The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 17, 2009
More Disinfecting Wipes
When plastic containers of disinfecting wipes run out of wipes, I save the liquid. I add paper napkins to the container, giving me more wipes for "free." Adding paper towels would work, too. ~Sanie
Handy, Healthy Work Lunch
Instead of purchasing frozen dinners to take for lunch, I make my own. I use the extra servings from a prepared recipe to freeze in sectioned, plastic plates I purchased cheaply at an off-price grocery store. I include the main dish and two side dishes, seal with freezer wrap, and label with a permanent marker. If I do this a couple times a week, I soon have a nice variety of my own homemade meals, which taste better, have no added chemicals, and cost much less. ~Ellen T. in Waterville, Maine
If you have renters or mortgage insurance, it's a good idea to get other quotes at least once a year. I recently saved $400 on my homeowners insurance just by contacting several insurance companies. It was really surprising how much difference there was between companies and the types of coverages they offered. I ended up going with AAA (yes, they are not just for automobiles anymore) for my homeowners insurance. Shop around for your home and automobile insurance. It can pay big dividends! ~Rick in Bellevue, NE
Instead of going to dinner to celebrate something for the kids (braces off, good report card, etc.), we decided to let them buy any dessert they wanted at the grocery store and then make a special dinner at home. This is a lot cheaper, and most of the time, they end up with a $4 container of ice cream. Even with a more expensive ice cream cake, this is still much cheaper than going out to dinner. ~NY
Cheaper Carpet Freshener
If you use a powdered carpet freshener before vacuuming, you know how expensive this stuff can be. Because we have dogs, I use it almost on a daily basis, and I have found an inexpensive way to stretch the freshener. I mix one container of carpet freshener to one small box of baking soda. Then I shake well. This scents the baking soda, keeps the scent of the carpet freshener from being overwhelming, and stretches my cleaning dollars. ~Candy in TN
Two Gifts in One
For many years, gifts in our family have been wrapped in new towels. Dish towels, hand towels, bath towels, and washcloths are used and secured with pins. We use safety pins for younger family members and straight pins for older ones, but tape can be used also and removed carefully to preserve the nap of the towel. We buy the towels throughout the year on sale. The recipient has two gifts instead of one and everyone can use new towels! ~Holly in NH
Clean Shower Made Easy
I have been struggling with getting on my hands and knees to clean my shower floor. Then I got the solution. I found one of those large plastic drain covers at the grocery store for a couple of dollars. It is basically a large white piece of flexible rubber. This holds the water very effectively. I then turn on the shower and get an inch or two of water to stand. I then add my normal concentrated cleaning solution. Swish it around and leave it for a few hours while I'm at work. When I get home, I do a brief scrub on all the loosened soap scum, lift the flap, drain and rinse! It is sparking clean! ~Shelley
Fancy Holiday Tables
A lot of times stores have tablecloths on sale and the largest size isn't too much more than the smaller sizes. I buy one to fit my table and one in the largest size to cut down and hem for matching napkins and runners for my buffet as well as a small tablecloth for another small table in my dining room. You could buy a tablecloth just a couple sizes bigger for just making the napkins or runner. I even have plaid chair cushion covers to match my dining table linens at Christmas time that were made this way. It only takes a short time to hem them, and this is a lot less expensive than buying all the napkins, place mats and runners separately. It's great for odd sized pieces as well. ~Rhonda H.
I am helping my stepfather with his medicines. He has over ten prescriptions. On just one, I saved over $20. He is on Medicare and has prescription coverage. They said that the bill was $34. I verified that they had applied his insurance. I was at RiteAid and they have a discount card for free. I asked what it would cost with the discount card, and they responded that I couldn't use insurance and the discount card. Using the discount card, the prescription only cost $12.79, so why use the insurance card? Now I have to go back and check all the rest of his prescriptions. This is time consuming, but it looks like it might be well worth it. They allow you to pick and choose which medication is on the discount card or insurance. ~Ellen B.
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