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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - April 14, 2011

Party Remembrance
I went to a wedding recently where I saw a really good idea. The couple bought a large artist's canvas (which you should be able to find inexpensively), put the name of the bride and groom and the date in one corner, and all the guests signed it. It would be a great memento of the evening! ~G.

Why Cheaper Towels Are Better
Buy smaller, thinner bath towels instead of using the big bulky towels that take up so much space in your washer. The smaller towels get the job done just fine, and you can fit a lot more in the washer. Also, they dry faster, saving on your electricity. ~Tina

No Baby Wipes Day!
This may sound crazy, but I have designated Mondays as "No Baby Wipes Day." How did this happen? Well, we order our diapers and wipes online. We ran out of baby wipes before our order came, and we refused to go to the convenience store to get more. So, we used washcloths all day! It was economical and environmentally friendly. In the long run, this will save us a bit of money as well. My next goal is to have two days a week and then three and then four that I will call "No Baby Wipes Day"! ~LJ

Sunny Windows
Too much sun coming through your windows and heating up your house? Buy a solar shade. They work just like a roller shade but keep most of the sun/heat out in the summer and insulate the window in the winter to keep the house heat in. We chose a white one because I like the clean, bright look of it. There are other colors available, though. I can see out through the shade, but no one can see inside. ~Debbie in Bells, TX

Giving Your Wardrobe a Facelift
To stretch the clothing budget, consider what you can do with the past season's clothes to make them different for next year. For instance, I now have a two-piece dress/suit, and I really dislike the top, but still like the skirt. It's black with a small beige print. I plan to sell the top at a flea market or give it to Goodwill, and find another top in black or beige to go with the skirt. Another change that will alter the appearance and feel of a garment is to shorten a long skirt or long sleeves. Creative alterations or pairing items with something different can make older clothes feel new again. ~Kay S.

Listening to the "Snobs"
I have always been a brand name diaper buyer until a very "snobby" friend told me that she had been using a store brand diaper for years. I decided that if she used them and went on and on about them, I would try them, too. To my surprise, she was right on the money. While I preferred Huggies®, Walgreens' brand diapers were much better and cheaper. Plus, Walgreens was always running a special on their diapers! Now if I can only find a deal on training pants! ~Jocelyn of Douglasville, GA

Online Shopping Discounts
Create an alternate email address that you can just freely give out without fear. Then whenever you are shopping for something online (especially if it is a one time thing), join the mailing list using the email that gets spammed to death and wait a few minutes. Then you will get offers in your email for a percentage off of your first purchase. Sometimes you can get as much 50% off your first item. When you are not interested in the website anymore, just unsubscribe. If you still get spam because of it, at least you used an email you don't care about. ~Jenny K.

"Frosted" Windows
Sometimes you want the light from a window but not as much "view." Perhaps you have a dog that sees everything going by from that window and barks at all the activity. Perhaps it's a computer room where you don't want passersby to see the equipment. Instead of buying frosted window film and having to cut and apply it, try this. Get some clear paint "glaze" and "paint" it on your windows. Two to three coats should do the trick. It's cheaper and washes off easily. This only works on the inside of windows obviously. ~Debbie C.

Affordable Pet Food
When buying pet food, check out the local Feed and Grain Store or Farmer's Supply. I found dog food at half the price of Wal-Mart and other retailers. Also, we have a guinea pig whose food is very expensive. I found guinea pig food about an eighth of the price of Wal-Mart! They also sell alfalfa cubes for horses, which are the same as those you buy in much smaller quantities for guinea pigs at pet supply stores. We got a 50-pound bag of cubes for $12. It was a huge savings! ~KF

The Menu Queen
I enjoy restaurant lunches, but refuse to pay the high price associated with eating lunch out several times weekly, as many of my co-workers do. Consequently, I always pack my lunch and wonder how much my co-workers are spending on eating out. If one of my colleagues is heading out for lunch, I ask them to bring me back a menu. I have a large collection of these menus, and use them when menu planning at home. By combining the copying of restaurant menu entrees, shopping grocery sales, and saving with coupons, I can feed my family of three on what I would've spent on a single entree, drink, and tip at a dine-in restaurant at lunch. In addition, I can manage the amount of salt, fat, freshness of the food, etc., when I prepare meals at home. I find I usually have leftovers for my lunches. Of course, I always offer to share my "creations" at work. I have received rave reviews, which encourages me to continue my brown bag lifestyle! ~Charmaine in San Antonio, TX

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 2011 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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