When we dropped by Virginia Wetzel's house in Orefield a few weeks ago to learn more about her tip for using plastic pretzel buckets as food containers, we noticed a strange dynamic in the home.
Her husband, Rick Wetzel, kept milling about to see what we were up to but he didn't want to get too close to the cameras.
Virginia explained there was an incident where Rick whipped out a few dance moves at a wedding, someone caught it on camera and posted it to YouTube, and now Rick is a little bashful when video cameras are rolling.
Fortunately, Rick mustered the courage to show us a great tip he's been using for years that will save you money next time you have a painting project around the house.
"For years, my husband has been reusing quart or half-gallon milk containers to paint with," Virginia said. "He cuts out half of the top of the container, and keeps the handle intact. Then about halfway down the container he cuts a large opening. You can pour whatever paint you are using into smaller containers than the original paint can, which is lighter, has a handle to hold on to, and which you can pour any leftover paint back into the original paint can, then discard the container."
"Otherwise I have to buy one of those plastic containers and I hate doing that," Rick said.
Rick shows you how to make your own paint bucket in a video at http://www.mcall.com/onthecheap. It only takes a few minutes and you have an easy-to-carry paint holder for free.
Having a disposable container is a nice perk and saves time on cleanup. Whenever we buy a paint container, we wash them to use again so we don't have to buy the same container in the future. But cleaning up after painting is a pain in the neck. If you miss anything while cleaning, you can end up with dried paint chips in your next project, which can chew up a lot of time and energy.
"With the milk containers, I just throw them away," Rick said.
We did some number-crunching in the On The Cheap lab and figure this tip would save you $295.60 over 20 years, assuming you tackle two small painting projects at home each year.
That's our second recent tip on how to reuse empty milk jugs. The first was how to turn a quart-sized milk container into a small scoop or shovel, which we suggested using as sand toys at the beach. We've got one more great use for those empty containers we'll share in a future column. If you have any of your own, send them our way.
Also, we're on the hunt for any back-to-school savings ideas, either on clothes and supplies, or how to pack an economical, healthy lunch. Shoot us a note if you have any advice on those topics and we'll pass them along.
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Free paint containers:
Cheapster: Rick Wetzel
Tip: Use empty milk jugs for paint projects
Estimated savings: $295.60 over 20 years