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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - August 6, 2009

Next Year's School Supplies
When the school supply lists come out, I grab the next year's supply list and wait. When they start to clearance the school supplies, I try to buy for the next year. When school gets ready to start up again, I go "shopping" in my supply closet first before hitting the stores. ~Lee H. in St Louis, Missouri

Credit On Ice
I put my credit cards in a resealable bag of water and then put them in the freezer. This way, I still have them, but to use them, I need to let them thaw out, eliminating spending without pre-planning it. Don't thaw them in the microwave. It ruins the magnetic strip. Instead, just use hot tap water! ~Dee T.

RVs and Mice
Downy fabric softener towels thrown around in a camper keeps mice out. There is something in the fabric softener that they don't like. I haven't had mice in my camp trailer in years since I started using them. Just throw them around on the floors, in the cabinets, and anywhere you see their droppings. It works and it helps with that camper odor as well. ~Bruce N.

Cleaning Blinds
Vertical and horizontal blinds are wonderful, but very hard to clean! If you take the set down (they just clip out) and hang them in a tub or outside, you can spray the vinyl with Scrubbing Bubbles(r) bathroom cleaner or a cheaper alternative. Let it set for five or six minutes and spray clean with hot water. Not only are the blinds clean, but disinfected as well! ~T.

Easy Zipper Repair
If the tab is broken off your zipper and you need the item to last (down jacket, backpack, purse, etc.) to the next sale or if it's for a seasonal item (tent, sleeping bag, etc.), use a key ring. This works well for those who do not sew especially since zippers are not always easy to put in. ~Elizabeth

One Day at a Time
Fast food is quick and easy, but it's not cheap or nutritious. A little organization can eliminate that trip to the drive-through window. Planning meals weekly or monthly is your best option, but if you're not quite that organized, begin in the evening for the next night's dinner. Try putting together a casserole, soup or chili to cook in the slow cooker while you're at work the next day. There's no way you'll stop to pick up pizza when there's a hot meal ready and waiting at home. ~Cindy V.

Always Have 'New' Toys
My sons, ages 3 years and 11 months, always have "new" toys to play with. After Christmas and birthdays, I pack away the old toys to make room for the new. I weed out the ones that are broken or they have outgrown, saving them for the next child, selling them at a yard sale or donating them. When they lose interest in something they are currently playing with, I pack it away and bring out one of the stored toys. Since they haven't played with the "new" toy for a while, it is brand new to them! ~Trinity D. in PA

Litter Box Refills
I have one of those electric cat litter boxes. I love that it scoops automatically for the cat. It's less work for me. What I don't like is spending $13 for the disposable ten boxes that come with it. So I don't. I have had my litter box for three years and am still on the first box of disposables. I recycle my grocery bags by using them to line the plastic disposable box. When full, I remove the plastic bag, tie it up for tossing, and reline the box with a new grocery bag. ~Deb P. in Boston, MA

One Last Check Before Buying
Anytime I buy something online, I first go to my favorite search engine and type in the product that I want followed by the word "coupon." I was amazed when I went to order a new laptop computer. I typed in the product and came up with a $100 off coupon for about 30 seconds' worth of work! There are also free shipping codes and other printable coupons out there as well. They have them for groceries, services, and retail shops. With a couple minutes on your computer, you can save on almost anything! ~Jessica L. in Gorham, NH

Children's Gifts
I wanted to add an idea for children's gifts based on something we received first-hand. My son's classmate gave him a large plastic shoebox filled with a variety of brand-name art supplies (crayons, modeling clay, pencils, glitter-glue, etc.). It was overflowing and wonderful. I realized that the mom must have stocked up during the back-to-school sales that happen yearly. The retail value of the gift was very high, but during the sales, most of the supplies can be purchased relatively easily. If you have any gifts to give for kids ages 3-7, I'd recommend this. As a mom of the recipient, it was a great way for us to try different supplies and do something creative. ~Janki

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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