If you're planning a home improvement project on a budget, check garage sales, Freecycle.org, Craigslist.org or a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. These options can offer considerable savings on items such as home accessories, building materials and appliances. Search for a ReStore location near you at habitat.org/restores/default.aspx.
The first reader tip has another suggestion:
Discounted countertops: Check secondhand building supply outlets or salvage stores (i.e. loadingdock.org/redo/Search/index.html) for highly discounted prices on countertops made from a variety of materials.
You can often find new countertops incorrectly cut for kitchen remodels, big-box overstock counters, store display samples and gently used countertops removed to make room for new kitchens.
You may have to make some minor repairs, but all it takes is a little sweat equity to make appropriate choices work in your kitchen. -- P.T, forums
Olive oil moisturizer: I use olive oil as a moisturizer right after I wash my face, and it makes my skin really soft. I recommend the "light" version, as the smell isn't as strong. If I put on a little too much, I let it soak in for five to 10 minutes, then blot the excess. -- Jean, Mississippi
Candy canes in cake: Use a white cake mix. Just before it's finished baking, put broken pieces of candy canes in the cake, about every inch or so. The candy canes melt. I crush a few more to add to the cream cheese icing. Everyone in my family loves the results. -- Elizabeth T., email
Peel hard-boiled eggs: I have been a residential chicken farmer for about 15 years, and for the longest time, peeling farm-fresh hard-boiled eggs was always so frustrating.
Most of us have learned that you should start with cold water so the cold eggs from the fridge are less likely to crack; I had always done the same with my eggs.
We would set a few dozen back and let them age about four weeks in the fridge, but even then, not all of the eggs would peel well. I had tried salt in the water, vinegar, and a bunch of other tricks, never with much success.
Then one day while I was venting to one of my egg customers, she said, "just boil the water first, then lower the eggs in." It just so happened my wife and I were making pickled eggs that week, so I boiled 24 day-old eggs using my customer's method, and every one of them peeled perfectly.
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