Ways to save water and some dollars

Dear Readers: WATER CONSERVATION is important all year long, especially in many parts of the country, such as Texas and California. Here are some hints to save water around the house and on your water bill:

* Take shorter showers. This is a biggie!

* Brushing your teeth? Cut the water off during it.

* Toilets and pipes must be leak-free.

* Don’t run the water over dishes. Fill the sink instead.

* Limit small loads of laundry and dishes – wash only when the machine is full.

Small changes in your daily habits can add up to big savings. Take note of your water bill now, and look at it again in a few months. – Heloise


Dear Heloise: Always wanting to be prepared in the event of a power outage, here is an easy way to light a room.

Stand a small flashlight in a glass so the flashlight stands upright, and set it in the middle of the room. Voila. Light! Make sure you are stocked up with fresh batteries. – Dennis D. in Cleveland


Dear Heloise: To have a profitable garage sale:

* Make clear and readable signs in large letters.

* Arrange your things artfully and in clusters of like items, so people will be inspired!

* This is the time to get rid of items you no longer want, so price them to sell. Mark as many items as possible for a dollar or less, because it all adds up.

* Schedule the sale around the first of the month. This is a time when many people get paid and have extra cash on hand.

The point of the sale is to get rid of clutter; making money is a bonus. – Tag Sale Queen, via email

Yep, you are right! Mark the items so they will sell! – Heloise


Dear Readers: Do you pay attention to the “SELL-BY” date on boxes of dry goods on the grocery-store shelves? You should, but know what you are looking at.

The sell-by date is the date by which the grocer needs to pull the item off the shelf. If you find an item that has not been pulled, notify store personnel. The item is not spoiled; it is just not at its peak for freshness and appearance. – Heloise


Dear Heloise: Every few months, I clean out every drawer, cupboard and closet as if I were moving. I dispose of expired goods, cull items for donation to library/animal shelter/homeless groups, inventory staples (noting duplicates and those needed), clean thoroughly and finally collect items for trash/recycle/resale. When I do move, I usually have less to pack and carry. This works! – Judith M., Camarillo, Calif.


Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about holiday plates: “Why can’t manufacturers make a nice variety of square and rectangular holiday plates for goodies? Have you ever tried to put foil or plastic around a large circular plate? It never fits!” – Barbara C. in Montana

Barbara, it’s a little bothersome and somewhat frustrating. Here is a hint: Rather than putting the wrap over the food, then tucking it UNDER the plate, place the wrap UNDER the plate (put several pieces on the counter, “fanned out” in a circle) and pull the wrap UP over the food. Twist to seal, or close with a twist-tie. Thanks to my husband, David, for showing me this hint! – Heloise


Dear Readers: Other uses for cotton swabs:

* Use to dip into a lipstick tube to get the last bit!

* Dip in rubbing alcohol and clean around yucky computer keys.

* For knickknacks, to clean small areas.

* For a small paint touch-up.

* Remove nail polish from cuticles.

– Heloise


Dear Heloise: To get candle wax off my carpet, I placed a paper towel on top of the wax and ironed it very lightly with an iron on the lowest heat setting. I repeated this process until no more wax appeared on the paper towel. This process lifted all the wax off the carpet. – Dora G., via email

Dora, just remember that before taking an iron to spilled wax on carpet, the wax must be DRY AND COOL first. – Heloise


Dear Heloise: I seem to remember you had a marinade/barbecue sauce recipe that uses dark beer. It was really tasty and different. Can you please find it for me? – Virginia M. in Houston

Yes, I do! It does have a “kick” to it, and is easy to make. Here it is:


1 cup dark beer

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Use as is right away, or put into a lidded jar or bottle, then store in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to seven days. For more delicious sauces and marinades, including many family recipes, order my Seasonings, Sauces and Substitutes pamphlet. Please visit www.Heloise.com, or send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (68 cents) envelope to: Heloise/SSS, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Meat that has been marinated tastes better than simply seasoning it before grilling or cooking. Once you make this one, next time make it your own by adding different ingredients! – Heloise

EDITOR’S NOTE: Send your great money-saving or timesaving hint to to Heloise at P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, Fax to 1-210-HELOISE, or email to Heloise@Heloise.com. She can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in her column.