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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - June 10, 2010

Shorter Showers
We had some trouble with the kids shutting off the bathroom lights, so I installed a timer to the light fixture. It shuts off in 15 minutes, so most showers take less than 15 minutes now. ~Lizabeth

Removing Grass Stains
Original Dawn® dish soap is a wonderful stain/spot remover. I keep a small bottle of it near my washer and take care of the stains as soon as I see them. Sometimes you can even get out old stains that have been set in the fabric. ~Beth

Really Saved Money
If you use coupons when shopping, you should tally up the amount you saved when you get home. Take that amount and place it in a separate savings account. You'll be amazed at how it adds up. It would've been spent anyway if you hadn't used coupons, so why not actually "save" the money you saved? ~Grace M.

Before Kids Come Indoors
I save all of my small pieces of bar soap. I cut off the bottom of a pair of pantyhose, put the pieces into it, and tied it to an outside faucet. Now, there is no more need to run inside to wash dirty hands. This is great for the kids, and it saves money, too. ~Mary O.

Quick Biscuits
There is no good way to freeze biscuit dough and still have them taste good and fresh. Once the dough is mixed, without baking, the shelf life is limited, as the baking powder slowly becomes inactive. However, once baked, biscuits freeze well. When ready to eat them, defrost, sprinkle with water, and heat in a medium oven for five minutes. They will not be as good as fresh-baked, but almost. ~George E.

Extended Nail Polish
When my nail polish gets too thick or is too far down in the bottle for the brush to reach, I simply add a couple drops of nail polish remover to the jar and shake vigorously. This not only thins the polish and makes it easier to apply, but it also stretches the use of the bottle. You aren't throwing away the perfectly good polish collected on the bottom! ~Carol R. in Palmyra, NJ

Ground This, Please
Whenever London Broil roasts or steaks are on sale, I pick out about 15-20 pounds of roasts and then take them to the butcher at the supermarket and ask them to grind it into hamburger. Then I have ground beef for meatballs, tacos, meatloaf, stuffed peppers, etc. that I bought at a cheap price. ~Anita

A Beautiful Scent
To add a subtle room fragrance, I found a cheap way to make my own room diffusers. I found sample sizes of cologne at the thrift shop ($.25) and small glass bottles at a garage sale (they had held spices). Then I bought wooden skewers at the dollar store. I combined all of these to have room diffusers for nearly pennies, and they are refillable! ~DA

Buying a Freezer
Buying a used freezer can often make sense, but there are cost-saving advantages to buying a new one, too. Any freezer (or fridge) that is more than about 10 years old is using a lot of energy. Even units that are 5 to 10 years old use a lot more than the current models. You can save energy costs by buying a new freezer, especially if you buy one without a frost-free feature. It's not really hard to defrost once a year. (I typically do it in spring when I have the least amount of food frozen.) And the food lasts much longer in a freezer that does not have a frost-free feature, you worry much less about freezer burn. ~Rosemary D.

At Home Vacation
We live within an hour of Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Toledo, so we can take a week, pack a lunch each day, and go to many things near us for the day. For example, we may spend one day each at the Detroit Zoo, Toledo Zoo, Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum, Lake Erie, etc. By sleeping at home and taking our lunches, we only have the cost of a little gas and entrance fees for a lovely day's adventure. We also eliminate those hours in the car hearing, "Are we there yet?" I'm sure there are also many places to go that have no fees. Take a map and find places within 50 miles or so of home to visit and discover what's in your "backyard" that people from out of state come to visit. ~Dawn T.

Water-Saving in the Garden
Living in the desert can make it quite a challenge to garden without a lot of water. Several years ago, I started using plastic soda or water bottles to keep a steady level of moisture on some of my plants. After rinsing the bottles out, I poke a hole in the lid. I then thread a piece of cloth, torn into a strip about 10 to 12 inches long through the hole. I leave about 4 to 6 inches on the outside and stuff the rest down into the water-filled bottle. I then place it on its side by the plant to keep plants moist. I put a good layer of mulch over the bottle to keep the sun off. This is particularly good for transplanting small trees and bushes, but it also works well with a lot of veggie plants. ~Retha Y.

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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