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Cheap tricks

There is nothing like a cheap trick to help make straighten out a gal's (or guy's) budget. Even if you aren't necessarily squeezing every penny you own, it's still nice to save when you can. Leanne Ely offers some of her cheap tricks.

Handy tips

1. I have this habit of driving off, after tanking up my car, with the gas cap on top of the roof. Once I asked the gas station guy if he had seen my cap, he handed me a box of gas caps and though mine wasn't there, I found one that fit and he gave it to me. Not all gas stations will do this, but I sure appreciated it -- never hurts to ask, does it?

2. I don't use toilet bowl cleaners. I swish the bowl with the toilet bowl scrubber and then get rid of most of the water in the toilet bowl by dumping a bunch of water down the toilet. I use the bathroom wastebasket -- this won't work if your wastebasket is a basket, and use a little bleach. I make sure the window is open and shut the door and run -- no need inhaling those fumes! Works beautifully.

3. If your bananas get a little too ripe, freeze them with the skins on. Later, peel them with a knife and throw them in a blender with a little milk, other fruit and some protein powder and you have a quick, power breakfast. Or just let the kids eat them as is for a delicious snack -- especially in the summer.

4. If your household is busy like mine, skip the towel racks in the bathroom and use big coat hooks or pegs. They are cheaper, infinitely more durable and everyone has a place for their own towel. If you want to get really organized, assign everyone a different colored bath towel.

5. Those dryer sheets are horrible for your dryer, according to my dryer repair guy, who had to replace a rubber gasket thing in my dryer. He said dryer sheets eat the rubber. So now I use all those dryer sheets, cut in half and bought on sale, to help me get stuck-on food out of my casserole dishes. I fill up the dish with hot, sudsy water and put a half a dryer sheet in and the next morning, it's a snap to clean!

These are all tried and true cheap tricks, gathered from tightwads the world around. And to quote a woman not known for her tightwaddery, "It's a good thing."

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