News and information from our partners

Everyday Cheapskate: Creative substitutions that can save money

When Swiffer WetJet hit the market several years ago, consumers went wild for it. I loved my Swiffer, but I did not like the price of the cleaning pads. And my readers didn’t like it, either. They sent me their tips on what they used instead. Some were clever, some too complicated, and some I just can’t repeat. I like Brenda’s idea, as it saves money and recycles, too.

SECOND LIFE FOR FLANNEL. My old flannel lounge pants have a second life as cleaning pads for my Swiffer. I cut pieces 8 x 20-inches (cut to fit your mop head of choice), and dampen with water just before attaching it to the mop head. When I’m done mopping, I toss these in the wash along with the rags. — Brenda, Michigan

FILLING UP ON VEGGIES. My mother always said that veggies taste better when you’re hungry. At mealtime, I give my children their veggies first and wait as long as possible to serve the main course. For some reason, the veggies are gone before the main course. Go figure! — Diane, email

PASTRY BLENDER MASHUP. I don’t have a potato masher, but I do have a pastry blender. I rarely use it for making pastry, but I do use it to mash bananas for banana bread, beans for black bean burgers and avocados for guacamole. It does a great job. — Staci, email

TOASTY LOTION. I solved the discomfort of applying cold body lotion in the winter. My bathroom is heated, but when I rub in lotion after a shower I freeze. I found that if I lay the bottle of lotion in the shower, the hot water warms it up. No more cold lotion. — Audrey, email

FITTED SHEETS NEED DIRECTIONS. Fitted sheets can be a problem because it’s hard to tell which are the sides and which are the ends. I solved that problem by putting a little double mark in permanent marker on the elastic band at the top end and bottom end of my sheets. — George, Oregon

CLINGY CLEANER CLEANS GROUT. I hate cleaning grout in the shower. I haven’t found anything that will stick on the grout and clean. One day, I realized that toilet bowl cleaner is thick and it clings. I poured it on the grout, left it there about 15 minutes, then washed it away with the showerhead. Not one speck of mildew was left, and the grout looked brand new. — Gwynn, Florida

TAB THAT LICENSE. Where I work, customers are required to show their driver’s license. Many people have difficulty getting their license out of their wallets, but one customer did a very clever thing. She took a piece of scotch tape, folded it over and made a tab on one end of her license. She just pulled on the tab, and the license slid right out of her wallet. I have done this for many people, and they are amazed at how much easier it is for them, men included. — Susan, Florida

Would you like to send a tip to Mary?

You can email her 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 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


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment


Information from The Chronicle and our advertisers (Want to add your business to this to this feed?)