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Everyday Cheapskate: Going on Vacation? Make Your Own Plant Nanny, Plus More Great Reader Tips

Mary Hunt on

PLANT NANNY. When I go on vacation, I fill bottles and push them into my houseplants and outdoor plants upside down. The water keeps the plants moist for days! -- Sophia

LONG-LASTING CELERY. I don't use celery a lot, except during the holidays. So, come November, when I purchase a stalk of celery, I use what I need and wrap the rest tightly in aluminum foil, making sure the celery is completely covered. Then I store it in my refrigerator crisper drawer. I pull it out again at Christmas and do the same with leftovers. If completely covered, the celery will look fresh and bright, like the day I bought it, well into March or April. -- Terrie

MICROFIBER WONDER. I highly recommend microfiber cloths. I soak one in water, wring it out so it is nearly dry and then use it to clean my glass coffee table, end tables, dining room table glass, windows, mirrors, car windows and especially my granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Just wipe! No need to rinse or use any kind of cleaner. To me, microfiber cloths are irreplaceable. -- Kaye

MORE DRAWER SPACE. After well over 50 years of marriage and constantly struggling to fit folded clean dish towels and napkins into one of three drawers in my kitchen, a light went on in my brain. I discovered that by folding the towels and napkins in half the long way and then rolling them up, I could easily fit many more of each in this one drawer. -- Phyllis

CHERRY PITTER. You don't need a special tool to pit cherries if you have a small kitchen funnel. Just turn your funnel upside down, and then press the cherry against the narrow opening to pop the pit out. Easy! -- Jenn

FISH FOOD FOR ANTS. Several years ago, we had a problem with large black ants in my son's bedroom. He had a fish tank. One day, he accidentally spilled a bunch of goldfish food behind the tank where I couldn't see it. I noticed a very large number of ants in his room, but the next day, they were all dead -- hundreds of them! Later, the problem returned, and we put out more fish food. Again, they all died quickly. Some of the food must have gotten to the nest, because we haven't seen any ants in that room since. Fish food expands in water, so my theory is it expanded in their stomachs and killed them. -- Julie

OVEN RACK CLEANER. I clean our oven racks with dishwasher detergent. I put the stopper in the bathtub and fill the tub with enough hot water to cover the racks. I add 1/4 cup powdered dishwasher detergent, like Cascade. After an overnight soak, the racks are easily cleaned with a Scotch-Brite sponge. No scrubbing required! -- George

SPARKLING CLEAN WINDOWS. I have discovered a great window-washing solution! Pour 2 gallons of water in a pail with a few drops of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon Lemi Shine Dish Detergent Booster and 2 teaspoons Lemi Shine Rinse Aid. Mix well. I washed the windows by applying this solution with microfiber cloths, and hard water spots that have been on the outside for years are gone! -- Judy

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Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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