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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - February 10, 2011

Cheaper Dog Treats
Instead of spending money on expensive dog biscuits, buy a bag of a different kind of dog food and give as treat or reward to your dog. They do not know the difference. The pieces are smaller, and they may actually lose a few pounds in process. ~Carol

Squirrel Removal
I do roof work and frequently repair houses damaged by squirrels. On one particular job, I noticed that the homeowner had placed three powerful strobe lights in the attic to repel the squirrels. They insisted that after having a squirrel problem for 37 years and placing the lights in the attic four years ago, they are now squirrel free. ~William

Sleepy T's
I am a casual type person and love t-shirts. Yesterday, while changing the linens on my bed, I decided to put them on our bed pillows. I pulled out a couple of extra t-shirts, and they were a perfect fit! The soft fabric is gentle to the skin and warm, too. Just another way to reuse, re-purpose and/or recycle a favorite! ~Debora in Georgia

Time to Find a CSA Farm
My husband and I eat almost exclusively organic food. I save money by joining a CSA for the summer months. The CSA I belong to is so generous with their shares that I have plenty to freeze for the winter. I supplement with fruit purchases at the local farmers market in the summer since I get mostly vegetables from the CSA. We do try to eat seasonally except for lettuce. Because I have saved so much by freezing in the summer, we can afford to buy lettuce. ~Susan A.

Teaching Kids to Grocery Shop
If you go to the grocery store and have to bring your children, put a dollar limit on the treats they can ask for. If, for example, they want treats and you give them a few dollars to spend, they have to choose between that extra big box of various sugar cereals or other items. Per your budget, choose a dollar amount that's appropriate. This policy is beneficial for the children. It helps them hone math skills (counting money) and helps them come to the realization that they can't have everything they want in life. ~H.

Canned Fruits
Whenever you open a can of fruit, instead of pouring the liquid/juice down the drain, save it in a salad dressing type container. Then add some balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and spices to your liking to make a delicious salad dressing. I also use it for braising meat, such as pork or chicken, and it makes the meat so much more flavorful. The store bought fruit flavored salad dressing can run about $4. You can make your own for a fraction of that. Enjoy your own gourmet salad dressing! ~Krys in WA

Toasty Toes!
There is nothing worse than to have to put on cold shoes or boots in the winter. My husband gets to come home everyday for lunch, so when he takes off his boots, I put in my homemade boot warmers. When he puts them back on, his feet are toasty warm. To make my boot warmers, I took a pair of his socks (ones with no holes), filled them with rice, and knotted them at the top. I put the "rice socks" in the microwave for about three minutes and then slip them into his boots. I also do this for the slippers that he puts on when he takes off the boots. ~Laura

The Striped Sheet Protocol
Part of saving time and money includes teaching children independence as soon as possible. That is why I only buy striped sheet sets. Stripes always go vertically up and down the bed, so the kids aren't fighting with the sheet, trying to figure out which way it goes. For sheet sets you already have that are not striped, buy a pack of iron-ons and iron a cute emblem to the bottom of each sheet to help your kids determine which way the sheets go. Also, when I wash sheets, I fold them neatly and put the fitted sheet, flat sheet, and additional pillowcase all into one pillowcase for storage in the linen closet. This way, the children can choose their own sheet set by just grabbing a pillow case and know they have all the pieces already put together. Jenny K. in Summerville, SC

Mad Money
When my husband and I were first married, his mother did us a favor, which I didn't fully appreciate at the time. She sent us each $5 a week (this was 1970), saying that everyone should have some mad money that could be spent without explanation to anyone. At the time, my husband and I were both still in school and on an extremely tight budget. We had agreed to keep track of every penny (I do mean every) we spent and not to buy anything without consulting one another, but we followed her instructions and kept our mad money free from the "rules." I could spend my mad money totally without any guilt and it enabled me to stick to our plan. When we got jobs and were on our own feet, we made mad money a category in our budget. We eventually got to the point where we didn't "need" a budget, but found that the mad money category was a really good habit that helped us balance our very different buying styles. After my husband passed away, I found he had 7+ years of unspent mad money on his books. However, I generally ran right through mine. Since his death, I still keep the mad money budgeting habit even though I don't "need" to because it helps me keep track of where I am so I don't get out of control. ~Gail M.

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.

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