Readers' Tips


Repurposed Entertainment Centers

Last Christmas, we got a TV that was too big for our family room entertainment center. Instead of giving it away or trashing it, I turned the entertainment center into a kitchen for my daughter. She loved it! Since I like repurposing things, I've found other free entertainment centers on the social lists. I've already turned three into kid's play stations. One became another kitchen. Another became a hair salon and the third became a workbench with hangers and storage for tools. I sold them for $50 each! I'll probably make a few more this year.
Cory

Additional TDS Resource: More on repurposing an entertainment center

No Cost Exercise Program

Instead of paying to join a gym, I'm going to commit to doing physical chores around the house this year. The four hours a week I used to spend waiting for machines and doing reps can be used to rake leaves, trim trees, and garden. I'll save the cost of the gym and maybe even have some fresh veggies in the deal.
Annie

Additional TDS Resource: Homemade meal replacement shakes

Better Ground Turkey

I like to cook with ground turkey for health reasons, but subbing it for ground beef can make for tasteless meals. I've learned to work in some spices the night before I cook the ground turkey. For instance, if I'm making chili or tacos, I add some garlic, onion, and pepper. If I'm doing spaghetti, I add some Italian spices. I could add the same spices when I cook, but it doesn't seem to have the same effect.
Tyler

Overwhelming Medical Bills

If you have a big hospital bill, ask them about a payment plan. Most will gladly have you pay monthly instead of walking away from the debt. If you pay it off as agreed, you'll protect your credit score, too.
A

Additional TDS Resource: How to negotiate a lower hospital bill

Resolution Assistance

If you have trouble keeping your resolutions, try having very specific goals. For example, instead of having a goal of getting in shape, you should have a goal of losing two pounds each month this year. Another goal may be to add $100 to a credit card payment each month. Not only is it easier to measure if you're reaching your goal, but also having a specific target helps you to plan what you'll need to do to reach it. When you achieve your target each month, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
Matthew

Additional TDS Resource: Setting monetary goals

Losing Heat and Money This Winter

Although icicles may look pretty hanging from your house after a big snowstorm, they are indicators of substantial heat loss! They show the places where escaping heat has melted the snow causing it to drip and freeze. Take note of where they are on your home, and check the areas out to see if extra insulation is needed. It's amazing to see just how many homes have them.
M.

Clearing Out Closets

When the new season comes (be it summer's short-sleeved items or fall's long-sleeved items), I hang all the items with the hangers facing backwards. When I wear and wash the item, I return it to the closet facing the proper way. At the end of the season, it's easy to tell which of the items I never wore, and those are the ones I donate for someone else to enjoy.
Suzie

Clean and Easy Storage

I recently discovered a time-saving item. We have a large family and I have accumulated banquet-sized tables to seat everyone at our family events. Yesterday, as I was moving the tables back into our shop, I suddenly thought of using the large Christmas tree disposal bags to put the tables in to keep them clean and dust free until the next party. I purchased them at 59 cents each at Home Depot in the Christmas clearance aisle. They will also be used to cover my stacked chairs.
A

Easier Pulled Pork

I do pulled pork every year for our annual BBQ, and this year, instead of a Boston Butt, my husband grabbed seven rib pork roasts. I stuck them in the slow cooker on low for about 10 hours with about a cup of water on the bottom and they shredded to pieces easier than any before. I didn't have to contend with bones, fatty gristle, or waste. Also, everyone raved about the pork this year (they do every year, but especially this year).
Lisa via Facebook

editor's comment: You may want to add some liquid smoke to the water. It's not the same as if it's cooked slowly in a wood fire smoker, but it sure is a lot easier and so, so tasty!

Cleaning Out a Washing Machine

I've found that laundry soap builds up in my washer. I tried using less laundry soap with each wash, but that wasn't enough. About every six months, I now do a few loads of laundry using baking soda as my detergent. It does a great job of not only cleaning out my washing machine, but also removing a bunch of soap from towels or whatever I'm washing.
Allyson

Additional TDS Resource: Homemade laundry detergent


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