Today, I have a bunch of tips for you. These are quick, wonderful ways to save time and money every day. I’m crazy about tips. Actually, I collect them, test them, sort them, categorize them, file them and then turn around and share them with friends like you.
You might find yourself asking, “But, Mary, will any one of these ideas really save me any money?” Probably not very much if you consider only one tip, but with many tips applied over a period of time (don’t worry; you’ll be getting plenty of tips in this column), you will see some serious cumulative savings.
EYE MAKEUP REMOVER
Use a no-tears baby shampoo to remove eye makeup. Ophthalmologists encourage contact lens wearers to do this to reduce protein buildup on their lenses. It works great (no stinging because it is, after all, no tears), and it’s cheap!
If you make friends with the managers of your favorite small boutiques and independent stores, you might be able to tap into a gold mine. Ask if their “debits” or used merchandise are available for sale. These are the items that have been returned for one reason or another (button fell off, customer wore it once and reattached the tags thinking they fooled the store or, for some other reason, the customer wasn’t happy and the retailer felt obligated to take it back and make a refund). These items cannot be put back on the floor or returned to the manufacturer. Typically, these items are sold for pennies on the dollar.
What a fabulous place the library is. There you and your kids will find current newspapers, magazines, children’s books, adult books, videos, CDs, CD players and wonderful storytellers. You get to take home something new, and it doesn’t cost anything. If you like to shop for fun, satisfy the impulse by visiting a library. Bonus tip: Some libraries have added cake pans in the shape of characters. You can check them out to make your kids’ birthday cakes in the same way you borrow books.
Don’t drink sodas together with calcium-rich foods or supplements. If your soft drink contains phosphoric acid (and most do), it will block absorption of calcium into the blood stream.
A round of golf burns 1,060 calories if you walk and pull the clubs on a wheeled cart for 18 holes. That’s the equivalent of running six miles.
BABY SHOWER ON ICE
Instead of the usual baby gifts, invite the guests to bring a prepared dish, casserole, dessert, etc., completely prepared and frozen for the guest of honor’s freezer. You’ll be able to present the expectant parent with a freezer full of food. It’s fun and inexpensive and will give your friend precious time to spend with the new baby instead of in the kitchen.
CAT SCRATCHING PADS
If your cat prefers the furniture to his scratching post, try placing carpet samples throughout the house. For some unknown reason, many cats prefer them.
OK, that’s it for today. But don’t worry. I have about 10,000 more tips where these came from, and I’ll keep sharing them with you until I run out. Of course, that will never happen if you send me your favorite tips for saving time and or money. Hint, hint.
Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at Every dayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Every dayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”