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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - April 28, 2011

A Cleaner Shower Stall
Borax mixed with a little water to make a paste and a soft bristle brush works great on removing soap scum from shower stalls. ~Paddi W.

Half-Sized Sheets
I love paper towels that have the half sheet perforation option, but I don't want to have to pay for it! On a cutting board, I lay my regular roll of paper towel down on its side and carefully "saw" it in half with a serrated bread knife. Voila! Now I have half-sheets in two convenient rolls! ~JR in Houston

Easily Matched China
A way to save on purchasing china is to buy only plain, white china. Even if you pick up pieces in a variety of patterns, since they are all the same color, it won't matter and your guests might even enjoy the bit of variety in accents. ~S.

Use Lots of Batteries?
Years ago, I bought a 15-minute battery charger with four batteries that charged in 15 minutes. I have never needed to replace them. They save me a fortune because I listen to books on CD while I walk, and the CD player uses a lot of batteries. In fact, this is one of the best presents I give to male or female friends. By the way, the battery holds a long charge. I save money, the environment, and time because I don't constantly have to run and get batteries. ~CS

The "Exchange" Party
Last week I attended an "exchange" party. We all brought things that didn't fit or we didn't care for anymore like books, CDs, DVDs, jewelry, shoes, etc. We each brought a potluck dish. We ate, talked, enjoyed each other, and then we "shopped." I now am the proud owner of a new beautiful bathrobe, a brand new Coach purse, etc. Everyone went home full and happy with their new things. The only cost was for the food we made. It wasn't fancy, but it was wonderful. We no longer have to deal with garage sale set up, etc. The things that no one wanted went to charity. ~CLM

Scented Bath Salts
I work in a store that sells scented bath salts. They can be $10 for a 16-ounce bottle unless you make your own. Get some coarse salt, a fragrance oil, a clear container, and a bowl. Pour the salt into the bowl and add the oil. Stir well. Transfer contents to clear container, and you've got some nice bath salts. And you didn't have to spend much at all! ~Monica

Easy Reader
Do you like eBooks but can't afford to download too many? Libraries now offer free downloads of a wide array of books to patrons. The most common method is to log into the library computer with your library card ID and then select to browse the network for eBooks that are free to download. Then download from that computer to your laptop, iPod, or iPhone. ~Tamara W.

Homemade Steak Sauce
I make my own steak sauce. The recipe is so easy! I have been told that it tastes similar to the A1 brand that costs so much in the grocery store. Put equal amounts of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup into a glass container and heat in the microwave to simmer. Add one teaspoon of ground ginger to two cups of the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce mixture before simmering. If one desires it to be a little sweet, you may add some brown sugar to taste. After the mixture cools, I pour it into a squeeze bottle or any container, and keep it in the cupboard. You can refrigerate it if you desire. ~Elaine

Kid's "Construction" Party
I am a big believer in spending time (not money) on kids' parties. My son is in daycare all day, and the last thing he wants is to be away from his parents! My son will be four this month, and his party theme of choice is "construction." I went to a local appliance store and got several refrigerator boxes. My husband and I will cut out door and window shapes and then provide the kids with markers, so they can decorate the "house." I purchased plastic construction helmets ($0.99 each) at the local party shop, so they look like real construction workers. In addition, we plan to lay out all the cupcake fixings (different color frosting, sprinkles, etc.), so the kids can "construct" their own cupcake for the cake and ice cream portion of the party. I plan on it being a great party! ~Carolyn

Constant Dog Barking
As an animal control officer for about five years, if your neighbor has a barking dog, I would suggest that you get up the nerve to go talk to them. Ninety percent of the folks to whom I've issued warnings say that they wished someone had talked to them before calling animal control. Talking to your neighbor is the fastest and most effective way to resolve the problem. If you just can't do it, leave an extremely polite note on the door with your name and number to discuss the problem. If you want to be really proactive, visit some websites and print up some material about stopping nuisance barking (most dogs bark because they are lonely and bored!) to give to your neighbor. Give it some time; things can't change overnight. Talk to your other neighbors to see if they have a problem with the dog barking. If your neighbor is unreceptive, then don't hesitate to call animal control or your police department. Find out what your local laws are and the process that needs to be followed and then do it. ~Carmen in Colorado

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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