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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - November 12, 2009

Air Travel Charges
To make your checked suitcases weigh less, be sure to board the plane wearing your heaviest items (hiking boots, heavy coat, etc.). You can take your feet out of the boots as soon as you're seated and use your coat as a blanket. ~DMH

Grease Helps
If you have leftover bacon grease or oil from frying, save it for later use. It's perfect for cleaning and lubricating your cast iron grates on your outside grill! ~Nancy in Tupelo, Mississippi

Check for Coupons
I was about to throw away a bag from coffee purchased at the grocery store when I noticed the fine print that said I could exchange it for a free tall brewed coffee at a popular coffee shop. Since I have a few of those bags in the pantry, I can now plan on several free stops when I am out running my errands. Coupons are often printed inside packaging so it pays to look it over carefully before discarding. ~Janet W.

Lost Mitten? Not to Worry!
I have a tip to keep gloves and mittens around for years until they actually wear out. When purchasing gloves and mittens, buy two identical pairs. It's guaranteed that you will be in a hurry at some point and can only find one glove/mitten. This is no longer a problem! You have another glove/mitten that matches. This works great for kids' mittens that have to last for five or more months. ~Janelle in Minnesota

Deviled Eggs to Go
Whenever I take deviled eggs to a party, I pack the egg whites in one zipper bag and the yolk mixture in another. When I get to the party I place the egg whites on a serving tray and snip (with my Swiss Army Knife) off a corner on the yolk mixture and pipe it in. For the garnish, I just carry paprika in my purse, or to fancy it up, I bring along a small baggie of cheese, ham or olives slices. ~Cyn

Cheaper Can Be Better
Due to an injury, I am no longer able to shampoo my hair. I called the hair salons in town and was quoted prices of $4, $8, and $10 for a shampoo only. I went to the $4 salon and to one of the $10 salons. The $4 salon did a much better job than the $10 salon did. Paying more for something doesn't automatically mean "getting better." It pays to shop around even for the "little things." ~L. S. in Sheboygan, WI

Easy Pantry Inventory
I work full time and I have two kids and a husband. Between homework, changing diapers and house chores, I came up with an idea on how to keep track of what is in my pantry. I just save the grocery store receipt and tape it to the inside door of my pantry cabinet. Once I use the item from my pantry, I just cross it off my receipt, and if I have time, I add it to my grocery-shopping list. If not, I just highlight the item on my receipt and take the receipt with me to the store. By doing this, I can also compare the price from when I last purchased the item. ~Luna in Reno, NV

Lunch for Dinner
Last night, I saved some money on my bill at a restaurant. My husband and I were dining out and I just wasn't hungry enough for a full dinner meal. Thinking more of my waistline than my bottom line, I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted. The waitress suggested the lunch plate with the smaller portions. An added bonus was that the cost was smaller too, by nearly $4! I guess I follow the rules too closely. The menu said that lunch prices ended at 4:00 p.m. I just never bothered to ask for the lunch portion, but that all changed last night. I figure it can't hurt to ask, and I plan to do just that at every restaurant in the future. Three or four dollars doesn't sound like much, but over the course of a year, it adds up to over $150. ~Michelle D. in FL

Cheaper Body Wash
The most inexpensive "body wash" I've found is to buy good quality liquid hand soap in a one-gallon refill bottle and pour it into smaller pump bottles (recycled or decorative) for use in the shower. This works great and is even cheaper than buying generic-brand liquid body washes. We love it! While I'll grant you that bar soap is even cheaper (I've always liked Ivory), its wax component builds up on the shower walls and tub after awhile (though shampoo is a good cleaner for this task). This is why I prefer to use body wash. It's one less time-consuming cleaning task to do. ~Sandy V. in Durham, NC

Bulk Purchase Savings
We are a family of nine with one on the way, which means getting large amounts of food at a decent price can be difficult. Plus, because of different health issues, we must rely on whole grains, legumes and nuts instead of the typical American diet as the core of our meals. So, for our family, coupons and Wal-Mart don't affect our family's menu budget as much as other families. However, we've found that places like our local health food store, or any other place where they sell grains in bins inside the store, are willing to sell these items in 25 lb. or 50 lb. bags, depending on what they have. So, when they have a sale, instead of emptying out the bins in front, we ask for the food in the big bags. Our experience has been that these stores are happy to get the bags for you and sometimes give you a discount simply for buying in such large quantities. We get enough to last us until the prices dip again or there's a sale and end up eating according to our family's needs for a price that makes us happy. ~Amy

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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