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Everyday Cheapskate: Do things cheaper, better and faster

I’m very excited about the recent release of my book, “Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day.” I love tips, and having them in one place sure is handy. Here are some of my favorites:

Buyer consideration, warranties transferable? If the seller says the vehicle is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty or any dealer service contract, double-check that these benefits can be transferred from the original owner. Take no one’s word for it — read the contracts. Automobiles, p. 13.

Sink-stopper leaks. To stop water from leaking out of the kitchen sink while you’re doing dishes, put a piece of plastic wrap between the drain and the drain stopper. This is also a handy trick to remember if you’re soaking something overnight. Cleaning, p. 61.

Kids, trade clothes. An alternative to making your children always wear their siblings’ hand-me-downs is to trade with neighbors or friends who have children of the same sizes. The kids get a new look, and the price is right. Clothing and Accessories, p. 75.

Flour shaker. Put flour in an old saltshaker, and leave it in the freezer. When you need to flour a pan or dust a pastry board, the shaker will save you from wrestling with a big bag and spilling flour everywhere. Food and Cooking, p. 101.

Gift list, save with business card records. Avoid returning unwanted gifts (or pretending you like them) from your spouse or immediate family members by keeping an ongoing record of the things you would like, along with specific details. Through the year, as you see items of particular interest, pick up the store’s business card and write the details on the back of it: red cardigan sweater, brass buttons, wool blend, size 8, $49.98. These cards serve as a practical gift list to make gift-giving a positive experience for both the giver and the receiver. Gifts, p. 150.

Nails, polish bottle trick. Keep the top of a nail polish bottle from sticking shut by putting cooking spray on a cotton swab and wiping it around the neck of the bottle before closing it. Health and Beauty, p. 168.

Parties, remember the absent. When someone can’t be with you to celebrate a special occasion, have everyone at the event hold up a poster that reads, “We miss you!” Take a picture, and mail or email it to the absentee. Holidays and Special Occasions, p. 209.

Decorating, sleep under the stars. Instead of buying plastic stars or stickers for your child’s ceiling, dab glow-in-the-dark paint on the tip of a dowel and randomly tap the ceiling in your child’s room, reapplying the paint as needed. The dots won’t show during the day, but at night these “stars” glow and even seem to twinkle. A cheap and easy way to surprise a child. Kids and Babies, p. 260.

Excerpted from “Cheaper, Better, Faster” (Revell, 2013). Available at DebtProofLiving.com or retailers everywhere.

Would you like to send a tip to Mary?

You can email her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, 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 www.DebtProofLiving.com.

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

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