Prepare with a spare
photo by Bohman
It’s always useful to have a spare set of keys. Don’t try to hide keys on a doorframe or underneath a doormat, garden rock or the body of your car. These are obvious spots that thieves look first. The first tip has a good suggestion for spare keys.
SPARE KEYS: My husband and I each have one to my van and an extra key to his truck in a safety box in our house. I have a key to my best friend’s house, and she has one to mine. Plus, we have keyless entry into our garage. It makes it easy if my teen comes home before I do. He just puts in the code. He used to lose his key every so often. — Kim, Oklahoma
CREATIVE REUSE: Those plastic produce bags are a godsend. I use them religiously for breading and flouring foods prior to cooking. I also find them useful when packing shoes in a travel bag, defrosting things in the refrigerator to avoid spillage and leaks, storage for open dry goods and in my RV so I don’t have to throw toilet tissue into the commode. Anyone with some ingenuity can find hundreds of uses for these bags, and best of all, they are free for the taking. Every day, my morning newspaper comes in two clear plastic bags. What we do is cut them in half, tie a knot in the open half and use the halves for picking up dog doo. We do have a small Yorkie, so others may need to use the whole bag. Speaking of dogs, we buy bed liners and use for them wee-wee pads. They are a lot cheaper than the pet wee-wee pads. We also purchased cloth wee-wee pads and simply wash them out when it isn’t suitable to walk our pet. — Hank G., e-mail
WATCH PRICES: Beware of the dollar stores. I know that we all love them, but I learned early on just how dangerous these places can be. You need to make sure to check the prices and sizes. Sure, I can get 18 ounces of juice for $1, but is it worth it when I can get a gallon for $1.75? No, but we have a natural tendency to think that it’s a good deal because it’s only a dollar. There is also a huge danger of overshopping when things are only a buck. You go in for two or three items and come out with $35 worth of stuff. So before you start spending the singles, check yourself. The dollar stores aren’t always worth it. — Ryan, Illinois
MAKE SUGGESTIONS: If your public library has a “suggest a purchase” option, go ahead and suggest books you would like to read. If they decide it’s of value to the community, there’s a good chance they’ll order it. And you’ll be first on the “hold” list after it’s processed. — Jora, e-mail
DUST IT OFF: I dug out my toaster/convection oven. I timed it, and it takes about one-third the cooking time of the oven, as it doesn’t have to preheat a large area and then heat a whole oven area to boot. It also does not heat up the house. The toaster oven will hold a six-cupcake/muffin pan and does fine with less electricity. — Niko, Florida