Simple Life Hacks to Save You Time and Money

February 1, 2014

We all like to be in on the secrets that make life a little bit easier.  Whether it’s extending the shelf life of your groceries or making unsightly furniture scratches disappear, here are a few “life hacks” – tips and tricks to simplify your life and even save you money and time in the process.

Use a Magnet as a Stud Finder

You can use a simple magnet to easily find studs in your walls. A stud finder can run you anywhere from $10 to $80 dollars and it is not necessarily error-proof.  Find a strong magnet.  You can run the magnet over the wall and mark the places where the magnet pulls to the metal nearby the stud with painters tape or sticky notes.

Use Listerine to Clean

Listerine was invented as a surgical antiseptic in the late 19th century.  It’s been a popular mouthwash since the early 20th century.  But the disinfectant qualities of Listerine allow for multiple other household uses.  Instead of purchasing expensive bathroom cleaning products, use a little Listerine on a toothbrush to clean the mold and mildew from your shower.  Pour a little bit down the garbage disposal to get rid of odors.  You can clean your washer by adding a cup to an empty load.  Also, use as a generic spray solution around the house by diluting half and half with water.

Make Furniture Scratches Disappear by Using Walnuts

If your wood furniture has a scratch, take a walnut and run over the scratch in a circular motion.  Let the walnut oil to soak in a little and darken the wood, and then polish the wood with a clean soft cloth.

Extend the Shelf Life of Your Groceries

To keep potatoes fresh longer and prevent spoiling, add an apple to the bag of potatoes.

Keep berries from spoiling by quickly washing them in hot water and allowing to dry before storing.

It’s generally a good idea to separate fruit when storing to allow for a longer shelf life.

To keep avocadoes longer, leaving the pit in after you cut it in half can help it stay green for a few more hours.  Or, rinse them in cold water immediately after slicing and they will stay green long enough to last you through that dinner party. Adding a dash of lemon juice to sliced avocadoes can help ward off the browning as well.  For guacamole, make sure to cover it with plastic wrap as tightly as possible to keep oxygen out.

To make sure that eggs haven’t spoiled you can go by the date on the carton, but there are other methods that can quickly tell you whether they are still fresh.   Fill a bowl or a pot with cold water and place the eggs inside.  There should be enough water to cover the eggs at least twice, in order to allow them to float if necessary.  A rotten egg will float to the top and a fresh egg will remain at the bottom.  Eggs that have a short shelf life remaining will remain at the bottom but will stand on the tip.  Also, if you spin an egg on the counter (carefully) and it spins poorly and wobbles a lot, it’s likely fresh.

Keep Ice Off Your Windshield

You can use store-bought de-icers or spend precious time scraping your windshield in the morning. Or use this easy trick.  If you know the temperatures are about to dip below freezing, take a plastic trash bag and tuck it into the corners of your car doors.  Using a good quality thicker plastic bag is best.  Make sure that the plastic covers your entire windshield.  Hold the bag down with windshield wipers.  The plastic will keep the ice off your windshield overnight. If you’re worried about the plastic sticking to the windshield, a large piece of cardboard should work as well.

Use Toothpaste to Polish and Shine

Use plain white toothpaste to clean your tarnished silver.  You can also use it (sparingly!) to polish your faucets to a high shine and even clean your bathroom sink with a small dab on a cloth.  Plain toothpaste can be used to buff scuffs from leather shoes or even remove water rings from wood furniture.  Always try a little dab to test on a small section before applying fully.

You can find more helpful tricks to simplify your life on Pinterest (search for "life hacks") or check out this article: 99 Tips and Tricks to Make Your Life Easier.

Do have tips or tricks you'd like to share? Leave them in the comments section! 

This post was written by Julie Borisov from Colorado PERA. Would you like to write a guest post for The Dime? Email us at dimecontact@copera.org.