The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 7, 2011
Overwhelming Medical Bills
You can negotiate with your hospital to pay a low monthly installment on a big bill. Most are willing to work with you rather than write off another bad debt. I just finished paying off my $3,000 hospital bill from the birth of my first daughter two years ago. ~Jennifer
Leftover Hotdog and Hamburger Buns
An idea for leftover hot dog and hamburger buns is to use them to make garlic bread. We try to make garlic bread from the leftover rolls, ends of bread loaves, and whatever leftover bread we have before it gets too stale. Just use some olive oil and garlic powder and pop them in the toaster oven. ~Dave F.
Releasing the Releaser!
When "wrinkle releaser" came out several years ago, I thought it was wonderful and I totally quit ironing my clothes. Then one day I was getting clothes ready for a trip and found I had no wrinkle releaser! So I used the only thing I had on hand, which was water in a spray bottle. It worked just as well, and I have never bought wrinkle releaser again. And I still don't iron my clothes. ~Jo in Corpus Christi, TX
Affordable Bed Sheets
I've done really well buying sheets at thrift shops like Salvation Army, Goodwill, Savers, etc. I have to keep looking, but many really nice sheets do eventually get donated. I get the same sheet for a fraction of its original cost. Sometimes the set is sold together, and sometimes the pieces are near each other but priced individually. Sometimes I can mix and match, as in a print sheet with a coordinating solid color. I'll never buy sheets retail again. The price is so dramatically different, and I have found some truly wonderful sheets secondhand. ~Anne
Tired of Stale Potato Chips?
I worked this past winter making kettle corn and pork skins, and I learned that you can freeze both of those and potato chips to keep them fresh. They will not get soggy, because all you are freezing is air. Since I live alone, I freeze my potato chips, so they don't go stale before I can finish a bag. And it works! My chips stay fresh, and they will stay fresh up to six weeks, maybe even longer. ~Shelby C.
Getting Rid of Head Lice
To remove lice and nits from hair, take a jar of coconut oil, melt it (gas or electric oven on low heat or put jar in a pot of water on low heat like you would re-melt honey), and then use as a conditioner. Leave on overnight wrapped in plastic or a towel. In the morning, wash hair thoroughly. Repeat every three days for a month. The coconut oil kills the lice and eggs and repeated use will assure any lice that hatch from eggs that escaped being killed off will be killed with a repeat application. ~H.
Housework was always a job I hated, so I'd procrastinate. It would take me all day to do what I could do in a hour. A friend taught me to take one hour a day, no more, and do my housework. I make my bed, start a load of laundry, straighten the front room, and clean the toilet and bathroom if it needs it. Then I transfer the clothes out of the washer into the dryer and do the dishes. Last, I fold the clothes and put them away. Sometimes, it takes me less than 30 minutes to do everything but the laundry so I add another job to it like sweeping and mopping. Now, I have most of my day free to do as I wish, without beating myself up for not getting things done. ~Paula C.
Low Cost Landline Phone Service
We wanted to eliminate our landline to save money each month and avoid the telemarketers. We hesitated as it was somewhat of a comfort to us knowing anyone, including our grandchildren, could dial 911 if necessary. We have our security system hooked into our landline, and we have our house on the market. We contacted our phone company and chose a limited use line for $9.25 a month with unlimited incoming and a set number of outgoing calls allowed each month. We both have cell phones. The landline is cheaper than converting our security system to a cellular phone, and the monthly cost for the security system would have been higher with a cellular installation. We unhooked all our phones except the one with the answering machine on it, turned off our ringers, and set our answering machine to answer immediately. If home, we can hear the message and pick up if we deem it a call to which we wish to respond. The telemarketers have slowed considerably and we can still get our messages from callers. It is working great, and a few of our co-workers have chosen to do the same and are pleased. ~Sherry L. in Anadarko, OK
Electric Bill Savings
My husband and I have a 1500-square-foot home. We have hot summer nights, and it has been proven that if you keep your room cool, you get a much better night's sleep. It seemed wasteful to keep our central air running at a cooler temperature all night when we are in just one room in the house. To save money on our electric bill, we put in a programmable thermostat. We used to set it at 74 degrees at night for a better night of rest. Two years ago, I snagged a good deal on a close out portable air conditioner that was marked half price at the end of the season. We have enjoyed keeping our room even cooler now, setting the thermostat on the portable unit at around 70, and turning our main air conditioner to 80 degrees at night. We have saved more than enough money in one season to pay for the air conditioner in our room, and as an extra bonus, we sleep much more comfortable than before. My sister saw what we had done, and since she has double hung windows, she put in a window unit in their bedroom and has also saved a noticeable amount on their electric bill each month. ~Charly
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