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Everyday Cheapskate: Do some strategic packing for easy travels

It’s happened to us more than once. We’ll arrive at our destination, but not so for our luggage. On one vacation to Pawley’s Island, S.C., it was two full days before all of our luggage showed up. That was a miserable situation. The one bag that did arrive with us didn’t hold much of anything we really needed. But never again — thanks to today’s first tip. What a great idea!

STRATEGIC PACKING. When traveling by air with a companion, be sure each checked piece of luggage has a change of clothing and some toiletries for both of you. That way if a bag gets lost or is delayed (chances are at least one will show up), you’ll both have at least one change of clothing. —Cindy B., Indiana

RECYCLE REWARD. Instead of throwing away those empty vases and baskets that your flowers came in, or allowing them to turn into more clutter, ask your florist if they take the containers and baskets back. Mine not only takes them, but also gives me fresh flowers in exchange. It’s a nice way to recycle and get something in return. —Ruth P., Illinois

QUICK CLEANUP. To remove paint from a paintbrush, put 1/2 cup of any liquid fabric softener per gallon of water in a 5 gallon bucket. Immediately after use, swish the brush vigorously in the liquid while counting to ten. Remove the brush and there will be no paint on the brush, in ten seconds flat. Be sure to rinse it well in clear water to remove the fabric softener. —Kendra H., Arizona

TOOL CARE. Fill a cheap galvanized bucket 3/4 of the way with play sand. Add enough motor oil so you can just barely see the color, leaving it mostly sand. When you are finished gardening for the day or for the season, put your tools in the bucket blades-down and leave them. They will be clean, oiled, rust-free and ready to go the next time you need them. —Pauletta S., Ohio

COOL BLUE. My toddler saw a commercial for colored bath crystals for kids that turn bath water into various primary colors, and asked for a blue bath. Rather than pay $10 for bath crystals, I added just two drops of plain old blue food coloring to his bath. He was thrilled with the blue water, and emerged clean—not a trace of blue skin. —Mary P., Minnesota

LAUNDRY INSIDE-OUT. Wash your clothes inside out to keep them looking newer longer. The inside takes all of the abuse and fading caused by the agitation, instead of the outside. Clothes get just as clean when washed inside out. —Pam K., Wisconsin

DOWN THE HATCH. I own a kennel and have found an easy and quick way to administer pills to sick dogs. Cut an inch or two (depending on the size of the pill) off the end of a hotdog. Scoop out the center of the hotdog and place the pill inside. Mash the scooped-out piece of hotdog back over the pill. The pill is gone in a quick swallow. Save the rest of the hotdog for the remaining daily doses. —Jolynn H., Virginia

Mary Hunt isfounder of, a personal finance member website.

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


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