I remember the days of trying to get dinner on the table after
working a full day, getting my kids to their sports practices
and then back home to get homework started. In my pre-
Cheapskate days, I thought the drive-thru was the only way
to go. Now I wish I had the creativity of our first great reader tip.
Fun Fast Food Alternative. When I'm scrounging for dinner,
I make it fun without heading for fast food. We have "McMommy's"
night. I make up a menu of things I know we have on hand. The kids
select from the menu and place their orders as if they were ordering at
a fast-food restaurant. My employee (Daddy) and I get the food together
and serve it to them in a paper bag. We also put a little toy in each
bag (one they have forgotten about or something I've picked up from
the dollar store). The kids really enjoy this. When they were younger,
they used to ride their little bikes around the kitchen as if it were a
drive-thru. My youngest enjoyed this so much that he asked whether
we could have "McMommy's" for his birthday party. The kids had a
blast, and it was cheap. - Kim, e-mail
Potato Salad Stretcher. I love the taste and ease of storebought
potato salad, but it can be pricey and high in calories. It's the
generous amount of mayonnaise that makes it taste so good. I still buy
potato salad at the store, but I stretch it by adding diced fresh vegetables.
I've tried radishes; green, red and yellow peppers; grated carrots; and
sliced celery. Sometimes I add hard-cooked eggs, too. - Naomi, e-mail
Electronic Dry-Out. If you ever have knocked over a drink onto
your cell phone, your iPod or another electronic device, keep this tip handy.
Get a bowl and fill it with cat box filler. Turn the device off, and stick it
into the bowl, making sure it is completely covered. Leave it overnight. By
morning, it should be dried out. I tried this, and it worked. This saved me
from having to purchase yet another new phone. - Amy, Vermont
Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can e-mail her at mary@
everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Include your fi rst and last name and state. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books, including "Debt-Proof Living" and "Tiptionary 2."