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Everyday Cheapskate: EC mailbag reveals great ideas

Each week, I rummage through the mailbag at DPL Central and find all kinds of things from my dear readers. You’d never believe some of the letters and messages I find in there. Some are silly, others mind-boggling but always I find great new ideas, tips and tricks that will either save me time or money

SPRITZ AWAY THE BROWN. Avocado halves often get brown if not used immediately. I quickly spray the inside with cooking spray, which is more effective in preventing the brown than lemon juice. — Tim, California

MAKE EVERYTHING FIT. If you like to rearrange your furniture from time to time, create on your computer or draw a floor plan of your house and pictures of your furniture drawn to scale. This way, you will at least be able to see if things will fit in a new location before moving them. This is especially good if you don’t have much space, and it may keep you from a real dilemma, as when friends of mine discovered on moving day that their queen-sized bed wouldn’t go through the door of their new flat. — Roger, Ukraine

SKIP THE MESSY STEP. When baking a cake, skip the messy instruction that says to dust the greased pans with flour. Instead, cut and place a round of wax paper in the bottom of each of the pans. Now grease the pans as normal. The finished cake will come out easily when inverted. Simply peel away the waxed paper. — Gail, Washington

PHOTO FABRIC SWATCH. I am redecorating and realized that I never got a fabric swatch when I bought my couch three years ago. It has no removable cushions or armrests that I can take with me to the carpet and home improvement stores, which made it difficult to match the color. I solved the problem by taking a picture of the sofa’s upholstery with my digital camera. Using photo software, I adjusted the color until the printed picture matched my couch perfectly. Now I have a “swatch” of the fabric to carry with me. — Angela, Wisconsin

VITAMINS FOR YOUR NAILS. Several years ago, my fingernails were in very bad condition, and a friend suggested taking flax seed oil capsules. Within several months, my nails were beautiful and in great condition, and have remained that way. I take one 1000 mg capsule a day. — V.G., Iowa

GET A GRIP. I hate having to hunt for those rubber disks whenever I can’t open a jar lid. My rubber dishwashing gloves work just as well, and I always know where they are. — George, Iowa

PROCESSED SHREDDED CHICKEN. I like to poach chicken for soups and tacos, but shredding the chicken by hand is often time-consuming. I discovered that the cooked chicken shreds perfectly in my food processor using the plastic dough blade. — Jamie, Arizona

You can email Mary at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Include your first and last name and state.

Mary Hunt is founder of

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


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