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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 28, 2010

Laundry Detergent Stretcher
Simply add baking soda to your regular detergent. Your detergent will go a long way, and your clothes will smell fresh and be cleaner. ~Sandra H.

Simple Winter Window Insulation
Simply adding bubble wrap to your windows will greatly improve heat loss. Spray the window with water and apply bubble wrap that has been cut to fit. It also can be easily removed. Most furniture stores will gladly give you bubble wrap for free. ~K.

Easier Ironing
It helps to place aluminum foil underneath the cover on your ironing board. The heat from your iron will pass to the foil and iron the opposite side of your garment all in one swipe. ~Shannon W.

Custom Pizza
Save money even when indulging in pizza. Order a cheese pizza. While waiting for the pizza, prepare toppings from what you have in the kitchen, such as onions, green peppers, spinach, other vegetables, cooked hamburger or sausage, and so on. You'll have a deluxe pizza for the lowest cost, especially if you had leftovers to use as toppings. ~M.

Freezer Item Finder
Can't find anything in your big chest freezer? I solved my problem by putting like items in different colored fabric bags, or even packed into knit sleeves from old sweaters. I then posted on a chart near the freezer what was in each bag and approximately where they were located in the freezer. Need a few pork chops? Chart says in brown plaid bag on bottom right. Easy to find! ~DWC

Hiding Christmas Gifts
I have one tip if you have children. When you arrange for someone to watch your kids or if you watch kids for a family, ask them if you can store your children's gifts at their house. I did this for years and my friend even wrapped the kids' gifts, so the kids wouldn't recognize the paper. If you have teenagers, they will really be surprised when they can't find any Christmas gifts that you have supposedly hidden. ~Janet C.

Checking the Bookshelf
If you're a book-lover like I am, you can never have too many books. But, when money is tight and you still want to read something new, go shopping in your own library. Chances are that you have tons of books in your house. In fact, I'd venture to guess that some of them have never been opened because they are in your "pile" of stuff to be read down the line. Look through all of these books with fresh eyes. Prowl among all the books you've stored in odd places, like the top shelf of your hallway closet, that ancient bookcase in the basement, or that dresser drawer that should contain socks and underwear but is jam-packed with books! You'll be surprised at what you'll find. ~Kathy P.

Pre-Purchase Briefing
Knowledge is power against being ripped off. Before paying for huge expenses like car or house repairs, I talk to several people, including friends with more expertise than me. I comparison shop. I do a lot of Internet research. When I am satisfied that I have turned every stone to know every option from cheap to expensive, I then make my purchasing decision on what is best for me. ~DL

No Cost, Natural Weed Killer
This is a tip for gardeners and beautiful-yard lovers, but with a green slant. Instead of buying and using weed killer (or salt) to kill those pesky weeds that keep popping up in sidewalks, driveways, etc., I use the leftover water from boiling veggies, pasta, etc. Instead of draining the veggies, scoop them out and use the hot water to pour over the weeds. Within hours, the weed is shriveled and dying. It may take a couple weeks to hit all the weeds, depending on how much you cook, etc., but even before canning season, my driveway and sidewalks were free of weeds for no cost. ~ Lisa in St. Paul

Thinking of Getting a Dog?
Craigslist is an excellent source of used items, but did you know you can also find a pet that way? Instead of getting a new puppy, I opted to get a young dog whose owners were moving out of town. My two-year-old pet was already trained, housebroken, vaccinated and spayed. I made sure she was not a victim of a puppy mill and that she did not have any problems. She was just a really good dog who needed a new home. Her former owners also included all her items like her food, dishes, leash, rawhide bones, etc. That saved me a lot of money, and it saved a very pretty and sweet little dog from going to the pound and facing a very uncertain future because of her age. It was a "doggone" happy ending for all concerned. ~N2W

Old Laptops?
Do not give away, recycle or sell the old laptop! Use your "reset" function (ask manufacturer) to put the computer back to its original state and then re-install anti-virus software. Now you can use this computer to surf the Web without worrying about spyware, malware, viruses or theft. If you find a link you need (and it is safe), you can e-mail it to yourself and use on your "regular" computer. This will protect your regular computer's integrity, speed and personal information if you do your financials online or save confidential information on your hard drive. ~Shanna S.

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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