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Coke Can Oil Lamp (~$ unknown savings /mo)

candle1.GIF (16392 bytes)Oil & Cola Emergency Lamp.
What will you do thins winter when the lights go out?  Hopefully you've got your emergency flashlight, radio, food and water supplies.  If the power will be out for some time, however, you may want to know about this easy oil lamp.  Great for camping too.   The parts needed for this lamp can be found in virtually every household.  An empty aluminum cola can, an old cotton sock, and about a tablespoon of cooking oil are all you need.  First stab an empty cola can in the middle and cut around the circumference until you cut the can completely in half.  candle6.GIF (8985 bytes)Use a pair of gloves to hold the can halves, because the metal is very sharp.  Use the bottom half of the cola can, and cut half inch deep slits spaced each half inch along the circumference of the can.  Fold over to make a safe rim along the edge.  Now take the top half of the can and work the pull tab off the top by pulling up and side to side.  Work the tab back and forth with upward pressure, until it pulls off.  Dispose of the top half can into the recycle trash.  Next cut a one inch by 3/8" slip of material from the old sock.  Roll the material into a candle4.GIF (7201 bytes)thick rope and feed it into the pull tab attachment hole.  Pull through about half an inch so it sticks up while the pull tab rests upside down.  Now pour a cap full of cooking oil into the bottom of the can.   Place the upside down pull tab with the wick in the middle of the can and drape the cotton wick so it pulls the oil from the edge of the can.  The length of the wick pulled through the tab hole will determine the height of the flame.  A good quarter inch of wick will give a good flame with virtually no smoke.  Now you can light the wick and it should last about three to four hours with each tablespoon or so of corn oil.


Premature tool replacement (~$0.20/mo)

tools1.GIF (16374 bytes)Bucket 'O Tools:  Rust Eraser
Garden tools take a lot of abuse. You can lose years of useful life from the effects of environmental enemies like corrosion, rust, tree sap, water and dirt.  Here's a simple way to keep tools healthy, lubricated, and rust free with almost no effort.   Next time you change the oil in your car, pour it into a bucket of sand and add your garden tools. It's just that simple.  The grit from the sand holds the oil and polishes the metal surfaces.  Tools hold fast in the sand and are ready for use.   Just don't forget to clean tools before and after use with an old cotton rag.  


 Garden Alignment Strips (~$0.55/mo)

tires1.GIF (9046 bytes)Wheel of Fortune:  Bicycle Tire Savings
Bicycling is an environmentally friendly and inexpensive way to travel around town.  When you add up the aerobic health benefits and cost savings on gym fees, you'll find that biking is the perfect way to go.  With biking, however, there is one minor expense that seems to deflate the joy of serene cycling; the flat tire follies.  Many of my worries were solved after I purchased a thorn puller attachment for my tires, but I have had my wealth of flat tires. Once a tire or an inner tube becomes too old, I retire these treasures into the garden.  An inner tube with a dozen patches is still excellent for use in aligning and training trees.  Simply wrap a cut tube around the young tree trunk in a figure eight with the other end around a stake to guide the wayward tree. Apply pressure and tie off.  For small jobs, cut the inner tube in lengthy strips and use as garden ties.  The rubber inner tube strips are plant friendly, stretch with the wind, and won't carve into the plant. For tough jobs I use cut bike tires. They're reinforced with metal and material and will last a long time.  I even saw one gardener using strips of cut bicycle tires as a garden gate hinge.  With this rubber material, the possibilities are endless, so go ahead and tire yourself thinking of ways to re-use and recycle.

Rejuvenated Tape & Food Items  (~.50/mo)

tape1.GIF (14667 bytes)Microwave Savings Unmasked
It's amazing what a microwave oven can do to rejuvenate foods and various items.  A short zap will rejuvenate a roll of old masking tape and make it stick again.  A short zap   will make a lemon give more juice when squeezed.  A little zap will refresh stale muffins and bread items. Microwave ovens work by heating items from inside out.   Many times items that appear to have no moisture at all can be made to live again by just using from 10 to 30 seconds in most 600 to 1000 watt microwave ovens.

Tip Savings (4x/mo @$60/meal. ~$16.00/mo)

2dollar1.gif (9081 bytes)To Tip or Not to Tip: That is the Question.
Once upon a time, tips were intended as rewards for excellent service.  More often then not, however, tips are given from feelings of guilt or a desire to impress others, hardly an honest reason to spend money.  The standard service tip today is between fifteen and twenty percent, which can increase a bill quickly.  When it comes to tips, many people have strong feelings.  If you've ever made friends with a struggling waiter or waitress, then you probably feel a unique obligation to tip generously.  Perhaps you live in an area of the world where it's simply not done.  Maybe you feel pressure to tip generously when you dine with others.  Donating a financial gratuity beyond the required price of a service is an individual choice.  Whenever you give a gift, it should be considered on a case by case basis, and before you tip, you should examine your motivations.  If you give tips out of a sense of fairness to service workers, then perhaps you should be giving tips to fast food workers, after all most of them are financially ignored and can use the money better then anyone else. If you tip a worker at a place where you dine routinely, then you may want to motivate the workers for your next appearance.  Quite honestly, tipping after a meal, does nothing to improve service and really can only be considered a reward for good service or as a show for others.  If you dine with others and you are obvious about your frugality, you may make them feel uncomfortable.  In such a situation, your tip can be confidential if you pay the bill.  Tipping is very useful in some circumstances, but usually more effective before the service and not after.  If you must have someone park your car, tipping someone before service, makes more sense then after. 

2dollar1.gif (9081 bytes)Unusual Money: Motivation 4 Less
The most creative way to reduce the cost of tipping is to tip with unusual money.  In my case, I went to the bank and got a stack of two dollar bills, which are not circulated anymore, but are legal currency and still available. I used to use Susan B. Anthony dollar coins, but these are too easily confused with quarter dollar coins.  Two dollar bills have enabled me to give much less in tips, while better motivating workers.  Many people collect these bills and see them as a sign of good luck to receive them.  In addition, if you are concerned about appearances, friends or associates that may be watching will be impressed instead of disappointed. 

2dollar1.gif (9081 bytes)Motivation: Not Employee Enrichment
If tips are for motivation, then motivation is what you are giving, not employee enrichment, since that is clearly the duty of the employer.  Are customers supposed to fund the payroll for someone else's employees? Just who is the tightwad here?   With that thought in mind, I believe that motivation should be your focus, not tossing around free money.  Using the two dollar bill motivators, I use three bills ($6.00) when I have a bill that traditionally calls for an eight dollar tip.  When a situation calls for a five or six dollar traditional tip, I give two bills ($4.00), thus saving a percentage in actual money while getting a higher motivation value.  My results have always been very well received. In some cases, you would think I left a twenty dollar bill!  The two dollar tips are always appreciated and usually saved as keepsakes. (I give fresh bills)  Using this technique, I motivate employees, reward good service, calm those watching, and appropriately save finances.  Of course, if you really want save money, why are you eating out!

Gotta tip?   Sure... We'll take real juicy stock tips... But how about an original tip on saving money?  If needed, we'll edit your tip for space and clarity, and you'll get the published credit!  Join the world of frugality and send us your tightwad tip.  mailto:editor@tightwad.com

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