Indiana, PA - Indiana County


by on August 20, 2014 10:50 AM

Not long ago, the produce manager at my supermarket noticed me putting a bunch of bananas in my cart and offered this bit of handy information: When you get home from the store, separate the bananas from the bunch and they won’t ripen as fast.

Good to know! But will that make them last 7 to 10 days? I doubt it, which is why I’m glad I heard from reader Barb. Read on ...

BANANA LONGEVITY: If you will not be able to use those bananas within a day or two, put them into the refrigerator. They will turn black and ugly on the outside, but inside — even after seven to 10 days — they will be fresh, firm and delicious. — Barb

BROWN SUGAR SUBSTITUTE: To make your own (and much better) brown sugar, mix 1 cup white granulated sugar with 1 to 2 tablespoons molasses, depending on if you want light or dark brown sugar. Mix thoroughly with a fork. This is so much better than commercial brown sugar, you’ll be tempted to make a permanent switch and never again have to deal with hard brown sugar. — Melanie

WASHCLOTH ICEPACK: When I need an icepack 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 CANDLES: I can have 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: 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

BUTTON READY: When I buy a garment that comes with an extra button, I sew it to an inside seam allowance of the garment. It’s always with the garment, and there’s no hunting for the right button when I lose a button. — J.B.

GARAGE SALE PREP: 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

SELF-GRATING CHEESE: If you need a large amount of grated cheese, don’t waste money on the prepackaged kind. Instead, freeze a block of cheese, thaw it and it will crumble. You won’t waste money (pre-grated cheese is at least twice the price by weight of ungrated) and you won’t waste time grating it. — Molly


Mary invites questions at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at
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