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Recycling Banana Peels
Instead of tossing your banana peels, mince them finely and add to the soil of your indoor and outdoor plants. The potassium acts as a fertilizer.
Keeping Track of Donations
When I donate items, I get a donation receipt, and I write down the information in my check register (what I donated and its value). At the end of the year, when I go through the check registers and copy down who I wrote donation checks to, I also copy down the donations of items. This really helps me at tax time.
Our master bath has a small window and is very dark in the evenings. In order to keep from turning on our four bulb light fixture over the sink, we just turn on a night light in the bathroom at dusk. This allows us to see just fine if we're going to be in there for "just for a minute." It also emits enough light for us to safely walk through the darkened bedroom without turning on the overhead light. We just turn it off when we go to bed.
Jan in SC
Making a Few Bucks
I have just started selling used books online and I appreciate all the help I can get. Talking to your friends and family about selling their books and DVDs has opened up a whole new outlet for my business. I have always been very shy, but have found out that people do want to help and are happy to give you their books and other objects.
Like everyone else, we try really hard not to use our heater during the winter months as it is usually our biggest bill. To help us avoid having to turn on the heater, I bought every member of our family a hot water bottle. We fill it up with hot water and keep it on our feet or close to our bodies when we are relaxing or watching TV. At night, when we go to bed, we fill it up with fresh hot water for the night. This keeps us from having to turn on the heat and keeps us amazingly warm for the entire night!
The Grocery Savings Plan
Every payday, I buy a gift card from a grocery store. I just put them away, and then when the holiday grocery shopping comes around, I use the gift cards to purchase the extra goodies and baking supplies, etc. that always hit my wallet hard. It hardly seems noticeable out of my grocery budget throughout the year, and I don't feel guilty if I want to buy extra eggnog, chocolates, etc! They have come in handy a few times throughout the year, too, when I needed to fund a birthday party. It's a good feeling knowing that I always have them for back up during lean paydays if need be.
I'm addicted to soda and have been since childhood. I've decided to stop spending the money on soda (even diet soda which I typically drink) in an effort to boost my weight loss. To make the water more attractive, I've taken to drinking it out of special containers in addition to just my usual water bottle. I use wine goblets around the house and keep chilled water in the fridge in my finest crystal pitcher. That pitcher only gets used once or twice a year otherwise. So why not? Now, when I open the fridge, the first thing I see is the crystal pitcher, which brings a smile to my face. It's working!
JD in St Louis
I use the large clear plastic jars with lids that once contained peanut butter, nuts, candy, etc. in my craft room to organize tools and supplies. They are labeled and lined up neatly in a row on a long narrow shelf on the wall. These jars are the perfect size for all kinds of supplies, and it is so easy to see what they contain.
For example, each of mine contain an assortment of scissors, glue, markers, small paint brushes, beads, buttons, utility knives/blades, ribbon, thread, etc. It's a great way to recycle, takes up very little room, and costs virtually nothing if you are buying the product in the jar anyway. It also makes an attractive display!
Cheaper Laminated Calendars
In past years, we've used a full-year, laminated calendar on the side of our fridge. As convenient as it was, it had two problems. First, it was hard to write small enough with the dry erase markers. Second, it kept getting more expensive (nearly $30 now!). What to do?
I went searching for a calendar that I could cut up and re-tape like a quilt. Finally, I found one that I was able to trim to 8" x 8" squares and piece together on the fridge. Using colored pencils (for each person), we can still erase and make changes as needed. We have our work schedules, events and appointments at a glance, as we've enjoyed for years. The cost of this 15-minute, high-tech replacement? Just $1!
Elaine in NJ