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Everyday Cheapskate: Mark Your Territory With Citrus

Mary Hunt on

Do neighborhood cats insist that your property (porch, door, flower beds) is their territory? Well, my dear reader, break out the lemons and oranges, and shout hallelujah! You're about to discover a very pleasant, harmless way to direct them away, plus much more!

CAT SCRAM. I place lemon and orange slices and rinds around my front door and garden areas to prevent neighborhood cats from marking their territory in my yard. Works GREAT!! -- Veronica S., email

ABUNDANT LEMON JUICE. To get an abundant amount of lemon juice from a fresh lemon, place the lemon in a microwave oven for 25 seconds. Take it out and roll the lemon on the counter pressing hard with the heel of your hand. Make a small cut in the lemon and squeeze. You'll get lots of fresh, pulp-free lemon juice. -- Karen H., Missouri

LIGHT: ON. Place a motion-sensor light in your garage so that when you pull your car in, the light comes on automatically. Great for lighting your way when carrying in packages and children. And it will turn itself off once you're in the house. -- Chris C., Michigan

MYSTERY LEAKS. Does your car leak fluid from some mysterious place you cannot determine? Take a large sheet of butcher paper or a flattened cardboard box. Place it under the car. Use a black marker to mark on the paper where each tire and the front bumper are located. Leave it there until the leaks occur again. Now when you take your car to the mechanic, you can replace the paper using the notes as a guide, and he will know where to look for the leak. -- Amy O., Utah

QUICK FLAME. My dad, who was a Boy Scout leader, taught me this: When camping, pack a zip-type bag full of dryer lint. When you start your campfire, use just a little bit of this "kindling" and light it. It is very flammable and makes a perfect fire starter. -- Sara, email

OUT OF THE ASHES. Place the ashes from your wood-burning fireplace in a metal covered can. When cool, sprinkle ashes around your evergreens and pines, and in your flower beds. Plants love it. I do this two or three times a year. -- Rhea S, Montana


(As a plant food, wood ashes contain 5% to 7% potassium and about 2% phosphorous. They also have 25% to 50% calcium compounds and will slightly change the soil composition, making the soil more alkaline. -- M.H.)

HOW SNEAKY. I use liquid laundry detergent. Recently I opened a new jug and noticed that the measuring cup/cap was 30% to 40% larger than its predecessor. I thought about this for a second and realized the manufacturer is trying to get me to use it up faster. I kept the smaller cap, which still fits the new jug, and have been using it ever since. -- Tim L., email

DREAMWASH. My dream is to own a second home in Sweden and be able to purchase it without a long-term mortgage. I found a picture of the home I dream of and hung it where I will see it often during the day. This has "dreamwashed" my mind, so any time I am shopping and find a bargain on more clothes, shoes, appliances, etc., I am immediately aware of my dream. Nine times out of 10, I leave the bargain for some other shopper to discover. Not only has this added to my savings account, my home is getting less and less cluttered. I do have all the essentials anyway. -- Allison, Denmark


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.




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