Monday, May 31, 2010

Gross Me Out The Door!

Dear Cheapskate,

What's Crackalackin'?

Did you collect Garbage Pail Kids cards in the 80's while listening to Cyndi Lauper sing "She Bop" and teasing your hair? Did you think, "Damn Skippy, these cards are awesome! Snot and puke are hilarious! Hahahahaha!" Did you clutch your stomach and double over laughing? If so, you're reading the right blog post.

Cheapskate, if you are delicate, like I am, please read no further. If you must read on, I beg you, please, please, have your smelling salts ready. Consider having a physician stand by. I don't want the shock to fell you. I don't want you to wig-out.

I have discovered or invented several wonderful but grodie ways to save a ton of money. I'm not saying I do these things myself. Maybe I do and maybe I don't. Maybe I just know someone who does. Maybe these things are done only in novels written for children. Who knows?

Toilet Paper.
Use one square. Are you a 25-squares-at-a-time yanker? Your toilet paper will last 25 times longer by using only one square per episode!
$100 per year with '25 squares' method
$4 per year with '1 square' method
Savings: $96 per year

Dental Floss.
Use the same piece of floss over and over and over until it breaks. Don't use it a mere once then toss it. A decent piece of dental floss is good for at least ten flosses!
$60 per year with 'disposable floss' method
$6 per year with 'reusable floss' method
Savings: $54 per year

Chewing Gum.
It's reusable. It loses it's flavor after ten seconds of chewing anyway so why not start with a tasteless piece for free? Stick your chewed gum on the bed post for safe keeping then pluck it off when you're ready for a chew! One piece of gum will last for days!
$50 per year with 'disposable gum' method
$5 per year with 'reusable gum' method
Savings: $45 per year

Cheapskate, I know! These ideas totally wail!!

Do you know any other disgusting yet brilliant ways to save money? Gag me with a spoon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

For What Ails You

Dear Cheapskate,

Once in a while, I ail. I ail and when I ail I'll do anything to make it stop. If I'm not prepared for an ailment before it strikes, I could, in a fit of misery, do the unthinkable: spend money!  On September 26th, 2009 I spent money on a pepto bismol-like substance that wasn't even on sale! Cheapskate, I hope that nothing ails you and that you feel healthy and happy.

But just in case, be sure to have the following in your medicine cabinet:

Petrolium Jelly
Baking Soda
Corn Starch
Hydrogen peroxide
Super Glue
Duct Tape

No need for pricey anti-fungals, anti-histamines, or anti-aliasing. Over the many, many, years of my very long life I have gleaned the following home remedies and old wives tales:

Ithcy Feet a.k.a. Athlete's Foot
Soak your feet in salt water and/or rub them with hydrogen peroxide.

Bee Sting
Plop a paste of baking soda and water onto the bee sting.

Poison Oak (I hope I never get this again, ever)
Immediately wash skin with soap. Plop a paste of baking soda and water, or cornstarch and water, onto the rash.

Put petrolium jelly up your butt.

Diaper Rash
Put corn starch on your butt.

Runny Nose
Don't eat milk products.
Boil water and breathe the steam.

Chapped Lips
Put petrolium jelly on your lips.

Drink a little baking soda mixed with water.

Eat soda crackers a.k.a. saltines. Drink gingerale. Don't eat fruits or vegetables.

Superglue your skin together.

Sore Throat
Gargle with salt water.

Eat a spoonful of lemon juice and honey.

Burns (minor)
Immediately run cold water over the burn.

Morning Sickness
Eat soda crackers or carrots.

Put duct tape on your wart.

Just snap out of it! (This actually works sometimes, bion.)

Eat raw fruit. Eat prunes.

Do you know some other home remedies? Do they work? Please comment!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dishwasher Detergent And Your Dishwasher: A Fascinating Study

Dear Cheapskate,

Do you wish, every time you pour dishwasher detergent into the little indentation in the door of the dishwasher, that you didn't have to shell out for dishwasher detergent? I do.

So I tried some things.

I washed the dishes au naturel, in water only, with no soap. The dishes were still greasy.

I used a substitute: One drop of liquid soap and two tablespoons of baking soda. This worked ok! I would save oodles of money! I'd buy baking soda in bulk and save even more!!

I did some second grade math.
Baking soda in bulk is 89 cents a pound.
Sun (aka "brand X") detergent is $3 for 4.75 pounds at Walgreens, that's 63 cents per pound!! Cheaper, even, than the clever baking soda substitute!!
Safeway brand is $3.49 for 4.68 pounds, or 75 cents per pound.
Cascade is, like, $6 for 4.69 pounds, or over $1.25 per pound - don't even look at the Cascade, not even on sale. You're paying for the advertising.

Conclusion: Sun is the cheapest dishwasher detergent, even cheaper than home-made.

Cheapskate, I know what you're thinking.
Does one use the same amount of baking soda as dishwasher detergent?
Are baking soda and dishwasher detergent the same weight per volume?

I wondered, too.
I washed the dishes using a mere two tablespoons of detergent. The dishes were perfect! (If "perfect" means "mostly clean but you still have to wipe off some crud, as usual".)
I weighed 1/4 cup of baking soda. It was exactly 2 ounces.
I weighed 1/4 cup of dishwasher detergent, expecting it to weigh more, but no, it was also exactly 2 ounces!! The baking soda and dishwasher detergent are the same weight per volume! The diswasher detergent is cheaper than baking soda!!

Tip: Buy brand X dishwashing detergent, preferably on sale.
Tip: Use only two tablespoons (or less) of dishwashing detergent. Do not fill up the whole cup. The box of detergent will last twice as long if you fill the cup only half way!
Tip: Make sure the dishwasher is crammed full before running it. We have a saying in my house, regarding dishes in the dishwasher: "You can always add one more."
Tip: Do not substitute dishwasher detergent for baking soda in your cakes and cookies.

Water, Energy.
Cheapskate, you think too much. You always have just one more question, don't you? Put your hand down - this isn't school; this is a blog. Does the dishwasher use more water than washing dishes by hand? Is saving a few pence on soap cancelled out by the cost of running the dishwasher? Here are the facts (I got this info online so it must be true):
The dishwasher uses less water than washing by hand!!

Here's a great article about dishwasher usage: Does Using a Dishwasher Actually Decrease Water Use?

Whew! Now I don't feel guilty about using the dishwasher!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sleep, Sleep, You Are Getting Sleeepy...

Dear Cheapskate,

I am so sorry to hear about your insomnia. Are worries about a spendthrift mistake keeping you awake? Did you blow half of your daily $5 budget on a lousy, useless piece of cheese cloth with weave so large the yogurt seeped right though and you wish you had your money back? That's $2.50 gone!  No wonder you can't sleep.

Cheapskate, I've had my share of insomnia and I have ways to beat it. Free! No need to spend money on sleeping pill presciptions, dream doctors, teas guaranteed to ease you into a gentle slumber, aromatherapy, a Chillow (mighty tempting - it's a chill pillow?) or a sheet of magnets to place under you mattress.

Cheapskate's cure for insomnia.

1) No caffeine.
None. Seriously. Not even in the morning. Not even chocolate. Not even if you're one of those people who say, "Caffeine doesn't affect me."

2) Exercise.
Hard aerobic exercise. Ride your bike up and down steep hills. Run stadium stairs. If you already exercise a lot, do that plus something else. Make it hurt.

3) No naps.
Not cat naps, no chair naps. Even a short nap will screw up your sleep.

4) Bed is for sleep only.
Don't do anything in bed except sleep. No reading, no eating crackers (goes without saying), no jumping, no watching movies on your laptop, no singing. If you can't fall asleep, get out of bed. Teach your  body that bed is for sleeping and you won't tolerate anything but.
Cheapskate, I know what you're thinking. And yes, there is another activity that you can do in bed and yes, that activity will help you to sleep. Go for it.

5) Regular sleep schedule.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. If you go to bed early or sleep in, you'll have sleep trouble again! Even if you didn't fall asleep until 3 in the morning, get up at 7 anyway. Get your internal clock working.

6) No drinking after 6pm.
I don't mean alcohol. (Never drink any alcohol.) I'm talking about liquid, like water, coconut milk,,, Do you want to fall into a delicious slumber only to be jolted awake by a call from your bladder? No, I didn't think so.

7) Temperature.
Open the window, close the window, add blankets, remove blankets. Whatever works.

8) Comfy bed.
If you don't have a comfy bed, get one free on craigslist or freecycle. Rig one up! I pile up blankets under my sheets for extra softness.

9) Reduce stress.
I know, easier said than done. Don't watch a scary movie or call your enemies just before bed. If you can never sleep the night before a bike race, quit bike racing!

10) Pep talk.
Say to yourself, "It doesn't matter if you don't sleep, you'll function just fine tomorrow! Don't worry about falling asleep!"
You know you're totally lying but you fall for it anyway! You sucker.

This is what I do for insomnia, for free!!

What do you do for insomnia?