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Save on Home Expenses

From free TV shows to recycled fish tank water, use these tips to save on costs at home

Neighborhood bargains. Enter your city or ZIP code, and lists discounts in your area for people 50 or older. The savings range up to 15 percent on everything from travel to pet services.

Weigh in. Not every 10-pound bag of potatoes is created equal. The weight marked on prepackaged produce is actually the minimum required by law. So use the scale to find the best buy.

Home spa. Your kitchen is stocked with natural beauty products. To soften skin and exfoliate, pour a gallon of whole milk into a warm bath, then climb in. (Cleopatra did.) Add honey or lavender oil for scent. Or wrap whole oatmeal in a cloth, immerse in warm water and squeeze out several times, then splash your face with the water. Make a scrub by mixing 4T. cornmeal with the juice and pulp of half an orange.

Call overseas for free. gives you 10 minutes of free talk to landlines in 55 countries and cellphones in some. You listen to short ads, then connect.

A personal windfall. Lots of free firewood drops in your yard over the course of a year (this is where the word "windfall" comes from). Gather it. Or visit building supply businesses that are giving away old pallets made from untreated wood.

Pickle perks. Pour brine from pickle jars into almost-empty salad dressing containers and shake to mix with the dressing still clinging to the sides. Or whisk mayonnaise with brine to make an instant salad dressing.

Remove the fish first. Don't throw out the water from the fish tank — pour it on your garden. It's a great fertilizer. And green to boot.

You may also like: More ways to save at home. >>

Contributors: Arthur Dalglish, Sid Kirchheimer, Cathie Gandel, Joan Rattner Heilman, K.C. Summers, Jeff Yeager, Bob Calandra and AARP members like you.

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