Saving Cents: Spend less on gas, kill nasty cockroaches on the cheap

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by By Sherry Williams / 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 9 at 3:12 PM

HOUSTON-Viewers regularly e-mail their money-saving ideas to 11 News, and the latest batch includes tips on saving at the gas pump, on long distance calls and on pest control.

11 News Video
Saving Cents: Your cost cutting tips
June 24, 2009

A viewer named Sarah from the Greenspoint area e-mailed this tip: Don't let your gas tank fall below half full. She wrote, "Once the hand passes below half a tank, the gas just flies out."< /p>

Mechanics say this is true. Gas evaporates like crazy. But keep the tank full and there's less air in there, so there's less evaporation. Sarah says it costs $10 to fill up her half-full tank, but $28 to fill up her empty tank.

Tonya in Pearland told us about a gadget called Magic Jack. Her husband is overseas, so she is always talking to him. She said you plug the Magic Jack into your computer then plug a regular phone into the Magic Jack. That enables you to call anywhere with no long distance bill.

"I tested it out. I took this to Israel with me. I plugged it into my laptop, picked up the phone, called Miami, no problem at all,"said Steve Greenberg, author of "Gadget Nation."

The Magic Jack costs $40. After you've had it a year, you'll pay an annual $20 membership to keep using it. You can buy a five-year membership for $60. Also, viewers e-mailed to say you can find the Magic Jack device cheaper than $40 on eBay.

In response to a recent Saving Cents report on how to make your own detergent using 20 Mule Team Borax laundry powder, a viewer wrote to say Borax also kills roaches.

Entomologists at Texas A&M University said this is true. They said it's really effective against cockroaches. Borax is a naturally-occurring mineral that contains a substance called Boron, which is highly toxic to the stomachs of a wide variety of insects, the A&M bug experts said.

The trick to kill regular roaches, ants and any other pests is to get them to eat the Borax. But it will kill cockroaches if they simply walk across the powder. Experts say you only need to sprinkle a tiny amount in areas where you see cockroach traffic-b arely enough to be visible. They advise against mixing your Borax with edible substances to get bugs to eat it because of the possibility a person or pet could eat it accidentally. Boron is toxic to humans but only in huge, huge quantities, the experts said.

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