May 15, 2013 10:50 AM

With food prices going up faster than you can get through one grocery shopping trip, it’s more important to your wallet now than ever to prolong the life of your food. Unfortunately, freezing food doesn’t always guarantee a tasty preservation, so I was thrilled to read Natalie’s tip.

SHRINK ICE CREAM: A cool tip to save your ice cream from freezer burn, especially if you buy in bulk, is to cut away the container as you scoop out your ice cream. As the level of ice cream decreases, cut the container just above what is left with scissors, secure the lid and put the ice cream back in the freezer. Placing the container upside down will also help to protect it from burn, and keeping the lid snug against the ice cream protects the taste and saves space. — Natalie, California

MOP THE TUB: For anyone who has difficulty getting on their hands and knees or stretching to scrub the bathtub and walls around it, use your kitchen mop. You get great leverage to apply pressure without killing your knees or straining your back. — Christine, Pennsylvania

KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE: My dream is to own a second home in Sweden and to be able to purchase it without a long-term mortgage. I found a picture of my dream home and hung it where I will see it often during the day. This has “dreamwashed” my mind, so any time I am shopping and find a bargain on clothes, shoes, appliances, etc., I am immediately aware of my dream. Nine times out of 10, I leave the bargain alone. Not only has this added to my savings account, my home is getting less and less cluttered with all kinds of stuff that I really don’t need. — Allison, Denmark

BURGER BREAD BUNS: I save the ends of my bread to use as hamburger buns. We never use a whole pack of buns before they go stale, and bread ends hold up better than the inside slices. The healthier the bread, the healthier the bun. — Amy, California

TAKE TWO: and call me when the stain’s gone. To remove sweat stains from shirts, crush three aspirin in a baggie or napkin. Place in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of warm water. As you stir, the aspirin will dissolve and begin to make a paste-like substance. Spread this paste directly on the sweat stain. Let set for an hour, and then launder as usual. — Mary, Washington

SPEEDY RIPENING: If you need bananas for a recipe — but they aren’t quite ripe enough — you can speed up the process yourself. Take a somewhat ripe banana (bananas that are still green won’t ripen with this method), and place it in a 300-degree oven. Bake for one hour. The bananas will come out with black peels and will be extremely hot. Place them in the refrigerator to cool for a few minutes for safe handling. Use as you would a ripe banana in any recipe. — Nadia, Nevada

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can email her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Include your first and last name and state. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 23 books, including her 2013 release “Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day.”

To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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