Money management idea: I have three checking accounts and sometimes have problems balancing an account. I bought some colored markers and use a different color each month to check off each of the cleared checks. I put a corresponding color on the envelope. This makes it easier to balance each month in case I have to go back a month to recheck something.

Kitchen shoe dryer: Did you know that you can dry those wet shoes the kids left by the back door overnight? Just put them on their sides in front of the refrigerator floor vent. The hot air that is blowing off of the motor will dry the shoes easily. Much better than having wet socks the next day because you forgot to dry your shoes.

Recycle that old barbecue: I see old barbecues tossed in the dump every year about this time and it’s a big waste. They can be reworked into a rolling shop cart with just a little bit of work. First, take out the firebox part and then put in a piece of sheet metal to cover the bottom of the grill. You now have a nice ‘rolling tool chest’ to help you when you have to work on some of that machinery over winter. It sure makes it a lot easier for me anyway. I gather all the tools I think I need and then just roll it into place. Sure saves me time from having to stop and search for a tool when I need to take out a screw or a bolt. (Besides, most of them have a flip-down top that can just be lowered into place—shielding your tools from that overnight snowfall!)

Homemade fabric softner: Mix together 2 cups cheap hair conditioner, 3 cups of white vinegar and 6 cups of water. Whisk to combine and use in place of the commercial fabric softeners. I found it works just as well and is a lot cheaper. Besides, there is less chance of allergies from a lot of the chemicals found in the store-bought stuff.

Check the electric meter: I was gone for a good while this fall and when I went to read/pay the electric bill, it was the same as before and I had been gone! I called the electric company and they came out and discovered the meter was broken. I didn’t realize it as it was behind my barbecue, was locked and there was no way for me to read it. Lesson learned—check the meter to make sure it is working properly or it will cost you more money.

If you have hints or ideas to share, send them to PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543; or email them to If you send me your name and address, I’ll send you a FREE copy of the PennyWise Newsletter. Please mention High Plains Journal when you write.

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