Readers' Tips

How to Save on Towels

Can you wait just a little longer? Back-to-school sales are coming soon, and they always have towels for super cheap!
Charlene (via Facebook)

editor's note: For more on how to save on towels, please click here.

Easy Corn on the Cob

To cook corn on the cob without a lot of mess and work, microwave two ears for eight minutes with the husk on. Remove the corn from the microwave, cut the base off, hold onto one end, and slide the corn out of husk, silk and all.

Repelling Spiders

I learned this from the man who trained the spiders for the movie Arachnophobia. Spiders have their taste buds on the tips of their legs. They hate the taste of Lemon Pledge®. Dust your window sills and doorframes with the Pledge®, both inside and out, and any areas where they accumulate. The spiders will find that they don't want to live with you.

Additional TDS Resource: More on how to get rid of spiders

Tired of Lawn Chores?

Do you hate to mow grass as much as I do? Don't forget you can plant other things in large areas of your yard to cut down mowing. Groundcovers such as English ivy, jasmine, fern, daylilies and other plants can cover large expanses of your property. They may need a slight trimming once a year or less, but that's not as bad as once a week. You can also put in rock gardens, large flower beds with mulch, decks, patios or walkways and other structures to take up some of the lawn area. Less grass to mow equals less work for you each weekend!

Pet Meds

Another source of low-cost pet medications is your own pharmacy! Many of them now offer pet medications at reasonable cost. They include Target, Walgreens, Fred Meyer, and Sam's Club. You can call pharmacies in your area to see if they offer the meds that your pet needs. Tell them what dosage you need, and they can tell you what the cost is for a 30-day or 90-day supply.

I get heart meds for my Chihuahua at Sam's Club in Seattle. The cost of a 30-day supply of Enalapril at Sam's is only $4 ($10 for 90 days) while the same 30-day supply from the vet would be $12, and from the veterinary cardiologist, it would be $24.30! So it really pays and saves to make a couple of phone calls to check on prices.
Teresa in Seattle, WA

Stubborn Sticky Price Tags

Here’s an easy, free way to remove price tags, stickers, etc. Just use your hair dryer. Aim it at the label for several seconds and the heat of the dryer activates the glue on the label and dissolves it. The label or tag will come off easily. If it doesn’t come off with the first try, keep the hair dryer aimed at the label a little longer and try again. This works great on picture frames and mirrors, too.

Laundry Detergent Performance

I have found that the performance of any soap is determined by several factors. The hardness of the water is a biggie. For that, I use a tablespoon of baking soda in my powdered detergent. The size of the load is another. Don't overload and try putting a towel in with regular fabrics, being as the different texture helps with cleaning the other clothes. Another factor is the type of washer.

I have a front loader and find that if I use half of the recommended amount of Wind Fresh along with generic color-safe bleach, I get excellent results.

There's no need for hot water unless you're sanitizing things that may have been subject to mold growth or candida yeast.
Nancy P. in Amarillo, TX

Cheaper Birdfeed

We like to feed the birds at our house, but the birdseed was getting very expensive. At my local farm feed store, I found that I can buy chicken scratch in 50-pound bags at half the cost of regular birdseed. It contains almost the same type of seed as birdseed mixes. We throw in a handful of sunflower seeds, and we keep up our hobby at a "cheeper" price!
Karen in New Haven

Cleaning Brass

I was part of a crew that cleaned old brass fittings in a historic church. We used vinegar mixed with salt and elbow grease. Wearing rubber gloves, we removed the brass from the pew ends. Then we soaked the brass in a bucket full of half vinegar and half salt solution. Then we used a brush and rags to rub clean. Ketchup also works to clean brass, but it's much more expensive. Be careful to rinse thoroughly with water and dry before replacing. Dispose of vinegar/salt by diluting further with water and pouring down the drain. It will kill your garden!

Additional TDS Resource: More on cleaning brass

My DIY Moisturizing Soap

I buy cheap liquid soap, and I add almond oil (olive oil is also good, but the smell of the almond oil is better). That's how I get moisturizing soap at minimum cost!
Michelle R. from Santiago, Chile

Garage Sale Selling Strategies

I just finished having a big garage sale, getting rid of most of my baby/tot gear as I retired from daycare. I found that if I said "make me an offer," I generally received more than what I had hoped to get. You might want to try this route. It worked for me.
Julie (via Facebook)

Ahh, Cool Air!

Fill a gallon jug with water and freeze it. Set the frozen water jug in a shallow dish in front of fan and turn the fan on. This is especially good at night beside the bed. The shallow dish lets condensation drip without marring any surface.

Eyeglass Savings

Make sure you know the warranty on your glasses. This may vary by insurance provider and eyeglass vendor, of course, but it's worth knowing the details. Last year, I ended up breaking my glasses beyond repair and usability. When I called my eye doctor to get an emergency pair made, expecting to pay entirely out of pocket, she said that since it had been one day short of a year since I got them, the replacement pair (frames and lenses) was totally covered within warranty as long as I had at least one lens to exchange (which I did).
Tony C. in Holly Springs, NC

editor's note: Tony is commenting on an article on how to save on eyeglass purchases. You'll find the article here

As Simple as Vinegar

Since I started using a vinegar/water mix in a spray bottle to wash down my counters, table, stove, etc. I have not found any ants inside my home. I used to use brand name cleaners and put out ant traps, but the ants would still be found from spring until late summer. So why spend the money when vinegar costs so much less?

Additional TDS Resource: More on eliminating ants from your home

Reduce Dryer Costs

Recently I had our clothes dryer repaired. The repairman gave me a great tip. Dryer sheets leave a residue on the lint catcher, which reduces airflow. This causes the appliance to run less efficiently, making it more expensive to run. He suggested soaking the lint catcher in hot water and scrubbing it with a toothbrush on a regular basis to keep those energy bills down!

Healthy Sugar-Free Lemonade

I want to share my own recipe for healthy lemonade, which has no refined sugar and has fiber and lots of vitamin C! Kids love it as it tastes like pink lemonade. Your family won't know the difference! It's perfect for hot summer days and also very healthy. It is important that the sweetener not be replaced by something else like sugar or artificial sweetener as these are not good for you. The total cost for this lemonade is $1 to $1.50

1/2 cup shredded beet root
juice from 2 medium/large lemons (Do not use bottled lemon juice)**
1/4 cup agave nectar (light) (This amount can be reduced to 2 Tbsp. for less sweet lemonade.)

Place all of the ingredients and one cup of water in a blender and blend for about a minute. Strain. You'll have about 1 1/2 cups of the mixture. Add enough water until it totals 4 cups of lemonade. Serve over a glass of ice cubes. There are approximately 75 calories per 1 cup serving. If you reduce the agave to 2 Tbsp., it's 45 calories per 1 cup serving.

**Remember to juice your lemons when they are at room temperature, so you can get all the juice of out them.

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