Readers' Tips

Removing Rust Stains from a Cement Patio

The pressure washer is our outdoor go-to appliance for cleaning. It has been used to remove everything from paint drops to rust on our concrete. It really uses very little water for the cleaning it provides. Most of the time we use just plain water, but our pressure washer has a reservoir for additional cleaning agents like soap or TSP.

editor's note: Visit here for more on removing rust stains from a cement patio.

One at a Time

My wife and I have it set up so we'll never have more than one car payment. We bought her a new car two years ago and have two more years of payments on it. My car is six years old and I'm planning on keeping it for another four years.

We figure that if we rotate this way, we'll never have two car payments and should be able to pay cash for our cars eventually!

Avoiding Line Dried Stiffness

We hang dry all of our clothing. Here are three handy tips to avoid the stiffness:

  • Stop your washer before the entire spin cycle is complete. Having a little bit more water in the wet clothing actually helps prevent them from being wrinkled and stiff.

  • Use less detergent. Often times, the major culprit is detergent build-up.

  • Also, be careful how you hang your clothing on the line. We hang all of our pants from the pant cuffs and hang them upside down. The weight of the pants actually helps prevent wrinkles and stiffness. I also hang all of our shirts from the bottom of the shirts so they are upside down as well.

Amanda of Buena Vista, Virginia

Additional TDS Resource: More on avoiding line dried clothing stiffness

DIY Oxygen Cleaner

Do you like the name brand oxygen cleaner for your laundry, but dislike the price? Try making your own. Mix one cup hot water, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide.

Just soak the clothing in it for 20 minutes to overnight. Then wash as usual. I've found that this is easier on fabrics than bleach, and I haven't had any troubles with colors running either!

I Know the Prices

One of the best things that I've done is to keep track of prices on the most expensive grocery items I buy. I keep a list in my purse, so I know when to really stock up on something that we'll use. Otherwise, I just buy what I need until my next scheduled grocery trip.

Sorting Laundry Solution

I have found a way to organize our laundry. I went to a dollar store and bought several plastic laundry baskets. I keep them in a corner of my bedroom. Each is for a different load of laundry. Instead of tossing dirty clothes in a hamper to be sorted later, I put things into the appropriate basket. Now when a basket is full, I take it to the washer and toss it in.

Crockpot Cooler

During the summer, I try to use my Crockpot® as often as possible. The reason? It releases much less heat into my kitchen than my stovetop or oven does.

Garden Supplies

When we shop for fertilizer, soil, and other things sold in plastic bags, we always ask if they want to sell the ones with ripped or torn bags. Most often they're glad to offer a deep discount just to get rid of them.

Inexpensive Flea Treatments

I live in Louisiana, which is the flea capital of the world. I give my dog brewer's yeast every day, and she has stayed flea free for two years. One year when she was taking the chemical flea preventative, I had to have the house treated for fleas, and it cost about $150 (to say nothing about the chemicals used). Brewer's yeast is cheap. A $6.99 jar lasts about a year (teaspoon or less per day for a 45-pound dog). You can buy it at a health food store, and you should keep it refrigerated.

Additional TDS Resources: More on inexpensive flea treatments

Breakfast Is Ready

Our family loves pancakes and waffles. For convenience, we were buying the frozen ones, but I've recently decided to make them myself. On a weekend morning, I make a large batch that lasts for weeks. It's easy and doesn't really take much time. Once they cool, I put them in a sandwich bag and into the freezer. They microwave just like the store-bought ones do, but only cost a fraction!

Senior Fitness

My husband and I joined a fitness center in a neighboring town for exercise and paid a monthly fee to be a member. After a time, we learned that our Medicare Advantage plan would pick up that cost if the center qualified. We asked the director of the center to check. He said that it did qualify and we have not had to pay a fee since that time.

2nd Life

My daughters seem to have a knack for getting tough stains on their clothes. And it's usually the newer, nicer things. After struggling with stains for a few years, I decided to try dyeing stained clothing to a darker color. Now, instead of throwing out good clothes, I'm creating a brand new item for their wardrobe!

Summer Splash Party

Last summer, we started having splash parties. We bought an inexpensive above-ground pool. We invite our kids' friends and classmates over. We tell them to bring their squirt guns and be prepared to get wet! I buy a gallon or two of vanilla ice cream and have some toppings for making sundaes. The kids have a great time, and the parents can relax in the shade and watch the fun!

Removing Bugs from Your Car

To remove road gunk and bugs, I use baking soda on my white car. My car is almost six years old, and the baking soda hasn't scratched the finish at all. All I do is dip a wet rag in the baking soda and rub. Most of the stuff comes off easily.
Su F. in Nashville, TN

Additional TDS Resource: More on removing bugs from your car

Reducing Your A/C Bill

One way to cut the cost of using your central A/C is to provide some shade for the outdoor portion of the unit. You can use bushes or even a section of wood fencing. Just make sure that you leave enough space for air to circulate and for a repairman to access the unit. Not only will you reduce how hard the unit works, but you'll probably increase its life, too!

My Designer Daughter

Last fall when my daughter started middle school, she began asking for designer label clothes. We fought for a while until we came up with this solution. I always shop at sales and clearances, so now I give her what I would have spent there and she buys her own clothes. She has quickly learned to shop sales and even discovered thrift stores. She also sells her old clothes online to create some extra income. She's even sold some of her friends' clothes on a commission basis! I'm so proud! Not only has she learned to be a good shopper, but also I might be raising a future CEO!

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