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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 23, 2010

Fabric Softener Stretcher
If you use liquid fabric softener in your clothes, try this tip. Mix your favorite softener 1/2 and 1/2 with white vinegar. Vinegar helps to kill germs and lingering odors in your clothes. Also, if you happen to be out of fabric softener, vinegar helps cut down on static cling. ~Candy J. in TN

Professional Cleaning Tricks
I learned these tricks from a professional house cleaner. When vacuuming, soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract and put it into a new vacuum bag. The carpets will maintain a delicious scent for a long time. Saturate cotton balls in bleach to get rid of mildew in the corners of the bathtub. Put one in each corner before you start your cleaning and remove when you're finished. No more mildew stains! ~M.

Tea Tasting
For those tired of soda, there may be a desire to try tea. But what kind? Join in with several friends and buy several small boxes together. Swap the tea bags until everyone has at least one of each. This frugal sampler can be held during a traditional "tea" party or by yourself at home. It's cheaper than buying single bags for your own enjoyment and more entertaining. ~Tamara W.

Keep Silver Jewelry Clean
To keep silver jewelry tarnish-free, place jewelry in an airtight container or jewelry box. Toss in those little packets of desiccants that come with new shoes or leather items. The packets wick away moisture and keep silver from tarnishing. Works for silverware and silver serving pieces too! ~EJ in PA

Automobile Payment Insurance
I was just reading about saving money on buying a car. One thing I would like to suggest is to check out the insurance feature. On my car that I just bought, they wanted $5600 for life and disability on two people for a 60-month term. WOW! Private insurance is only about $350 per year for both! ~Stacey

Simple Glass Cleaner
I have found that one doesn't even need vinegar to clean glass and mirrors. Newspapers and plain water are just as good. It must be something in the newsprint. All I know is that my mirrors and windows are just as shiny as my friends who use products (natural or otherwise), and it doesn't involve any more work. ~Tania G.

Crank and Solar Lighting
Living in FL, I have lanterns in case of hurricanes and power outages. However, I don't want to mess with batteries and propane. I have the crank/solar kind, and I don't wait until the electricity goes off to use them. I crank them up in the evenings and let them light the dark corners of the living room, kitchen, and hall instead of turning on the electric lights. I like the softer glow, and I know that the lantern works if an emergency comes along. Also, I save enough money in electricity each year to probably pay for the lantern! ~BHW

Cold Feet?
Put any kind of uncooked rice in a sealed cloth bag. Put the bag in the microwave for 30-second intervals, until it's as warm as you want. Use it as a foot warmer while reading or watching TV. Put it at the bottom of your bed at bedtime. It feels so good! ~Linda E.

After Christmas LEDs
You can make your future Christmas electric bills lower by stocking up on the new LED Christmas lights that use only about 5-10% as much electricity. And keep in mind that they make great gifts for next year. One year I gave everyone half of his/her Christmas gift at the Thanksgiving dinner. I gave each person two Christmas music CDs that I only spent about $1 each on at the after-Christmas sales. Then I gave them all either food or a piece of decor like a candle as the wrapped gift at Christmas. Everyone liked the idea of getting the music when they were still interested in listening to it! ~Deborah Z.

Our Inn
My husband and I seldom go out. We do enjoy a beer at a pub, but are finding that we spend far too much money, even for a cheaper beer, than is comfortable for us right now. There's the tip to consider, as well. Our solution is the "Cheap Evening In." We'll choose a delicious-looking beer at our liquor store, maybe a microbrew or a fancy imported one. We chill it and ceremoniously pour it into nice glasses. It is consumed in our comfortable home, and perhaps we'll play music in the background. We try to carve out a relaxing hour "in," and enjoy the time as though we were actually "out." We find this very enjoyable, and we don't over-indulge, either. Because we've only purchased one beer for each of us, that's it. Here's a tip. Some European beers are still sold in the half-liter size. This is actually enough for both of us, so we split one bottle between two glasses. That means we drink less, but it's wonderful beer and we enjoy it all the more. We are obviously not huge drinkers, so this works great for us as a special treat. ~Moe

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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