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Everyday Cheapskate: Smart Freezer Organization, Cutting Cost of Aluminum Foil and More!

Mary Hunt on

Sharing readers' tips with you reminds me just how much we can teach each other. Just when I think I couldn't possibly learn anything new, here comes another cool way to save time or money every day from readers just like you. It makes opening my mail so much fun!

Stackable "Bricks"

If you freeze foods in plastic bags, you may have a freezer filled with odd-shaped, difficult-to-organize lumps of food. From now on, slip a zipped bag of food into an empty cereal box, placing the whole thing into the freezer. Now the food item will freeze into a neat shape. Once it's frozen, slide it out of the box. Stack your freezer's contents like bricks. You'll know what you have because you'll be able to see everything, plus your freezer will be more efficient with less air space. -- Arnold P., Alabama

Use It Twice, Half the Price

If you've locked eyeballs with the price of aluminum foil these days, you might consider what I've been doing to keep the cost down: Depending on its initial use, you might be able to rinse off a piece of aluminum foil and repurpose it. Use the foil again to cover leftovers, line a baking sheet or even crumple it up to scrub tough messes from your pots and pans. Another handy trick is to sharpen scissors with foil. Simply fold a piece of foil several times and make a few cuts through it with your scissors. It really works! -- Nadine, New Jersey

Spice Co-op

My wife often ends up with spices she uses only once or twice before they go stale and have to be thrown out. Her solution? She formed a spice co-op with a close friend. Now whenever either of them buys a new bottle of spice, they share half the bottle. Both save money and end up with a great spice collection. They also have discovered that exchanging spices is a great excuse to get together for a gab session. -- Gil N., Texas

DIY Access

As ridiculous as it may be on my part, I kept locking my keys inside the car. Getting a second programmed key fob to hide somewhere would have cost over hundreds of dollars! So instead, I took the "spare" key that came with the car -- the one that only opens the driver door, not the ignition -- and put it in a magnetic box and attached it under the car. Although this key can't start the car and will trigger the alarm when used to unlock the door, it allows me time to retrieve my keys from inside the car, turn off the alarm and continue on my way without having to call for roadside assistance. -- Rhonda G., Maryland

Leave the Foliage

Resist the urge to remove the foliage after your garden bulbs have finished blooming. Let the leaves wither naturally so the bulb has lots of time to manufacture nutrients and fatten up for next year's blossoming. Now your bulbs will perform as true perennials. -- Wilton M., Pennsylvania

Go Away!


If chipmunks and rodents are dining on your newly planted bulbs, discourage them by sprinkling a pinch of moth crystals over each bulb as you plant it. The crystals will last long enough to deter hungry rodents and then evaporate into the soil. By winter the soil will have compacted around the bulbs so rodents won't dig for them. By the way, did you know gophers will not touch daffodils? -- Sylvia R., Oregon

Splash Guard

Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of your food processor's bowl before applying the lid. When you remove it, all the splatters will be confined to the bowl, and the lid with be spotless. -- Cherie H., California

Non-Stick Frost

If you do not have a frost-free freezer, do this next time you defrost. Dry the interior walls well, then spray them with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. This will not prevent frost building up, but it will make it a lot easier to defrost because the ice and frost will slide off effortlessly. -- Penny P., Kansas

Find a Safe Place

The worst place for a medicine cabinet is in the bathroom. Most medications deteriorate in a bathroom's warm, moist environment. They keep much better in a cool, dry place like a linen closet, on a high shelf out of the reach of children. -- Margie B., Michigan

NOTE: Please understand I have not tested nor can I guarantee the outcome of any tips or recommendations by my readers. Enjoy this information as entertainment, always allowing common sense to be your guide. Got it? Great.


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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