10 Life Hacks to Save You Money

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SO MANY GADGETS

Every year, new products pop up that seem important to buy, at least for a little while. It could be a banana slicer, a portion control basket for pasta, or a heated mousepad. Gadgets can be convenient, but many of them end up in the back of a drawer after a few uses. Instead of buying new gadgets, reuse everyday objects lying around the house. Try these life hacks to declutter your home and office while saving a few bucks to boot.

BAG DISPENSER

What to do with all those plastic shopping bags that clutter the closet or the space under the sink? You can clean up the bags with a bag dispenser such as the Greenco Wall Mount Bag Saver ($14.99 at Amazon). Or you can use an empty wet wipe container to store and dispense them. Just fold plastic bags in half length-wise, line them up, roll them into a tube, and slide them into a round wipe dispenser. Pull the bags out one by one as needed.

CORD ORGANIZER

Laptops, cell phones, monitors, printers – so many gadgets need electricity and your desk can quickly get cluttered with cords, chargers, and wires. You can purchase a cord organizer for your desk such as the Cordies desktop cord manager ($4.99 at Quirky). Or you can use something you probably already have in your drawer: binder clips. Clip a few to the edge of your desk and thread earphones, USB cords, and chargers through the wire handles. Use different size binder clips for smaller and larger cords.

PARTY SNACK BOWLS

Snack bowls come in handy at parties, but what happens after the party's over? The bowls are usually fairly large and awkward to store. Save space with a simple hack for any potato chip or snack bag. Just open a large bag of chips and fold the bottom up into itself until you have an even, bowl-like shape. The presentation won't be quite as nice as an actual serving bowl such as the B.Smith 3-Tier Appetizer Bowl set ($34.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond), but the hacked bowls are free and there's no need to store them later.

ICE POP AND ICE CREAM HOLDERS

Children and ice cream can be a messy combination. Some parents address this problem with drip-catching ice cream holders such as the Dripstik Ice Cream and Popsicle Holder (set of six for $27.72 at Amazon). But you can skip the plastic holders with a simple hack using cupcake liners. Simply cut a small line in the middle of the bottom of the cupcake liner, insert an ice pop stick or ice cream cone, and let the liner catch all the drips.

CONDIMENT DISH

Summer is just around the corner and it's almost time to fire up the grill for hot dogs and burgers. Don't forget the condiments, from mayonnaise and ketchup to sriracha and lemon slices. You can serve condiments in a dish like the Jumbl 4-Section Ice-Chilled Condiment Tray ($24.99 at Amazon). Or, save some cash and use a muffin tin or cupcake tray. Your guests can easily serve themselves without struggling with twist caps and clogged bottles. You also won't have to leave multiple bottles of condiments outside for a whole day in the sun.

WINE CHILLERS

A warm bottle of wine isn't a problem if you have wine pearls (small metal spheres, $24.95 at Amazon) or chiller sticks ($17.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond). They can be stored in the freezer until you need to chill some wine. But here's some food for thought: Instead of buying accessories to chill liquids, store a small container of grapes, apple slices, and berries in your freezer. When you need to chill a glass of wine or water, just pop a few pieces of frozen fruit into the glass.

DIPPING BOWL

Chips taste even better with onion dip or guacamole. Target sells the Threshold Bowl with Acacia Rack for $19.99. Save your money with this hack from the Crazy Russian Hacker on YouTube: Place a wine glass in the middle of a big bowl, fill the glass with dip, and pour chips around it for an easy dip and chip bowl.

CLOTHING UN-SHRINKER

Most clothing is machine-washable these days, but somehow we still end up with shrunken items. Products such as Unshrinkit ($11.99 at Amazon) can help fabrics return to their original size. A lesser known hack is to soak the shrunken item in warm water and baby shampoo or conditioner for 30 minutes. The liquids loosen fabrics so they can be stretched back to normal size.

KIWI SPOON

The kiwi can be a tricky fruit to eat since it's soft and juicy but has no center to cut around. You can buy a special kiwi knife and scooper such as the Stainless Steel Kiwi Cutter ($4.12 at Amazon). But if you don't eat kiwis often or want to avoid buying yet another kitchen gadget, just use a spoon. Cut off the ends of the kiwi and push the spoon in as close to the skin as possible. After you work your spoon all the way around, you'll have a perfectly skinned kiwi without losing juice or any of the meat.

TIE CLIP

A tie flapping in the wind can be distracting and unflattering. There are plenty of tie clips in stores and online in different materials, styles, and colors. To save a bit of money, use a paperclip to secure your tie to your shirt. Or cut a short section from the placket of an old dress shirt that includes two buttonholes, loop the cloth through the rear loop of your tie, and button it to your shirt.