I’m very excited the release of my book, Cheaper, Better, Faster. As you know I love tips, and having my favorite tips and tricks in one place sure is handy. So this month I’m sharing some of my favorites from Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day.
Buyer consideration… warranties transferable?
If the seller says the vehicle is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty or any dealer service contract, double-check that these benefits can be transferred from the original owner. Take no one’s word for it—read the contracts. Automobiles, p. 13
To stop water from leaking out of the kitchen sink while you’re doing dishes, put a piece of plastic wrap between the drain and the drain stopper. This is also a handy trick to remember if you’re soaking something overnight. Cleaning, p. 61
Kids… trade clothes.
An alternative to making your children always wear their siblings’ hand-me-downs, trade with neighbors or friends who have children of the same sizes. The kids get a new look, and the price is right. Clothing and Accessories, p. 75
Put flour in an old saltshaker and leave it in the freezer. When you need to flour a pan or dust a pastry board, the shaker will save you from wrestling with a big bag and spilling flour everywhere. Food and Cooking, p. 101
Gift list… save with business card records.
Avoid returning unwanted gifts (or pretending you like them) from your spouse or immediate family members by keeping an ongoing record of the things you would like, along with specific details. Through the year as you see items of particular interest, pick up the store’s business card and write the details on the back of it: red cardigan sweater, brass buttons, wool blend, size 8, $49.98. These cards serve as a practical gift list to make gift giving a positive experience for both the giver and the receiver. Gifts, p. 150
Nails… polish bottle trick.
Keep the top of a nail polish bottle from sticking shut by putting cooking spray on a cotton swab and wiping it around the neck of the bottle before closing it. Health and Beauty, p. 168
Parties… remember the absent.
When someone can’t be with you to celebrate a special occasion, have everyone at the event hold up a poster that reads, “We miss you!” Take a picture and mail or email it to the absentee. Holidays and Special Occasions, p. 209
Bathroom… not down the toilet!
Don’t throw dental floss or colored toilet paper or colored tissues down the toilet. The insides of sewer pipes are very rough, and dental floss has a tendency to stick to the pipe and accumulate over time. Colored toilet tissue might look good, but it doesn’t break down as readily as white toilet paper and could cause problems down the line. Home, p. 216
Decorating… sleep under the stars.
Instead of buying plastic stars or stickers for your child’s ceiling, dab glow-in-the-dark paint on the tip of a dowel and randomly tap the ceiling in your child’s room, reapplying the paint as needed. The dots won’t show during the day, but at night these “stars” glow and even seem to twinkle. A cheap and easy way to surprise a child. Kids and Babies, p. 260
Excerpted from Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day (Revell, 2013). Available in the Debt-Proof Living bookstore or retailers everywhere. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website. Email her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.
By Mary Hunt