Readers' Tips

Finding Checking When You Have Poor Credit

We recently had problems with obtaining a checking account due to poor credit as well. In our area, we have local credit unions. We were able to obtain a checking account by taking some special classes. They had the information onsite. Once we graduated from these classes, we opened an account with them. The classes were not free. For us, it cost $35 per person or $60 for a couple. The classes included the basics on how to maintain a checking account, etc.

Additional TDS Resource: More suggestions on how to get a checking account if you have poor credit

Curly Hair?

Baby oil or mineral oil tends to have the same effect on curly hair as the more expensive bio-oil sold in salons and is a fraction of the cost.

Brand vs. Generic

My mother worked all of her life at a plant that packaged a very popular name brand salt. She said that they would run so many hundreds of the label for the name brand and then switch to a different label. The salt remained the same. So why pay the higher price when you get the same salt? Itís just a different label. Save your money and always by the no name brand.

editor's question: Do you know of other products where the brand and generic are the same? If so, send them here.

Longer Lasting Disposable Razors

Keep your disposable razors in a glass cup with some mineral oil. Cover just the blade with mineral oil. This keeps the moisture from destroying the edges of the blade. The blade will last much longer. The mineral oil acts as a protective coating.

Wash the razor thoroughly before putting it in the mineral oil. Especially on dual or triple blades, you should wash between the blades. You can even use an old toothbrush to clean the head of the disposable razor.

Paint Clothes

When I do any painting inside or out, I turn what I am wearing inside out, so I don't get any paint on the outside of my clothes. When I wash them, I keep them inside out and most of the paint generally comes off of them. I can wear them just like they weren't used for painting.
Marilyn R.

Regarding Receipts

I've found out the hard way that some companies' receipts fade to illegibility over time, which makes it a real hassle if something goes wrong down the line and the item has to be returned. I started making a copy of my receipt and stapling the original to this to prove when and where I bought the item, which seems to make the return/exchange/warranty process go smoothly.
Nancy in Santee

Property Taxes? No Problem!

I have a suggestion for paying property taxes. Put 1/12th of your total annual property tax liability into a savings account each month. When the property tax bill comes due, withdraw the appropriate sum. This way, you will earn a little interest while easing your payment problem.

Keeping Veggies Fresh

Here are some tips I have learned over years of trying desperately to not throw away veggies before I can use them up:

  • Don't refrigerate tomatoes, apples, and avocados (and most fruit, for that matter). It ruins the taste. Plus, if it's out in a fruit bowl, you are more likely to see it and eat it!

  • For lettuce, simply wrap in a damp paper towel (you may need two or more to wrap a large head of lettuce) and store in a plastic grocery bag. Your lettuce will last longer wrapped like this!

  • For herbs, such as cilantro and parsley, stick in a glass of water like a bouquet and store in the fridge. I have heard that you should cut the ends, but my herbs don't seem to last as long this way. This works best with hardy herbs, such as parsley.

  • Finally, try hard to not use those crisper drawers in your fridge. When you don't see your veggies, you won't eat them! These drawers are better to store things like cookies or stuff you shouldn't be eating anyway!


Additional TDS Resource: More ways to keep veggies fresh including alternatives to those green veggie bags

Easier Snow Shoveling

To keep "wet snow" from clinging to your snow shovel while shoveling, spray your shovel first with a non-stick vegetable spray or WD-40®. It enables the snow to slide off the shovel instead of packing on! It makes it a lot easier to clear walkways and driveways without having to constantly tap the snow off the shovel.

Frugal Functionality

Woodworking needn't be an expensive hobby for anyone, considering that a few hand tools can transfer an endless supply of free trash wood available in most communities into an extensive list of useful items created by functional rather than fashionable design and purpose. It is a simple matter of deconstruction and reconstruction of pallets and other wooden items into tables, chairs, shelves, and any number of creative items that can satisfy the needs of children and adults alike.

As beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, design is as well, and a coat of paint or a layer of vinyl sheeting can transform a simple object into one that can serve the needs of most individuals. We have no worry about satisfying the wishes of those who have the money to buy the best available, but that is not always what most of us are here to enjoy or yearn for.

Fashion is not necessarily frugal, but function certainly is.

Furnace Filter Reminder

Regularly replacing the furnace filter prolongs the life of the furnace and reduces allergens and dust in the air, but it's so easy to forget to do. One way to remember is to always check the filter when you pay the utility bill. That's what I do now, and it's working great.
Nancy in CA

Save on Fruits and Veggies

Instead of going to the grocery store every week and buying wax-covered apples or expensive organic veggies, grow the more expensive fruits, nuts, and veggies yourself! Learn to can your tomatoes, jar your green beans, dry beans for winter, and harvest more exotic crops like asparagus. Plant the most expensive items in the store. You get to eat more of what you love and have some staples stashed away in the pantry for winter. Grow your own herbs in your kitchen windowsill and harvest and dry some for the winter as well as using them fresh!

If you are short on space, get creative with espalier dwarf fruit trees, container gardening, or even vertical gardening with some wood pallets. You'll get exercise, stress relief, and food while saving a lot of money! Last year, I only ate the veggies that I grew myself in the garden. I had so much extra that I was giving food away!

Cutting the Cost of Moving

My husband and I moved from TN to GA to TN to MD in 14 months. Along the way, we learned a lot about saving money on a state to state or local move.

  • Call your local moving companies to see if they have any used boxes they can't reuse them). If you begin to pack as soon as possible, you'll be more organized and the move will be less stressful.

  • Schedule your utility disconnects and turn on as soon as possible. This helps eliminate any possible delays due to scheduling.

  • We found the most cost-effective way is to rent the largest truck and a car trailer for towing one of the cars. It is better to have extra space at the end of the truck when you finish loading than to run out of room while loading and have no place to put remaining items. I always plan to load the car that is riding on the car trailer. Plus, the back of the trailer is great for grills, bikes, and outdoor furniture.

  • Call all of the national truck rental places. Give each of them the same information, such as size of truck, pickup/destination, car trailer, etc. Make sure to keep detailed notes on what each company is offering including mileage and give each company your name, phone number, etc. Compare what each company offered and pricing and then call the company you would most like to rent from to let them know what was offered from the company with the lowest pricing. Most of the companies will meet or beat their lowest price competitor. Also, if you give the companies your personal information when calling for pricing, the main office will usually call within a couple of weeks to see if they can help to book you. My daughter was originally quoted $2600 for a truck and trailer from CA to Washington DC. After following my directions, she ended up paying $1100.

Brenda D.

Additional TDS Resource: More on do-it-yourself moving

For Your Important Stuff

I keep all of my instructions, CDs, and cords in big yellow envelopes filed in three-ring binders on a bookshelf. We have a book for appliance information, computer information, gadgets, and so on. They're easy to reach.
Karen A. (via Facebook)

Dealing with Change

Whenever I go to the bank to make a deposit in either my interest bearing checking or my savings account, before I walk in the door, I scoop up whatever change is in the bottom of my purse and deposit it with the check I am depositing. For instance, I may deposit a $35 check and $1.86 in coins from my purse. This way, I don't have to have a jar of coins waiting forever to be rolled and deposited, and I start earning interest sooner. That small task sure adds up over time.
Andrea G.

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