By Mary Hunt
I always have dreamed of having a closet in my home that is stocked with gifts for every occasion. That way, when I needed a gift, I wouldn’t have to go shopping. I would just duck into my own closet and pick out the perfect item. Hey, I said I was dreaming! But I had a great wake-up call when this month’s Tip of the Month landed on my desk.
TIP OF THE MONTH. I buy seasonal kitchen hand towels at 50 to 75 percent off after every holiday on the calendar. I keep them in a box in my closet until I need an awesome household gift. They especially make a wonderful bridal shower gift — a collection of New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas kitchen hand towels for the new bride! — Pam R., Indiana
ADDRESS MASTER. When I got a new address book for my purse, I did not want to write all the names and phone numbers into it by hand. I decided to use computer labels. I had room to put the name, address, house and cell numbers and e-mail addresses. This saved so much time, and the result is totally legible. — Janet F., e-mail
TIMESAVER. When I go through the store circular and identify the items I wish to purchase, I cut the advertisements out and staple them together in the corner. When I’m trying to determine which product is the sale item, I have all of the advertised details and a picture of what I’m trying to buy. If I need help from store personnel, I can show them the advertisement. If I’m at the supermarket that I frequent most often, I arrange the clipped ads in the order in which they are found in the store. Likewise, I arrange the corresponding coupons I’ll be using with the sale items. This makes my shopping trips efficient. — Sharon J., New Jersey
VINEGAR LOVE. I have found vinegar useful this past year. We have a beautiful piece of carpet right in the heavy traffic area. Equal parts of plain white vinegar and water with a good stiff brush got out most of the stains, and it doesn’t smell. I used the vinegar mixture in the rug shampooer to remove the rest of the dirt. I also add a cup of vinegar to my laundry during the rinse cycle. It removes the remaining soap from the wash, eliminating the need for dryer sheets or softening liquid. — Linda, e-mail
BEDTIME BUZZER. As much as I waste money, I waste time. How many nights do I stay up way past what would be an appropriate time to go to sleep? This leads to extra snacking and exhaustion in the morning. I use an alarm to tell me when to wake up in the morning, so, I thought, why don’t I use an alarm to tell me when to go to sleep? I set my alarm for a reasonable bedtime with a 15-minute snooze feature. This gives me a little leeway, but by the second alarm, it is time for shut-eye. Why didn’t I think of this when my daughter was younger? It would have been a great help in establishing bedtimes! — Roz L., New York
Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 www.DebtProofLiving.com 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 www.creators.com.
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