The Beginner’s Guide to Being Cheap

Are you a repentant spendthrift who's thinking that all this frugality is looking pretty sexy? Dip your toe into the cut-rate pool with these tips on getting the most out of what you have.

By Tara Conry from Reader's Digest

Separate your bananas to keep them yellow longer. Bananas produce ethylene, a gas that causes them to ripen, and separating the bunch can slow down that process.

Seal lettuce in a zip-lock bag with a moistened paper towel to add days of leafy goodness.

Shake the excess water off your disposable razor, then dip it in rubbing alcohol and store it in a dry place (do not leave it in your shower). This will clean the blade, stave off rusting, and add weeks of shaving life.

Flip your mattress and rotate it every three months to extend its life span. As for couch cushions, don't just flip them—swap them with one another so they don't become molds of your family's backs and butts.

Halve the amount of soap, toothpaste, shampoo, and detergent you use—you probably won't notice a difference. And your clothes should feel just as fluffy with only a quarter of a dryer sheet.

Unplug your dryer. That lint you see is from your clothes slowly being disintegrated by all the tumbling. Stick with our gentle friend the clothesline. If you do use a dryer, zip up metal zippers, before they mug other garments.

Scoop out that remaining bit of lipstick from the tube with a lip brush. You'll be surprised at how many applications remain.

Have the soles of your leather shoes lined with rubber to prevent them from wearing down. And don't wear them two days in a row. Leather shoes are susceptible to moisture and will last longer if you give them a day off.

Air your bar of soap before using it? Many frugalistas swear this will allow it to harden and last longer, without affecting the lather.

Sources: Gary Foreman, editor of the Dollar Stretcher; Jeff Yeager, author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches; Susan Palmquist of

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