by Sandy Shields
1. Nearly everything can be cut in half -- use only half a dryer softener sheet, half the recommended amount of detergent, half a cotton ball, etc. Try it on anything you can think of - if it works, you save money, if it doesn't, what do you lose?
The same idea goes for quick dinners. If you're putting together, for example, Hamburger Helper (or another "instant" meal), consider using a 1/2 pound of meat per box (or just make up 2 boxes at a time, with a full pound of meat). Most of us actually get far more protein in a day than we need, so cutting back to a 1/2 pound of meat doesn't hurt any of us.
How about instant drink mixes? If you're buying mixes that don't have the sugar added (which, by the way, is cheaper than buying the mixes with sugar already in them), think seriously about how much sugar you mix in. Do you REALLY need to use a full cup of sugar with that small packet of flavoring? Or could you cut it back to 1/3 or 1/2 cup and decrease the amount of sugar your children are getting in each serving?
The next time you're simply following directions on any grocery item, take a moment to evaluate the claim before you do as it says. You may save yourself some money!
2. Disposing of grease and fat from foods. I save the jars and lids that I get whenever I purchase tomato sauce and mayonnaise. When I have bacon drippings or old oil from fried foods, I pour the fat into these jars. When the jar gets full, I put the top back on and put the jar in the trash. This will prevent your drains from being clogged with this oil and keep your trash cans from getting messy inside.
3. Save plastic milk containers, fill with water and freeze. Use in camper iceboxes or coolers. Also these can be used to freeze colored water or juices in for later use in a punch bowl.
4. To avoid tears when peeling onions, slice first, then slip the bands of skin off.
5. Use an egg slicer to slice apples or mushrooms.
6. Leftover pancake batter makes good fried onion rings. Separate and let soak in batter for fifteen minutes. Fry in hot oil.
7. Donít throw out leftover coffee. Freeze it in icecube trays, and when you donít want to make an entire pot, you can get your cubes out of the freezer and pop them in the microwave.
9. Use plain baking soda or salt as a fire extinguisher.
10. Put rice in your salt shaker to keep the salt from getting hard. **Thank you Lisa!
11. Remove odors from your fridge by placing a vanilla extract soaked cotton ball inside. Another popular method is to leave a cup of baking soda or a slice of lemon in the fridge at all times.
12. Cleaning behind your refrigerator will keep it running longer and more efficiently. Another fridge cleaning tip: Make sure the unit is level. An unlevel refrigerator works harder than it needs to and wastes energy.
13. Store plastic wrap in refrigerator - it will prevent it from sticking.
14. A good trick when you go away on vacation is to place a baggie with a few ice cubes in the freezer. If a power failure occurs while you are gone and the food thaws and then refreezes you will know about it when you get home.
15. Use a powder puff to dust flour on rolling pins, pastry boards and cookie sheets. Store puff in a margarine tub with a small amount of flour for quick dusting jobs.
16. Leftover Safety - If food has been contaminated with germs from a person's mouth, it should be tossed. For instance saving baby food when you have fed the baby from the jar is hazardous.
17. You can reheat small portions of leftovers in the same pan. Wrap individually in foil and place in enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
18. When converting your favorite recipe for microwave cooking reduce the liquid by one-fourth. Liquid does not evaporate in a microwave as much as it does in a conventional oven.
19. To save on electric and water only run your dishwasher when full. When adding dishes take a handful of baking soda and sprinkle the dishes and bottom of dishwasher to absorb odors. When you run the dishwasher there is no need to add detergent to the first cylce receptacle only to the 2nd one that stays shut until the second cycle starts. The baking soda will take the place of the detergent in the first cycle.
20. When you have a spill in your oven, sprinkle some salt on it right away. Then when the oven cools wipe it off.
21. Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces--no more stains.
22. Transfer your jelly to a small plastic squeeze bottle--no more messy, sticky jars or knives. This also works well for homemade salad dressing.
23. To aid in washing dishes, add a tablespoon of baking soda to your soapy water--it softens hands while cutting through grease.
24. Save your store-bought-bread bags and ties--they make perfect storage bags for homemade bread. (Don't turn them inside out. The labels are painted on the out sides of the bags with lead-based paint.)
25. If you have problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
Back to Main Tips Page
Sandy is a freelance writer and webmaster of TheFrugalShopper.com. She enjoys living the frugal life, saving money, and helping others to do the same. Reprint permission granted with this footer included. Copyright © TheFrugalShopper.com 1999-2005.