My grandmother was a penny-pincher of the highest order, and she passed down all sorts of tricks that my family still swears by to this day.
Growing up in the Great Depression taught her to be clever and thrifty, she loved to cut coupons, and she always knew a bad deal when she spotted one.
But her simplest tricks were the best, and this was my all-time favorite.
If you're like me, you probably notice your water bill creeping up from month to month.
You know your family probably isn't using more water than usual, so what explains the extra costs?
Often, your toilet tank is leaking down into your bowl.
That may not sound like a big problem, but every drip is like a fraction of a cent on your water bill, and it adds up.
NYC Environmental Protection says a small leak can cost 40 cents a day, while larger ones have been known to hit $53 a day.
So how can you check if your tank is leaking?
The Color of Money
Take some food coloring from your kitchen and put a few drops in your tank, just enough to noticeably change the color.
Don't flush the tank for the next 15 minutes. You can drip coloring in another tank at the same time, to check multiple toilets.
When the time is up, if your toilet bowl has changed color, you definitely have a leaky tank.
Next, you'll have to fix it.
The most likely culprit for a leaky toilet tank is either the flapper or the fill valve.
If you have a little plumbing know-how, you can replace the parts yourself.
Otherwise, leave it to the professionals and call a plumber.
While you're doing a little maintenance work in the bathroom, here are some other creative, money-saving uses for things that are already in your kitchen.
Let's Get Creative
- After cleaning your faucets, a quick rub with a sheet of wax paper will seal in the "just scrubbed" shine for a few extra days.
- One of the best toilet cleaners on the market is Coca-Cola. Pour some into your toilet bowl, let it sit for a few minutes, then flush. For extra-tough jobs, you can dip your scrubber in the coke too.
- A 50/50 mix of vinegar and water will clean just about every surface in your bathroom, without the harsh cleaning product smell.
Did you know about this savvy trick already?