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Everyday Cheapskate: Mother Nature’s finest beauty products

We know it’s important to check the ingredients on food products, but have you ever thought of checking your health and beauty products? I did recently and discovered a lot of unpronounceable words. But there’s one ingredient I would recognize for sure, just as today’s first tipster did. Over the years, that discovery has saved her a lot of money.

OIL OF OLIVE. I have a better and cheaper alternative for even the most expensive, salon-quality facial moisturizer. One day I studied my favorite moisturizer and discovered I’d been paying $42 for a 1 ounce bottle of virgin olive oil! I could purchase a gallon of very high-quality olive oil for that kind of money and still have money left over. So I decided to experiment with a bottle of the finest extra virgin olive oil I could find at my supermarket. I applied two or three drops to my face right after cleansing, while my face was still warm and moist. It absorbed nicely. After a few months, the results were indistinguishable from the expensive product. For me, the results of using olive oil as a beauty product have been wonderful — Joanne, Michigan

FURNITURE PROTECTOR. A shower curtain liner from the dollar store makes the perfect cover for your table when doing any kind of craft or paint project.— Sylvia, email

SNICKERS POPCORN. I make Snickers popcorn with just three ingredients: 2 bags plain microwave popcorn, 2 cups Milk Chocolate Candy Melts (or chocolate chips work well, too) and 10 mini Snickers bars. Pop the corn, then spread it out on a parchment or waxed paper-lined sheet pan. Cut up Snickers into little pieces. Melt the chocolate in microwave for 2-3 minutes, checking and stirring often. (If using chocolate chips, stir in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil as it melts.) Pour melted chocolate on top of the popcorn, then sprinkle the Snickers pieces all over the top. Mix all together while the chocolate is still hot. Allow to sit for 45 minutes. This will require a lot of self discipline, but you’ll be glad you waited. Yum. — Stephen, Minnesota

PERFECTION ON A GRILL. Five steps to grilling the perfect steak: 1) Make sure the grill is clean. 2) Hot is good, so let your barbecue heat up before grilling. 3) Cook with the lid down, and don’t peek, to lock in flavors. 4) Let it rest after grilling, for at least 7 minutes. 5) Get a proper meat thermometer because there is no reliable way to know when it’s time to take that steak off the grill! — Marty, California

SAVE THE SHOWER CAPS. A giveaway shower cap from a hotel stay is the perfect “wrapper” for shoes when traveling. Just pop the shoes into that cap to keep them from dirtying the clothes packed in your suitcase. I read this recently and tried it, and it is a great idea. A regular-sized pair of ladies’ flats will fit into one cap, while it may take two caps to accommodate a pair of heels or men’s shoes. I always wondered what I could do with those shower caps. — Jim, email

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a tip to Mary?

You can email her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.


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