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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - March 25, 2010

Natural Ant Repellant
Ants will not cross cinnamon. Sprinkle some on window ledges and around doorways, and they will not come inside! ~Heather O.

The Countdown
I don't know when or why I started counting my pills in my bottle when I picked my prescriptions up, but they have shorted me several times. I know it's not much and it's not their fault, but they always make good on them. And some medicines are very expensive. ~Judy

Serving Snacks
My kids enjoy fruit of all kinds, and sometimes I serve them mixed fruit for a healthy snack. Instead of a bowl, I put the fruit into an ice cream cone. They love to spoon out the fruit and then munch on the cone afterwards. ~D.F.

Library Passes
My library has passes that library card holders can borrow for local museums and science centers, making admission to these places either low cost or free. Some town or city recreation departments have discount tickets that can be purchased for local or favorite vacation attractions. ~Lorraine

Children's Sewing Patterns
Sewing patterns are getting expensive, and especially with children's patterns, you end up cutting off three or more sizes when you cut out a pattern. I got this tip from a quilter. Trace the pattern onto freezer paper and cut out the freezer paper. Use the freezer paper to cut the pattern pieces out of your fabric. Iron the freezer paper to the fabric so you do not have to mark up your fabric with dots, dashes, etc. ~Ashley

Book Now, Negotiate Later
When my husband and I travel, we always save money on our hotel and car rentals. I make our reservations months in advance and secure a price with the hotel and the car rental facility. One month prior to our vacation, I call the hotel and car rental company and ask if they are running any specials or have any discounts they can offer. Each time I have received a better rate on both. In the end, we usually save around $150-$200 per trip by calling a month prior to our vacation. I found that if you have a reservation with the hotel or car rental company, they are more willing to offer discounts. ~S.P. in Illinois

Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches
My husband and I love breakfast sandwiches from fast food restaurants and the frozen food section of the grocery store. I found a way to make them for a lot less money and they are healthier too! Whisk 12 eggs, a little bit of milk, and whatever seasonings you like. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Cut into 12 squares. Put the egg squares on toasted English muffins, bagels, biscuits, etc. I also get pre-cooked sausage patties from our warehouse club that fit perfectly on English muffins. Add cheese if you like and you have a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner! I usually make 12 at a time and freeze some of them so they are ready to go. ~Susie

Growing Potatoes in Small Spaces
We have always had a vegetable garden, but this year we moved to a smaller home and yard. We managed to plow an area for a garden, but it will be much smaller than normal. I love to plant sweet and white potatoes, but there will not be enough room for them this time around. Instead, I'm going to plant them in big, deep plastic tubs that hold around 19 gallons. All you have to do is make a few holes on the bottom of the plastic tubs for water drainage and then put in good mulch. Once this is done, plant your potato eyes. When it comes to harvesting the potatoes, just turn the tub on its side, roll it around to loosen up the dirt, and dump it out in your garden (no sense in wasting good dirt). The potatoes will come out with the dirt! You will be surprised how many potatoes you will harvest! ~Betty B. in Brownsburg, Indiana

Free Charitable Giving
Many of us are cutting back on our expenses including donations to charities and non-profits. I used to be a full-time stay-at-home mom and artist. A year ago, due to the economy, I went back to work, but I continue to run my art business on the side. I've found a great way to fulfill my creative spirit and my giving spirit. I design pins or pendants that help raise money for charity. For my daughter's swim team, I made simple pendants and donated 100% of the profits to the team. I raised $290 for the team! I'd never be able to donate that much money out of my own pocket. The team is always looking for volunteers and donations for the concession stand when we host home meets. As I work full time, my time is limited. But I can make a few pendants in the evenings after she's gone to bed. On the weekends, she even helps me with them. So I get the satisfaction of making things and some fun time with my daughter in the studio. Also, she learns about using our talents to help the community, and we get to help raise money for the team. I've created other pendants for breast cancer. I donate 50% of the sale price to Susan G Komen, raising over $1,000 to date! I've made cat and dog pins for a local animal shelter. Again 50% of the sale price went to the shelter. I've recently been contacted about making pins for a dachshund rescue. 50% of the sale price will go to the rescue. If we all dig deep and think about our talents, we can still give to organizations that we believe in without hurting our pocketbooks. If you like to bake, whip up a basic (and inexpensive) batch of cookies for a bake sale. You get the pleasure of baking with none of the guilt of eating the whole batch, and you get to donate the profits to your favorite organization. Are you good with web design? Donate a few hours to help a local charity put their website together. We all have talents and skills. If everyone puts them to good use, our communities will benefit and our pocketbooks will be none the wiser. ~Jennifer D.

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 2010 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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