I encourage readers to be diligent about reading product labels and unit pricing. Being a smart consumer means being informed about ingredients and costs. Aubrey’s tip combines both, creating a product that her wallet likes and her taste buds prefer.
LIGHTEN THE SOY SAUCE: My husband and I enjoy stir-fry recipes and like to use low sodium soy sauce because regular soy sauce tastes too salty. We go through it pretty quickly and wanted to buy it in bulk, but none of the warehouse stores in our area carry the low-sodium version. I read the list of ingredients and discovered that low sodium soy sauce is basically soy sauce, water and caramel coloring. Now we make our own. We purchase regular soy sauce in bulk and dilute it. It might be lighter in color, but now we have soy sauce at half the cost. Believe me, I can live with the lighter color! — Aubrey, West Virginia
PALMOLIVE ICE PACK: My physical therapist told me that the best and cheapest ice pack is “frozen” Palmolive green liquid dish soap. I buy the original brand and pour it into a zip-type freezer bag, and then toss it in the freezer. The liquid becomes gel-like and fits better on any part of the body. It can also be refrozen over and over. — Peggy, California
A SECOND LIFE FOR STUFFED TOYS: Over the years, our children accumulated what amounted to two trash bags full of stuffed animals. All were in like-new condition. We wanted to donate them and found out that some law enforcement officers keep stuffed toys in their vehicles to give to children who are involved in accidents or other incidents. A call to your local sheriff, city police or nearby state patrol office will let you know if they’ll accept your stuffed toys. Many agencies are grateful to get them, and some even have organized efforts that collect stuffed toys. — Mary Beth, email
ERASE THE BUILDUP: I use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to clean the bottom and sides of my iron. I use spray starch a lot, and it tends to build up on the iron. I just wet the sponge and wipe the buildup right off. No more expensive iron cleaners. — Brenda, Oklahoma
VINEGAR WRAP SOAKS THROUGH: I read that vinegar works well to get rid of lime buildup, so I soaked a paper towel in vinegar and wrapped it around the base of my faucet. I let it sit for a while, and it removed the buildup. — Patty, Michigan
DON’T STASH THE DETERGENT: I found a bottle of Cascade Complete liquid dishwasher detergent under my sink and used it in my dishwasher. The dishes came out covered in white film. I phoned the 800 number on the package and was told that bottle was six years old. What happened to my dishes is common when using old dishwasher detergents. Lesson learned — don’t hoard dishwasher detergent! — Kathe, email
Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can email her at email@example.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 webpage at www.creators.com.