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18 Ways to Save Around the House

Cut your household expenses by trying these money-saving tips

Elwood Smith

En español  |  1. Static no-cling. A rolled-up ball of aluminum foil will reduce static cling effectively. But if you prefer the scent of antistatic dryer sheets, cut them in half and use for two loads.

2. Swap books. The library's not convenient? Consider joining an online book-swapping club like PaperBackSwap, BookMooch or TitleTrader. All let you exchange books with other readers for the cost of postage.

3. Yard sales. In addition to the local paper, you can find yard sales at yardsale, which displays Craigslist postings in your area plus a suggested driving route on a Google map.

4. Golf for less. Sign up for "loyal customer" email alerts of special promos at your favorite courses. Ask about midmorning or twilight discount rates or off-season deals from April through September in snowbird states like Florida and Arizona. Find lower-cost courses at For $59 a year, get discounts at nearly 3,000 courses at

5. Feeling nostalgic? Movies Unlimited offers AARP members a 10 percent discount on the purchase of movies and TV shows on DVD or Blu-ray, specializing in films from Hollywood's golden era and '60s and '70s hits. Go to

6. Green group. Join neighbors and start a community garden. You can have fun and save money on store-bought produce. Find tips on the American Community Gardening Association website.

7. Know your bulbs. Photograph your flowering bulbs in the spring so that in the fall you don't waste money by buying what you already have.

Ways to save on household expenses - Model house moneybox with dollar bills

Photo by Ocean/Corbis

Spray undiluted white vinegar around doorways and window sills to discourage ants and save on pest removal.

8. Hanger tip. Wrap rubber bands around the ends of plain hangers to prevent clothes from falling off.

9. Flour power. Use a slice of white bread to gently rub scuffs, fingerprints and other marks off nonwashable wallpapers and nonglossy paint surfaces. Cut off the crusts so no color transfers.

10. Plant with foam. Use packing peanuts instead of gravel in the bottom of flowerpots to provide drainage and make the containers lighter.

11. Lemon aid. Use the juice to dissolve soap scum and hard-water deposits, or mix with baking soda for a paste to clean brass and copper. Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 cup olive oil to polish hardwood furniture. Test first.

12. Baby socks. Stretchy and colorful, they make cheap cellphone covers.

13. Still paying for long distance? A landline can come in handy for emergencies. But don't pay for a long-distance plan if your cellphone plan lets you dial anywhere in the country.

14. Hair cut. Type "cut your own hair" into a search engine. You can get a decent crash course on the Internet.

15. Cap it. Plastic shower caps from hotels make wonderful food storage covers. Or use them to cover dishes taken to potlucks. They can be rinsed and reused several times.

16. Vim and vinegar. Spray undiluted white vinegar around doorways and window sills to discourage ants. A small dish near fruit bowls repels fruit flies. Equal parts vinegar and water will clean windows and other glass surfaces. Boil the mixture to loosen residue in microwave ovens. Or pour undiluted vinegar inside toilet rims during a flush to clean and remove rings.

17. Tech help. AARP members can save with Geek Squad Tech Support & Guidance, a subscription service combining support with prepurchase consultation and one-on-one tutorials. Available by phone at 1-800-921-0907, online at, or in Best Buy stores (coupon from online site required).

18. Save on worry. Check out, a new site where you can list info like meds and allergies, which is automatically sent to police and medics when a 911 call is placed. The service, paid for by municipalities, is not available everywhere yet.

Contributors to 99 Great Ways to Save 2012: Arthur Dalglish, Cathie Gandel, Joan Rattner Heilman, Sid Kirchheimer, Jason L. Lawrence, Marsha Mercer, Geoff Williams, Jeff Yeager and AARP members like you.

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