I had a serious deja vu moment when I pulled today’s first reader tip from my inbox. Roseanne’s tip brought back a memory of my grandfather doing this very thing on the big, black cast-iron wood range that sat in my grandparents’ tiny kitchen in Potlatch, Idaho.
The stove had a door with a glass window to observe the fire burning inside. When it would get covered with black soot and sticky grime, he would clean that door so my grandmother could see when she needed to add more wood to the stove. Sounds like something out of the Dark Ages, so, for the record, I was a very, very young child!
Dear Mary: This is a trick I learned from my mother for cleaning the fireplace glass or stove doors that get fouled with smoke and soot, to where you cannot see and enjoy the flame.
First, spread newspaper on the floor. Then open the door. Take another wadded-up page of a newspaper; wet it; dip it in the ashes; and use it to clean the glass. This will remove everything from the glass without scratching or harming it in any way.
Last step: Wad up one last piece of newspaper, and use it to wipe away all of the crud and nastiness. The result is quite amazing, and the price is right. — Rosanne
TRANSPORT A CAKE
Dear Mary: I couldn’t afford one of those pricey cake savers for transporting cakes, so I went to the dollar store and bought the biggest plastic bowl I could find with a lid. I set the cake on the lid with a little frosting under to hold it in place and then frosted it. Now I have an airtight cover by using the bowl over it. — Mike
WASHCLOTH ICE PACK
Dear Mary: When I need an ice pack for my face, I take a face cloth, wet it, fold it lengthwise into thirds and place it in a small plastic bag. Then I place it in the freezer. In just a short time, my freezer pack is ready and on my face. The small size of the facecloth is just right for your face, and when it is no longer needed, you have your facecloth back. — Pat
NO-BURN SCENTED CANDLE
Dear Mary: This is a way to enjoy wonderful candle scents without burning a candle. Just set a glass jar-type candle on your range top next to the oven vent. The heat melts the candle and sends the wonderful scent all through the house, and the candle never burns away. I have had the same cinnamon candle for almost three years now, and it still smells as great as it did the day I brought it home. — LeAnn
NO-MESS DEVILED EGGS
Dear Mary: When I make deviled eggs, I place the cooked egg yolks into a large zip-type bag, along with the rest of the filling ingredients. I then knead the mixture with my hands to combine (the kids love doing that part because it feels funny). I carefully snip the bottom corner off the bag and pipe the filling into the egg whites. Toss the bag and cleanup is complete. — Donna
Dear Mary: When I buy a garment that has extra buttons attached in a little bag, I sew them to an inside seam allowance of the garment. Then they are always with the garment, and there’s no hunting for them when you need to replace a lost button. — Virginia
GARAGE SALE PREP
Dear Mary: I have several boxes set up in the garage for our annual community garage sale. They are labeled: Toys, Clothes, Housewares and Misc. I keep a package of price stickers and a pen handy. Every time I put one thing into a sale box, I price it. Then on the sale day, I simply open the boxes and set things out for display. — Leonora
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary a Question,” or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.