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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 30, 2010

Cheap Container Gardening
Try a six-inch diameter PVC pipe for container gardening. Stand it on end and drill holes in it. Filled with soil, it will hold many plants, such as carrot, strawberry, etc. If you are using this in the house, make sure to put something plastic under it. ~Dee W.

Poison Ivy and Pets
If you have poison ivy around your home and you have pets, keep your pets out of the poison ivy also. They can rub against the plant, get the poison on the fur, and then when you touch them, the poison can be transferred to you. If they lay on your furniture, they can also transfer the poison to the furniture and then to you. ~Michele S.

Leftover Plates
When I have leftovers, I plate them up and cover them with plastic wrap, so that my busy family is able to grab a complete meal and microwave it. This is especially effective for lunches on weekends. I have found that leftovers don't hang around like they did when I put the individual leftover components into the fridge separately. This practice has reduced our food waste more than any other thing that I've tried. If meals are about to expire, I don't cook and we have a smorgasbord for dinner. ~D.

Draft Blockers for the Sewing Impaired
There are those of us who cannot sew or do not have a sewing machine. I created a simple draft blocker for the bottom of a door with the use of an old pillowcase to match the room that would hold it. In the pillowcase, I stuffed clothes slated for Goodwill and used raffia (you could use yarn or string) to tie it every six inches. It's great! When dirty, I toss it in the washer and dryer. ~Jacque in Iowa

Storing Leftover Gift Wrap
While wrapping up the gift wrap, I discovered that the empty tube from one roll made an excellent container for the half used rolls. I sliced it open, up the long edge (like a hot dog bun), opened it up and slid the other roll in the tube. Why didn't I think of this years ago? ~Linda H.

Cell Phone Shopping
It was time to replace my favorite bra, but the writing had faded on the tag. However, I did remember the department store where it was purchased. I took pictures of the bra with my cell phone, went to the store, and was able to locate the replacement bras fast and easily. On the same trip, I was looking for an outfit for a party and visited several stores in the mall. I took pictures of the dresses that I considered an option and listed the price, store and location of the different dresses below each picture. After visiting three stores, I sat down with a cup of coffee and compared the pictures. I made my choice and was able to go back and purchase the dress within minutes. It worked like a charm. ~Rhonda R.

Washable Baby Wipes
At $10 a package, my favorite "fancy brand" baby wipes were decidedly not in our new budget. Sadly, I had tried many other brands but just couldn't stand the smell or the resulting rash on our little one's bum. Then I struck on an article detailing how to make your own washable wipes. Yep, you heard me! We took some flannel and a pair of zigzag scissors and cut 12 little 8" x 8" squares and folded them to fit a repurposed plastic lidded container. In that container, I mixed 1 1/2 cups of water with about two tablespoons of our favorite baby wash and a teaspoon of baby oil. I then put the lid on tightly and shook. Then I took the lid off, immersed the folded flannel squares, and replaced the lid. Voila! Now I have reusable baby wipes. They're perfect for cleaning up little bottoms. When used, I wash them on the sanitary cycle in my machine or on hot with an extra rinse (with no softener). ~Danna

HE Washer Gaskets
I just recently bought my first HE front loading washing machine. At the appliance store, the salesman tried to sell me a small package of chemical tablets for $6. He said that I needed to run the washer once a month with one of these tablets in it instead of clothes to keep the rubber gasket on the door smelling fresh. Thinking I might get these tablets cheaper elsewhere, I told him I'd wait. Well, when I read the owner's manual, there was no mention of these tablets. It recommended running an empty washer if the gasket smelled with 1/2 cup of bleach. Bleach costs pennies for a half a cup compared to those tabs! I still didn't like the idea of wasting electricity and water (we are in a drought in the south) on an empty wash load, so I have started simply leaving the washer door open for a couple of hours after I use it. The gasket dries completely and then I shut the door. Now I have triple savings! I use no chemicals, no water, and no electricity unless I am really washing clothes! ~Laura

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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