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Money Saving Household Hacks

Hacking isn't just for bad guys anymore


Cleaning the floor using a rag
Izabela Habur/E+/Getty Images

Before internet criminals turned hacking into a bad word, hacking was a term used to describe a hobby that involved modifying things (usually electronics or software) to add functionality or unlock secret capabilities. People would try to hack not only computers and networks, but also everyday household products.

There is a community of people out in the world that still carry on the tradition of hobby hacking and many of them do it to save themselves money. Here are some money saving hacks that people have come up with to save money and add new capabilities to existing products. Please note that these are presented for entertainment purposes only, you may void your warranty or possibly cause injury if you actually do some of this stuff. Attempt at your own risk:

1. Make your own Swiffer-like pads

If you're like me, paying money for cleaning cloths that get thrown away after a single use seems like money down the drain. Every time I open a package I say to myself "there's got to be a reusable option somewhere." A few Google searches later, I stumbled on a Consumerist article on 13 Ways to Make Your Own Swiffer pads. They have some pretty ingenious solutions. Most solutions are "green" and involve reusing old clothes. Some people even sew their own pads from a pattern.

2. Keurig coffee maker hacks

If it were between me and our Keurig coffee maker, my wife would surely kick me out of the house before she would part with her Keurig. The versatile Keurig makes coffee, tea, hot chocolate, iced tea, spiced cider and more, but did you know that you can make a cup of noodle soup in an instant with a Keurig? Set the standard size coffee cup, remove any K-cups that might be in the coffee maker and peel the cup of soup lid back. Once it's done, cover the lid for 3 minutes and you have a perfect cup of ramen noodles in under four minutes.

Another neat Keurig hack is using Senseo-branded pods or other espresso-type pods in the Keurig. The Perfect Pod Holster available for about $20 will let you use many non K-cup type pods in your Keurig coffee maker. Just be careful as this could possibly void your Keurig's warranty. Consult your Keurig manual before attempting.

3. Salt hacks

A lot of people are down on salt. We are constantly told to cut back on salt, eat less salt, yada, yada. Salt has gotten a bad rap over the years, but salt can do a lot of really cool stuff.

Did you know you can thoroughly chill a can of soda in less than a minute with ice, water, and a little salt? Salt can put out a grease fire in the kitchen, make milk last longer, prevent mold on cheese, remove soot from your fireplace, and it's even said to remove unwanted tattoos. Check out the Saltworks site for a ton of other salt hacks you can use around the house.

4. Dishwasher hacks

Did you know you could cook an entire meal in your dishwasher? Sounds tasty right? Dishwashers can also be used to wash baseball caps and even make dull hub caps shiny again. You can also clean all sorts of things you never would be able to otherwise such as your vacuum attachments and dustpans. Unplgged.com has some other great ideas of things you can put in your dishwasher, although I'm not sure about the computer keyboard cleaning in the dishwasher they mention, I was always told that electronics and water don't mix well.

5. Money saving printer hacks

In our house, we are constantly using the printer. Photos, recipes, school projects, you name it, we print it, and ink ain't cheap. In fact, on a recent trip to Best Buy I found that buying new ink cartridges for our printer was going to cost us nearly as much as a new printer.

You can save a ton of money by refilling your ink cartridges yourself. Obviously the printer manufacturers are not big fans of this practice and have engineered cartridges so they are not so easy to refill. Fear not, printer cartridge refill providers have developed microchips that they include in their aftermarket refill cartridges that trick the printer into thinking that the refilled cartridge is brand new, bypassing any anti-refill technology that a printer manufacturer might have put in place.

There are both self-resetting chips and resettable chips available. The self-resetting chips are easier to use because they don't require the purchase of a separate reset device.

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