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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 15, 2009

The Monday Exchange
A few of my co-workers and I have a coupon exchange at the office. Every Monday, we bring in our coupons that we received with our Sunday papers. I keep what I will use and bring in the rest for the exchange. At times, I will get a few coupons for the same item that I always use. ~Cheryl

Winter Auto Care
During the winter months, along with putting bags on my side mirrors, I also put a tarp over the front and rear window. I never have to scrape my windows, nor do they fog up. I just remove the tarps and bags, and I'm ready to go! ~Rebecca J in Forsyth, MO

Expecting? One Outfit = Many
When I was pregnant the first time, my mother-in-law gave me a wool jumper (winter baby). I discovered that I could wear it with regular button blouses by leaving the bottom buttons unbuttoned. No one sees it open under the jumper, and I have a lot of outfits from that one item of clothing. It's great for church and many other "dressy" places that I go. ~Judy in WI

Shipping Books for Less
Selling books online is a great way to make a few extra dollars, but if you're not careful, the shipping costs can add up to more than what you're getting for the book. To help keep shipping costs down, always ask the post office to ship books at the book rate, which is significantly cheaper than regular shipping. ~Amanda S. in Bridgeport, CT

Sharing Meals
Having a weekly potluck dinner is a great way to help each other out. You could provide the meatloaf stretched with bread or oats and the rest can come from the neighbors. Everyone can have a really great meal at a very cheap price of providing one dish, bread, or dessert. Serve water and or iced tea. ~Seantel in The Netherlands

Smelly Laundry Solution
For undesirable odors in your laundry, add one half to one cup (depending on the size of the load and the strength of the odor) rubbing alcohol and/or Listerine(r) to your load. This also gets rid of dried-in odors, sour laundry and urine smells. ~Julie

Perfume Stretchers
To stretch my favorite perfume, I use unscented body lotion. After my shower, I put enough lotion in my hand to moisturize my body. Then I spray about three shots of perfume on the lotion, rub my hands together to mix, and apply the lotion to my body. This makes my favorite perfume last at least twice as long as just spraying directly on. ~P.S.

Winter Warmth
My spouse and I wear sweat suits around the house all winter with wool socks and a knit cap for our heads. We keep slippers or sneakers on our feet. We have a down comforter on the bed. We keep the thermostat at 65 degrees during the day with the window shades open, and set the thermostat at 55 degrees at night. Our heating bill (propane as we live in an RV) is affordable. Please note the addition of the cap on the head makes a big difference in changing the temperature of the body. ~Joy M.

Make Your Own
My dad is a do-it-yourselfer. Last year, I was looking at a catalog and liked a picture of a coat rack I saw in it. I showed it to my dad, and since the gardening season was over, he had time on his hands and built a version of what I had shown him. Not only that, but he improved on the catalog by putting many hooks inside the frame, so we can hang umbrellas and gloves there. This coat rack is so nice. He has three standing orders from our friends, who are offering top dollar to him to make them one. When I think of the money I saved and the love that I was shown, I am proud. ~Z.

Saving Decorating Ideas
When browsing through magazines, I almost always find a picture of a decorating idea, window treatment or craft item that I like. Instead of making copies of the page when there might only be one item I like, I take a picture of it with my cell phone and then send it to my email where I download it into a folder, which can also be organized by room or type. It's easy to locate, and it saves ink and paper. Also, I don't have to keep a physical folder of those. You could also do that with a digital camera, but I always have my cell phone handy. ~Sharon in Ohio

Homeowner's Insurance Savings
With the way home prices have plummeted, the cost of replacing a home in the unfortunate event it is ever destroyed has also plummeted. I recently received my homeowner insurance renewal quote in the mail and realized my dwelling coverage was still being calculated at the same amount that it would have cost me to replace my home in 2005! I immediately called and asked them to recalculate that cost and there was a 12.5% decrease in the required coverage. The lady on the phone said that they only readjust those amounts when people call and request a recalculation. Insurance companies are probably raking in the money on all these home policies now seriously over-valued. My 10-minute phone call saved me almost $100 for my renewal this year, so it's worth a look! ~Jaime P.

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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