Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: From Ashes to Sparkling Clean Fireplace Glass

Mary Hunt on

I could sit for hours reading all the clever, helpful, often already known tips, tricks and hacks my readers send to me. It makes me think, and more often than not silently ask myself, "Why didn't I think of that?" And that proves once again that I have a very smart audience. Yes, you are!


This is a trick I learned from my mother for cleaning the glass on the fireplace insert that gets fouled with smoke and soot, becoming opaque so you cannot see and enjoy the flame. Spread newspaper down. Open the door. Take another wadded-up page of newspaper, wet it, dip it in the ashes and use it to clean the glass. This will remove everything from the glass without scratching or harming it in any way. Last step: Wad up one last piece of newspaper and use it to wipe away all of the crud and nastiness. It is quite amazing and the price is right. -- Lydia, Minnesota


I couldn't afford one of those pricey cake savers for transporting cakes, so I went to the dollar store and bought the biggest plastic bowl I could find with a lid. I set the cake on the lid with a little frosting under the cake to hold it in place and then frosted it, and now I have an airtight cover by using the bowl over it! -- Mike, Florida


To make sure I have an ice pack at the ready for any number of reasons, I take a facecloth, wet it, fold it lengthwise into thirds and place it in a small plastic bag. Then I place it in the freezer. In just a short time, my freezer pack is ready and on my face. The small size of the facecloth is just right for your face, and when it is no longer needed, you have your facecloth back. -- Pat, Washington


I can have wonderful candle scents without burning a candle. Just set a glass jar-type candle on your range top next to the oven vent. The heat melts the candle and sends the wonderful scent all through the house, and the candle never burns away. I have had the same cinnamon candle for almost three years now, and it still smells as great as it did the day I brought it home. -- LeAnn, Utah



When I make deviled eggs, I place the cooked egg yolks into a large zip-type bag, along with the rest of the filling ingredients. I then knead the mixture with my hands to combine (the kids love doing that part because it feels funny). I carefully snip the bottom corner off the zip-type bag and pipe the filling into the egg whites. Toss the bag, and cleanup is complete. -- Donna, Montana


I have several boxes set up in the garage for our annual community garage sale. They are labeled: Toys, Clothes, Housewares and Misc. I keep a package of price stickers and a pen handy. Every time I put one thing into a sale box, I price it. Then on the sale day, I simply open the boxes and set things out for display. -- Lenora, Texas


Drapes, blinds and shades are all very effective in reflecting the heat of the sun. Opt for those that are white and they'll do an even better job. But they won't do a lot of good unless you draw and lower the window coverings early in the morning before the house can heat up. -- Doug, Idaho


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.



Crankshaft Get Fuzzy Ed Wexler Meaning of Lila Mike Beckom Marshall Ramsey