14 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 mug

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 clog
Family Handyman

Zip-Tie to the Rescue

When bathroom sinks get clogged, you don’t have to go out and buy harsh 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.

Check out more dollar store solutions for life’s little dilemmas.

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HH clean windshield wipers with windex
Family 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.

Are your wipers beyond saving? Use this step-by-step guide to replace your windshield wiper blades.

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HH sharpie sharpies rubbing alcohol

Bring Dead Markers Back to Life

To bring your permanent marker back to life, simply remove the back from the marker. (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.

Find out more genius uses for rubbing alcohol all around the house.

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HH zip-tie phone stand propped up

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.

These simple home hacks could save you $500 a year!

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HH DIY Ice Pack Sponge home cook
Family 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. Fashion your own DIY version by soaking a kitchen sponge under the tap, placing it in a sealable sandwich bag and popping it into the freezer until needed. Genius!

Here are more kitchen sponge hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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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, rub the scratched area with your fingers to 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!

Check out 100 vintage home hacks that are just as brilliant today.

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finished pool noodle wrist rest

Pool Noodle Wrist Rest

Keep your wrists from getting fatigued during a long day at the computer by making this pool noodle wrist rest. For the wrist rest shown, we cut the height at 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 blinds
Family 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.

Find out how ordinary kitchen tongs can also come in handy when cleaning blinds!

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placing smartphone in pottery

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.

Here are 50 things you should be repurposing instead of tossing out.

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measure amount of cork needed

Wine Cork Wobbly Table Fix

Got a table with a wobbly leg? First, make sure that the legs are secure: tighten any loose brackets or screws and 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.

Here are 20 more home repairs that anyone can do.

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wine box shoe storage container
Family 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.

Check out 40 more home organizing hacks that will save you time, money and effort.

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HH lint log fire starter

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.

Here are more brilliant uses for dryer lint all around the house.

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Rice and sock heat pad

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 100 home improvement hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

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