Saving money by turning household items into even more useful household items is an art form in and of itself, and for one reader in California, spreading fertilizer is as simple as drinking a cup of coffee.

The next time you’re out of coffee and preparing to work in the garden, turn the can upside down and punch a bunch of holes in the bottom. Fill it up with fertilizer and sprinkle it where necessary.

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While you’re out spreading fertilizer, gather up a few pine cones to use as a natural deterrent in your garden.

A reader said that when she’d put pine cones in her flower and vegetable pots, her cats and other wild animals would stop scavenging or relieving themselves in the nice potted soil.

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A young reader and his mother from Wisconsin have figured out a homemade way to get rid of rust on farm tools scattered about the operation.

The reader said his mom poured about half a standard bucket’s worth of sand into the container and then topped the sand with oil from a recent oil change. After leaving the rusty parts of the tools in the sand and oil mixture, all it took was a cloth to wipe off the excess oil and the tools were as good as new.

Luckily for the reader, his dad also paid him $5 for every tool he picked up, which is some serious cash at 8 years old.

If you have hints to share, drop Paula a line at PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543-0518 or email pennywise@goldenwest.net.

Paula edits the monthly newsletter, “PennyWise,” from her family’s diversified farm and ranch operation on the edge of South Dakota’s Badlands. If you have hints to share, drop Paula a line at PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543-0518 or email pennywise@goldenwest.net.

Paula edits the monthly newsletter, “PennyWise,” from her family’s diversified farm and ranch operation on the edge of South Dakota’s Badlands.