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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - January 21, 2010

Free Heat
Many of us forget, especially in the northeast, to open blinds, drapes, shades, etc. so we can take advantage of the free heat from the sun. It can shave off as much as eight percent from a heating bill. ~Carol K.

Better Than Pantyhose
Ladies, if you wear pantyhose to work in the winter, stop wearing regular pantyhose and start wearing tights. I usually wear black or brown and that covers it all. Initially they cost a little more to buy, but three or four pairs will last the whole season! ~Jean C.

My Own Toll System
I charge myself to start the car. Every time I start the car, it costs me. I put a dollar in my glove box. It was amazing how I had more than $10 after just one day of running around town, but I had gas money when I needed it, enough money to have the oil changed when scheduled, and enough money for a battery and other miscellaneous car repairs. It just showed me how we take our friend, the car, for granted. ~Steph T. in Akron, OH

All the Flavor
My husband is a coffee lover and only wants a very expensive coffee to drink. I buy the expensive coffee and a bag of inexpensive coffee beans, which I grind and mix with the expensive coffee in a ratio of 5:1 (the inexpensive coffee being the smaller ratio). He cannot tell the difference, and by cutting the expensive coffee this way, it costs a lot less. ~Madge S. in Long Island, NY

Save the Shirts
My husband's dress shirts were always getting worn spots on the collars and cuffs. To help prevent that and to save energy, we have started air drying our dress shirts and blouses instead of putting them in the dryer. We just slip them on their hangars and hang them from the curtain rod in the guest bathroom. They dry almost wrinkle free! ~Jacquie S.

Cookie Baking
I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets to bake my cookies on. I find that these sheets of parchment can be used over and over again, saving me the cost of buying rolls of new parchment paper. I store them in an empty cardboard roll that I get from paper towel, wrapping paper, aluminum foil, etc. and use the same ones over and over again. ~Ruth K.

Ice Melt
Check with your local Department of Public Works (DPW). In my city, they have a pile of sand and rock salt mix available for free to city residents. I just go down with a bucket and take as much as I need. It is the same mixture they use on the roads. The ice melt in the store is over $2 for a 10-pound bag and doesn't contain the sand, which helps to maintain traction. ~John D.

Say No to Softener Sheets
I hate those little fabric softener sheets. They are wasteful and expensive. To remedy this, I soak a washcloth in liquid fabric softener for two minutes. After squeezing all the excess softener out, I put the washcloth in the dryer with my wet clothes. The fabric softener washcloth is good for about 50 loads of laundry. It saves money and time. ~Pat H.

Ice Proof Windows
Ice proof your windows with vinegar. Just fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water and spritz it on all your car windows at night. In the morning, they'll be clear of icy mess. How does it work? Vinegar contains acetic acid, which raises the melting point of water, preventing water from freezing. Wake up to an already frozen car? Just spray the mixture on your windows and watch it melt. ~Mary Jo in Alamo, TN

Cord Storage
Do you have a drawer or box filled with tangled cords? To organize them, roll them like they are when you purchase them and fasten them together by slipping them inside an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll that has been cut to the appropriate length. This works for extension cords, phone cords and even smaller pieces of coax or computer cords/wires. This way, they stay together with no need to untangle them when you need one. ~Kim J. in Guntersville, Alabama

Getting Fleeced!
We've been buying electric blankets every other year forever. They just never seemed to last. I found my solution quite by accident. Having diabetic neuropathy, my feet have become very sensitive. I was on a quest for soft sheets when I found the ultimate in fleece sheets! I bought a good set and was excited to feel the softness. To my surprise, my husband and I about burned up that first night with the electric blanket on as usual. The next night and each night since we've used no electricity on the blanket and relied on the fleece sheets! Flannel sheets come nowhere close to the warmth and softness of fleece sheets. We live in Missouri where the wind chills have been 20 degrees below 0 and heat mostly with wood and propane. Save buying electric blankets and electricity. Instead, enjoy the warmth and softness of fleece! ~Claudia H. in Pleasant Hill, Missouri

Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit www.stretcher.com/r/99.htm to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2009 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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