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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - May 6, 2010

Natural Hair Care
When I was a young girl with long hair, my mother used vinegar directly on my hair after shampooing and then she rinsed it out. It worked great. ~Sheryl

Handy Kitchen Storage
I moved last summer into a condo that had very little kitchen storage. Some friends who own a bakery suggested that I buy "baker's racks" at Lowe's and equip them with wheels. They are five feet tall and have four roomy shelves. This was the best purchase made for the move! ~Ann B.

Preventing Engine Failure
Maybe most people already do this. I had no idea! I have my oil changed regularly but was a little behind. When making turns recently, my oil light went on and off. After a while, I decided to check my oil. It didn't even register on the stick! I could have ruined my engine. I mistakenly thought the light would stay on if I needed to add oil. I suggest those with older cars (I have a 10-year-old minivan) periodically check their oil! ~S.

Save the Chipotle!
I never had a recipe ask for more than two or so chipotle peppers in the adobo sauce, and I hate the thought of wasting the rest of the can. Whenever I open a new can of these tasty peppers for use, I spoon out the rest (two at a time) with some of the sauce onto sheets of plastic wrap that I've pre-cut. I roll them all up and store in a plastic bag in the freezer. When I am in need of them for the next recipe, I defrost them with a 15-second blast in the microwave. This saves me both time and money. ~Sherri in Orange Park, FL

Avoiding Jewelry Tangles
I have found a great solution for organizing jewelry in a jewelry box, so it doesn't get tangled. Many clothing items come with an extra button often attached in a small plastic zipper bag. I save those bags and put one piece of jewelry in each one. My necklaces and bracelets are no longer tangled, and I always know where my earring's "mate" is. If you buy most of your clothes used, you can always ask a spendthrift to save them for you. Happy organizing! ~Christilynn

Can't Afford to Join CSA?
I'd like to make a comment about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). Our CSA allocates a certain number of memberships each year to families that cannot afford to join. I'd recommend that people who find themselves strapped for cash but still want to try to eat better call some of the CSAs in their area to see if any offer similar "hardship" memberships. Most CSAs also allow you to work on the farm to help reduce some of your cost. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask, and may yield you wonderful organic produce and a great new "family" of friends. ~Jennifer L.

Take an Inventory
I have a bad habit of stocking up on toiletries and such, forgetting that I already have enough at home. I cleaned out my cupboards and made my own "store" on a shelf in my storage area. I "shop" there first when running low on shampoo, soap, toilet paper, etc. Another tip is when I discover that some shampoo and conditioners don't work for me, rather than throw them out, I find other uses. Shampoo can be put in liquid soap dispensers for hand washing. Conditioners are very good for shaving legs and work very well as hand lotion. ~Linda

Twofer Plants
Now that planting season is here, I have a tip for getting more plants for less. When you go to the store to buy your plants, look closely at the cell-packs. Many times, you can get two plants for the price of one! I bought the "spikes" for my mixed container last year. They were $1.99 each. But the ones I bought had two spikes in each cell, making them half-price. I did the same thing when I bought tomatoes. They often have two plants growing in each cell. When I'm ready to plant, I just lift the plant(s) and dirt out of the cell and cut the roots with a sharp knife. Of course, you want to avoid as much damage to the roots as possible, but just plant as normal and water well! Keep watered and most will grow. Last year, only one of mine didn't make it. ~Susan S.

Bad Batteries?
You can save a lot of money with a battery tester. I went into a battery store and bought a little black 2" x 2" battery tester for $6.99. We have a Wii game and the controllers each take four batteries. At one time, all of the controllers went out. I checked each battery with the tester and only one was low in each controller. Since I recycle my batteries, I went through the entire container and checked each battery and discovered that 3/4 of them were still good. This battery tester has a red and green meter on it and tests all types of batteries. It's a great little investment. Why pay constantly for something that may still be good? ~Pam in Bloomington, MN

Prepared for Emergencies
It's tornado and flood season for many of us in the USA. Don't be caught unprepared if you find you need to evacuate your home on short notice. I keep my important papers (passport, insurance, etc.) in a lightweight, waterproof container in a certain spot of the house. My medicine is in a multi-pocket shoe bag hanging on a wall ready to be taken down and packed at a moment's notice. I also have a small case of personal essentials like grooming items and so on. Plus, I have just enough easy-care clothing to keep me going if I need to leave home suddenly for an unknown length of time. There's a carrying case of pet items, too. You're sure to have other items you'd need (and I emphasize "need") as well. I learned the hard way that the time to think about this is not when a fireman knocks on your door and tells you to evacuate immediately. If, heaven forbid, this should happen to you, at least you'll be able to leave quickly and well-prepared. ~M.

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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