Replace batteries less often

If your household uses a lot of batteries, this tip from the Dollar Stretcher website (www.stretcher.com) might prove helpful. Buying a battery tester (about $6) can save a lot of money. When the remote or a child's toy isn't working, check each battery. Typically, only one battery is dead. You'll save money replacing only one battery instead of all of them. Rechargeables may be a good option if you're replacing them often, but I've generally found Ikea's store brand alkaline batteries to be among the cheapest.

Sale of upholstery fabric with labor order

Reupholstering seems to fall into the "you get what you pay for" category. In my experience, Harriann Upholstery (3537 W. 44th St., Minneapolis, 612-922-9224) does quality work, but labor isn't cheap. But during the month of February, take 30 percent off all designer fabrics such as Duralee, Kravet and Robert Allen with any order. Labor prices range from $975 to $1,075 for a sofa and $475 to $575 for a chair. Note the new location.

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633 or jewoldt@startribune.com. His articles are online at www.startribune.com/dollars.