The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Tips - September 2, 2010
Sometimes recipes call for small amounts of herbs and produce. I used to throw away so much produce, especially herbs. Now I chop and freeze them in little resealable bags. I do the same with unused vegetables. Not only do I save money, but also I save time and always have the items on hand. ~Roseann
Homemade Organic Pesticide
Combine one head of peeled garlic and two cups of water in a blender and blend on high until garlic is finely pureed. Store covered for a day and then strain out the pulp. Add one gallon of water. Put brew in mister bottle and spray tops and bottoms of plants' leaves. Insects don't like the smell and will keep off. Use weekly. ~EB
A Larger Room (sort of)
To add a sense of spaciousness to my small apartments, I covered an entire length of wall with inexpensive full-length mirrors, so that the room looks twice as large and open as it would otherwise. You could also get the same effect from using mirror tiles. ~BJ
Instant Flavored Oatmeal
I like the flavored packets of instant oatmeal for breakfast, but I had to use two packets to have enough to satisfy my appetite. I found a scoop leftover from another product that measures approximately the same amount as the oatmeal in a packet. I add a scoop of oatmeal from a large round container (which is much more economical than the packets) to a flavored packet of oatmeal to make it go further and still have the added flavor. ~RC
Earning College Cash
One really good way to earn some extra cash in college is tutoring either other college students (in your later years) or high school students. As well as earning you some money, it keeps your basic skills well honed, which is beneficial to you as well. Most often, each department will have a list of tutors, so ask to be added to it. You can also call the high schools in your area and ask to be added to their list of tutors. ~Sarah B., Mathematics Educator
Affordable Sunday Brunch
If you go to church on Sundays, you know that the pressure is on to go out for breakfast or lunch and this can get expensive. Our church has a nice lawn and there are nearby parks. I started packing a picnic basket and stopping after service with my family. We told a few other families to join us. At first, they brought fast food, but now they pack picnic lunches, too. I have saved several families the cost of an expensive lunch or breakfast, and we have more fun since the kids can play outside. ~Vanessa M.
A Different Kind of Happy Hour
When I go out to eat, I go during the early happy hour. I do not go to drink, but to get appetizers on special. Generally, this requires buying a beverage, but the appetizers are half price, and the sodas are bottomless. Some restaurants don't even require you to purchase a beverage; they just want people to eat during less busy times. Add a bowl of soup, and I usually have enough to take home for a second meal. Also, I get to eat things I don't make at home like cheese sticks and fried mushrooms. ~Karen T.
Affordable Large Planters
I purchased an $8 plastic laundry basket from a local dollar store. I removed the rope handles and painted it with a mauve color (spray paint for $1). I then drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. The total cost was $9 plus my time. Comparable planters at Wal-Mart cost $25 to $30. Since this is plastic, I can re-use it over and over and year after year. ~Bobbi C.
I use the crumbles in the bottom of the cereal bag in homemade granola bars. Switch out an amount of oats in your recipe for the amount of crumbles you have. It gives an interesting texture and adds nutrients (if you're using healthy cereal that is). Also, it uses something you would normally throw out. This is especially good with frosted wheat type cereals. ~J.
Pasta at the Ready
We love pasta in our house. When I cook spaghetti or linguini, I always cook enough for two or three meals. Cook it al dente (or slightly undercook it), rinse with cold water, and put in plastic storage bags in the freezer. When you want to use it, run hot tap water over it and microwave it for a minute or so per serving. Voila! You have pasta on the table in a couple of minutes. This tip saves at least half of an hour of prep time. You can do the same thing with rice, and it tastes much better than instant rice. We like brown rice and wild rice, so freezing ahead really is a time saver. ~GC
Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit www.stretcher.com/r/99.htm to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2010 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.