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Storing Bulk Food ItemsShopping at the warehouse stores gives you gallon size containers which are cumbersome. The small size sport squirt top water/drink bottles are great for holding a manageable supply of oil, soy sauce or vinegar.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in a Bowl

Use Less Ingredients When BakingWhen making cookies and squares, I never find that I need as many chocolate chips or nuts as the recipe calls for. I have reduced the fat content of the sweets and have some ingredients left over for the next batch.

 

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Use Less IngredientsWhen making cookies and squares, I never find that I need as many chocolate chips or nuts that the recipe calls for. Manufacturers are trying to sell their product.

 

Are You Prepared for a Power Outage?

Are You Prepared for a Power Outage?During the winter months, storms can bring power outages. Think about what you would need if the power went out. This not only can help you feel more comfortable but can save you money

 

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Vacuuming TipsHate to keep unplugging the vacuum cleaner as you go around the house? Add an extension cord. Also, spray some perfume on a tissue, tear it up and then vacuum it up it.

 

picture of two kids with face paint

Throwing a Fish PartyHere a is a great plan for a fish party! This was in response to a readers request. Visit our tip archive for more answers to the fish party request.

 

pictures of sugar cones with ice cream

Keep a Sugar Cone from DrippingTired of your sugar cone dripping from the point at the bottom? Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips. It prevents the drips and is a tasty treat at the bottom of your cone.

 

photo fo a sign pointing to a farmer's market

Alternative Places to Shop for GroceriesHere are some ideas on alternative places to shop for your groceries, rather than the sometimes high-priced grocery store chains. Check your area to see if there are any year-round farmers' markets, and food terminals or "cash and carry" stores that usually sell to restaurants that are open to the public.

 

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Washing Clothing With StainsMachine-wash your whites in cold water, using a detergent and washing soda mixture. Hot water sets the stains, instead of removing them.

 

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Baking Soda Paste for StainsThis works great! Make a paste of soda and a little water and apply to stains on clothing. Let sit for a while and launder as usual. Not good for all stains, but apply while the stain is fresh and it disappears like magic!

 

picture of a beef pot roast

Using All the RoastI buy roast on sale and then cook it New England style, for one meal. The next day I make soup, chili or enchiladas for the next day or freezer. It gives us lunches and dinners for nearly a week that way. (not all in one week however.)

 

Photo of a hanging planter with a bird in it

Feeding Birds from a Hanging PlanterI remove the dead plants in the fall from my hanging plastic basket. I leave the soil in tact, and add seed over them. The birds love eating off my hanging basket while I watch. Sometimes 'mother' or 'father' stand guard while "family" eats away.

 

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Save Water with Every FlushFill a one liter bottle with water and place in your toilet tank. You will save a liter of water every time you flush.

 

picture of a chile eating an apple

A Use for Leftover ApplesMake applesauce from those apples that your child takes one bite out of and won't finish. I just cut out the bite, cut up the apple and put them in a pan with a little water.

 

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Saving Money in the Meat SectionWhen shopping in the meat section, I only look at the loss-leader meat featured that week, and then only that which has been marked down due to discoloration.

 

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Use Less Fabric SoftenerWhen using fabric softener in the wash, I use a fraction of the amount suggested on the packaging and add water to make up the difference. The wash comes out just as soft and nicely scented.

 

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Watch for Sales and CouponsWatch the store sales and take the time to cut your coupons. I usually save between $30-40 each trip to the grocery store. It is worth the time.

 

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Treat Your Credit Card Like Real MoneyWhenever you make a purchase using the card, deduct that amount from your checkbook register just as if you had used a check. When the credit card bill arrives, pay in full. Treat your credit card like real money!

 

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School Functions for Thrifty EntertainmentFor cheap entertainment for the family try looking for activities at your local high school or community college. Schools put on quality plays and music performances at very reasonable prices.

 

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Stretching Burrito and Enchilada MeatStretch your burrito or enchilada filling by mixing your ground beef with 50% pinto beans.

 

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Keep Bugs out of FlourUse a bay leaf in your flour canister to keep bugs out all year. I make a lot of bread and use a lot of flour. This works. The more flour the more bay leaves.

 

Free Sample Gift Basket

Collecting Items For Gift BasketsIf you participate in free and reduced price offers on the internet, save some of the items you receive for future gifts. Many free samples can be added to "theme" gift baskets that you make yourself.

 

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A Gift for a Hospital PatientFlowers are always welcomed, but sometimes you may have a person in the hospital with no relatives close by. A telephone calling card will be appreciated, since hospitals and rehabilitation centers will charge long distance calls to your hospital bill

 

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Back to School Shopping TipsWe asked our readers how they save money on their school clothes and supply shopping. Here are the answers.

 

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Photo OrnamentsI buy clear plastic balls available at craft shops. Then I look for photographs that have meaning to the person to whom you will be giving the gift.

 

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Work in a Soup Kitchen on ChristmasWorking in a Soup Kitchen for the homeless on Christmas would show our kids what giving really is. I am planning on doing this with my family this Christmas.

 

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Small Wrapped PresentA nice little gift that I received cost close to nothing but means a lot to me. It is a little wrapped present 2 x 2 x 1 inch.

 

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Fall Crafts Made from NatureIt's the season here for pine cones, acorns, walnuts, wild flowers, thistles, cattails, etc., these are all things found in nature that we can collect (for free!), then dry or preserve, and save for use in our winter crafts.

 

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Decorative Wreath Made From Puzzle PiecesMany years ago, my son made this craft at school. It looked really cute! It's a hanging holiday wreath decoration or an ornament. You can make it any size, but the one he made was about 4 inches wide.

 

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Handmade Stained Glass CardsYears ago we made cards with Elmer's glue, black construction paper, and chalk. You take black construction paper and drizzle the glue in a design on the paper.

 

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Make Your House More Energy EfficientNow that the cold months are nearly upon many of us we wanted to share some ideas about how to make your house more energy efficient.

 

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Baby Shower Sand PailThis week at a local discount drug store I found children's sand pail/shovel sets on sale for a quarter. I bought several for gift containers for anticipated showers in the near future.

 

Frozen veggies in a ziplock bag.

Save Money by Freezing VeggiesVeggies on sale? Buy a lot and freeze them. Your freezer can be your best friend when trying to save money on your food bills.

 

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Frugal Liquid Fabric SoftenerIn a recent Reader's Request (one of our other newsletters) we published a reader's request for frugal fabric softener ideas. Below is one of the responses we received.

 

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Making Gift BasketsI enjoy making gifts using baskets from thrift shops and filling it with tons of the samples I order from the internet. If the items are basically shampoo, conditioners, etc. I will line the basket with a couple of hand towels and wash cloths.

 

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Drawing Names for Christmas GiftsMy family has decided to draw names for Christmas gifts this year. My retired parents were still buying for myself and my four sisters, our husbands and 10 grandchildren.

 

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Muffin Mix Gift BasketUse a basket for this one. Put in a muffin pan, a whisk, muffin mix, mixing bowl, and pot holder. Put it in a pretty jar or seal-a-meal pouch and attach directions.

 

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More Gift IdeasHere's my idea for inexpensive holiday gifts. It saves me some money to make many of my holiday gifts this way, and people seem to like them.

 

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Photo GiftsThis gift would have been fine for Christmas or a birthday. As it happened it was for a sort of, what I call an "unbirthday" gift. Every now and then I find an item or idea for a gift that fits someone so nicely that I send it as a real surprise.

 

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Gift Wrapping Idea for Uniquely Shaped BoxesWhen wrapping shower gifts in the past, my mom always seemed to come up with an item that did not quite fit in any available box. For example, she once purchased a beautiful, unique, serving dish from a Pier 1 store, but forgot all about getting a box.

 

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Borax for Cleaning SocksTip for cleaning socks with Borax. I learned a trick when parenting newborn twins. I use either cold or warm water in the washing machine.

 

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Cleaning SocksTips for getting white socks clean. Are they white and mostly cotton? If white, wash them separately with a bit of bleach in the wash water.

 

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A Bar of Soap for SocksI've used a bar of soap to wash my children's and grandchildren's socks for years and then throw in washer.

 

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Cardboard Box for Trunk ItemsA really sturdy cardboard box kept in the trunk of your car makes a great catch-all and keeps stuff from rolling around. Make sure you choose a heavy corrugated box

 

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Activate New Credit Cards QuicklyThis is something to think about; your old card is beginning to peel and show wear so you order two new replacement cards with the same numbers ... you may have an embarrassing situation!

 

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Don't Pay Too Much for Hot ToysAvoid the temptation to go online and spend a lot of money on the hot toys your kids are clamoring for. All these toys will be available in January for their retail price.

 

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Shopping Without a PurseBe safe, don't carry a purse, use your pockets! Organize your multi-pocket jeans, and slacks.

 

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Making a Futon CoverI needed new futon covers and had a hard time justifying $600 for the ones I wanted. Instead, I bought the exact fabric I wanted on sale for half price and used the old covers for a pattern. It ended up costing only $100 for the new covers.

 

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A Shot Glass Full of KetchupWhen serving ketchup or salad dressing to my little guys, for fish sticks or vegetables, etc., I put it in shot glasses. This cuts down on them smearing it around their plates, and insisting that they don't have any more!

 

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Half-a-Month CookingAs a busy home school mom, I needed a way to have easy, quick, inexpensive meals without going out. I did not even have one day to do once a month cooking.

 

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Christmas Stars, Frames, Wreaths, and MoreGather small twigs from your yard (leave in a natural state, ones with lichen are especially attractive). Arrange these in a 5 or 6 pointed star. Hot glue where twigs join and attach a twine or string loop as a holder.

 

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Make Your Own Non-Slip Pet DishesTo keep your plastic pet food bowls from sliding all over the floor, glue some old canning jar rubber rings to the bottom of them!

 

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Recycle Greeting CardsGive the gift of love, "cards to recycle", to friends and they will definitely remember your card!

 

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Use Samples for TravelI save the samples that I get online for medicines and cosmetics. I place these in my cosmetics bag for when I go on a trip. The small size is perfect and saves me from carrying larger bottles.

 

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Pass the Kindness OnMost of us are in the habit of gift "exchanges," but if you're like me, now and then you send a gift to someone who doesn't expect one and therefore feels obligated to return a gift.

 

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Paying Attention (Gift Giving)Last year while Christmas shopping my best friend and I stumbled across a used books store. I found lots of things I wanted, and she found a couple of vintage black and white film noir movies.

 

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Christmas WrappingsDon't buy new Christmas wrapping paper if at all possible. There are lots of things you can use instead; try to recycle and reuse instead.

 

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Use Rice to Stretch MeatloafSave money on meat loaf by mixing the ground beef with 50% rice.

 

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Save Your ReceiptsIf you see an item that you may want that has a good sale price, and are not sure if you have some at home, buy it anyway because you can always return it with your sales receipt.

 

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Befriend the Butcher and the BakerIf you use a lot of bread and/or meat, it's a good idea to ask the butcher and baker what time they put out discounted items.

 

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Make Your Self Feel GoodMake it a point to say kind words!

 

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Candy Filled Canning Jar Christmas GiftsI always have canning jars around. At Christmas, I fill some with assorted Christmas colored candy; those star brite mints, gold and silver foil wrapped candies, etc.

 

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Locating Local Flower ShopsYou can find a local flower shop or florist, free, from their national directory of 50,000+ florists. This site includes phone numbers, delivery information, and more. Eliminate the middlemen, service charges, and commissions. Great for sending last minute flower orders.

 

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Reused and Recycled Christmas WrappingsMore Christmas wrapping ideas. Small gifts like gift cards, small toys, jewelry items, etc. fit inside toilet paper rolls nicely, and then you just wrap overtop of that, twist the ends of the wrapping paper, and you have a cute little "Christmas cracker."

 

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Christmas Tree TipsIf you buy a natural tree, check the ends of the needles. Rub some of the sprigs between your fingers. Cut 1 inch or so off the bottom before you put it into the stand, this will allow it to soak up more water and it will last longer.

 

Don't Wrap Santa's Gifts

Don't Wrap Santa's GiftsTo start our new tradition, Santa sent a letter to our house, telling our family that he and the elves were concerned about the waste of paper, and the trees. So, he was putting all our gifts in this special sack.

 

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Free Online Greetings Websites!Use online sites like egreetings.com to send last minute holiday wishes. It's free and is a paperless alternative to sending card by mail. What are your favorite sites to find free online greeting cards?

 

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Save Your Paper TowelsI recently read a tip from a reader who rinsed out her paper towels to see if she could use them a little more before reaching for another towel. I believe I can do her one better. I save the old towels, washcloths, dishcloths, etc. that are too thin or ragged for their original use.

 

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Dividing Up Your Ground BeefI cook up 10 pounds of ground beef at a time and then divide it up into one pound packages (our family's size). Then I freeze it.

 

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Reusing Produce TiesWhen buying produce, be sure to use the ties the store provides. These work great for tying things together, wires, food bags, etc. I can always find a use for them.

 

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Making Dinners for Busy PeopleI took 6 months off to be with my daughter who was going through cancer treatments. My friends invited me for meals. So I cooked dinners mid week for friends who were working.

 

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Switch to Cloth Rags and NapkinsUsing cloth instead of paper towels and napkins reduces the amount of paper that goes into the garbage and saves you money. If you buy dark colored cloth, they will handle stains better and look good longer.

 

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Using Old Flannel ShirtsTake off the buttons and use them on a paper bag to make it a gift bag. The buttons can outline anything from trees or flowers to a smiling face. Then take the shirt itself, cut it up, and use it to dust your furniture.

 

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Cooking From ScratchNever even finish reading a recipe that lists a "box" or "package" of anything. Be a basic cook. Learn the recipes for meat, rice, and vegetable combinations that don't rely on high salt "packaged" soup mixes for their flavor.

 

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Reusing EnvelopesI save the envelopes that come with the credit card offers I receive almost daily. I use these for paying bills that I normally drop off myself, the dentist, for example, is just right up the street.

 

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Tomatoes in a Small YardWhen I put my plants in the ground I lay them on their sides and put the dirt all the way up and over the roots and bottom leaves. Pat the dirt down good. It grows more roots and builds up the plant.

 

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Advantages of Using Solar LightsIf you are considering buying pathway or ground lights, consider buying the solar lights instead. They use no electricity and there are no cords to get in your way. They can be placed anywhere in your yard because they don't need a power source.

 

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Saving Lemons Before They Go BadIf you bought lemons in bulk and they are close to going "bad", squeeze all the juice into a bowl, remove all seeds, and pour into empty ice cube trays. Freeze and voila, when you need fresh lemon juice take the tray out and pop a cube.

 

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Make Crust from Cracker CrumbsCrush cracker package remnants and fill a jar in the freezer. Use cracker crumbs and margarine to make a quick crust for quiche, utilizing more remnants of vegetables and cheese! Any have any other quick crust ideas?

 

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Milk Jugs for Gardening and Around the YardIt will be garden time soon. So, these are mostly garden ideas.

 

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Use Saline Solution to Clean Contact LensI love the all in one solutions that clean and remove deposits on my contact lenses, but boy are they expensive! To save money I use plain saline solution to rinse my lenses after storing in the all-in-one solution.

 

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Using Laundry ScoopsScoops from laundry detergent: The ones I have are transparent green. I use them as extra measuring cups when baking.

 

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Saving Money on VeggiesVisit fruit and vegetable markets and check out their marked down bins for slightly bruised and immediate use items at discount prices!

 

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Cleaning With Baking SodaBaking soda can clean just about anything around the house. It's great for the bathroom and kitchen and it's a lot less abrasive than commercial cleaning products. It's also nontoxic, enough so that it's found in many brands of tooth paste.

 

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Newspaper MulchFall and winter is the perfect time to prepare a space for a garden next spring. Put down a few layers of newspaper over the spot you want to use. This will keep the weeds down and rot any sod underneath. The newspaper will work as a weed barrier and will decompose to make soil.

 

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Have Tea Bags on the GoKeep a small baggy of teas handy when you go out and make sure to bring a travel mug. That way you can always make a cup of tea. Hot water is almost always free!

 

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Save the Motor in Your Garbage DisposalWhen you are running your garbage disposal, don't use hot water. The only thing cooling down the motor is the water going down the drain. By using cold water you reduce the amount of wear on the motor and increase the life expectancy of your garbage disposal.

 

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Why Do Some Brands Cost More?When staring at the numerous different brands of products and their prices on shelves at the supermarket, you have to ask yourself: Is one product really better than another? The truth is, in many cases, you are paying for advertising and packaging.

 

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Energy Conservation IdeasCalifornia's power problems continue to escalate and Oregon and Washington are starting to feel a crunch as well. Today we have some conservation tips from various places and we welcome your ideas as well.

 

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Reuse Plastic Bags from UPSSave those large plastic bags that are delivered to you when you order from UPS delivery service. They are great for lining the outside garbage can.

 

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Drinks and Ice, Cheap and Ready to GoI buy canned drinks when the grocery stores are having a really good sale, and I put them away for when we go on trips or rides. I also bag my own ice. Every time my ice bin gets full I put it in a large freezer bag and put it in the freezer.

 

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Shop at Local Farmer's MarketAll the tasty, fresh, summer fruits and vegetables are available now at your local farmers' markets. I think it's a great idea for us to shop at these markets and support our local farmers.

 

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Conserving Energy with your Electric RangeHere are some tips to help limit the amount of electricity you use cooking and baking: Avoid defrosting food in your microwave, plan ahead and defrost food the old fashioned way. Use your microwave instead of your conventional oven when possible, it uses less electricity.

 

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Washing Windows for LessWhen washing your windows mix equal parts vinegar and water to use as a cleaner and then use newspaper to dry. Cuts dirt on glass much easier and doesn't leave streak marks. Works inside or outside.

 

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Start a Coupon Swap at the LibraryAsk at the local library if you can start a coupon exchange. Coupons are kept in subject envelopes. When you bring yours in, underline or highlight the expiration date. Once a month try to go through all the envelopes and discard the expired coupons.

 

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Car Repair TipsThe best time to locate and check out a repair shop is when you don't need one! Don't wait until you have a serious problem and are in a panic, that can make you a prime candidate for making a costly mistake.

 

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