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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - June 3, 2010

Spend to Save
Sometimes spending a little may save you a lot. Get those annual checkup tests! A pap smear may cost you $100, but if it prevents you from having to face radiation and chemotherapy from a cancer that has spread, it will save you thousands. It is so easy to let checkups, dental exams and so on go, especially when we are feeling like money is tight, but please find a way to stay on top of your health and take care of yourselves. ~Beth

Produce Cleansers
Common sense is a lot less expensive then purchasing expensive "produce cleansers." Why spend unnecessary dollars on a product you can make for a fraction of the cost? Lemon juice, baking soda and water make sense to me. Sixty years ago, people didn't have ready-made products. They depended on homemade remedies and they were safe and worked well. ~Steven B.

Goodbye Goodie Bags
Do the moms a favor at your child's next birthday party and forget the little take home bags full of clutter. Instead, make a more memorable gift by making a group picture of the kids. You can either send the photo with a thank you card or make a post card using your computer. Then send them to the children a few days after the party. ~T. C. in Tennessee

No More Spoiled Food
I have a magnetic dry erase calendar on my freezer door. When I open a refrigerated item that needs to be used by a certain date once opened, I mark it on my calendar. This also works really well for leftovers. I write the name of the item on the date that it needs to be used by. I've wasted a lot less food, and since I see the calendar on my freezer door every time I open the fridge, it makes me much more aware of what needs to be used up. ~Heather in CA

Instead of Fundraisers
I live close to a school, and every time there is a fundraiser, our house gets hit up to buy whatever is being sold in those dreaded magazines. The items are overpriced and usually nothing I need. I have started asking the kids if I could make a donation to the group instead of making a purchase. My donation ends up being 100% profit and everyone wins. ~Colleen from Michigan

Cleaning Pet Collars
Keep your pet collars and leashes clean by placing them in a lingerie bag and securing with a rubber band (so they don't accidentally come out of the bag and tangle the wash). Place in regular laundry loads. Do not use bleach, as this fades and affects the integrity of the plastic clips on collars and leads. Your items will come out clean and ready for immediate use. They dry very quickly. This is for nylon products. There is no need to remove tags, and do not overload the bags. Only put a few in each bag/load. No more soaking overnight or discolored collars from bleach products. ~Frances in Maryland

Affordable Color Changes
I love to change the wall colors in our home and can afford to do so often when I buy mis-mixed paints at a deep discount. Most paint counters will sell their "rejects" for between 50 and 90% off. And you're not limited to the colors on hand. Simply invest in a plastic five-gallon bucket (or better yet, acquire an empty, clean cat litter bucket with lid) and mix up any color you like! It's fine to mix different sheens (flat, satin, etc.), but keep interior and exterior paints separate, as well as oil and latex. Sometimes, if there's a very specific color that I want, I'll get a paint chip card from the store and use it for reference. Or you can just "wing it." I've painted each room in our home many times over, for less money than most people spend to paint one room. ~Shauna M.

A Little Repair Saves $200
We do a lot of shopping on Craig's List for things we want that we don't want to pay full price. While purchasing an item from a family that was moving, we asked if they wanted to sell their lawn swing, the kind that seats two and has a canopy. It was rusty looking, faded, and had green algae on the cushions. New, it had to be $250. The guy said that he would take $5 for it! We brought it home and I got to work. First, using a power drill with a metal brush attachment, I ground off all the rusty spots. You can use a wire brush if you prefer. I bought a small can of store brand oil based rust preventer paint and painted all the metal on the swing. I bought new cushions for it at a discount store and washed the canopy. It looks great and all together it cost me $24 for the cushions, $8 for the can of paint, $5 for the swing itself, and my time. By re-using something that would have otherwise gone to a landfill, I am saving money and helping the planet. ~Shawna P. in Barberton, OH

The Razor's Edge
I have spent a small fortune on razors in my lifetime. I have to use the pricier ones (Venus® to be exact) and those are very expensive (even with a coupon!). Needless to say, I was so excited when I heard about a very handy tip to make razors last for a very, very long time. After every shave, most people just place their razor back in the caddy or shower organizer still wet. Wrong! After every use, you should dry your razor and then return it to wherever you store it. This will increase the life of your razor from just a week to two to three months! Depending on the texture of hair, it can last even longer. I now have some friends who can use the same razor for up to four months. Imagine having to buy only three razors a year. It was explained to me like this. Do you throw away a steak knife after only a few uses? Of course not! So why do that to your razor? Make sure those razors are clean and dry after every use! ~Kelly

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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