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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - June 18, 2009

Looks New to Me!
I like to move or rearrange things to give the illusion of getting something new. For instance, I work at home, and the computer room window opens to the front yard. I have several wind chimes in the back yard. I moved one to the front and hung it near the computer room window. Now on breezy days, while I'm working, I enjoy the tinkling of the wind chimes, which adds a bit of peacefulness to the workday. Moving things around creates a change without costing one cent. ~Jean

Free Internet for Month?!
Before you go on vacation, check with your Internet provider to see if you can get a credit for the time you're away and not using your connection. My Internet provider allows for two vacation credits per year. It never would have occurred to me to ask if the guy setting up our Internet connection hadn't mentioned it. If you pay $30/month for your service and go away twice during the year for two weeks at a time, that would equal $30 in savings, which is the equivalent of one free month of service. ~Sheri R.

Free Green Onions
When I purchase green onions, I clean them and cut off the root end, leaving about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of the white part attached to the root. I plant these in my garden (or a flowerpot in a sunny window) about one inch deep and water them. In a couple of weeks, many of the roots will start growing and produce another batch of green onions. These are free except for the planting and watering. I have found not all the roots will grow, but most do. ~Janie S.

The School Lost and Found
School was almost out and I noticed that the lost and found box at my school was full to overflowing. I asked at the office and they told me to take whatever I wanted since the students were given many opportunities to retrieve missing items. I volunteered to take everything and dispose of what I didn't want at a local charity resale shop. The school secretary was more than happy to let me do this "job" for her. I found a lot of things that members of my family can use, including sports equipment, insulated lunch boxes, etc. Some items I will pass on to neighbors. There were hoodies that will fit my husband and me next winter. If you're willing to haul it all away and sort through it, you can usually find several items worth the trouble. ~CA

Poison Ivy Itch Relief
Aveeno® makes a colloidal oatmeal to put in a bath (most drug stores have their own brand that works too). The box comes with packets of "oatmeal" you mix in bath water and soak in. It relieves the itching for hours! You can also use the packet to make an oatmeal paste to apply to effected parts of your body. This will not cure the poison ivy, but it makes the itching go away for hours, and it's all-natural. What a relief! Presently, I have poison ivy between my fingers. I mix a paste to apply to my hands in the evening for about 30 minutes and then I rinse, and the itching goes away so I can get a good night's sleep. It works better than the ointment that I was prescribed. Smells better too! ~Kim W.

For Dog Lovers
Love dogs, but don't have any? Find a local animal shelter and ask them about dog walking. Usually, after an hour or two of training, you can take dogs for walks. Walking the dogs is free exercise, and it's something you can do with your (responsible) kids on the weekends. It helps the dogs who not only get a good long walk, which is great for their mental health, but also helps them adapt to new friendly humans, making them better pets and more likely to have a smooth transition into their new homes. If you're a dog lover, knowing there are dogs waiting to be walked can motivate you to get off the couch and get the exercise you need. ~Ilana B. in Poughkeepsie, NY

Decorative Floral Napkin Rings
Buying cloth dinner napkins at thrift stores helped to wean me from the bad habit of pulling off a paper towel for table napkins. However, this only works if I remember to take them out of the drawer for usage. I came up with the idea of displaying my rolled cloth napkins in a bowl. I make decorative floral napkin rings from empty paper towel tubes. When I have an empty tube, I pull out a glossy colorful page from flower/seed catalogs that I receive in the mail. With a little spray adhesive or glue stick, I can roll the cardboard tube into a floral covered page from the catalog to create a decorative tube. I then cut the decorated paper tube into four sections and have beautiful disposable napkin rings for everyday use! ~Julia

Park Passes
We take full advantage of our state and local parks. I purchase an annual park sticker for $20 each year, which gains access to any state park. We hike, bike, and picnic to our heart's content and many areas have great playground equipment. One family favorite has an indoor activity center and winter ice skating rink for $2 admission for adults and children over two! In summer months, the same park has an outdoor aquatic center that only costs $7 per adult and $6 for children over two, which is a bargain compared to commercial water parks. ~Paula G.

Flea Solution
I have three cats and live in an upstairs apartment. Two of my cats live on my balcony. I let one of them roam around, but he is at my front door most of the time. It was strange to me that the ones that were not roaming around were the ones that had fleas. I had an outbreak of fleas all over my balcony, and they came inside of my apartment and multiplied. I was spraying and putting down flea powder, but this only helped a little. The fleas were eating me up until I got some lavender plants. Five days after putting the plants on my balcony, all of the fleas were gone! Even the ones that were in my apartment! ~C.

Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2009 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.


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