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Rena Nerbas

1 Save on brown sugar by making your own. For every cup of white sugar mix in 2 tablespoons molasses (costs about 40 per cent less).

2 To keep paint from spreading onto your child’s sleeves during an art project (thereby having to buy new clothing or spend money on laundry detergent), cut the tube part off of socks and slide them onto his/her wrists.

3 When company is coming over and you need an extra bed, pull the cushions off your couch and throw a bedsheet on top of all of them. Tuck the corners of the bedsheet underneath the cushions just as you would if you were wrapping a gift. Secure the sheet to the cushions using safety pins.

4 Save money on food by planning suppers one month at a time. Be sure to factor in leftovers and days that you are likely to go out to eat. You will spend less time at the grocery store and save money because, with every shopping trip people often pick up extra food along the way. Another advantage is that you won’t need to make daily decisions about supper menus and you will probably eat out less.

5 Save dried-up highlighters and bring them back to life. Remove the plug at the end of the highlighter. Add coloured water to the inside and recap.

6 When the bristles on your shoe polish brush stick together, soak the brush in paint thinner for six to eight hours and rinse well.

7 If you need clothespins in a hurry but don’t want to purchase them, use hairclips or clip-on earrings as a replacement.

8 Make your own flypaper: Combine 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Punch a hole on one end of a strip of brown paper (from a paper bag). Tie a string through the hole. Let soak in the mixture overnight. Hang.

9 No need to spend your hard-earned money on purchasing a piggy bank. Cut a slit on the bot tom or back of an old teddy bear and use it to store cash (be sure that no one accidentally washes the teddy bear).

10 Instead of buying a pastry bag for cake decorating, use what you have. Roll a large piece of aluminum foil in the same way that you would a pastry bag (discard after each use).

11 Kids grow fast and seasons change but before getting rid of clothes that are too small, cut the sleeves off winter jackets and wear them as spring vests.

12 Don’t throw out candles that have lost their “new look.” Instead, spray furniture polish onto a cloth and wipe the wax.

13 Cold creams soften leather just as well as expensive leather-conditioning products. Rub on with your fingers and wipe off the excess. 14 When you cannot find the match to your favourite pair of earrings, wear one earring as a brooch instead.

15 For an inexpensive stain on raw wood, try tea. The stronger the tea the darker the stain. When dry, seal with a varnish.

Reena Nerbas is the author of the national bestsellers, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions,Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and the soon-to-be-released book Household Solutions 3 the Green Edition available online and in stores acrossCanada. She graduated as a home economist from the University of Manitoba and speaks professionally on the subject of fixing life’smesses by using products behind everyone’s cupboard doors. As well as being a columnist, Reena can beheard on radio and TV programs across Canada and the U. S.

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