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T-Wad last updated 04/18/01

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- TIGHTWAD TIPS # 9 -

HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS TIPS

Coke Can Pull Top Hanger Savings (~$0.20/mo)

Picture Perfect Pull-Top Hanger Hook.
Not every picture frame comes with a hanger hook. Here's a picture perfect way to put a pull-top to good use.  Many low weight picture frames can use the detached pull tab as a hanger.  First, obtain an empty aluminum cola can and a small picture nail. A thumb tack might work with a very light frame, but a small nail is recommended.  Take the can and work the pull tab off the top by pulling it up and side to side.  Work the tab back and forth with upward pressure, until it pulls off.  Dispose of the can into the recycle trash for your aluminum refund. Next take the small nail and use the pull tab attachment hole as the guide for the nail.  Place the hanger low enough on the back of the frame to be hidden and to allow for the nail or tack to be firmly attached.  There you have it! You've saved about $2.00 worth of supplies from your local hardware store. 

HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS TIPS

Plastic Storage Container Savings (~$5.00/mo)

Tougher-ware Tubs 
P
lastic storage containers can cost a pretty penny.  So why do you throw them away, when you get them for FREE?  Many of the plastic containers that originally stored foods such as yogurt, ice cream, whipped margarine, or other foods, are perfect containers for air tight food savings.  In many cases, I have even found that these particular containers are BETTER then commercially available brand named storage containers. Masking tape and a black permanent marker serve to label the items for future identification. Or better yet, I use various colored grease pencils for marking and dating the containers.  I found a four pack of pencils in a local warehouse depot store for three bucks.  Grease pencil marks will stay on containers, while tape has a tendency to fall off if placed in the freezer for too long.  We use several margarine containers to repackage margarine that we buy in bulk from Costco warehouse store.  Yogurt containers do a great job with small left-overs. These containers save on worries too, if you loan out the container and it never comes back.

GARDEN SAVINGS TIPS

 Garden Alignment Strips (~$0.55/mo)

tires1.GIF (9046 bytes)Wheel of Fortune:  Bicycle Tire Savings
B

 

Better yet, get room temperature sticks of butter and/or margarine and whip them in your blender with several cups of water.  The resultant "easy spread" will be doubled in volume, melt faster, and spread easier on toast.  The higher volume of water means a savings in caleries and cost.

icycling is an environmentally friendly and inexpensive way to travel around town.  When you add up the aerobic health benefits and cost savings on gym fees, you'll find that biking is the perfect way to go.  With biking, however, there is one minor expense that seems to deflate the joy of serene cycling; the flat tire follies.  Many of my worries were solved after I purchased a thorn puller attachment for my tires, but I have had my wealth of flat tires. Once a tire or an inner tube becomes too old, I retire these treasures into the garden.  An inner tube with a dozen patches is still excellent for use in aligning and training trees.  Simply wrap a cut tube around the young tree trunk in a figure eight with the other end around a stake to guide the wayward tree. Apply pressure and tie off.  For small jobs, cut the inner tube in lengthy strips and use as garden ties.  The rubber inner tube strips are plant friendly, stretch with the wind, and won't carve into the plant. For tough jobs I use cut bike tires. They're reinforced with metal and material and will last a long time.  I even saw one gardener using strips of cut bicycle tires as a garden gate hinge.  With this rubber material, the possibilities are endless, so go ahead and tire yourself thinking of ways to re-use and recycle.

HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS TIPS

Rejuvenated Tape & Food Items  (~.50/mo)

tape1.GIF (14667 bytes)Microwave Savings Unmasked
It's amazing what a microwave oven can do to rejuvenate foods and various items.  A short zap will rejuvenate a roll of old masking tape and make it stick again.  A short zap   will make a lemon give more juice when squeezed.  A little zap will refresh stale muffins and bread items. Microwave ovens work by heating items from inside out.   Many times items that appear to have no moisture at all can be made to live again by just using from 10 to 30 seconds in most 600 to 1000 watt microwave ovens.
HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS TIPS

Tip Savings (4x/mo @$60/meal. ~$16.00/mo)

2dollar1.gif (9081 bytes)To Tip or Not to Tip: That is the Question.
Once upon a time, tips were intended as rewards for excellent service.  More often then not, however, tips are given from feelings of guilt or a desire to impress others, hardly an honest reason to spend money.  The standard service tip today is between fifteen and twenty percent, which can increase a bill quickly.  When it comes to tips, many people have strong feelings.  If you've ever made friends with a struggling waiter or waitress, then you probably feel a unique obligation to tip generously.  Perhaps you live in an area of the world where it's simply not done.  Maybe you feel pressure to tip generously when you dine with others.  Donating a financial gratuity beyond the required price of a service is an individual choice.  Whenever you give a gift, it should be considered on a case by case basis, and before you tip, you should examine your motivations.  If you give tips out of a sense of fairness to service workers, then perhaps you should be giving tips to fast food workers, after all most of them are financially ignored and can use the money better then anyone else. If you tip a worker at a place where you dine routinely, then you may want to motivate the workers for your next appearance.  Quite honestly, tipping after a meal, does nothing to improve service and really can only be considered a reward for good service or as a show for others.  If you dine with others and you are obvious about your frugality, you may make them feel uncomfortable.  In such a situation, your tip can be confidential if you pay the bill.  Tipping is very useful in some circumstances, but usually more effective before the service and not after.  If you must have someone park your car, tipping someone before service, makes more sense then after. 

2dollar1.gif (9081 bytes)Unusual Money: Motivation 4 Less
The most creative way to reduce the cost of tipping is to tip with unusual money.  In my case, I went to the bank and got a stack of two dollar bills, which are not circulated anymore, but are legal currency and still available. I used to use Susan B. Anthony dollar coins, but these are too easily confused with quarter dollar coins.  Two dollar bills have enabled me to give much less in tips, while better motivating workers.  Many people collect these bills and see them as a sign of good luck to receive them.  In addition, if you are concerned about appearances, friends or associates that may be watching will be impressed instead of disappointed. 

2dollar1.gif (9081 bytes)Motivation: Not Employee Enrichment
If tips are for motivation, then motivation is what you are giving, not employee enrichment, since that is clearly the duty of the employer.  Are customers supposed to fund the payroll for someone else's employees? Just who is the tightwad here?   With that thought in mind, I believe that motivation should be your focus, not tossing around free money.  Using the two dollar bill motivators, I use three bills ($6.00) when I have a bill that traditionally calls for an eight dollar tip.  When a situation calls for a five or six dollar traditional tip, I give two bills ($4.00), thus saving a percentage in actual money while getting a higher motivation value.  My results have always been very well received. In some cases, you would think I left a twenty dollar bill!  The two dollar tips are always appreciated and usually saved as keepsakes. (I give fresh bills)  Using this technique, I motivate employees, reward good service, calm those watching, and appropriately save finances.  Of course, if you really want save money, why are you eating out!
 TIGHTWADS TELL ALL

Gotta tip?   Sure... We'll take real juicy stock tips... But how about an original tip on saving money?  If needed, we'll edit your tip for space and clarity, and you'll get the published credit!  Join the world of frugality and send us your tightwad tip.  mailto:editor@tightwad.com

 

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