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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - May 26, 2011

High School Reunion
If you're looking for ideas for a high school reunion, think flat! Photocopy a yearbook and "decoupage" each table with miscellaneous photos covered by clear, heavy plastic tablecloths. Along the same lines, you could photocopy LP covers and intersperse them with class photos. This is guaranteed to bring on the nostalgia. ~~Jean

Removing Gasoline Odors
Recently, we were carrying a lawnmower gas can in our minivan, and it tipped over. The smell was overwhelming. We called a car detail man for advice and he said to spray it down with Febreze and leave the windows open. We did this once and the odor was gone! ~Deborah

Gas Savings
To save gas, control your speed with your accelerator, not your brake. Look ahead. If there is a red light coming up, take your foot off the gas and coast up to the light. It may change by the time you get to it. This also saves the brakes! ~Donna V.

The Bill Check
When going over a bill recently, my cousin called the college office to ask about all the miscellaneous fees. They reduced her bill by the $100 health services fee because all her classes begin after 4:30pm when the health office is closed! It's a good thing that she called. ~S. in Rochester, NY

Minimize Scarring
Last year, I had an auto accident, which left me handicapped and with a very large scar on my leg. In rehab, I got the following tip for better healing and a nicer looking scar. Buy an electronic toothbrush and massage your scar in circles. This is to avoid bumpy scar tissue and encourage blood circulation. Do it every night with a rich cream for several minutes (or as long as you can stand it). You don't need an expensive healing lotion. It's much more important to massage the scar as early as possible. Don't forget to clean the brush regularly and don't use it for tooth brushing! ~CC

Storing Clothing
Rather than spend extra money on vacuum storage bags for clothes (which can run from $20 a set and up), I take tall, plastic garbage bags, suck the air out with my vacuum, and tape it sealed, preserving the vacuum. Then I label the bags with what clothes are in them ("Winter sweaters" for example). If you prefer storage bins, dollar stores carry them. When the need arises for those clothes, the tape easily comes off and the bags can be used for the trashcan or used again for clothing storage. Just be careful that there are no holes (which can be taped by the way). ~Stacy Jo in Oakland, CA

Homemade Cleaning "Erasers"
I make most of the cleaners for my housecleaning. However, when my children suddenly became "wall artists," I tried the cleaning erasers in hopes of avoiding repainting. They worked great, but I hated not knowing what they contained. I read the box and found a warning not to use with chlorine bleach. This is a sure sign of ammonia as an ingredient. So I tried warm water with some liquid dish soap and ammonia. I went after the crayon and marker drawings with a rag and my new mixture. The results were just as good and a lot cheaper. ~Nadine

Facebook Finds
I found a unique way to use Facebook. I recently decided I needed a rebounder for my health. It is a miniature trampoline for indoor use. I looked on Craig's List but didn't find one cheap enough. I checked thrift stores to no avail. It dawned on me that someone I know might have one, but who? I put out a simple wall post on my Facebook page, and within an hour, someone I knew said they had one they didn't use that I could have for free. All I had to do was pick it up. Just another idea of how to reuse someone's cast offs, using a popular social media. ~Sue C. in Buckley, WA

Handy Water Cleanup
Ever been surprised by a flooding washing machine, a freezer that "died" and flooded the area, or a water heater that decided to drain without being asked? For just such emergencies I have a designated drawer with old towels and some large, old bath towels. If you have none, you can usually get them very inexpensively at your local thrift store. Just the other day, I was defrosting my freezer and foolishly forgot to put a big pan on one of the shelves to catch the melting ice. I just grabbed a bunch of my emergency towels and cleaned up the mess. It happened to be right next to my washer, so I easily cleaned the towels. They are ready for life's next unexpected flooding. I keep that drawer full of towels, so I do not need to panic whenever there is a massive clean-up needed. ~Merry

It Pays to Maintain
Spring is the time we think of getting things ready for summer, such as cleaning your windows or preparing your lawn mower. But don't forget those items that if not maintained will have a shorter life. Have you checked your washer hoses for bulges, cleaned your dryer vent, or drained your hot water heater to prevent sediment build-up? How about having a professional clean and check your air conditioner as well as your computer. Also when was the last time you had your furnace cleaned and checked? You don't have to do them all at once. Instead, spread them out over the whole year. The time you take to complete these important tasks will result in big savings down the road. ~TF

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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