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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - June 30, 2011

Easy Coffeepot Cleaning
To clean my coffeepot, I put two to three cups of cold tap water into the pot. Then I add two teaspoons of salt and a cup or two of vinegar. This cleans like crazy and does not harm the pot. ~Jacqueline

Conspicuously Thrifty
I have found that I can be envied for being conspicuously thrifty when people find out that my husband and I own our house outright. We are 37 and 39. I don't brag about it, but if the subject of mortgages, house payments, or refinancing comes up in conversation, I will be honest about our situation. And if asked how we were able to do it, I will tell about our philosophy of living debt-free and not keeping up with the Joneses. ~Molly

Sunscreen for Your Home
If you have a room that gets hot when the sun shines in all day, nothing really keeps out the heat. But if you get a 4x8 sheet of 3/4-inch foam board insulating panel, you can cut it to fit the window opening and just press fit it in. From the outside, it looks like a curtain. Inside the house, if you close your shade or curtains, no one will even know it's there. It can easily be removed at night or any time you wish. This saves big money on both cooling and heating bills. ~Ken P.

Removing Oil-Based Stains
I was staining new wood trim that was already nailed to the walls and around windows. Everything was protected by painter's tape, so it wouldn't get on the walls or on the white vinyl window trim. Once I removed the tape, I saw that the stain did "bleed" onto the trim. Also, after picking up the plastic tarp that I had on the floor, I saw two drops of stain on our carpet. The stain would not come off with water because it was oily, so I went into the kitchen and got some olive oil. I put some olive oil on a clean rag and rubbed it on the window trim. The stain came off like magic. It also removed the stain on the carpet with a little rubbing! ~Alice in NJ

Clothing Repair
A small hole or stain can ruin a piece of clothing. I have found that some articles of clothing can be saved by adding some pretty embroidery designs or applying a decorative applique to cover the bad area. If you don't embroider or you can't find a suitable applique, try digging a handful of buttons and/or beads out of your stash and sew them on in a creative design over the problem area. You can sew on a smaller button design in another area to add interest and pull the look together. ~Debra

Changing Auto Status
I have a car insurance tip. I was placed on long-term disability this past February, and I spoke with my agent about my options. There are two main types of insurance. There's "all purpose" that allows me to commute to work and "pleasure," which means the car is being driven less than four times a month to work. Since I was no longer driving to work, I could change to the cheaper insurance. I saved just over $20 a month just by talking to my insurance agent. ~Stephanie

Save the Glasses
Put a different colored rubber band around a cup each morning, have everyone know their color, and use the same cup all day. When the day is over, take off the bands, put cups in dishwasher or trash (if disposable), and start all over in the morning. This works great for me and my family. And cups or glasses aren't everywhere! ~MD

No Need for Bigger Towels
I came home from an out-of-town trip to find that my son and his friends had used all the bath towels and left them in a heap on the floor. All that was left in the cabinet was hand towels, so I grabbed one of those. That thick hand towel was plenty good enough to dry off with after a shower. And they won't take up much room in the washer, either. As a side note, I still have a designer towel I bought at the height of the "designer" craze in the 80s. Then, it was luxuriously large. It is small in comparison to the "standard" American bath towel now. What a waste of materials and laundry capacity! ~Joy

Mosquito Protection
The one thing that I've found to really prevent mosquito bites is fabric softener sheets, as they contain an ingredient that repels mosquitoes. And you can use any brand, even the cheapest brands. If my garment does not have a pocket, I use a safety pin to pin a sheet under a hem on my dress, a pair of shorts, or a shirt. It does not show, and I can be outside without getting mosquito bites all over. It's more of a pleasure walking my dogs when mosquitoes are not swarming around me, and I'm thrilled to have finally discovered this incredible tip. I usually pin several sheets where they are not visible. I've also used them to tie a tiny bow even on my flip-flops for even more protection. ~Saga

Handy Organizers
I needed a way to store hats, gloves, scarves, etc. and still have them easily accessible. My solution was over-the-door shoe organizers with pockets. I put one on the inside of the hall closet, and now I have a place for all of that winter clutter. I also put one behind my bedroom door. This one stores fashion accessories, such as scarves, belts, socks, etc. A shoe organizer hanging on the inside of the pantry door holds rolled up kitchen towels, linen napkins, canned goods, utensils like whisks and potato mashers, etc. Finally, one behind the bathroom door holds deodorant, make-up, first aid supplies, lotions, etc. The shoe organizers are not very expensive and can be used for so many things. Let your imagination run wild! Use them to store small toys in the kids' rooms and tools in the garage. You can be organized and not spend a lot of money! ~Mary C. in Red Wing, MN

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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