10 Money Savers for Mom
Get mom the gift she'll really love—the ability to save some cold, hard cash
From your childhood allowance all the way to college tuition, Mom spent years giving you money, so why not try to save her a little dough this Mother's Day? We've put together a list of 10 items that are useful around the house and that can double as gifts that keep on giving, at least to her bank account.
Thrifty moms will love this handy device. The Tube-Wringer gets every last bit of toothpaste, glue, paint, or any other substance out of tubes 2 7/8 inches in diameter or smaller. Mom just puts the back of the tube in between the rollers and uses the hand crank on the side to squish out all its contents until she gets to the cap.
About $12-22, Gill Mechanical Company
Remember all those childhood birthday presents your mom bought you that also required her to stock up on cartons of double and triple A's? This cute clock allows your mom to cut back on wasted batteries. It runs on water (or any electrolytic fluid, such as soda, coffee, or beer); its internal converter extracts electrons from water (or other liquid) molecules to produce an electrical current. Pop a few daffodils into the water reservoir, and you're sure to be Mom's favorite. It measures 6 inches tall by 4 inches wide by 2 ½ inches deep.
About $13, Think Geek
As Mom always says, there's no reason to pay to heat or cool the outside. The Thermal Leak Detector from Black & Decker spots energy leaks in her home. She just shines the light on a wall, sets the reference temperature, and then moves around the house, focusing on areas she thinks may be a problem. If the temperature changes by 1, 5, or 10 degrees, the light will change to red or blue to indicate a hot or cold spot. An included bonus booklet shows her ways to seal and insulate her home.
About $50, Black & Decker
Your mom always told you to eat your vegetables; help her follow her own advice more economically. Made of a special grade of absorbent cotton, the Salad Sac keeps vegetables and herbs crisp for 3 to 5 days. Mom will save by not having to throw away brown and wilted greens or using the paper-towel method for keeping her vegetables fresh.
About $10, Salad Sac
Mom may feel a special kinship with Danica Patrick, but her speed-demon ways come back to haunt her at the pump. The Kiwi helps her amend her gas-guzzling habits by giving her real-time data about how her driving affects fuel consumption. The device plugs into the OBDII diagnostic port, located near the steering column, and senses acceleration, deceleration, drag, and smoothness for any vehicle made in 1996 or after. Every time Mom drives, a Kiwi score is calculated, and she can keep track of how much fuel she has saved by increasing her score (the higher the better). It measures 2 1/5 inches tall by 3 2/5 inches wide by ½ inch thick.
About $299, PLX Devices
Delicious, juicy heirloom tomatoes can get pricey if Mom buys them often enough at the store. Help her start a healthy habit with this heirloom tomato kit, made of renewable grain husks (primarily rice hulls) and organic pigments. It can be placed indoors or out. It also has built-in drain holes, lasts about 4 to 6 months, and is completely biodegradable. The container is 6 ¼ inches high and 6 ¼ inches in diameter and includes dirt and seeds.
About $20, Potting Shed Creations
Mom invested a lot of time and money into her plants and garden. Help her protect her investment against frosts, freezing temperatures, and inclement weather with the Planket. Though not a permanent solution if she lives in a cold climate, the Planket helps Mom avoid rushing to bring her plants inside in the event of an unexpected frost—or worse, losing all her container plants if she can't get them in soon enough. Four sizes are available: 6-foot, 8-foot, and 10-foot diameter sizes and a 10-by-20-foot rectangular size.
About $10-25, Brainchild, Inc
Save your mom hours of frustrations (and the cost of wall repairs) when she hangs those heavy family portraits with the MultiScanner i520 OneStep. The hand-held device, an upgrade of Zircon's well-known original scanner—can locate the edges and center of wood and metal studs and joists behind walls, floors, and ceilings. It also locates rebar and copper pipes. With all that information, your mom might not need to spend on a pro for some of her home improvments.
About $55, Zircon
If mom is an empty nester, she may be spending way too much on electricity and water for half empty laundry loads. The Wonder Wash is a great alternative. The hand-cranked portable washer can hold up to 5 pounds, about seven to eight dress shirts or two to three pairs of jeans of laundry. After warm or hot water is poured in the drum and the lid is sealed, the heat of the water causes the air inside to expand, creating pressure, which forces detergent and water into fabric 100 times faster than hand washing, allowing for quicker wash times.
About $43, The Laundry Alternative, Inc.
Put your DIY skills to the test and help Mom save the expense of hiring a handyman at the same time. E-mail your Mom a coupon for the home improvement of your choice and customize and color the personal message. Use TOH's know-how before you start so she'll think you're a pro, even if you've never tackled a particular project before.