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Thompson: Freezer holds answer for smelly trash
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If you suffer from "bad-smelling-trash-can-itis," I have a solution for you. Instead of throwing your food scraps in your trash can, wrap them up and put them in your freezer. Just make sure to throw them away on your trash pick-up day.

A co-worker, Kevin Eicher, shared this one with me. Kevin was having trouble with pine straw building up on his roof, especially in the valleys of the roof. He didn't want to risk getting on a tall ladder to remove the pine straw so he came up with a pretty unique idea. He took an old fishing lure with multiple hooks on it. He snipped the points off of the hooks and then attached the lure to his fishing rod. Kevin then proceeded to cast the lure onto his roof in the middle of the pine straw. With a few casts, he had removed most of the pine straw. What little he didn't get, he was able to loosen it up so that the next rain would wash it away.

Be wary of budget-billing offers from your local electric and gas utilities. Budget-billing is a service that allows your monthly utility bill to be the same amount from month to month with a "true-up" at the end of the year. It's a great tool for budgeting your expenses. However, people end up using more electricity and gas because they're not exposed to the immediate feedback of a high monthly bill. Be careful and watch your consumption of kilowatt hours and therms for each month!

What is the easiest way to budget your money? The envelope method. For those who have never heard of it, you simply take a bunch of envelopes and label them with your different monthly expenses like rent, insurance, food, gas, entertainment, etc. When you get paid, cash your check and divide the money up into the envelopes. The envelope method is frequently recommended by the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. Here's my tip ... when you're out and about don't carry cumbersome envelopes for gas, entertainment, dry cleaning, etc. Use different colored paper clips. For example, use a blue paper clip on your money for gas, a pink paper clip on your money for entertainment, etc.

Do you always forget to bring your coupons with you when you go to the store? Here's a neat little trick to make sure you never forget. Buy a box of cheap envelopes and put them in a drawer in your kitchen. When making out your grocery list, use the back of one of the envelopes. Then, put your coupons inside. Now your list and coupons are together making it more difficult to forget either one.

Is your dog notorious for passing gas? This is probably the result of him not getting enough fiber in his diet. A fiber-rich diet helps food pass through the intestines and decreases the formation of gases, which leads to flatulence. Try it and see if it works. (The Tip Man is always looking out for you ... and your dog.)

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.