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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 15, 2010

Cleaner for Greasy or Paint Covered Hands
You can use Pam® cooking spray to remove grease and paint from your hands while working on the mower or painting the house. Just buy an extra can for the garage or workshop. ~L.

Reviving Veggies
Celery, carrots, and lettuce can be revived by rehydrating them. If celery is lifeless and limp in the fridge, cut a 1/4" or so off the bottom and put it in water in a container in the fridge for several days. It will taste great and be useful again. Lettuce can be immersed in a sink of cool water for a few minutes also. Carrots also can be rehydrated like the celery. No need to waste veggies if they are limp. Rotting spots need to be removed. ~Anita R.

Button Exchange
I buy my husband's button down the front work shirts at the thrift store. Sometimes the shirt is almost brand new, but one button is missing. I look up on the collar area for the extra button that is sewn on the tab/band of the collar. When I get home, I carefully cut off the button and sew it on the appropriate place. All that is needed is a needle and matching thread (I also buy all my thread from the thrift store). He now has a new shirt for minimal cost. ~KB in Kansas

Before Your Garage Sale
I have a suggestion for making the most out of your yard sale. When you go through your stuff, set aside good items that you know will bring in high dollar. Advertise those items on Craiglist first. I have sold many things that way. At a yard sale, they would have only brought in $5 to $10, but I got $25 to $30 for them on Craigslist. Also, advertise your yard sale on Craigslist. It is free, and you can list a lot more items. ~D.P.

Broken Picture Frame?
I pick up frames of all sizes at yard sales, even the ugliest of frames, just for the glass. I always keep some on hand to replace glass in frames that I use. I checked once to replace an 8x10 glass at a craft store, and it was $5 for one glass. I can pick up really ugly frames (and nice ones, too) at yard sales for a quarter. That's quite a savings in glass! ~E. in PA

No Pressing Needed
Sometimes all my clothes don't dry at the same time in the clothes dryer. Rather than run the cycle longer, I simply lay the damp items on the dryer while I run the next load. They usually dry completely by the time that cycle is done. I also use an indoor clothes rack for all intimate apparel and everything with spandex in it. They last much longer dried without heat. To help them dry faster, you can run a small room fan, but I simply dry them in my home office where the fan is on anyway. Often with a little "finger" pressing, no ironing is needed. ~Barbara in Wallingford, CT

To save money on books and avoid a trip to the library, re-read the ones you already own. Yes, that's right. Read them again! It's a scientific fact that when we read, our brains only absorb 30% of the text. That's why when we were in school studying for tests, we had to re-read everything several times to insure we truly understood the material. Well, here you are with a bookcase full of books that you've already read. Sure, you may remember "whodunit," but do you remember "howdunit" and "whydunit"? You only retained 30% of that book. Try reading it again, and you'll be amazed at what you missed. If you live with another person, try swapping books. Each of you read the other person's collection. There are bound to be some books of each other's that you'd like. I read my husband's spy thrillers, and he reads my science fiction. We've both expanded our libraries by at least 50%! ~CHP in VA

Redeeming Make-Up Mistakes
Every woman at some point has mistakenly bought the wrong color make-up (who knew that "perfect shade" wouldn't automatically make us look like the supermodel in the ad?). Instead of wasting money by throwing the make-up in the trash, I've salvaged them and actually gotten some pretty nifty "homemade" products out of them! For foundation, mix it with equal parts of your face lotion to make a tinted moisturizer. This works best with a foundation that is a shade or two darker than your skin; it'll give you a subtle "wash" of color. For a foundation that is a shade or two lighter, keep it on hand to use as an under-eye concealer. It's not as thick as a concealer generally is, but it still does a good job. For lipstick, scrape the lipstick out of the tube and mix it with petroleum jelly. This will give you a huge batch of tinted lip balm, and it's not sticky like many brands of gloss. ~MJ

Calculate Rebate's Total Cost
I love to take advantage of rebates that give me the item for free, but there's one small catch that shoppers would be wise to consider. Sometimes, the offered item is much more expensive than cheaper brands, and considering that sales tax is usually not included in the rebate, that can bump up the final cost considerably. For example, awhile back, a local store offered a free-after-rebate deal on an expensive brand of shampoo, which cost $9.99. Here in California, tax is more than 8%, so that "free" shampoo cost me over 80 cents, which isn't much savings over the cheaper brands I normally purchase in the $1 price range. I ended up purchasing it anyway, but I did so with my eyes open, choosing to enjoy a high-end product at a bargain brand price rather than deluding myself into thinking I was getting it for free. Just keep in mind the total, final cost of a rebated item, including the tax and postage to mail it in (if it's not done online), and compare it to similar, less-expensive products to see if it's truly the bargain it appears to be. ~Diva

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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