In 1982, my grandmother gave my mother a copy of Hints From Heloise for Christmas. It makes me giggle that I am now the proud owner of this book since 1982 is before my mom was my mom. Which is not to say I didn’t exist, because I did. I was three years old in 1982. I was simply living with my biological mother after my parents’ divorce, and my father hadn’t even met my mom yet.
I just noticed that this enormous, 500+ page paperback cost $6.95 originally. That’s a big discount from the original $12.95 hardcover — and it’s good to save money on a book that teaches you to save money.
Do you know of Hints From Heloise? For that matter, are the hints still published in the Sunday paper? I stopped reading the funny papers a long time ago when I finally figured out that they had nothing at all to do with the storyline of the weekday comics. I know some papers no longer carry Dear Abby or Ann Landers. What’s up with that? I love reading Dear Abby. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to read both Ann Landers and Dear Abby when we lived in Illinois and had a subscription to the Chicago Tribune. The Ask Amy column (or whatever it is) gets a wee bit too harsh for me sometimes. Dear Abby always had a bit of tact, even when she’s telling you you’re an idiot.
Hints From Heloise was a feature in most newspapers for a good long while. Heloise would share frugal tips and tricks that she had figured out during her life, while readers would submit their own tips to be published alongside Heloise’s. I think the feature fell out of favor when things became so cheap that it was cheaper to replace something than to fix it. Have you noticed that? We just buy something new. When’s the last time you heard of someone getting their tv fixed? Or their DVD player? We have so much stuff that is just disposable that we throw everything away, even things that might find another use somewhere else.
Now that things are getting tighter for most of us, and money isn’t quite as plentiful as it once was, I figured we could revisit some of Heloise’s hints and add some of our own. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!
My friend Traci assisted me in picking a page at random, so here we have a tip from page 276, regarding soap:
“I have discovered something wonderful to do with leftover smidgens of soap. Put them in your blender, add some water, set your blender for ‘grate.’ You’ll get the creamiest liquid soap. Then pour this liquid into plastic squeeze bottles and set a bottle at each sink. You’ll not only use up leftover soap, but you’ll eliminate dirty, goopy soap dishes. A squeeze bottle is so much quicker and easier to use, too!
When a bar of soap gets too small to use, many people save soap slivers in an old nylon stocking. But, I wonder if they have ever thought to hang one of these stockings on an outdoor faucet? It gives a quick cleanup before you come in after gardening and, better still, children seem to like the idea of washing their hands this way. Sure cuts down on dirty little fingerprints on the woodwork.
From Kentucky: ‘All you have to do to dissolve a sink full of soap suds is to sprinkle salt on them.’
A bachelor in New Mexico came up with this money-saver: ‘When a bar of soap is getting too small, open a new one and do this: Before you go to bed, wet the old sliver and the new bar and, using a toothbrush, scrub up some lather on the smooth side of the new bar and the softest side of the old one. Place both surfaces together and squeeze firmly for 20 seconds or so. Carefully place the double bar in the soap dish with the small one underneath. When you awaken, you will find that the two bars are ‘welded’ together, and te only way they will come apart is if they are dropped onto the floor or left in water. When using, always rub from the small side, and always replace with the small side down. Soon the small bar will disappear and you will never again be botherd with slivers of soap in your soap dish.'”
Does anyone even use real soap anymore? I mean, bars of soap. Most people I know use liquid soap to wash their hands and body wash in the shower. I figured out one day that body wash is basically just diluted bar soap, and I am not that fond of paying for all that extra water. I started using bar soap on my pouf in the shower, and while I will break down and buy body wash when I can get a good price on it, I prefer to use bar soap. Kurt hates bar soap, so he gets his own container of man-scented body wash.
I also found a good way of saving money with the liquid soap that lives at each sink in my house. Do you like to use foaming soap? Did you know that the foaming soap is really just very, very diluted liquid soap? I love the foaming soap, though, because it’s so easy for Grace to use. Sometimes she has a hard time getting a lather to come up with traditional liquid soap.
So how do I get foaming soap without paying for a ton of water in my soap? Easy. First you have to buy a foaming soap dispenser. I just buy a bottle at Wal-Mart and use up the soap that’s already in there. Once that’s gone, I refill the foaming soap dispenser using one-third liquid soap and two thirds water. Swirl around gently, and the liquid soap will dissolve into the water to make the perfect foaming soap. It works wonderfully! I also do the same thing with the foaming dish soap — I just refill with one-third regular dish soap and two-thirds water. All of the convenience of foaming soap for a fraction of the cost.
OK, your turn!