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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 3, 2009

Hard Boiled Egg Trick
Want to tell boiled eggs from fresh in your refrigerator? I have an easy way. I just add a drop of food coloring to the water when I boil my eggs. It's so easy! ~Linda H.

Recycling Window Shades
If you have an old window shade, save it. You can unroll it for small painting jobs as a painting cloth and then re-roll it to store when it dries. This takes up little space and costs nothing. ~JS

Night Light Bulbs
Now is the time of year that I remind myself to make a note to shop the after Christmas sales for clear and white Christmas bulbs to use in my nightlights when they burn out. They are much more economical than actually buying nightlight bulbs. (Just make sure you don't buy the flashing bulbs!) ~Betty in Northwest Arkansas

Spoiled Food?
I find myself throwing away the same foods that go bad each week (mostly fresh fruits and vegetables.) I now keep a running list of foods I throw out or recipes I make too much of consistently. I read over this list while making my grocery list. I either buy none of the items I throw out, cut back to less than I think I need, or buy it canned or frozen instead. For the recipes, I cut them in half and forget thinking of leftovers. ~Jolynn H.

Reducing the Cost of Ground Beef
My favorite money- and time-saving tip is to pre-cook ground meat. I buy hamburger meat on sale and pre-cook it by boiling (yes, boiling). I can buy the less expensive ground beef, and by boiling it, I get rid of excess fat. Then I drain and cool the meat, divide it into one-cup portions in small sandwich bags, and store in a freezer bag. I am able to get out how much I need for soups, chili, spaghetti, tacos or casseroles for a quick dinner after a long day at work. ~Melissa W.

Baby Formula
Sign up online with the baby formula companies. They will send you samples and great coupons ($10 and more!) to get you to try their formulas. Even if you are planning to breastfeed your child, it is great peace of mind to know that there is an available option if you go out and the sitter runs out of breast milk. Then use the coupons to get virtually free cans of formula, which can be used yourself, given to needy friends, or donated to women and children's charities. ~Lisa M.

Not Just for the Elderly
Bathtub accidents are many and quite often serious! It's not just the lame and elderly that get safety and convenience with a bathtub and shower stool. Besides the obvious unsafe instability of standing on one foot while you wash the other, you do a better job with one foot up on the stool. You can experience enhanced washing and other conveniences. Pick one with adjustable legs and a 12- or 13-inch top that is lightweight and easy to move about. And don't forget the non-slip mat for the tub. ~William B. in Anniston, AL

Removing Stale Smells
I just came across this by accident the other day while doing dishes. I found a sippy cup that I left in my kid's diaper bag the other day. I prayed all the way to the sink that it wouldn't be leftover milk. Well, it was clumpy, smelly old milk. Yuck! So I dumped it in the toilet and wondered how I would get the smell out of the cup. The dishwasher never seems to get the smell and bacteria out. I put baking soda in the cup, poured white vinegar in, filled the rest with water, and put the lid on. I left it for a few hours. It worked! There was no more smell, so I assumed the bacteria was gone as well. I put it the dishwasher just in case though. ~Amanda

The Price of Packing
I had to return something that I ordered online. I went to an authorized UPS shipping center, which was inside a copy store. Since I needed some bubble wrap, the woman told me that they charge $10 for that service. The product was about the size of a deck of cards. I drove about two minutes down the street to a regular UPS store, which was inside a Staples. They took my box, wrapped it in bubble wrap, and taped it up for free. Just like with a convenience store, you pay extra for the convenience. It might be worth it to go a little out of your way to save money. ~Linda S. in Massachusetts

Using Coffee "Cans"
Since most coffee comes in plastic containers now instead of cans with plastic lids, I use them to store macaroni, rice, sugar, etc. and just put a label on the lid or side of the container, letting me know what is inside. Why buy containers? I also use them in my garden by cutting out the bottom and placing them around my tomato plants when I plant them. Then when they need water, I just fill the container with the amount of water I want and it soaks into the roots instead of running off. This also is more economical than watering the whole area. Saves water and time! ~Sydney from Scott City, MO

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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