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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - May 20, 2010

Get Paid to Exercise
Rather than pay for a gym membership, my husband and I deliver the paper. We get paid to walk everyday instead of paying to go to a gym. Both of us are getting in shape and making a few bucks as well. ~Gayle P.

The Cheapest Bookstore
If you like to read, the best place to buy books is at a thrift store. I volunteer at a thrift store and we sell paperbacks for $.25 and hardbacks for $.50. Generally, we have so many that we sell them two for the price of one. Check out your local thrift store. ~Lori in Port St. Lucie, FL

Handy Homemade Cookies
Whenever I make chocolate chip cookies, I save some of the dough and freeze it. I put it in a large zipper bag, roll it out to about 1/2-inch thickness, and then freeze. When I want a few cookies for dessert, I break off chunks, roll them into balls, and bake them in the toaster oven. No need to buy those "ready to bake" cookies ever again! ~Esther B.

Kids and Crusts
My children are at the age where they are picky about eating the crust on bread. To save money and decrease waste, I cut the crusts off the bread before making sandwiches or toast and store the crust in a zipper bag in the freezer. When I have a full bag, I thaw and then bake in a single layer on a cookie sheet on low heat until they are crispy. I then throw them in my food processor and grind them into breadcrumbs. I store these in a zipper bag in the freezer until I need them for a recipe. I enjoy these breadcrumbs more than the store bought as these are made with whole wheat bread. Just add a few herbs to taste and you have great homemade breadcrumbs! ~Tina K.

Non-Slip Clothes Hangers
I hate how clothes slip off hangers, but I hate even more the idea of spending up to a dollar each for the non-slip hangers. I thought about what dry cleaners use to solve this problem and started searching. I found foam hanger covers online (eBay) at 100 for $6.95, including shipping. Now the hangers I have already chosen to stock my closets are non-slip. And if my daughter tears one, I'm not so concerned since I have such a large supply. I'm thrilled that I didn't resort to restocking my closets with trendy hangers that cost so much. ~Carolyn in Chicagoland

No-Car Day
Give your car a day of rest and your bank account will reward you. How many times do you run out to pick up one thing that you really can do without or can wait to have? While at the store, you impulse buy a couple more things. By having a "no errands day," you can save money on gas and those impulse buys as well as gain time in your day. I find that when I can't just run out to pick up something to eat, I creatively use what is in the cabinets. Thus, it saves on the food budget, too. If you do this on your day of worship, make an allowance to go to church or temple and then start your car rest day. ~Melisa V.

Local Shop Discounts
I like to get my prescriptions at a small pharmacy chain. They offer better service and are friendlier than the huge stores that offer $4 prescriptions. My insurance company co-pay for generic medication is $10. I was contemplating changing pharmacies based on the fact that I get six generic prescriptions for my family and the switch would save me $36 a month. I spoke with the pharmacist and told him of my situation. He arranged for me to stay at his pharmacy and pay the $4 fee instead of my $10 co-pay. I am glad I said something instead of assuming they couldn't do anything and making the change. Now we are both happy! ~Chrislyn B.

"Dressing" Tomato Plants
Last summer, I had some of the largest tomato plants ever. The downside was finding ways to keep them tied up without damaging the limbs that were supporting some pretty big tomatoes. Every time I used rope, string or strips of old rags, it would often cause damage to the plants. So I rummaged through my house and found some old pantyhose. I cut them up into four or six pieces. These worked great! They supported the heavy limbs without damaging the plants. Plus, the extra "give" made tying them up easy to do! ~ Nancy P. in Bonne Terre, Missouri

Don't Use Deodorant!
I have not bought deodorant in over 30 years, and I do not have body odor! My substitute for deodorant is simple baking soda, which I dust under my arms after my shower. A small box of baking soda costs less than 50 cents and should last for many months. I keep mine in a pretty wide mouthed jar on my bathroom windowsill. While this tip won't save you huge amounts of money, I also like using baking soda because there is minimal packaging used (just a simple cardboard box), so there are no hard plastics or metals going into the landfills. Also, by using baking soda, there are no unpronounceable (and questionable) chemicals going on your body. ~Nancy T.

Free Mini Greenhouse
Casement windows can be used as mini greenhouses. If your windows have sliding storms and an inner window that opens, you can start seeds quite easily using your "mini greenhouse." I use either small Dixie cups, egg cartons cut length-wise, or stryofoam coffee cups that are cut down to size. Fill with potting soil and plant your seeds. Line the cups on the windowsill with the storm window closed. Close the inner window, and you have a mini green house! If it gets too hot in there, just open the storm a little. When the plants get big enough to transplant, you are all set. The bag of soil cost me $2, the cups cost me $1 and the seeds were $.25 a packet. For under $4, I got about 48 plants growing, which would normally cost about $15 a flat. This is not only easy, but also you can save a lot of money by starting your own plants, either flowers or vegetables. ~H.T.

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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