Sometimes you buy appliances only to find that you don’t really use them. There are times they might not perform the way you expected, too. It’s great if you’re able to borrow an appliance from friends or family to test out before spending any money. The first reader tip shares another option to avoid buyer’s remorse.
TRY SECONDHAND FIRST: I’ll often scour garage sales and thrift shops for items that have caught my eye and that I suddenly think I can’t live without but am not sure will serve my needs. I figure if I can pick something up inexpensively to try out, it’s worth it. Last year, I picked up a rectangular folding campfire cooking grate for $1.50 at Goodwill; they sell new for about $14. I used it while camping a couple of weeks ago and decided I didn’t like it because the height can’t be adjusted, so I’ll be donating it. — Spiritdeer, Minn.
REMOVE BLOODSTAINS: When I had a bloody nose at school, the blood dripped all over my blouse. Our school nurse used rubbing alcohol to remove it. It worked well. — Karen D., Iowa
RECYCLE AIR CONDITIONER FILTERS: Take the paper trim off the filters, then use the filters to insulate water pipes. The wire mesh on the filter holds a lot of wrapping and the pets don’t bother it. — Frances, Texas
(Note from Sara: The filter the reader is referring to is a pleated air filter that has an attached wire mesh.)
REUSE DISH SOAP BOTTLE: I fill an empty cleaner bottle with water and use it to fill my iron. The squirt-top makes it easy to pour the water in the small hole. — Dawn, email
USES FOR FELS-NAPTHA SOAP: I love Fels-Naptha soap! I started using it as a child when I would help my mother with the wash and have used it ever since. It gets out baby stains wonderfully, and it always got out the grass stains on my son’s uniforms for baseball, soccer and football. Now I am making my own laundry detergent with it and will never use anything else. Walmart sells it pretty cheap, too. — Denise, email
SUGGESTION FOR RECIPES: Another suggestion for cookbooks is Taste of Home’s cookbooks and magazines. I go to the library and check them out; Taste of Home has recipes that use ingredients you typically have on hand. — Linda, email
To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email email@example.com.