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clips1.gif (11091 bytes)Office Supply Ornament Hooks
Christmas ornament hooks are THE perfect example of how people fritter their money away!  At holiday time these money vampires are on sale for about one dollar to .79 cents. As if the price gouging isn't enough, manufacturers are using cheaper smaller gauge wire these days that just doesn't seem to work good at all.  After a week, ornaments fall from the tree!   At an office tree trimming party we clips2.gif (12870 bytes)discovered the perfect solution... paperclips.   Simply bend the clips in the middle and you'll find the perfect size twist for the ornament and the tree. Stronger then commercially available clips, these clip-hooks hold ornaments better than anything I've ever used.  Traditionalists can use the standard chrome color clips, but extravagant tightwads might try the gold or multi-colored clips.   Vinyl coated paper clips give added protection from electrical shock when used with a string of lights too.  Give your boss the Grinch test and ask if he'll let you take a box of clips home, then your expense is zilch!  (Maybe he'll think your doing paper work at home!)  MORAL: Christmas dollar$ saved... are Christmas Dollar$ earned!

wrapping.gif (17759 bytes)Christmas Wrap in a Zap
Christmas wrap can be a pain when you just need a small amount of wrapping paper. Here's a way to organize smaller amounts of paper.  Next time you finish a roll of aluminum foil, plastic wrap or waxed paper, save the container and use it for wrapping paper.  Size and cut a roll of wrapping paper to fit the old foil container and now you have a handy cutting dispenser for wrapping smaller gifts. Remember also, if you're hard-up for fancy wrapping paper, you can always use aluminum foil. It's expensive, but really good in an emergency.  Wait to purchase wrapping paper after Christmas on mark-down sales and buy generic paper that can be used for any seasonal occasion, such as birthdays, weddings, and baby showers. Tip courtesy: lovemybird@aol.com


sockbnk5.gif (13460 bytes)Sock-It-To-You Savings Bank
Here's an easy project that teaches the value of spare change.   Grab an old sock that you've repaired for any holes.  Get a lid from a can of juice concentrate, a large paperclip and a nylon rope or old broken nylon shoelace. Using a permanent marker draw a 1+3/4 inch capitol "I" in the center of the lid and place a small inverted capitol "T" at the center top to the right of the "I". Next place the lid on an unopened Sunday paper resting on a sturdy work bench. Using a sharp utility knife, CAREFULLY cut into the "I" pattern using a scissor motion with the knife.  If you slip, you may cut yourself, so protect the area with thick paper and wear protective gloves.  Next punch-cut the marked small "T".  Using a pair of pliers, fold back the sharp metal tabs of the "I" to form a rectangular opening. sockbnk3.gif (44665 bytes)Next take the large paperclip and cut it at one end so you can form a small ring when one of the ends is twisted together.  Insert the half-clip into the "T" cutout and twist the clip to form a ring. Next get an 8" length of nylon shoelace and melt the ends together. Do this by starting both ends on fire and putting them together.  Do this in a safe location and put both ends together on a cold smooth surface such as a metal vice, porcelain basin or a smooth cement floor.  Don't touch the sockbnk4.gif (21553 bytes)burning nylon or you'll seriously burn your fingers.  When cool, the shoelace should be solidly connected into a circle. Now take the socksockbnk2.gif (28342 bytes) and feed about four inches through the lid's rectangle "mouth".  Now fold the sock over the outside of the lid and push the nice end of the paperclip ring through the sock material.  Loop the shoelace circle into the paperclip so as to form a rope holder for the whole sock to hang on a door or dresser knob. Lay out the whole sock and draw by making a small line of glue.  Spell out a name or title such as "Bob's Bank,"  Vacation Fund" or "Fast-food Fund" on the outside of the "sock bank."  Quickly sprinkle glitter over the glue and let the glue set.  Brush off the excess glitter and save it for later.  Now all you need to do is add some spare change!

juice2.gif (17787 bytes)Juice Out Concentrated Savings
Canabalize Concentrate Cans!
Concentrate juice lids should never be chucked away. After pulling the plastic strips, removing the metal lids, and cleaning the juice tops, you can store them for later use. Uses for the specially coated metal lids include coasters for glasses, carpet coasters for table legs, work bench holders for small parts, soldering iron drip plates, or temporary cigarette ashtrays.
cig1.gif (10987 bytes)Tightwad Ashtrays:  You may not appreciate guests arriving with cigarettes in hand, but when they do, bring out your tightwad cigarette ashtrays. Sturdy coated metal lids from frozen concentrate juice cans have a cool silver art deco look. By adding thick felt adhesive to the bottom of the lids you can be sure to protect any surface.
Tightwad Drink Coasters:  Excellent drink coasters can be obtained for free by removing the coated metal lids from frozen concentrate juice tops and storing them until you get a full set. 
coaster1.gif (17488 bytes)Tightwad Carpet Coasters:  Dressers and tables can put hundreds of pounds of crushing damage to your finest carpets or parket wood flooring. The answer to this problem comes in the form of tightwad carpet coasters made of rust free coated metal lids found on frozen concentrate juice tops. The metal lids are sturdy, and have a cool silver art decco look. Felt adhesive can also be added to bottoms of the lids if desired.   - R.James
Save shredded material in supermarket plastic bags for use later.Shred the Savings into Gifts!
Shred your way through junk mail, old bags, newspapers, messy papers and torn envelopes.  Then make yourself gift basket stuffing, packing material, animal bedding and biodegradable back yard mulch. Low cost shredders are available everywhere and some cost less than $20. (See officedepot.com officemax.com or staples.com) Shredded paper is perfect for inexpensive gift baskets. Shred surplus colored paper, brown bags, or color comic papers for different effects. Shred into a small container to help make the paper fold into tight creases, a neat effect. Don’t just stop with gift baskets. shred2.gif (17705 bytes)Use shredding with unexpected care package packing for family, friends, or lonely college students. As a craft supply, shredded paper can be used as paper mache. Make a simple paste from equal parts of flour and water. Saturate the paper strips, and cover molds such as as plastic liter bottles, or inflated balloons. Make Piñatas or little animals. Make eyes with buttons or ping-pong ball halves, legs with golf pencils, golf tees, or folded cardboard. Decorate with acrylic or poster paint. Be creative and shred away!  For pet cages, it's the perfect absorbent base.  Sold for in gallon sized amounts by pet stores for $10.00, shredded newspaper or paper bags are perfect for dust free animal bedding. A light spray of a fragrant oil such as cinnamon, peppermint, clove, vanilla, or eucalyptus oils can help to keep the animal smells at bay. Remember:  Junk mail doesn’t have to be a waste, it can be a supply.
woodcar1.gif (10505 bytes)Simple Toys: Timeless Treasures!
In a world of plastic predominence, sometimes simpler is better. Why spend a bundle on electronic gismos that always eventually break down and use gobs of batteries.   Local art fairs have a great selection of hand crafted wooden toys that kids really love.  Here's a wooden toy car that uses a rubber band to wrap around a small dowel stuck on it's axel.  As the car is pulled back, the rubber band wraps around the axel and the wheels are ready to roll.  After the car is done spinning, the band snaps to another dowel, ready to be wound again.  Kids learn valuable lessons about how energy is transfurred, and the wooden toy is safe from toxics.  Another exciting action toy that kids adore, is the classic wooden top. Pull a string and watch it spin. Let two spin together and see whose is left standing.  These simple toys have fewer parts to break and last much longer then the usual parade of plastic parts.  With very little effort and TLC you could make these toys yourself and save money.  So next time you enjoy your FREE local art festival, see if you can't find a hand crafted work of wooden art instead of play plastic pressed-out polymer problems.
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