QUICK CHICKEN SOUP: Whenever I feel like I may be coming down with a cold, I go to the store, pick up a rotisserie chicken, chicken stock and frozen egg noodles. Sounds expensive, but I can make a large pot of soup for very little money. I just take most of the meat off the bones and add the carcass to the stock. When the stock is boiling, remove the bones, add the frozen noodles and diced chicken, and cut up veggies (or the usual bag of frozen stew vegetables) and wow! Delicious, fresh, homemade chicken noodle soup is ready in 20 minutes. When you’re trying to fight off a cold or flu, there is nothing better or more homey. Feels like grandma is still there to watch over you. — Mel, email
ROUTINE REMINDERS: I clean my AC filters, put vinegar in my AC condensation line and other monthly maintenance items when I pay my mortgage. This is a convenient way to remember reoccurring functions. Today was the first cool day of the year here in central Florida, and that was my cue to get up early and turn on the auto-clean feature on my oven, as this process takes three hours and really heats up the kitchen, the combination of starting early, open windows and a cool day makes for a perfect opportunity for this once-a-year-cleaning! — Kim, Florida
FROZEN BIRD: You can cook a turkey safely from a completely frozen state. I did it last year for the first time and it was wonderful, and then I didn’t have to worry about nasty turkey germs dripping inside my fridge while it thawed. Nor did I have to take up valuable refrigerator real estate. Check out the online article from the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.com) for specific instructions and confirmation that it will not become a health issue when handled properly. — Janice, email
LAUNDER THE LEATHER: A friend told me she washes her leather purses in the washing machine. I had two light-colored leather purses that were quite dirty and figured I had nothing to lose. It worked like magic and they’ve been washed many times since and are still doing great. I have used both Tide and OxiClean. — Doris, California
NITROGEN TO SAVE MONEY: When I purchased a set of tires, the salesman suggested I spend $5 more for each tire by adding nitrogen. My first response was, “Will they blow up?” He assured me this is not what went into the Hindenburg. It is, however, what goes into airplane tires to keep them from changing temperatures radically as they receive heat and cold extremes. Regular air in tires is what sucks the air pressure down as it expands and contracts — squeezing the air out. Since opting for nitrogen, I get much better gas mileage and I also drove those tires another 15,000 miles past warrantied-suggested mileage. They may have gone even further. Once filled with nitrogen, though, you will need to have them checked at a service center that carries nitrogen. If you need a fill-up, you must add nitrogen or you will delete the benefit. — Jean, Minnesota
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Include your first and last name and state. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 24 books, including her 2013 release “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement.” To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.