I use free stuff sites. Nothing better than an email coupon or a free sample arriving via USPS. Here are my favorites:
- Try lining your refrigerator's crisper drawer with paper towels; they'll absorb excess moisture and keep your vegetables from rotting
- A bay leaf in a container of flour, pasta, or rice will repel bugs
- To make cottage cheese or sour cream last longer, turn the container upside down -- this creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria
- If you're unsure of an egg's freshness, put it in a cup of water; fresh eggs sink, while bad ones float
- Store fresh herbs (washed and sealed in plastic bags) in your freezer. They'll stay fresh for a month and defrost instantly when you want to use them for cooking.
- Make limp celery, carrots and radishes crunchy again by placing them in a bowl of ice water with a slice of raw potato.
- Spread butter on the cut side of hard cheeses to keep them from drying out in the fridge.
- Put rice in your salt shaker to absorb condensation and keep salt from hardening.
- Store your butter in the freezer; it will keep fresh for up to six months.
- Corn should be refrigerated while still in the husk to stay fresh the longest.
- Citrus fruits can last up to two weeks right on the counter.
- Garlic and onions need to be stored in a dark, cool pantry, where they will stay fresh for up to four months.
- Berries keep the best when refrigerated unwashed in their original container.
- Asparagus should be stored upright in the refrigerator in a jar in an inch of water.
We moved to a tiny house in 2015 and got rid of the tent, portable toilet, and other camping gear. I thought we were done with primitive camping until I was inspired by the videos below.
Tried it out this past week (1 private campground and 2 national park campgrounds) and it has more benefits than costs! Little setup or tear-down. Bad weather like snow doesn't collapse the tent or freeze us all night long. Prius acts like a power generator. Music in the car does not affect the neighbors. Inspires others to think outside the box. Can arrive at your site later and can leave at checkout. And no worries like you have with an RV (fuel costs, tricky roads, grey water).
Readers may want to check their local thrift stores. Near my town, a thrift store called Caring and Sharing offers volunteers $4 of store credit for each hour volunteered. You can accumulate hours to save up for the item you want.
The work entails placing donated items on shelves and putting a price sticker on them.
Looks like we will be getting a free crock pot!
This place does it right! A sandwich plus a low gravity beer is only 7 bucks. Stay for happy hour and get a 9% ABV beer for $4.75. WOW!
Run by so-called urban foragers, FallingFruit.org has an interactive map that shows where you can harvest your own fruit -- as well as herbs, nuts and vegetables -- from trees and plants that grow mostly on public lands. You can sort by location or fruit type. Then you can drill down to individual locations to see what type of fruit grows there, when it’s in season, and whether it’s on public or private land. You also can see reviews by other foragers and a street view image courtesy of Google.
A low end washer/dryer costs about $500. The laundromat costs around $300 per year. Add another $100 per year for detergent and dryer sheets.
Here are the "how to" videos.
- Don't use the canned air method to clean keyboards - it's expensive. Plug in your hairdryer and blast away.
- Candles last longer if you freeze them prior to burning.
- Got an itchy mosquito bite, try rubbing soap on it.
- Use scotch tape to pull out a splinter.
- Wrap celery in aluminum foil then refrigerate. It will last for weeks.
- Cut you S.O.S. pads in half – no more rusty, smelly pads.
- To get a little more life out of worn out soles, try filling in the cracks and holes with hot glue.
- Covering a pot with a lid reduces cooking time and energy use. For extra energy savings, be sure to match the pot size to the burner size.
- If you’re shopping for appliances, check with the salesperson to see if there are any back room bargains. Sometimes a stove has a slight dent or a washing machine is scratched.
- Use GoDaddy to register a domain name (web site).
- Buy a battery tester and test “dead” batteries before tossing – lots of times its just one “dead” battery causing the trouble.
- When your printer says your ink is low, pull out your cartridge and shake it to get another few days out of it.
- White vinegar is a great cleaner.
- Drying your disposable razors (blades) extends their life – just use a towel.
- Why keep a porch light on for hours when you can buy a battery powered push light and use rechargeable batteries?
- Use a Faraday flashlight. The ones you shake to light up.
- Increasing the deductibles on auto and home insurance can save hundreds of dollars on premiums.
- Buy prescription eyeglasses at zennioptical.
- To make your own miniature greenhouse, take an old egg carton; fill the individual sections with soil and seeds. Cover the top with a piece of plastic wrap. Before you know it, you will have the makings of a beautiful garden.
- Wad up some tinfoil and use it in your dryer instead of chemical coated sheets to get rid of static cling.
- "Feeder goldfish" cost less than 10 cents. Their food is around a $1 and lasts many months. One can use any type of glass bowl or antique canning jar to keep them in.
- Use honey for lip balm before you go to bed.
- Bring your own water bottle everywhere. Refill the water bottle at water fountains.
- Camping Cooler - buy bottled water and freeze enough to fill your cooler. You won’t have to buy ice until four or five days into the event (when everyone else is making almost daily ice runs).
- Take produce into your office and have a "Take Some and Leave a Quarter" cup next to them. Use proceeds to buy plants for next year.
- If the A/C goes out in your car, try the $20 can of recharge from an auto parts.
- Clean your windshield wipers with vinegar to extend the life of them.
- Always stop at a local pawnshop when considering a new tool purchase, bicycles, vacuum cleaners, etc.
- Slip those plastic grocery bags over your shoes when entering your garden, tie at the ankle. Keeps shoes nice and clean.
- Bigger isn’t always better, buy only what you need if it is a perishable product.
- Don’t bring the children shopping. You will accomplish the task quicker; you’ll avoid spending extra on stuff “seen on TV”.
- Shop secondhand stores for toys.
- Some fifteen states offer tax-free days or tax-free weekends, with most coming in August. That’s an automatic savings of at least five percent in most cases, so plan accordingly.
- Consolidate your student loan.
- Don’t use another bank’s ATM.
- Kick the (fill in the blank) habit. If you stop using alcohol, tobacco, and junk food, you’ll save thousands your lifetime and probably live longer and healthier!
- For cash gifts, consider a payment plan like 10 checks for $10 with each dated a different month.
- Ask you dentist, doctor, and hair stylist for their old magazines – read recipes, cut out coupons – then recycle them.
- Buy used eyeglass frames at thrift shops and then have new lenses made for you prescription.
- Have your kids make a homemade kite.
- Use local police auctions to get bikes, jewelry, cars, etc.
- For urban dwellers taking public transportation, ask your employer for a transit check, a subsidy employers get for alleviating gridlock.
- Use Styrofoam peanuts to re-fill a beanbag chair.
- Place wanted signs (instead of for sale signs) on bulletin boards for furniture, cars, and other big ticket items.
- Turn empty matchbooks into a portable sewing kit.
- Your bed mattress will last longer if you “spin in the spring, flip in the fall”.
- Bread tabs can be used to mark electrical cords at the outlet/power strip.
- Remove shelves from a dead refrigerator and mount shelves in the garage/basement.
- Use a wine cork to replace missing pot handles – attach with a screw.
- A broccoli style rubber band makes a great jar opener.
- Bubble wrap is great cushioning for people who must stand while on the job
- Use garlic powder to keep the varmints out, It’s a wonderful natural plant protector.
- Ask elderly relatives and neighbors who are unable to drive if they need a lift to the supermarket – they’ll offer to pay for your gas.
- Check rent – to – own stores for cosmetically damaged or otherwise non rent-able items.
- Call area attractions and ask if they have any “free to the public” events scheduled or regular “free admittance” times.
- If you re a senior citizen, always ask about senior discount everywhere you travel, shop, eat, or lodge!
- Check with local high schools that have shop classes. Often they sell wood scraps left over from student projects.
- Inquire with dry cleaners about left items for sale.
- Use mesh bags (the kind turkeys/onions/potatoes are packed in) as scouring pads.
- To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge, add an empty paper towel roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
- Cut old bread bags in half and use the bottom half as sandwich bags.
- Old hangers make good pegboard hooks.
- If an envelope is over one ounce but under 2, you don’t need 2 first class stamps, have it weighed for exact postage.
- Your dog will love “dead tennis balls” left at public tennis courts.
- Serrated edges from aluminum foil boxes (or a wax paper boxes) can be made into picture frame hangers.
- Save you old pickle jars and the liquid inside. Slice up cucumbers and re-pack. In four days – pickles!
- Put a teaspoon or two of baking soda into the shoes before you wear them. Great odor eliminator
- Use 100% cornstarch instead of Baby Powder