Save big with copycats, discounts

(Michele Tranquilli)
Posted: March 05, 2009

Yo, I'm Penny Pincher, trying to survive these hard times without bailouts, handouts or freakouts by living small but smart.

You are, too, judging from the dollar-stretching secrets you've been sending me at pennypincher@phillynews.com - so keep 'em coming, fellow-Pinchers!

Copycat Cost Cutters: Ellen Merrigan, from Bustleton, writes: "I make my own cleaning products with vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and water. I bought a 1.32-gallon jug of vinegar at BJ's Wholesale Club for under $4.00, then got household cleaner recipes at .

"And this one is huge! In the past, my husband and I purchased name-brand ice tea for over a dollar per bottle even at wholesale case pricing. I Googled that name-brand recipe and found a copycat recipe. We now make it in a gallon glass jug. My nieces and nephews love it!"

Discount Dreamland: Renee Collier, from Kensington, who clothes her family of five for pennies on the dollar, writes: "There's no shame in shopping at thrift stores, consignment shops or flea markets.

"My favorite is Thrift Fair, in Port Richmond Plaza, where I've bought dresses for work, play and evening wear - all under $15. Tees for two dollars; shorts for three dollars. I spend less than $10 for name-brand jeans with the original tags on them. No returns, so shop carefully!"

Free Tix for Kids Named Snuffleupagus: Sesame Street Live's "When Elmo Grows Up," now through Sunday at the Wachovia Spectrum, is giving free tickets to anyone named Elmo, Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar, Count von Count, Zoe, Abby (Cadabby), Cookie Monster, Telly, Grover and Snuffleupagus. Bring ID to the box office.

Oatmeal vs. Overpriced: Penny Pincher discovered that she doesn't have to pay $5 for name-brand Sugar-Coated Carb Flakes when a hearty breakfast of Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats in a $2.99, 24-ounce canister is just 13 cents per serving! *

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