Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location

Introducing RealPad

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

Celebrate Black Life, History, and Culture!



You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation



Renew for 3 and attend Life at 50+ for free



Life at 50+ - Discover. Engage. Enjoy.





Life at 50+ - Register for the Digital Experience



Happy African American couple







AARP Auto Buying Program



AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy






Military and Veterans Discount




New Book

Dating After 50: How to get back in the game

Dating After 50 For Dummies

Contests and

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules


Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.


Home & Community Webinars

Family & Caregiving Webinars

Popular Articles



AARP Games - Play Now!

Poll: Are You a Real Techie?

Creative Repurposing Projects for the Yard and Garden

Spruce up your flower beds and patios using these everyday items in your home

Newspaper: Of course newspapers can be recycled or shredded and put in the compost pile, but I like to put down a couple of layers of newspaper before I spread mulch around trees, shrubs and flower beds. It's a perfect biodegradable weed blocker. Cardboard works, too. Speaking of mulch, you can sometimes get free or cheap mulch at your local landfill or by asking highway road crews working in your area. As a bonus, newspaper can also clean your windows, dry out wet shoes and even be spun into yarn!

Eggshells: Since eggshells are rich in calcium and other minerals, there are a number of eggscellent ways to repurpose them in the garden. They decompose relatively quickly and can be added to the compost pile or crumbled and stirred directly into the soil. I also like to start my tomato plants from seeds indoors in the spring, using eggshell halves filled with soil and kept upright in egg cartons instead of peat pots. Scatter crushed eggshells around your plants and flowers to help deter plant-eating slugs, snails, cutworms and even deer without using environmentally unfriendly pesticides. 

Peeled zucchini with peeler.

— Corbis

Fruit and veggie peels: Don't dump all of your peels in the compost pile. Some fruit and vegetable trimmings can play a starring role in repurposing your garden. Avocado shells make great biodegradable pots to start seedlings in (like eggshells, above). Nut shells can be crushed and spread around plants to keep crawling insects away. And potassium-rich banana peels can be dried, ground up and stirred into the soil around rose bushes and other plants to both fertilize them and deter aphids. You can also shine your shoes with banana peels. Some folks swear that rinsing your hair with water with boiled potato peels can wash the gray away. Who knew?

Cheapskate garden decorations: Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (including cheapskates), and when it comes to garden art, anything goes. I've seen beautiful mosaic stepping stones made out of broken porcelain china, hummingbird feeders and pinwheels fashioned from plastic soda bottles, attractive planters made from old car tires, and a fascinating garden mobile made from recycled bicycle wheels. Miser adviser Wanda Adams from Trotwood, Ohio, noticed that old bowling balls often sell at yard sales for next to nothing; the boarder of her flower garden is now cleverly edged with her ever-growing collection of colorful balls.

Jeff Yeager is the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

membership ancestry

Members save 30% on  a one-year subscription to

Grocery Coupon Center

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by

Member Benefits Discounts Angie's List

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.