More often than not, it’s the seemingly small yet constant drip, drip, drip of money leaking out of your lives that has the potential to make a big financial impact over time.
That’s why I love to open my mailbox to learn of all the little ways “Everyday Cheapskate” readers find to plug even the tiniest of money leaks.
CHECK FIRST: Before renting a car, make a quick call to your insurance agent to find out whether your regular auto insurance will cover the rental car in the area you’ll be driving. Chances are great it will, which means you can just say no when the rental agency tries to force you to pay $10 or $15 a day extra for insurance coverage. It’s silly to pay for duplicate coverage. — Kyle D., Florida
ALL GONE?: No matter how much you squeeze a toothpaste tube, chances are that there still is some paste left. So when you’re certain you’ve squeezed the last drop, cut open the tube; you’ll be able to brush once more. — Lauralee D., Montana
SOFTENING SHEETS: Make your own dryer sheets by pouring a tablespoon of liquid fabric softener onto a damp rag. Rub it in, and toss it in the dryer. — Barb L., Colorado
SUPPORT HIGHER EDUCATION: Have product refunds and rebates made payable to and sent directly to your favorite college student. I did this last year for my nephew. He said it was great to pick up his mail and find money for a pizza, movie, etc. — Kathleen H., California
DIY BROWN SUGAR: Brown sugar can be replaced with 1 cup of white granulated sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons of molasses, depending on whether you want light or dark brown sugar. Mix thoroughly with a fork. This is so much better than commercial brown sugar that you’ll be tempted to make a permanent switch and never again deal with hard brown sugar. — Betsy, email
BATTERIES STILL USEFUL: Twice a year, when you change the batteries in your home’s smoke detectors and home security system, don’t throw those batteries away.
They still have lots of life remaining and can be used in radios, toys and remote controls. — Dana L., Virginia
SPICE RENEWAL: Don’t throw out those aged spices (whole or ground) because they’ve lost their pungency. Instead, spread the amount you need onto a sheet pan, and pop it into a preheated 350 F oven.
When they become aromatic (only a few moments), remove from the oven and use as the recipe requires. — Dominic S., New York
MAIL ORDER ASSURANCE: When paying for something by personal check, write the name of the company, address and customer service phone number in your check registry.
Should there be a delay in delivery or some other complication, you will have the information you need to follow up right on your canceled check. — Melanie R., Washington
WAIT AND SAVE: When I get the urge to purchase a new book, I call my library first.
If it doesn’t have it, I request that it order it. Nine times out of 10, the people at the library will decide to add it.
Within a few weeks, the book arrives, and I’m enjoying it for free. — Lesley N., Rhode Island
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 Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.