An unintended consequence of embracing a frugal lifestyle is that gnawing tendency to never throw anything away. Fight the feeling, folks. Turning into a hoarder will only create a new problem in your life.
Now, about all those useless candle stubs you're hanging on to -- its time to get them out and keep them by your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
CHEAP FIRE STARTER
Dear Mary: Save your candle stubs in a container by the fireplace. The next time you need to start a fire, light a couple of the stubs and throw them in with paper or kindling. The wax will burn for a long time and give the larger pieces of wood more time to catch fire. -- Mary Anne
ULTIMATE SALES INSERT
Dear Mary: If you often spend Sunday afternoon paging through the week's sales inserts for your favorite stores, check out SundaySaver.com. This site has handy links to weekly sales and specials for hundreds of stores like Kohls, Walmart, Old Navy, Walgreens, Home Depot and Amazon. -- Kim
Dear Mary: My grandmother taught me a long time ago to always put a piece of paper towel or napkin in my zip-type bags of vegetables. They absorb the condensation from the vegetables and keep the environment dry, which extends the vegetables' refrigerator life. I change the paper when I notice it getting too damp. -- Patti
POT OF NOODLES
Dear Mary: I was looking for some foam to fill the bottom of my large flowerpot one day and discovered I could cut up one of the large noodle swimming toys with my electric knife and place the pieces in the bottom of the pot. Now the pot is not completely filled with dirt; there's room for air to circulate at the bottom; and the pot is not so heavy. -- Lou
INSTANT GIFT BAG FILLER
Dear Mary: I take used or wrinkled gift tissue of all sizes and colors and put it through the paper shredder. I use this for filler in gift bags and fake grass in Easter candy baskets. -- Heidi
BURNT-ON FOOD REMOVAL
Dear Mary: When you burn anything in your pan while cooking, just put about a cup of water in it, return it to the burner, and then let it boil for about five minutes. The burnt food will come out with a little scrubbing. -- Gladys
Dear Mary: We needed to bring in the outside ladder inside the house for a little job. The ladder is dirty on the bottom, so I took some old socks and slipped them on the ladder's legs, securing them with a rubber band. This kept the floor clean and protected the finish. -- Davena
Dear Mary: Use a large cup hook under a cabinet to hang your bananas. It sure is cheaper than a banana hanger, and it does the job quite well! -- Yvonne
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.