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15 Money-Saving Tricks Using Everyday Items

Everyone enjoys saving money, especially when it comes to improving your home. Check out these handy hints using everyday items.

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HH sharpening scissor blades on coffee mugFAMILY HANDYMAN

Use a Ceramic Mug as a Sharpening Stone

If you find yourself in need of sharpening a utility knife, pocket blade or scissors and don’t have access to a sharpening stone, you can simply flip over a ceramic coffee mug and use the outer edge of the bottom, the non-glazed part, as an emergency sharpening stone. This isn’t a perfect solution for continually sharpening your blades, but if you need to quickly sharpen and clean up the edge of a blade this method will do in a pinch.

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HH zip-tie sink clogFamily Handyman

Zip-Tie to the Rescue

When bathroom sinks get clogged, you don’t have to go out and buy chemicals. Instead, use a long zip tie. Cut several notches on the zip tie’s end. It’ll hook the hair clog, allowing you to pull it out.

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HH clean windshield wipers with windexFamily Handyman

See Out of Your Windshield Better

When you’re behind the wheel, nothing is more crucial than good visibility. Windshield wipers are notorious for drying out and cracking in a short time. To help prolong their life and clean them, soak a clean white rag with glass cleaner. Wipe the rag up and down the length of your wiper blades.

Use this step-by-step guide to replace your windshield wiper blades.

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HH sharpie sharpies rubbing alcoholFAMILY HANDYMAN

Bring Dead Markers Back to Life

To bring your permanent marker back to life, simply remove the back from the maker. This will be different for each brand of permanent marker; for Sharpies simply remove the back nib. Next, deposit a few drops of isopropyl rubbing alcohol onto the felt material inside. Shake the marker a bit to ensure the rubbing alcohol is absorbed. It’s the solvent that the ink is mixed with that dries out first, making the pigment unable to flow. Once the felt absorbs the rubbing alcohol for a couple of minutes, the marker will be practically good as new.

Don’t miss these 22 ways to make stuff last longer (and save money.) 

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HH zip-tie phone stand propped upFAMILY HANDYMAN

Zip-Tie Phone Stand

When referencing DIY plans or a recipe, most of us use our phones to display images or instructional videos. The only problem with this method is that our phones don’t prop themselves up, making it difficult to see the screen while working. You can make a smartphone stand out of just about anything these days, but it doesn’t get much simpler than looping zip ties around your phone (two on each side). All you have to do is tighten the zip ties until they are snug to the phone with the zip-tie heads facing down and near the edge of your phone. Now you can watch or read without having to hold it in your hands the whole time.

Here are 24 simple home hacks to save money.

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HH emergency candle lit butterFAMILY HANDYMAN

DIY Emergency Candle

Every home usually has a stick of butter and extra toilet paper lying around. And coincidentally you can make an emergency candle using just those two materials. First, cut a stick of butter in half, each half should burn for about four hours. (You may have to relight it a couple of times.) Next, cut a toilet paper square into four squares. Now fold one square diagonally and twist. Make a hole in the stick of butter to the base with a toothpick and place wick inside. Rub the top of the wick in the butter for starter fuel. Now light. You can also wrap the toilet paper wick around a toothpick so it does not fold over as the emergency candle burns. So maybe this isn’t the most practical way to add light to your home in the case of an emergency. But it will work in a pinch and it’s a fun party trick!

Use this checklist of 32 expert hacks to improve every room.

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HH DIY Ice Pack Sponge home cookFamily Handyman

How to Make Your Own Ice Pack

Ice packs are a great way to keep your lunch cool, but they’re a bit expensive if you’re in the habit of losing them. This DIY ice pack hack is reusable, so it is good for the environment.

These are the 10 indoor DIY projects you’ve been putting off for too long.

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HH Walnut fixes scratched wood

The Miracle of a Walnut!

Furniture gets beat up over time, but you don’t have to live with the unsightly scratches. In fact, you can remove years of damage with a simple snack food: walnuts. Simply rub a walnut over a scratch in wood several times. Then, with your fingers rub the scratched area. This will help the wood absorb the oil from the nut. Lastly, use a soft cloth to buff the area. Now the scratch is sealed and gone.

Does your room need a fresh coat of paint? Find out why these are the 10 colours you shouldn’t have in your home.

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finished pool noodle wrist restFAMILY HANDYMAN

Pool Noodle Wrist Rest

Keep your wrists from getting fatigued during a long day at the computer by making this pool noodle wrist rest. First mark where you want to cut the noodle. For the wrist rest shown, we made the height slightly less than half of the full noodle diameter. (You could cut the noodle exactly in half and make two equally sized wrist rests.) Use a utility knife to slice the pool noodle lengthwise at the marks; then pull the pieces apart. Clean up any areas along the cuts and then place one of the pieces flat-side-down in front of your keyboard.

Try these three carpal tunnel exercises to help with wrist pain.

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sock to clean window blindsFamily Handyman

Use Soft Socks to Clean Blinds

No need for a special tool to give your window blinds a deep cleaning, just slip a soft (and clean!) sock onto your hand. Your hand is the perfect tool for wiping over, through and under the blinds to get every nook and cranny that collects dust. Spray a bit of all-purpose cleaner onto the sock for added disinfecting umph.

Here are the 13 bad cleaning habits you didn’t realize you had.

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placing smartphone in potteryFAMILY HANDYMAN

Quick Smartphone Speaker

Use a small piece of pottery or a bowl to amplify the sound produced by your smartphone. You can create a quick speaker on your desk at work or in your living room at home by simply placing your smartphone (speaker side down) in a container made of ceramic, plastic or other hard material. The sound will bounce off the hard bottom surface and amplify it throughout the surrounding area. It’s great for watching videos without headphones or playing music when hosting a party.

Did you know that these are the eight things to never store on your smartphone?

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measure amount of cork neededFAMILY HANDYMAN

Wine Cork Wobbly Table Fix

Have a table with a wobbly leg? First, make sure that the legs are secure: tighten any loose brackets or screws or re-glue any loose joints. If that doesn’t fix the wobbles, try this solution. Using a synthetic wine bottle cork (natural cork crumbles over time), mark the amount of space between the wobbly leg and the floor. Then use a utility knife to slice off the amount of cork needed to brace the leg. Use hot-glue to adhere the piece of cork in place.

Save your wallet with these 15 money mistakes you’re probably making.

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wine box shoe storage containerFamily Handyman

Wine Box Shoe Storage

Why pay for a fancy compartment-style shoe storage container when you can just pick one up for free at almost any store that sells wine? Designed to protect fragile glass bottles, a wine box is perfect for storing footwear because it comes equipped with cardboard dividers—a place for each shoe! In addition, the exterior cardboard is very sturdy.

Here are 10 smart tips to keep your shoes stink-free.

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HH lint log fire starterFAMILY HANDYMAN

DIY Lint Fire Starter Log

To properly build a fire, you need to have tinder (easy-lighting material), kindling (finger-size sticks) and fuel (logs). We all have a readily available supply of tinder: dryer lint! To make fire starters, stuff empty toilet paper tubes with dryer lint. Dryer lint “logs” light quickly and easily burn long enough to light up the kindling. And you don’t have to resort to lighter fluid or expensive starter logs.

Watch out for these 13 items that are a fire hazard if you don’t clean them enough.

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Rice and sock heat padFAMILY HANDYMAN

Homemade Heating Pad

Next time you have a sore neck or back, don’t head to the store for an electric heating pad. Instead, fill a sock with uncooked rice, tie the end and microwave it for two or three minutes. It will conform to whatever body part that needs heat. You can even put in some fragrant herbs like cinnamon or lavender to make it smell nice.

Next, take your renovation projects to the next level with the 100 home improvement hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman