Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Everyday Cheapskate

Paying Yourself To Get Creative


Usually, it is cheaper to repair than to replace. Sure, there are exceptions, but they are few and far between. Repairing things, it seems, brings out the inner clever person in all of us. Don’t believe it? Check out these clever readers:

UNDERWATER BASKET WEAVING. The silverware basket in my dishwasher was starting to break along the bottom, so the silverware would fall through. I found replacement baskets online, but they were not cheap. So I dug through my husband’s toolbox and took some of his plastic zip ties. I wove them along the bottom of the basket, between the pieces of the basket that were not broken and other zip ties, forming a new basket. I have used it that way for almost a year with no further problems and saved myself money by not having to purchase a new basket. — Rachel P., Oregon

HAPPY FEET. My daughter’s favorite shoes close with Velcro, and I have noticed that the Velcro is the first thing to wear out on them. I dug around in my craft supplies and found stick-on Velcro circles from the dollar store. I stuck one on the worn shoe and sewed it on with a couple of stitches. Now she can wear her favorite shoes again, and I don’t have to buy a replacement pair. — Elizabeth J., e-mail

PILLOW TALK. I was told down pillows wear out and have to be thrown away, and I have a 12-year-old down pillow that was beginning to smell pretty bad. I hated to throw it away because they are so expensive, but I couldn’t tolerate putting my head on it. I threw it in the washing machine with my white load (no bleach). I figured I had nothing to lose. If it didn’t work out, I would just have to buy a new pillow. It came out of the wash, and then I popped it into the dryer. It took a little longer than my other clothes, but it came out beautiful, fluffy and smelling wonderful. I couldn’t believe my good fortune! — Saundra, Arizona

MAGIC MOM. While I was preparing Easter dinner, my 4-year-old daughter climbed up to the counter in her most beautiful dress, opened a bottle of bright red fingernail polish and spilled it on herself. That afternoon, I tried everything to save her dress, which I felt was doomed for the dump. Finally, I tried oven cleaner. I saturated the polish stains with Easy-Off, waited 30 seconds, rubbed the stain lightly and then rinsed it well. It worked like magic. After I repeated this process twice, all the stains were gone, and it did no harm to the fabric. I laundered the dress as usual and happily hung it up; it was as good as new. — Amanda F., Kansas

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can e-mail her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Include your first and last name and state. Mary Hunt is the founder of and author of 18 books, including “Debt-Proof Living” and “Tiptionary 2.” To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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