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Everyday Cheapskate: Repurpose over-cooked vegetables and worn socks

Choosing to live more frugally does not require that you abandon your personal standards for things like perfectly prepared vegetables or your impeccable style. It means you have a plan for how to repurpose over-cooked vegetables and a way to give a second life to socks that have worn thin. Is your curiosity piqued? Read on.

VEGGIE SOUP. If you overcook vegetables, turn them into soup. Puree the vegetables along with broth or milk, add some seasonings, and heat over the stove for delicious soup. — Tara H., S.C.

SHOE PROTECTOR. It is easy for heels or other nice shoes to get scratched when packed in a suitcase. Before you put the shoes in the bag, slip each one in an old sock and they will be protected. Your clothes will stay cleaner, too. —Jackie L., N.J.

BIRDHOUSE. An old mailbox with the door removed makes a great backyard birdhouse. You can even repaint it or mount it in a tree. —Steve R., N.C.

UNTANGLE NECKLACES. To untangle a fine chain or a delicate necklace, put a drop of baby oil on a piece of wax paper and set the necklace chain in the oil for a minute or two. Then use two straight pins to work at the knot gently, which will soon be undone. —Glenda M., Ohio

PROTECTING PLANTS. If your pets are getting into your potted plants and digging, try covering the dirt on top with rocks or pebbles. The water will still get through to the soil and your pets will probably be less interested in messing with the pot. —Theresa K., Wash.

CHAIR CUSHIONS. The padded seat cushions on my set of kitchen chairs would constantly slide everywhere, especially when my kids were sitting on them. I tried attaching small pieces of Velcro to both the chairs and the cushions — now the cushions stay in place! —Karen T., Ind.

REMEMBER YOUR CELL. Here’s a tip if you often forget to pick up your cellphone because it’s sitting in its charger. Lay your cellphone on your handbag or by your wallet while it’s charging. As you run out the door and grab your bag or wallet, you’ll see your phone. —Anne R., email

SANDING FOR PAINT JOBS. I do a lot of spot painting and minor wall repair. I’ve found the perfect tool for getting into those tight corners and intricate places. I use emery boards to “sand” small areas where I have patched. A large pack of these nail files can be found at the dollar store. —Maria V., email

POLISHING BRASS. To polish tarnished brass, take half a lemon and dip it in some salt. Rub the lemon on the brass. Rinse the brass, and then polish with a soft cloth. —Helen M., Iowa

PARTY INVITATIONS. For a fun and inexpensive party invitation, buy a package of balloons. Blow one up, write the party information on the balloon, and then deflate it. Pop it in an envelope along with instructions that tell the recipient to blow up the balloon and read the message. —Mindy L., Fla.

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can email her at mary@, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.


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