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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - April 21, 2011

Wood Furniture Scratches
If a stained wood surface gets a scratch and you can see the lighter wood underneath, all you need to do is get a walnut. Using the meat of a walnut, rub it across the scratch. The oils in the walnut will hide the scratch. I have never tried this on light colored woods (such as ash), but for oak, cherry and walnut finishes, this has worked wonders. ~P.

The Family Ice Cream Party
Instead of taking our family to the local ice cream shop, which with a family of 7 could cost us upwards of $28, we buy a box of ice cream for $4 and head to the park for a night out with the family and a delicious ice cream. ~Jennie C.

Finding Affordable Fabric
Sometimes I find large garments that have new or good fabric and purchase them with the purpose of cutting it up and sewing it into something wonderful. Anyone who sews knows what fabric is costing these days. ~Marty C. M.

Charcoal Fire Starter Trick
I have a tip for all those people who love cooking with charcoal but have trouble getting it started. Use three or four large marshmallows. Lay them on top of your briquettes, lightly touch a flame source to them, and then stand back and let them do the work. They are mostly sugar and will catch fire quickly. They burn just long enough to melt down into the charcoal, starting them without any help from lighter fluid. ~Faylee J. in Kingsport, TN

Flowerbed Protection
Something, probably rabbits, had been nibbling my roses and other bedding plants. I placed my used citrus peelings in my flowerbed around the base of the plants, and I haven't had any more problems with nibbled down roses. ~Christina S. in Wichita, KS

Kids Traveling Snack Tray
When my kids were small and we were going to be out doing errands during snack or meal time, I would use a covered ice cube tray (Tupperware) to make "on the go" snacks. I would fill each compartment with little finger foods like raisins, cut up fruit, veggies, meats, or cheeses. I would also add things like tiny crackers, and I filled one compartment with a "dessert" like chocolate chips or small kid-friendly candy. The kids loved it! We always got comments on what a neat idea it was, and as a bonus, when we were somewhere that quiet kids were appreciated, it kept them occupied and happy. You can't beat that! ~Jennifer S.

Frugal Air Deodorizers
To deodorize the air in your home, boil vinegar and water on the stove for about 20 minutes. The air will first smell like vinegar until the molecules spread and attack the odors, leaving behind a freshened room. Another inexpensive, wonderful way to fragrance the air is to simmer cinnamon or cloves or pumpkin pie spices. Maybe add some vanilla. The entire house smells like you are baking an apple pie. You can use the same pan and do this over and over again, adding water as needed. ~Carole

Exercise for Less
I bought a stationary exercise bike for $5 in a second-hand store. It has been one of the best bargains in my life. During the winter months, when I didn't feel like going for a walk, I would go down to the basement and put some miles on the bike. So many of my friends told me they bought exercise equipment or joined clubs for hundreds of dollars and then never used either. When I put down my $5 for the bike I thought, "What the heck! If I don't use it, I'm sure I'll be able to sell it for the same price." But, it has paid for itself and then some. ~Tamela

Garden Greens
This is the time of year when beets, onions, and potatoes are starting to bud and when fresh greens are at a premium. I planted my budding beets and onions, just as they were, in plant pots with chemical-free soil and watered them. Immediately I had lots of fresh onion and beet greens. The onion greens are great in salads and mashed potatoes. The tiny beet greens are wonderful in salads. Eating budding vegetables is a bit less nutritious, as some plant energy is being sent into the buds and roots. Using them instead to grow fresh and free delicate greens is great tasting and saves money. Put the pots in the sunniest window available. Mine are in the kitchen window for the ultimate in convenience. The "bulbs" will produce even in poor light for a short time. ~Barbara T. in Toronto

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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