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Everyday Cheapskate: Rules of thrift: reduce reuse recycle... remake!

Have I told you lately how much I enjoy it when you fill up my inbox with your clever tips, tricks and solutions? Well, I do. It allows me to take a guilt-free break now and then to sit back, ponder and wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

CANDLE REMADE. I had a peppermint-scented Christmas candle that was inside a metal container. It had been made that way, so you couldn’t take the candle out of the container. The wick had burned down to the bottom, making a narrow well, but the sides of the container still had a lot of the candle wax. I didn’t want to throw it away, as the container was very festive and the candle’s scent was really nice. So I placed the container on an electric candle warmer (an electric mug warmer would serve the same purpose.) After everything melted, I took out what was left of the wick and replaced it with a small taper candle. I removed the container from the warmer and let the wax harden. Voila! The remade candle is once again usable. The taper candle provided a new wick and was much easier than trying to dangle a string over the container. — Lynn B., Texas

NO MORE POKEY SHOULDERS. Caring for cotton knit tops to save their color and prevent shrinking means I partially dry mine on low dryer heat for about 10 minutes, and then hang them on a plastic hanger to finish drying. I hate those “pokey” shoulders that result even when using a rounded hanger for that purpose. By accidentally hanging my shirt wrong side out to dry, the pokey shoulders were reversed to the inside, and then smoothed out flat when the shirt was worn. No pressing needed! — Melanie T., email

TREATS ARE FOR KIDS. Let me add another use for empty plastic prescription bottles. Some families I know have small children. Whenever I go to their homes, I take the pill containers (well washed out) filled with M&M’s candy, one for each child. They save the containers and come running out to see me to exchange empty ones for ones filled with M&M’s, each time I visit. — Mildred L., email

BETTER CUP ‘O JOE. In response to a recent column on coffee makers, an inexpensive and potentially life-long device I would recommend is the Chemex coffee maker ( This particular brand comes in a variety of sizes and styles. You have to purchase the Chemex coffee filters for use with it, but you have to buy filters for any coffee maker. Accessories are available to keep the coffee hot but, I’d recommend using a thermos for the best results. — Victor P., email

THE BANK OF “US!” We started saving the amount we had spent on car payments a number of years ago, and have been able to purchase our last two cars with cash. It is a wonderful feeling. We have told people this, and most have the attitude that they have other things to do with the additional money, which means they will always have debt. — Norma M., email

Mary Hunt is founder 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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