photo by bcmom
dryer

I'll admit, I haven't tried reusing dryer lint, so the first tip is on my must-try list. I hope there's a new frugal tip for you, too.

DRYER-LINT FIRE STARTER: I stuff my dryer lint into an empty toilet-paper cardboard tube. I melt my leftover candle wax and pour it into both ends to cover where the lint is exposed. I let it harden and then use it whenever I start a fire in my fireplace or when camping. -- Debbie, e-mail
Note from Sara: Store them in a plastic ice-cream tub.

STRETCH YOUR FOOD: When preparing boxed foods, add a few of your own basics. With boxed rice, add a little extra rice or your own vegetables. If you buy boxed macaroni dinners, add more elbow noodles. It tastes a little more homemade, too. -- Lori, Illinois


SLICE MEATS: Instead of investing in a meat slicer, I just go to the deli counter and ask the ladies there to slice the whole hams I buy. They always do! -- Lori, Oregon
Note from Sara: This is a great idea, but in some cases, meat is cheaper when bought at places where there isn't a slicer available. So buying a slicer can be money well spent.

USE UP LEFTOVER CONDITIONER: Make detangler spray from a couple of tablespoons of conditioner and water. I made up two large spray-pump bottles for my granddaughters tonight, and they worked beautifully! You don't have to rinse it out. It's a way for me to use up free samples and the last bit in a conditioner bottle, too. -- Kathi, California

DRESSING SPRITZER: I make my own oil and salad spritzers from spray-pump bottles. I use them to grease pans and to lightly spray meats, vegetables and salads. -- Leigh, e-mail

REUSE COFFEE GROUNDS: Keep a can of them to remove the smell of food like garlic and onions from your hands. Just rub your hands with coffee grounds and rinse. -- Crystal, e-mail

PORTION CONTROL: If you don't make your own salad dressings, buy the dressing bottles with squirt tops, or pour your dressing into squirt bottles so you're not pouring more than you really need. You can reuse condiment squeeze bottles (like mustard) to help kids decorate cakes, cookies and cupcakes. -- Tammy, e-mail

USE LEFTOVER HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE:
Add them to your brownies. Put paper liners in a muffin tin, add a spoonful of brownie mix to each cup, then a chocolate piece to each and finally another spoonful of brownie mix. Bake according to your normal directions. -- Kristy, New Hampshire

MASH UP: When baking peanut-butter cookies, instead of using a fork to make a crisscross pattern, use a potato masher or cookie stamp for a quick and consistent design. I use my masher when making meatloaf, too. --Tina R., Florida