Learn a little shelf control
photo by omar
The first tip holds true throughout the grocery store. Check not only the back of shelves for freshness but look at upper and lower shelves for better prices, too. And don’t forget to weigh prepackaged produce such as potatoes, lettuce, apples or carrots to get the most product for your money. Packages do vary.
CHOOSING PRODUCE: I spent some time working in the produce department of a large retailer. Stocking taught me how to choose the freshest produce without even looking at it. The easiest way to think of it is the most convenient piece of fruit or vegetable is the oldest. The freshest is the one way in the back, under the stack, or similarly hard to reach. The concept is known as forcing, and it relies on the fact that people are lazy. I bought some cello carrots today, and it worked like a charm in a totally different store. — Fixer, Kentucky
SAVE ON CLOTHES: Every year, my oldest always gets the newer clothes because she grows out of them first. Then her sister inherits her hand-me-downs. When they were younger, it was easier because they didn’t really care what they were wearing to school. Now I find my youngest wanting to fit in with the latest fashion, but I can’t afford to buy an entire new wardrobe for both kids. I found a solution, a way to make my younger daughter feel better. Instead of looking at her clothes as hand-me-downs, we look at them as a start to an entirely new look. I bought some stencils and fabric paint, and we got together and made all the clothes look different. Now she looks forward to being creative, and I think it is great. We spend more time together. Here’s the place we got our ideas from and downloaded free stencil designs: www.simplyspray.com. — Pen32
Note from Sara: You can lengthen pants and refashion them, too.
HOME HAIR GEL: I have a creative friend who showed me how to make hair gel at home.
Here is her recipe:
1 cup water
2 tablespoons whole flaxseeds
a few drops essential oil, for scent
pure aloe-vera gel, if desired
Bring water to a boil. Stir the seeds into the water, and reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until a gel-like lotion is formed. Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth into a small bottle. Add essential oils, and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. If desired, you can add some pure aloe-vera gel for its moisturizing properties. Fill the bottle with flaxseed gel until the bottle is about three-quarters full and then fill to the top with pure aloe-vera gel.
It’s light enough that it can be put into a spray bottle and be sprayed onto hair. She has super-curly hair and says it is great for keeping her curls from frizzing. She keeps it in her fridge and says that it lasts much longer than a week if kept refrigerated. — Sarah, Illinois
Note from Sara: Results may vary.
MASON JARS: Try replacing your cups and glasses with canning jars. They are less than a buck apiece, are quite large, come with lids so you can bring liquids with you without worry of spilling (or anything else you want to store), and they are already premarked with measurements. I found a pack of 12 for $9 at the local grocery store. — Cheaps8t, e-mail
ADDITIONAL JAR TIP: Classico tomato sauce comes in an Atlas canning jar. If you buy pasta sauce, you can keep the jar, too. — Renee, Washington