Save Money in this Sunday's paper

The winner: After reading our Charlotte Observer, I use some of it to make starter kindling for our wood-burning stove. Roll about 4 pages into a tight roll and insert into an empty paper towel roller. A bathroom tissue roller can also be used. They burn slowly because of the tightly rolled paper.

The winner: My husband is very uncomfortable wandering the drugstore makeup shelves when I ask him to pick something up for me. And when I explain in detail what I need him to get, he glazes over. The “I’m So Clever” solution was to text him a photo of the item. He simply showed the picture to the sales clerk and he was out of the “dreaded aisle” in seconds. The sales lady commented that she wished more women used this method of communicating with shopping husbands. To quote her: “It sure would make my job a lot easier!” Joyce Shields, Charlotte

The winner: I have a great recycling tip. At work, we often get coffee in boxes for meetings. Rather than trashing the container, I use the inside liner as an ice pack. When it’s empty, I take out the silver liner and fill it 3/4 full of water and freeze. The screw-on cap makes it easy to fill and seals water tightly. These are excellent ice packs for coolers. They’re nice and long, hold up for a long time and can be used over and over again.

The winner: When I peeled the labels off the front of my new stainless steel dishwasher, they left a residue. I tried the recommended alcohol-water combo to no avail. Windex and Goo-Gone didn’t work either. In desperation, I grabbed a paper towel soaked with WD-40 from another project. The marks came right off, and the finish is still perfect. Test an inconspicuous spot first – as I should have. Finishes vary. Carol Cason, Charlotte

The winner: Here's another use for Charlotte Observer plastic bags. Students with allergies/colds often bring their own tissues, but then have to figure out what to do with the used ones. Options include leaving them on the desk or dropping them on the floor. Or getting up frequently to visit the trash can. Instead, I make individual trash bags from Observer bags. I stuff them in a long tissue box on the table by the door for students to grab as they enter. They can throw out the whole thing or carry it to their next class. Germs and mess contained. Happy New Year to all teachers! Mary Wiseman, Charlotte

The winner: Never search for a pot lid again. Hubby hung a shoe rack on the pantry door.

I wanted a cute and easy way to display my bracelets, so my hubby installed a simple curtain rod in our bathroom.

The winner: When assembling Ikea furniture recently, I used a muffin pan to organize the various screws and hardware for the project. The pan kept all the small parts organized and right at hand. Safia Malik, Clover.

The winner: With all the rain this year, seeds in bird feeders are getting wet. I take plastic plant saucers, slit between ridges the length of hanger and slide over hanger. The birds love to sit on top, and they can enjoy a dry meal. Leigh Granger, Waxhaw

The winner: I like my closet to be neat and organized, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune on fancy decorative boxes. Instead I purchased storage file boxes and created cute labels for them on my computer. Voila! Cute storage at a reasonable price! When we moved cross-country, I just sealed up the boxes, and they went into the truck already labeled and ready to put on the shelf in my new closet. Karen Poppen, Huntersville

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I'm So Clever
What a smart stocking stuffer! More than 450 thrifty tips from readers are compiled in our 'I'm So Clever' book that is on sale now.

I'm So Clever
I'm So Clever is compiled by Observer assistant features editor Roland Wilkerson. Send your tip, name, address and phone by email or mail to Home Section, Charlotte Observer, P.O Box 30308, Charlotte, N.C. 28230.
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