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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - April 7, 2011

Disinfecting Sponges
Microwave sponges for 15 seconds after use and prop upright to air dry. I can use the same sponge until it gets tattered, and it never smells. ~ Lindsay

Take Out Tip
My husband and I often order "take out" from restaurants. Sometimes we pick the food up and other times we have the food delivered. In either case, we always ask for disposable plates, napkins, and utensils. The restaurant happily furnishes them to us, and we do not have to use our "paper goods." This also is true of condiments. For example, when we order pizza, I always ask for packets of parmesan cheese. We save money by asking for these things that make our "take out" meal happier. ~Cheryl in Florence, KY

Daily Decluttering
I have recently started de-cluttering my home. My objective is to get 50 things out of my house per day, whether they are donated to charity, given to friends who can make use of them, or thrown away. It is such a simple idea and one that is surprisingly easy to do. Many days I get rid of more than just 50 things. It is becoming addictive! My house is slowly but surely getting organized. ~Vikki C.

Product Manuals
I try to save the owner's manual for product repairs. But, sometimes (especially if you buy things second-hand) you just don't have the manual. It is good to know that many companies now print them on their website, so you don't have to go searching for a printed copy. This happened to me recently when I needed to make a minor adjustment on my Bilco® hatchway door. It was so convenient! ~John in Connecticut

Handy Five-Gallon Buckets
I work in the janitorial field in a public school, and I can tell you that it is another excellent source of empty five-gallon buckets. This is especially true after the winter, spring and summer vacations when the major cleaning gets done. We have so many that we throw them away. ~Dave K. in Buffalo, NY

Wooden Wonders!
As a teacher, I use wooden clothespins for many things, including art projects, name markers, big paper clips, etc. If you attach some adhesive magnetic tape to the back, you can let children paint or decorate them in numerous ways. They are excellent for displaying chore lists or art on the refrigerator door. They are our chip clips and clips to close economy-size bags of frozen foods. I have used them to wrap up long extension and Internet cords as well. Best of all, they are reusable! ~D.

Eggs on Sale?
Most people don't take advantage of eggs when they go on sale because they don't know eggs can be frozen! Lightly mix one cup of raw eggs (about five large ones) with one tsp. of salt and store in an airtight freezer container. Thaw overnight in fridge. Frozen eggs will keep up to six months. Three tbsp. of the egg mixture equals one large egg. They taste great scrambled, in omelets, or in baking. ~MKW

Tinted SPF 15 Moisturizer
A good sunscreen is the single best anti-aging product we can use! Last year, I was tempted to spend $12 on a tiny tube of tinted SPF 15 moisturizer. As I carried it around the store, I realized I could mix it myself. I had a bottle of store brand SPF 15 moisturizer ($5) and a bottle of foundation ($2 with coupon). I put a dab of lotion on my fingertip and combined it with about 1/3 the amount of foundation. Then I mixed it and smoothed it on. My skin never felt or looked better! ~Kristie

Free Stock
I'm not a huge fan of either turkey or chicken soup, but after I'm done cooking the Thanksgiving turkey or roasting a chicken, I can't bear to throw out a perfectly good carcass. So I add some celery, onion, and a few herbs and toss it all in my large stock pot with enough water to cover. After cooking it for an hour or so, when it cools a bit, I strain it, measure one-cup portions, and pour it into zipper sandwich bags. I lay them flat on a sheet cake pan and pop into the freezer. After they're frozen, I take them off the tray and stack them in the freezer. Since they're frozen flat, they don't take up a lot of space. I now have plenty of chicken or turkey stock to use in any recipe that calls for chicken broth for several months. It's much more flavorful than canned, and it is basically free! ~D.

A Better Way to Wash Hair
I use baking soda and vinegar to wash and rinse my hair. I have done this for five years, and my hair has never felt so clean and grown so long! Plus, it stays clean a lot longer, so I don't have to wash it every day, which is a real time saver! I make a thick paste of baking soda and water. I wet my hair and massage the baking soda paste into my scalp. Then I rinse with warm (not hot) water. Hot water will remove natural oils from hair. Finally, I rinse the ends with vinegar that is diluted 50/50 with water, and then rinse again with warm water and condition as usual. This saves time, water, shampoo (some are pretty expensive!), and eliminates the use of toxic chemicals found in most commercial shampoos. ~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 2011 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.


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