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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - January 7, 2010

Why Buy a Treadmill?
Treadmills are expensive and don't fit into a small house or an apartment. Running in place is a great way to exercise. If you listen to a Military PT Cadence (you can find one at while running in place for 20 minutes, you will surely feel like you've worked out. ~FWR

Baking Soda Believer
Baking soda is a primary product in my under-the-sink cupboard. I decant it into old spice jars with the holes in the lids to sprinkle on sinks, keeping one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. This is great for cleaning pots, pans, and glass and Pyrex cookware and buffing the stainless steel cutlery. Mix it with dissolved soap to form a paste to clean the bath. Works just like the expensive cleaners that you can buy in the supermarket. ~Elizabeth

Avoiding Online Card Theft
With credit and ID fraud running rampant these days, I worry about online security when I order. That's why I have a credit card that is solely dedicated to online ordering. I use only that card when ordering online and don't use it for anything else. That way, if I hear a site that I have ordered from has had information compromised, I immediately know what card I used and can either request to have a new number issued or watch it more closely. ~June B. in Jacksonville, FL

New Use for Old Jeans
Don't throw away/give away that old pair of jeans. Instead, use the leg portion to make place mats for the backyard BBQ table. Cut off the legs (using any size jeans), then cut open each leg along the seam, and decorate these. We let the grandkids do this, and they enjoy their own personal place mat as well as using them to fit and cover the entire table. Best of all, these can be washed over and over. ~MPC

Gift Card Caution
Just a "heads up" regarding gift cards. I just saw a new report that warned consumers that a company declaring bankruptcy does not have to honor gift cards. The advice was to use the cards quickly since so many companies are in real trouble in these rough economic times. ~Jane

Extended Mascara Life
When your mascara seems to be running out, you can get extra mileage from it by partially filling your sink with hot tap water and soaking your mascara tube (closed tight) for a minute or so. This helps re-liquefy the contents that have stuck on the inner side of the tube. ~Carol in NY

Cord Control
When you get a new "toy" that has a USB cord (or anything else with a detachable cord), take a piece of masking tape, write the name of the toy on it, and wrap it around the cord, leaving a little tab sticking out that shows the name. No more wondering what cord goes to what! ~S.

Gift Bags
Now that Christmas is over and the holiday fabric is on clearance, why not make your own gift bags? I started this tradition and others in the family have followed suit. I made simple "sacks" out of country plaid fabric and denim. I made a variety of sizes, and when they are filled, I tie the tops with twine. This looks gorgeous under my folk art style tree. My mother-in-law used pretty metallic fabric (on clearance after Christmas) and ties hers with pretty ribbon for a fancier look. Whatever your style, these bags will last for countless years and will save you so much in wrapping paper and expensive gift bags. The self-stick nametags stay securely stuck to the fabric with no problem. They also make wrapping a breeze. I only wish I'd thought of this sooner! ~Pat P. in Indiana

"Survival" Bedding
Stop at a sporting goods store or an estate sale and buy a NASA space/survival blanket for about $5 or less. My two were 25 cents each at an estate sale in the summer heat. Put one blanket between two old sheets and it will reflect your body heat back at you. You can also put one under your mattress pad to double the coziness of your bed. When you find them, buy several if you find an awesome deal. They fold down to the size of a pack of cigarettes so they are very portable. You can also use them in dire circumstances to set up a "warm room" inside a house where the power has gone off. Just hang them from the ceiling, etc. to make a tent type enclosure that will let you keep warmer by huddling together and using body heat to create a warm spot for sleeping. ~Debbie

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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