The Mind of Bluesleepy

Frugal tips and tricks 13 January 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 11:41 pm

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!


11 Responses to “Frugal tips and tricks”

  1. sleepyjane Says:

    You should make this a regular feature too! I loved this! Especially; From Kentucky: ‘All you have to do to dissolve a sink full of soap suds is to sprinkle salt on them.’ <- That is so useful!

    I use bar soap. When I buy body wash I use too much so I only get like a weeks use out of it. And that’s when it starts getting expensive! J uses whatever is handy.

  2. Rosie Says:

    I still use bar soap, I’m allergic to most body washes. I loved Dear Abby and Ann Landers; when Abby started getting older, she let her daughter gradually take over, but when Ann Landers died, she took the name with her. It just hasn’t been the same since the Lederer sisters went away.

  3. cardiogirl Says:

    This was truly an awesome post, blue! Love those tips. And we use bar soap in the shower, but liquid soap at the sinks. I really like that tip about slivers in the panty hose to wash the kids’ hands outside. I might have to try that this summer…

    No tips except using vinegar as the fabric softener in the laundry. If you have a child who is a bed wetter the vinegar in the was will completely remove the smell.

  4. purple chai Says:

    You can get Dear Abby online, with an RSS feed no less. It’s somewhere at Yahoo. My husband still uses Ivory soap and nothing else, not even shampoo. And he has the best hair in the world, thick and snowy white.

  5. ChezNous Says:

    Did you know Heloise comes from a military family and that “Hints from Heloise” spans two generations, Heloise the mother (1919-1977) the Heloise the daughter (1951-)? Just a bit of trivia there. She’s still a contributor to Good Housekeeping magazine with a whole page of tips and tricks.

    Mother Heloise’s Olive-Nut Spread is our all-time favorite spread and a bit hit at potlucks or open houses.

  6. ChezNous Says:

    Sorry, that should say “and Heloise the daughter”.

    She’s online, too –

  7. michele Says:

    Oh very very cool tips! Yes, I remember when “Heloise” was published in the paper. I fondly remember reading that with my breakfast before school in Springfield!

    I use bar soap every day! I use Dove to wash my makeup off at night. I like the creaminess of it and it does a good job of getting rid of makeup believe it or not. And on occasion, I use the Dove in the shower, too. I love the regular white bar the most.

  8. Better yet, make your own bar soap using gylcerin from Michael’s! It’s easy! And it lasts forever!

  9. Margie Says:

    Heloise and Dear Abby are still being printed in my local newspapers. Both every day. Except for Heloise on Saturday. And she just visited the town I live in a year or so ago.

  10. terri t. Says:

    Great tips…..Husband still uses SafeGuard and I am going to try the trick for the last sliver of the old bar soap….
    I use whatever bathgel is on sale but the idea of just diluting soap with water is nice. Except I like to try the different fragrances. I just pour a quarter size dollop onto the scrubbie and it makes plenty of suds for my whole shower. And I use old scrubbies to clean the shower and/tub.
    Anyhow, I don’t think I have any hints….at least I am not aware of any at the moment. Oh wait, my sister often mixes the herbs and Worchestershire sauce for hamburgers with the raw meat in a zip-lock baggie before she forms the burgers….

  11. Heloise the Daughter is still in our local paper every day. I use antibacterial bar soap on my face and neck of all places. I am in my late fifties but still get the occasional zit and the soap keeps them away. Other than that, I splurge on body gel, I love love love it. My husband loves the fruity smells, LOL, and spends more at the Bath and Body Works sales than I do. I also found a lavender scented shampoo and conditioner at my hairdresser that I am nuts about. Not cheap, but it sure does smell good! I only use one brand, a cheepie one, of liquid hand soap. The others dry my hands out too much.

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