Last night, I made some of the best tacos I’ve ever made. Instead of using the usual pre-made taco seasoning, I switched things up. I coated the pan in a little bit of sesame oil and seasoned ground turkey and spinach with kochujang, hoisin and fish sauce, and then topped it off with some Tapatio hot sauce and a dollop of Greek yogurt. I know this all sounds like a crazy combination, but, for some reason, it worked. And the best part was I already had all the ingredients.

My quest to save money has allowed me to get creative. I’m rethinking items I may have overlooked, and I’m figuring out new ways to use old things. One of my latest discoveries on the home front: the painter’s drop cloth. It’s available pretty much at any store that sells paint supplies, and can cost anywhere from $10 to $45. Get creative with these alternate uses.


1. Reupholster pillows.The drop cloth is already finished at the edges, so it requires minimal sewing. You can leave the fabric as it is, or you can use spray paint and a stencil to paint on letters, numbers or designs.

2. Treat your windows. Cut the drop cloth to size for curtains, and sew about a 2 1/2-inch hem on the bottom to add weight. Then, clip drapery rings at the top and hang them on a curtain rod. Paint stripes to match your decor, or leave them neutral.

3. Revive your seat cushions. Unscrew the seat from the bottom of a chair. Drape the cloth over the cushion to see if the existing fabric shows through. If it does, remove it. Cut the fabric to size, leaving some excess so that you can pull it up and over all four sides. Tape it in place to hold and then staple it down with a staple gun.

4. Make a tablecloth.The neutral hue of the drop cloth matches nearly any decor and allows for food to take center stage. It’s also big enough to cover large tables. Bonus: You won’t have to worry about food or drink spills because the cloth can easily be bleached in the wash.

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