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Everyday Cheapskate: Great Readers Tips: Packing Cubes, Sink Clog Prevention, Cooking Spray Uses, BBQ Cover

Mary Hunt on

Over the years, I've done it a dozen times -- tossed out the clear vinyl zipper bag that comes with sheets and blankets. Today's first great reader tip makes me wish I'd not done it. For sure, I'll never do it again.

FREE PACKING CUBES. For travel packing, I reuse the clear vinyl zipper bags of various sizes that come with blankets, linens and some sports apparel brands. They work as well or better than the pricey packing cubes that are available, since they offer a clear view of the contents. I've saved many over the years, and I can pack items by category or pack individual outfits. Packing in the vinyl bags protects the items (moisture barrier), prevents wrinkles, facilitates potential security searches at airports, keeps the suitcase or duffle organized and makes it easy to find what you're looking for, thus reducing stress during travel! My husband is a recent convert to this strategy, which made luggage management during a recent trip to Spain much easier! -- Alicia

CLOG-FREE HOLIDAYS. Every year, my mom would clog the garbage disposal when she peeled the potatoes for Hanukkah latkes. It was as much a tradition as candles and gelt. We thought it was just a quirk of her sink, but recently I read that grinding potato peels in the disposer turns them into a mashed-like mass that's almost guaranteed to clog your drains. An easy solution is to line your sink with newspaper, peel the potatoes over the paper and then chuck the whole thing in the compost heap or trash. -- Mitch

COOKING SPRAY'S MANY USES. I'm a big fan of aerosol cooking spray (I get the cheapest generic brand I can find), and it has more uses than simply spraying sheet pans and muffin tins to prevent food from sticking.

--De-ice the freezer. Once I defrost my freezer, I spray down the walls with cooking spray. Next time, the ice just glides off the walls.

--Improve knife action. Before chopping onions, garlic, vegetables or cheese, I spray the knife blade with cooking spray. Nothing sticks!


--Improve cheese grater action. I spray the cheese grater down as well. It makes cleanup a cinch.

--Prevent stains on plastic. I've discovered that when I spray a plastic container like Tupperware with cooking spray before pouring in tomato sauce or other staining foods, the food just slides out to be reheated, and my containers remain relatively stain-free, too. -- Maggie

BBQ COVER. This year, I figured out how to protect my outdoor barbecue grill without sacrificing my wallet. Instead of throwing out the old vinyl tablecloth that, after so many summers of use, was ready for the landfill, I folded it in half and sewed up the sides. It made a great cover for the grill. I figure I'll get at least a few more years of use out of that tablecloth in its new role. -- Paula


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 webpage at

Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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