July 17, 2013 10:50 AM

Yesterday I found a surprise on the front porch — a dutifully delivered telephone book, complete with Yellow Pages and the old familiar “white” ones, too, a term I used advisedly as that color is anything but white.

Am I the only one who thought telephone books went out with VCRs? Apparently they have not because someone out there is spending a ton of money to produce and deliver them. Which begs the question, “What to do with a perfectly good telephone book?” Today’s first tipster begs to answer.

SHRED BED: Whether for cushioning a package or lining an animal’s bed, shredded phone book paper produces a nice soft shred. A great new use for clean but outdated or unused phone books. — Linda, Texas

AUTOMATIC BONUS: For online bill paying, we use a credit card to pay for everything. We use the points to get gift cards and travel or cash to pay toward the card. It’s like getting an extra bonus. We schedule the card to be paid in full monthly, so no worries on interest charges. — Kathleen, Oregon

SAVING LIKE MAD: My husband and I take the money we save using coupons at the grocery store and place it in our “mad money” container. We also add any spare change to the container, too. It is amazing how it adds up when you actually save this money. Our mad money has funded weekend getaways, special purchases and savings for a grandchild’s education. — Jan, email

ALL-PURPOSE ALOE: Instead of buying lotions and creams, after-sun, sunburn remedies or expensive products for facial complexions, I buy 100 percent pure aloe vera. It is all-natural (check the ingredient list to make sure there’s only one ingredient), and it smooths, soothes and heals skin quickly. Aloe vera works wonders, and I only have to buy one product for multiple issues. If you can’t find it at your favorite stores, look for it at a health food store. — Valerie, Connecticut

WINE WITH A PURPOSE: I’ve found that an empty wine bottle works wonders for my neglected plants. Filled with water and shoved upside-down into the dirt, it’s like watering — only different. My plants suck the water out of the bottles at their own individual rate, and that’s helped me reduce my plant maintenance to once a week. I have several tomato plants in my backyard garden that like this method, too. And emptying a wine bottle is a bunch more fun for me than going to the store and buying glass watering globes for $5. My “glass globes” come with wine in them and, when empty, hydrate my plants. It’s a win-win situation. — Kim, Montana

SNEAKY MOM: I trick my picky children into eating the bread “heels” by turning them inside out in a sandwich. My girls are none the wiser. It’s worked like a charm for years. — Shayna, email

STUCK-ON GUM REMOVAL: A dampened fabric softener sheet works wonders in removing sticking items like gum from the inside of a clothes dryer. — Tracy, email


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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