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Everyday Cheapskate: ‘Cereal’ saver shares his super secrets

Imagine that every time you walk into the supermarket you can be sure that your favorite pricey name-brand products will be, “Buy One, Get One 50 Percent Off.”

What?! That’s not possible? Don’t tell Pat, today’s first tipster. He’s figured a way to do that with his pricey breakfast cereal, week after week ...

CEREAL MIX. The breakfast cereal I like is one of the most expensive on the supermarket shelf. Here is how I cut the price without giving up my favorite: I purchased two plastic containers with lids at Wal-Mart. Then I buy one box of my favorite cereal and one of a cheaper version of it, mix them together and divide between the two containers. I get twice as much cereal for a reduced price. — Pat, California

CHEAP “BEEF.” We raise beef cattle, but because it is so valuable we don’t butcher much for ourselves anymore. Instead, we butcher the deer. Iowa is overrun by deer, making it the No. 1 cause of automobile accidents. Deer are organic — raised on grass, with no added hormones. What more can you ask for? Butchered and prepared well, we cannot tell venison from beef. —Louise, Iowa

‘FRIDGE TUBS. I love to reuse the single-serve side dish plastic tubs from Kentucky Fried Chicken to store small portions of pet food or leftovers. They come with a tight-fitting lid, and both are top-rack dishwasher safe. Even better, they’re free. — Melanie, email

BULK BEEF. I buy 5 pounds of ground beef at a time, put all of it into a big pot, cover with water and set it over medium-high heat. As it cooks, I stir to break up the large chunks of meat, then continue until all the pink has disappeared. Next, I drain the beef in a colander. All the grease is in the hot water and goes down the drain with no problem. Easy! —Deidra, email

QUICK DRY. To save drying time, I set the dryer for 30 minutes. Then I take the big things out of the washer, shake them out and put them back in to dry completely. I have found that with this one effort, I am cutting almost 30 minutes of drying time from every load. —Carolyn, Ohio

TAG SALE XMAS. I knew a family that one year at Christmas decided to buy all next year’s gifts at garage sales. Everybody agreed, participated and had a whole year of fun doing it. Some excellent items were received (tools, kitchenware, clothes, etc). Not all sales are good, but many are. And the earlier you get there, the better the quality. We tried it ourselves, and it was lots of fun and made for a very affordable holiday. —Mary, Oregon

PICKLE POLISH. If you have leftover dill pickle brine, pour enough of it into in a glass pie plate, and set a pot that has a copper-clad bottom into the brine, allowing it to set for l5 to 20 minutes. The pan will come out sparkling clean, requiring no scrubbing. — Gwen, Minnesota

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 webpage at


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