FW-83 -- "Sneaky Reuses": Frugal and Fun

* * * * * * * * F R U G A L W A T C H * * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of how to be frugal in the world's most
expensive country to live (unless you read this!), written
and compiled by Wendy J. Imura.

Regular edition, December 30, 2005 Issue No. 83

- "Sneaky Reuses": Frugal and Fun
- Credits

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***Sneaky Reuses: Frugal and Fun ***

Dear Frugal Readers,

Four days after Christmas, and we are still wading around in
cardboard boxes and leftover wrapping paper here. Maybe your
household is the same? If so, then perhaps you might be
interested in a resource brought to my attention by a
mysterious FrugalJapan.com reader called "Sneaky Uses for
Everyday Things." (www.sneakyuses.com)

The sneaky reader in question, Mr. Cy Tymony, notes in his press
release that "After Christmas tons of damaged toys and packaging
materials inevitably find their way into our already overflowing
waste dumps. It's tempting to discard seemingly useless items but
if you do, you'll miss out on some great adaptation opportunities,
as well as a chance to help the environment. How? Convert them
into other useful items in a "sneaky way." This sounds both frugal,
and fun, to me.

Some of Mr. Tymony's ideas include: boomerangs fashioned from
gift boxes, making racing cars, a PA system, and a listening device
all from tape recorders, motorized toy cars made into robots and
door openers, and a radio and paperclips remade as a room-entry or
flood alarm. Other more common household items can also be remade,
including coins and fruits made into batteries, a penny
turned into a radio, and "even gift wrapping paper can substitute
for air in inflating a flat bicycle tire in a pinch." (Really?)

While the website is mostly an advertisement for his two books,
there is some interesting content regarding stories of "clever
resourcefulness," such as a man who scratched his way out of a
burning elevator with a squeegee, saving his life and those of
five other men, during the September 11, 2001, attacks on the
World Trade Center building. Interested? Why not visit the
website at www.sneakyuses.com.

Another fun resource along the same lines is www.wackyuses.com.
Skip the Flash intro, and click on the "Wacky Uses" button to
discover hundreds of little-known uses for many products. For
example, did you know that baking soda can clean your oven, remove
tarnish from silver, clean a stainless steel sink, sooth burns,
serve as toothpaste, remove coffee or tea stains from china, and
whiten laundry? Coca-Cola can clean your toilet bowl, loosen a
rusted bolt, and help you bake a moist ham. Baby wipes can
clean scrapes or bruises, shoes, your PC, and just about anything
else. Fabric softener, it seems, will actually help you remove
wallpaper. And the list goes on and on!

A healthy dose of ingenuity, of course, can go a long way to
making frugality feasible and fun. Anyone have any wacky
and/or sneaky uses for Japanese products? Write me at
frugalwatch@japaninc.com, and I'll feature your tip in
a coming issue!

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

PS: My apologies for a mix-up in last week's Frugal Watch - the
title and content did not match (the previous week's
title was left on the new content). For those of you that deleted
the email thinking it old content, *please* head on over to
www.japaninc.com and read the last Frugal Watch on Seven Tips for
Homebuying. It's a good article (if I do say so myself!).

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Written by: Wendy J. Imura (frugalwatch@japaninc.com)
Edited by: JI

Copyright 2005 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.