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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - March 3, 2011

Healing Burns
Keep an Aloe Vera plant in the house. Then when the bottom spikes start to get old, cut them off and put in freezer bag in freezer. You'll always have nature's best burn aid. It stops the pain upon contact. ~K.

Cheaper Airfare
I go to Israel twice a year to visit my grandchildren. I always buy my tickets from an airline wholesaler, a local travel agent. This year, I figured I would save money and buy them online. When I told her, she said that it would have been cheaper to buy from her because they give a $50 rebate, so don't always assume that online is cheaper! ~Donna V.

Free Packing Material
When a box is just a little too large, I use empty liter soda bottles for packing. They are lightweight, take up space, and hold their shape. I also cut tops off and package the item in one bottle, then slide the second one over it, and tape them together. I sent wineglasses to Denmark, and they made it with no breakage. ~Evelyn

The Bread Maker
Many yard sales have bread machines for sale at very low prices. Picking one up will surely save you money on your grocery bill. I mix my loaves on the dough setting, let rise in a bowl, and then bake in my oven. I make bread, bread sticks, pizza dough, and buns. I feel guilty if I buy bread from the store. I got my bread machine (brand new) for $15 dollars, but sometimes they are as low as a dollar. ~Lizzie

Hairspray in the Kitchen?
I keep a cheap bottle of hairspray in my kitchen. It works for a multitude of things like removing ink stains on the counter, removing the sticky price tags from items that I don't want to scratch, and removing labels off of prescription bottles so personal information cannot be used when I recycle the plastic bottle. ~Loretta J.

The Slip Cover Solution
I always had a slip cover for our old couch and loved that I could just throw it in the wash. Also, it hid the ugly secret underneath. When we moved, we left our old, hand-me-down couch behind, but not the couch cover. With a new sofa, the bonus is that it keeps the cover looking new! Whenever the doorbell rings, we just pull it off and toss it in the basket behind the sofa, and we have a nice sofa that is sure to last a long time. ~Tracy M.

Why I Use Clotheslines
I was doing laundry last summer in the midst of a hot Texas day and realized the dryer doesn't get much hotter than the air outside already is! I just couldn't fire-up the drier when the A/C was working so hard. So I took the clothes outside, strung-up some thin rope, and hung-up my clothes. In no time, they were dry. I've been doing it ever since. Somehow hanging clothes on that line has become therapeutic. I actually look forward to it. Maybe it's the time outside or the quiet time to myself. I also spend less time ironing because the breeze removes the wrinkles. I know our electricity consumption has decreased substantially since sending my dryer on sabbatical! ~Amy in Fort Worth, TX

Car Keys
We all know that a spare key stashed under the car can save a lot of headaches and waiting for road service. However, with a programmed car key, a spare key can cost $100. Some people suggested I buy a programmable key on eBay, and that is a good idea. However, the cost is still high, and it needs to be programmed at the car dealer. My solution was to get a regular copy of my car key. This will not start the car and will cause the alarm to sound when I use the key to open the door. However, if the keys were locked in the car, I can grab them, push the button to stop the alarm, and be on my way. ~Katherine

Wedding Discounts
After a lot of research, I found out that most places will give a significant discount if you are willing to have your wedding reception and ceremony on a Sunday. The place where I am having my ceremony and reception is charging me half the price on the rental of the hall on Sunday versus having it on a Saturday! Also, I am having a "brunch" reception where we are serving mini quiche, pastries, fruit and cheese trays, vegetable trays and finger sandwiches, which cuts back around a third of the price of having a sit down dinner. I also found out that if you have your cake made by a local discount chain store, then the price is also significantly less than a wedding cake specialty bakery. ~Stephanie

Home Haircuts
I have saved hundreds of dollars over the years by doing my own haircuts. Years ago, my sister showed me how to do a basic man's haircut, and I have been cutting my husband's hair ever since. I cut my daughter's bangs, and when she was into straight hair, I would cut her length, too. I purchased a pair of electric hair trimmers and buzzed my son's hair for years. ~MD

Keeping Broccoli Fresh
Broccoli is a delicious, nutritious vegetable, but it is expensive. I originally discovered how to keep broccoli fresh when I pulled a limp, but still green crown of broccoli from my fridge. It obviously wasn't going bad, but it literally sagged in my hand. On a whim, I tried crisping it in ice water, and it worked! Now when I buy broccoli, I trim off the bottom end and store it in a cup or pint jar of water in the fridge. It is set so that it can "drink" water while it's stored. It is just my husband and me, so we can't eat a whole crown of broccoli at a single meal, which means keeping it for a while. As I use part of the crown, I trim off another 1/8 inch off the end of the stem and replace the old water in the jar with fresh. I also loosely bag it, cup and all, into a used produce bag to keep it from drying out. I keep broccoli green and crisp for weeks this way, and it always tastes good! ~Carla C.

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 2011 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.


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