were so cheap. — Debbie, Tennessee


I’ve discovered yet another great way to reuse dryer sheets. After I’ve used the same sheet for a couple of loads I attach it to the bottom of my Swiffer. It works just as well as the dry Swiffer sheets. — Jacquie, Iowa


I am a retired optician who had to wear white lab coats my entire career. They were always getting dirty, especially with ink. I discovered that by soaking them overnight in the washing machine in just enough water to cover them and a large scoop of dishwashing detergent, and then completing the washing cycle the next day, my coats came out clean. — Bob, email


I’m in the jewelry business and on occasion we’ve had a female customer that comes in very late in her pregnancy with a wedding band stuck on her very swollen finger. Often times it is so stuck that the only solution is to cut off the ring and destroy it. I recently suggested to a woman with this problem to rub Preparation H on her finger and see if it would temporarily reduce the swelling enough to slip off the ring. It worked! It was painless, quick and saved her ring. I can’t guarantee the same results every time, but it’s worth a shot before calling the jeweler. — Meira, email


I have a great way to cook broccoli. Cut into florets (or peel and thinly slice the stalks, too), dump into a bowl and pour boiling water over the florets. When the broccoli turns bright green it’s done. Usually this takes only a minute or two at the most. — Sue, California


When moving to a new location, go to the local utility company(s) and request a year’s worth of utility bills for that address. Now you will know what the utilities will cost during the winter as well as the summer. We did that when we moved into our home and it really saved us. We knew to expect double the cost during the summer as opposed to what we were paying at our previous location. — Shannon, New Mexico


After purchasing jeans for kids go ahead and apply those denim iron-on patches to the inside part of the knee. It will be a little stiff in that area, but the jeans will never get holes in the knee. For some reason the fabric holds up, perhaps with the extra layer between the knee and the denim there’s less friction to wear down the fabric. — Pepper, Oklahoma

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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