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The Password Book
I could not keep track of all the user name and password combinations required for different websites. They were recorded here, there, and everywhere. So, I bought a small address book and record them (alphabetical by website) in it.
Amy in New Orleans, LA
Cooking for 1
I'm a live-alone widow. When I invite friends and family to dinner, I usually fix more than enough. I have started putting leftovers in several small, single-serving, microwavable containers and freezing them for those days I don't want to cook just for myself. There is no food wasted, and I don't eat out as often.
Plus Size Clothing
I am a plus-sized woman, and I have found that I can buy trendy clothes at a cheap price on eBay. I have to watch out for shipping and handling costs, so I buy more than one item from the same person if I can, and I ask them to combine shipping. Most people are more than happy to do so.
Eliminating Laundry Odors
To combat laundry odors, I put white vinegar in the rinse water. I have one of those balls for fabric softener, and it opens automatically during the rinse cycle. I just fill it half full with vinegar. It works really great on teenage boy's socks.
Longer Lasting Roofs
At half the predicted life of our roof, we get it inspected and do some touch up work. This tends to extend the life of our roof by five to six years, which is an increase of 25%. It's a huge savings in the long run, and the touch ups are usually only a few hundred dollars. Keep tabs on the shape of your roof and get it done before it fails.
Easy Homemade Applesauce
I love homemade applesauce, but I don't have the patience to make it. I discovered an extremely easy method. First, I cut a red apple into chunks (removing seeds and peel) and then I put the chunks into a blender along with some orange juice. After blending for a minute or so, I have perfect applesauce for one!
Lisa C. in Lemon Grove, CA
Less Time in the Grocery Store
For grocery shopping, I make my normal grocery list categorized by the grocery store aisles. Then I go through my coupons and pull out those that I need for that trip. I put a circled "C" next to each item with a coupon, and then I list each coupon's details on the back of my grocery list in alphabetical order. Then when I shop, I don't have to pull out each coupon to see the details. Instead, I just have to look on the back of the grocery list. This really speeds up grocery shopping!
Donna in Georgetown, TX
Changing the Holidays
The holidays were just getting too expensive and the stores too crowded, so we decided to try something radical. We invented a new holiday. Instead of exchanging gifts on Christmas Day, we now exchange them on New Years Day. Yes, we still do the full Christmas dinner and the tree but wait for the gift giving until after the holiday rush.
We save a bundle, and the kids get exactly what they want for at least half the price. We never have to worry about the cool toys being sold out because stores often get a new shipment right after Christmas when no one else wants them!
What Do You Need?
This seems so basic, but often we forget to do it. Anytime you have a need, simply let folks know. Get the word out to your friends, family, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, the people at your church, etc. Someone may be able to solve your problem for you at no cost to you.
For instance, my 1980s-era microwave oven just went out. I mentioned this to my coworkers. The gal who sits besides me just moved into an apartment with a built-in microwave, and she offered to give me her old one!
Here's another example. Last summer, this same coworker was moving. Her old apartment lease ended a month before her new place was ready. She stayed with friends for four weeks, but had nowhere to keep her furniture. Renting a storage unit would have been expensive. She told us about it, so I let her use the empty side of my two-car garage. Problem solved! It didn't cost either of us any money.
If either of us had kept quiet about our need, the other one wouldn't have known about it, and therefore wouldn't have helped. Both of us got what we needed for free. As an added bonus, we have a sense of community and a stronger friendship because we cooperated in solving each other's problem. The bottom line is that people can often help you, but only if you tell them what you need.