Be a meter reader
photo by sciondriver
We had our gas meter moved from inside the garage to outside, so the service technician checked for leaks. If our meter hadn’t been moved, I probably wouldn’t have thought to have anyone check it. It’s one of those things I take for granted. The service technician told me to keep ice and snow away from the meter, and because I do a lot of gardening, to call them before I dig in my yard. Our meter had always been inside, so I never gave ice and snow much thought. The first reader tip is a great reminder to compare your bills to your meter, check for inconsistencies and call your gas company to see whether they offer preventative/routine maintenance for piping up to the meter and the meter itself. If you’re moving to a new home, call and find out the last time the meter was exchanged for a new one.
METER MAINTENANCE: The gas company came out because we were having a problem with our gas. He asked when I had last called for meter maintenance, and I said never. Our gas meter was old, rusty and nasty-looking. He told me that they will come out, free of charge, every other year to do regular maintenance on the meter. He got the rust off and repainted it. There was a problem with one of the valves, so he fixed that. He also checked for gas leaks. We had one! It was a tiny pinhole leak on the pipe behind the meter. Lesson learned. I will be calling every other summer now to get them out here to check things out. He also told me that if you see a sudden spike in your usage to always call and have them check for leaks. — Sarah, forums
BUY LARGE QUANTITIES: I found this interesting, especially if you want to stockpile some things. Visit Dollar Tree Direct (www.dollartreedirect.com). You can buy things by the case at Dollar Tree prices. If you ship it to the store to pick up, then it’s free shipping. I thought this would be great for teachers, weddings, graduations, parties and for stockpiling cleaners and candles. Just a thought. — Bonnie, Oregon
MAKE YOUR OWN FOAM DISH SOAP: If you look on the back of the Dawn Direct Foam dish-liquid bottle, it says to replace only with more of their soap. Yeah, right! At almost $7 a bottle, there is no way. When my bottle was empty, I took a regular bottle of dish liquid and tried half soap and half water, and the soap still seemed a little thick. Right now, I’m up to one part soap to four or five parts water, and it works great! Great way to stretch a bottle of dish liquid. — hippietreehugger4ever, e-mail
CLEAN FAN BLADES: Take a towel and get it pretty damp, not dripping wet, but very damp. Then hang it on the back of the fan. Then put your blow-dryer on the highest setting and blow the dirt off the blades. It should blow back, and the dust should stick to the damp cloth. I’m sure that you would probably have to do this on both sides. — Sarah, Illinois
BUDGET CONDITIONER: Try this every so often: Mash half a banana with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Apply to dry hair, wrap in cling film or a shower cap and leave for half an hour and wash out. Lovely, soft hair for pennies! — Pooky83, e-mail
MULTIPURPOSE CUTTER: My husband likes spaghetti, but it’s messy for the kids. Cutting it with a knife and fork is tedious. I started using my pizza cutter. It’s much faster. Works great for toast, sandwiches, fudge, cake and pancakes, too. — Sharon, e-mail
REPURPOSE ICE-CUBE TRAYS: I see these often at yard sales, and they are dirt-cheap. They’re great for holding small items in drawers. My daughter had a lot of costume jewelry when she was younger. We lined a drawer in her dresser with them and then stacked more on top to use for jewelry storage for her. It worked great, and she could see all of her things. — heartofmine, Tennessee
Note: Pour leftover gravy, coffee, soup or tomato sauce into the ice tray for later use. Or make a batch of cookie dough: Place dough into each tray cubby and freeze. Pop dough cubes out when ready to use.