On the Cheap is on vacation for a couple of weeks, but rather than leave readers high and dry during that time, here are some recycled tips on how to economize from our readers. Most recommended savings come in using less of everyday items, substitutions, and "recycling" products by putting them to a second ---- often unrelated and creative ---- use.
Thanks to all who've contributed to date and shared their ideas for the benefit of others ---- keep up the good work and keep sending in tips, whether yours, a relative's or friend's. (And if you don't want your name attached, that's OK too.)
Save on water and bills: With all the rain we've had this year, water is at less of a premium than usual, but it's still a great idea to save on its use and cost.Sam Pollard and his wife fill a bucket in the bathtub as they wait for the hot water to reach the bathroom from the other side of the house. They use the bucket water, which would otherwise be wasted, to flush the toilet. "The real savings is the fact that we are conserving water," he wrote. They hope to simultaneously reduce their bills from Newport News Waterworks and Hampton Roads Sanitation District, HRSD.
Even a little bit helps, suggests Elizabeth Bocka of Hampton. She let us know that at this time of year she uses the water from her dog's water dish to water her porch plants: "That way the dog gets fresh water and the old water doesn't get wasted," she wrote.
Laundry lessons: "I have always torn the dryer conditioner sheets in half and used only one half in a dryer load. That does the trick for half the price," advised Sharon Whitley of Hampton. She also uses cold water in her wash unless an item needs sanitizing. Another reader noted that you can use those same dryer sheets several times before they lose their effectiveness. And Jen Park of Newport News went one better and suggested saving the used dryer sheets for dusting. "The fibers pick up the dust nicely, especially off electronic items," she wrote.
Then there's DebbiSu Cassady, who uses white vinegar in the rinse of her clothes washer. It also softens clothes and makes your towels and dish cloths absorbent, she advises. That gives it a leg up over fabric softeners, which also have associated perfumes ---- "even the ones that say fragrance-free, always have some perfume in them," she notes. Depending on the size of your washing machine, she recommends using from 1/4-1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle.
NEWS TO USE
How cheap - or thrifty - can you be? On the Cheap welcomes readers' tips on how to stretch a dollar. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Prue Salasky, Daily Press, 7505 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23607.
* To find other tips, go to www.twitter.com and follow onthecheap or join in the conversation at HRTownSquare forum, www.dailypress.com/talkcheap. For previous columns, go to dailypress.com click on the "family" tab and "on the cheap"