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Jewish World Review Sept. 12, 2003 / 15 Elul, 5763

Everyday Cheapskate

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Consumer Reports

Readers' wisdom | This week's batch of tips discusses everything from saving cash to storing cheese.


If you get paid every two weeks, you've probably settled into living on that same amount each month. And you know that twice a year you receive a third paycheck in a month. Since you live within your means on two paychecks the other 10 months, plan to use these two "extra paychecks" to boost your savings account, fund your holiday shopping or get a jump on a college fund. -- Jeff D., Texas


I put a teaspoon of sugar into the bottom of the zip-type plastic bag that I store my cheese in. I leave the cheese in its original wrap and make sure I close the bag tightly each time I return it to the refrigerator. I've kept cheese up to 10 weeks this way without any evidence of mold. -- Kenneth C., Florida


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For those who feel squeamish about keeping partial contents of sour cream, cottage cheese, etc., upside-down, they can also be kept fresh by placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the left over portion, eliminating any air space. This works great on any leftovers. It's the air space that encourages bacteria growth. -- Carole C., e-mail


If you take medication, ask your doctor to prescribe a pill that can be split. For example, if you take 100 milligram twice a day, ask for the 200 milligram strength. You can cut it in half, reducing your monthly allotment by half. You'll be surprised to discover that for most medications there is very little difference in price, if any, between the dosage strengths. You can even buy a "pill splitter" at the pharmacy to make splitting pills simple. -- Edna M., Missouri


I have a friend who is marrying after many years of single life. Since both she and her fiance aren't in need of anything, she's asking guests to bring a potluck dish to the wedding for the reception in lieu of a gift. (There's nothing better than potluck food!) And instead of wedding cards, she's asking that we simply bring the recipe for the dish and sign the recipe card. What a great, simple and delicious change of wedding protocol. -- Kim N., Iowa


To control occasional dandruff, add one drop of peppermint oil for every 2 ounces of shampoo and shake well before using. Don't add more oil, as it will burn like fire if you add too much. The peppermint oil will give a wonderful smell and a crisp, clean feel to the hair and scalp. A bottle of the essential oil costs about $7 and lasts for years when using one drop at a time! Added to Suave or similar economy brands, this makes it the equivalent of Paul Mitchell or tea tree shampoos for just a few pennies extra a bottle. -- Debbie Z., Tennessee


Before you pay for costly overnight shipping, check the UPS normal ground delivery schedule. If you're shipping within your state or region, the regular delivery is next day. It costs about one-third the price of overnighting a package (usually under $5 for a one-pound parcel). And you get free tracking on -- Jeanne T., Florida

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Mary Hunt is the author of 12 books, including
"Debt-Proof Living,"    "Tiptionary,"   "Cheapskate Gourmet" and   "The Financially Confident Woman." Comment or ask a question by clicking here.


© 2003, NEA