The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 30, 2009
Sweeter Smelling Vacuum Cleaner
With two little ones, I sweep up a lot of food with my sweeper, and to keep it smelling good, I just vacuum up some cloves or cinnamon. There are no harsh chemicals and very rarely do I use a whole container of spices before it gets stale. Keeps the sweeper smelling like apple pie every time I vacuum. ~Valerie B. in Ohio
Nighttime Cooling Without A/C
If you are trying to stay cool but need to feel cool to sleep, try this. Get an air mattress and sleep on it. Since the ambient temperature (which is the temperature of the air in the mattress) is lower than your body temperature, you will actually feel too cold and may need to use a mattress pad or blanket between you and the mattress. ~Patt
I would like to suggest trying "alternative" sources for food. For instance, in my area, we have two "scratch and dent" places, but only one of them is listed in the phone book under grocery stores. The other is listed under "groceries - wholesale," but anyone can shop there. As with shopping anywhere, be sure to closely scrutinize per unit pricing. In addition, if there is a livestock auction nearby, you may find that they also auction off vegetables, fruits and plants for extremely low prices. ~Mandi
Instant 'Fresh Air'
Instead of spending money on expensive air fresheners, switch to the old fashioned method of eliminating bathroom odors, namely the household match. Simply light the match, wave it once or twice through the air, and you'll have instant relief. No more foul odors. Be sure to dip the used matchstick in water before disposing in trash (we don't want any fires). ~Nechama K.
Before You Go Picking
Are you headed to the picking orchards or farmers market? You will save lots of time and even money if you pick out the recipes you want to use before you go get your prized food selection. Make sure you have done your homework and know how you are going to put the food up for storage after you bring it home. Check your supply of containers, freezer bags, etc. before you begin. Find and mark the recipes you want to use and the ingredients it will take to bring the recipe to reality. ~Theresa T. in Maroa, IL
I have tutored over the past nine years off and on. Currently I charge $25 per hour. I am a certified K-5th grade teacher. I always let my administration (coordinator, counselor) and teachers know of my tutoring status. I stay full most of the time. I can easily bring in $700 to $1000 per month working after school a few days a week. I never tutor my own students as it is unethical to do so. I have had great success at this. I get material from our school counselor, coordinator, and teachers. The Internet is a great place to get free worksheets and printables. ~JM
The Garden Party
With gardening season upon us, consider making parties out of produce swaps and canning/preserving activities. Invite friends over with their extra garden bounty and trade with others, while enjoying refreshments and trading garden stories. Or, consolidate produce and can or preserve food in a group setting, asking everyone to bring along canning jars, fruits, veggies, etc. It's a lot of fun and you can try new methods and recipes. This is cheap entertainment and a great way to put up veggies and jellies for the winter or for holiday gifts. If friends don't have a garden, invite them anyway and they can swap other items like the pectin needed for jelly or a bottle of wine or seltzer. ~Z.
Inexpensive Drying Racks
My washer and dryer are upstairs in my condo, and I have no basement and I cannot dry laundry outdoors. Rather than buying the expensive fan and rack drying combination, I put up my old wooden drying rack and turn on the overhead fan. A portable fan would work too. My clothes dry quicker and get less wear and tear than in the dryer, and I cool off at the same time! Not only do I save the cost of the new "drying system," but I also save money on running my clothes dryer by using what I already own. ~Barbara in CT
Buying a Mattress
I used to work as a "sleep consultant" at one of the biggest mattress chains in the country. Sales reps are able to discount the mattresses up to 50% and still make money, but they won't always be willing to play with the price. The best way to save money is go to a large mattress chain store in a location that doesn't have a lot of shopping. The sales reps there are under pressure to make their numbers, and they're willing to chop the price up more than others. On Tuesday nights, after they've spent eleven hours not selling anything, they're willing to discount close to 50%. I know because I used to get excited when people even looked in my store on Tuesdays. Let alone told me they'd buy if I gave them a good enough price. ~Michael
Cheaper Pork Chops
In our neck of the woods, the grocery stores often have whole pork loins on sale for $.99 a pound or less. Because they're always at least seven pounds, this looks like a huge hunk of meat, but if you eat pork chops, this is a great deal. Why? Those expensive boneless pork chops are really just sliced pork loin. Sharpen a knife, slice them about 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick, and freeze the chops for later use. You'll feel really smart when you see pork chops on "sale" for $1.49 a pound. Your cost will be less than $1 a pound and a few minutes of prep time. Save two pounds of the pork loin and toss it in the slow cooker with a 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce. Cook for eight to nine hours on low (your pot may vary) or until it's "falling apart" done. Pull apart meat with a fork, mix in the pan juices and adjust to your taste with more BBQ sauce. Grab some buns and you've got great BBQ pork sandwiches. Freeze any extra for a fast dinner next winter! ~Michelle Y.
Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit www.stretcher.com/r/99.htm to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2009 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.