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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - March 18, 2010

The Household Book
We keep a binder that is filled with appliance manuals and home information (layout of the house, measurements, etc.). We also include carpet samples, countertop samples, paint information cards, wallpaper and tile samples. A plastic pencil pouch with metal grommets is used to hold tile and carpet samples. Not only is it handy for us to take with us to the store, but also when we sell our house, we can give the binder to our buyer. ~Brenda J.

Allergies & Line Dried Clothes
I love to hang my sheets outside, but my husband has allergies. I found that I could dry them outside and then put them in the dryer for five to ten minutes to remove the pollens! There is no need to add a fabric sheet. Hubby can sleep at night and I get outdoor-fresh sheets. ~Abby D

Indoor Tomatoes
I love fresh tomatoes, but they never taste as good in the winter. As an experiment, I started a tomato plant in the house. I just keep it in a south window. I also water and occasionally fertilize it. The plant has been producing for two years now. I have since heard of people with plants 10+ years old. It's a bit of luxury during cold winter days. ~Lucinda

Subscription Reminder
I keep a record of the magazines that we subscribe to and their subscription expiration dates. Most magazines send out renewal notices very far in advance of the renewal date. I got one renewal notice in February and it was not due to renew until November. I don't want the magazine company to have the use of my money for eight months. ~Sue

Cheap Baking Soda
For cheap baking soda to use for cleaning purposes (not cooking), go to a farm supply store. I bought a 50-pound bag of baking soda for about $10! A two-pound box of baking soda at the grocery store is almost $2. Just remember that this is not food grade baking soda, so just use it for cleaning purposes. ~Lisa in Ypsilanti

My son had some birthday money burning a hole in his pocket. He saw a computer game that looked good and he bought it for $12.99 plus tax. When we got home, he was ready to rip the package open. I got an idea and told him to wait. I Googled "name of game free trial" and there were several sites that popped up. On these sites, we could download the game for free and try it out for 60 minutes. Or we could buy the complete game for $6.99 (no tax). So we did both. My son tried the game out to see if he liked it (he did). Then I went to the site and downloaded the game right to our computer. He saved $6 and we knew he liked the game before we bought it! Before you buy a computer game, search for it online. You just may be able to try it out first and then buy it cheaper! ~Debbie C.

Breaking Wasteful Habits
Since I was a child, I left the water running while I brushed my teeth. That became quite a habit throughout my 40+ years of doing it. As an adult, I've known that it's wasteful, but it was a hard habit to break. I knew I had to get over this habit, so I finally resolved to make it a habit and be strict with myself for two weeks. And it worked! Now it bothers me if I do leave the water running, even just a little bit. My point is that you can change a life-long wasteful habit if you put your mind to it for two weeks. Once you do, you'll realize how easy it is to create some new habits. ~Joanne from Indiana

Soup To Go
For a long time, I took store bought microwave soups to work for lunch. I got outraged at how much money I was spending on this unhealthy item and resolved to change it. I put a plastic container in my refrigerator and throughout the week I store carrot peelings, onion peelings, garlic peelings and whatever veggie leftovers we have into it. When we have a roast or meat with bones, I save those separately as well. Every Friday morning, I fill a big pot with water and dump in all my saved items to make stock. I add salt, pepper and whatever herbs seem appropriate. I boil it, let it simmer for a few hours, strain it, and then stick the broth in the fridge. At suppertime that night, I skim off the fat and start whatever kind of soup I want for that week. We have it for dinner and many lunches throughout the week. It costs very little and tastes wonderful. My coworkers are jealous of my yummy soup. I know what is for dinner every Friday without thinking and my pocketbook is heavier! ~Elizabeth D.

Organizing Toiletries
I've read in magazines about people shopping in their own closet, but I always assumed it was just for clothes. Then last December I found myself buying razors to shave my legs and I kept thinking I was sure I had razors somewhere in the big linen closet next to the bathroom. I went home and dug in the closet and found a pack of razors and several other items I'd forgotten about. So I'd had enough. That Sunday I checked the ads in the paper and found out a local craft store was selling video boxes for $1.50. I bought 15 of them. I chose VCR boxes because they were smaller and more easily stackable in the closet than the traditional plastic bins. And they were much less expensive. I labeled each video box with a type of product, such as soap, razors, dental, body wash, makeup, and cotton balls. Then I went to work. It took me longer than I thought, but now that I'm done, the closet is completely organized. Now, whenever I use something up, instead of going to the store, I go to the closet. Since I was always a sale shopper, I found that I had a big stash of things that had gotten shoved to the back of the closet and upper shelves and forgotten. ~Jerri B.

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 2010 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.


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