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Remove coffee stains with ease

By on November 5, 2012


Dear Sara:

How can I remove coffee stains from a stainless steel or glass carafe? — Tina, Ohio

Dear Tina:

Fill the carafe with water and drop in two denture-cleaning tablets. Let it soak overnight and then wash as usual. You can add ice cubes, salt and lemon wedges and swirl it around and then rinse with water. Another option for the stainless steel carafe is to use baking soda. Add hot water and baking soda to the carafe/thermos, let it set overnight (with the lid off), then scrub with a bottle brush.

Dear Sara:

Where can I purchase Borax? I would like to clean my shower with it. Thanks. — Marna, email

Dear Marna:

20 Mule Team Borax can be found at major retailers (Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target, Walgreens), hardware stores and local supermarkets. Visit for a store locator. It’s usually shelved in the laundry aisle.

Dear Sara:

I like to hear your latest thrift store finds. It gives me ideas of things I can look for. So what was your latest deal? — Kelli, Illinois

Dear Kelli:

My kids speed skate and run cross country. Athletic clothing is costly. I look for leggings, fitted shorts and shirts. I found two pairs of Under Armour leggings for $1 each. In the sports stores they cost more than $40. Recently, I found hockey sticks in great condition for $0.50-0.99. My kids love to use them for roller hockey at the outdoor rink. I also found brand new CCM ice skates (the blades hadn’t even been sharpened yet) for $3, and an Adidas track jacket and pants for $1 each (retails for about $40 and $35 respectively). Our thrift store offers buy one, get one item half off if you have purchased a state park pass, too. My community forum ( has a section specifically for everyone to share their latest thrift store scores, too. You’re not alone; most frugal people love hearing about thrift store finds. I know I do.

Dear Sara:

How was your back-to-school shopping this year? I’m sure you spent less than I did. — Helena, Pennsylvania

Dear Helena:

It hurt. It hurt a lot. Ha-ha. While I do everything in my power to cut costs for back-to-school shopping by shopping sales and secondhand stores throughout the year, comparing costs and lists from previous years, reusing what I can, and keeping a running inventory, I still spent a considerable amount of money this year. The supply lists were long and I have four children in school. My kids did not get new clothes or backpacks. Their clothing is in fine condition, and they’re reusing their backpacks. This will be the third year they’ve reused them, because I buy quality backpacks. Three of my kids have birthdays in November and will receive some clothing then and some more at Christmas. I mix-and-match new clothes and thrift store clothing and use a capsule wardrobe approach to save money (not that anyone could tell). My kids received some “hand-me-overs” from friends. We do the same for friends, too. They did get new sneakers and all of the school supplies they and their teachers needed. When teachers need supplies such as disinfectant wipes, dry erase markers, facial tissues, paper towels, etc., it adds up quickly. I don’t want a huge amount of feedback on this subject, but it is quite an added expense. I pack lunches for my crew, too, so food alone can get quite costly. I did take advantage of J.C. Penney’s free kids haircuts in August. Also, I buy poly folders, which last much longer than paper, I send the kids to school with reusable lunch containers versus using plastic baggies, and we’ve stockpiled plenty of pens, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, glue, etc. from previous years for homework and home use. My daughter has been known to re-cover her binders with decorative duct tape, too. To answer your question without specific amounts, let’s just say I can’t brag about how little back-to-school shopping cost me. But I am under the National Retail Federation’s annual survey average, which was $600 per child. That figure seems high to me.

photo by TRFMrHyde

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