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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 21, 2011

Frugal Garden Markers
To make cheap but long lasting garden markers, I cut some old Venetian blinds to about a foot long and put a point on one end. You can even write on them the type of seed you have planted. I have used mine for about four years, and they are still in great shape. ~Mike F. in Elmira, NY

Less Expensive T-Shirts The next time you're shopping for t-shirts for yourself and/or your family, a cheap source you might not have considered is your local craft store. They carry standard, basic t-shirts in various solid colors that they sell for the purpose of decorating with paints, etc. The prices are pretty impossible to beat, especially when they go on sale. Other plain, functional items they sell cheap are flip-flops, foam visors, and canvas aprons and tote bags. Whether you choose to embellish them or not, these staples are priced right. ~Diva

Natural Hair Care
The best homemade beauty tip that is equivalent to any expensive hair treatment is to use warmed olive oil on your hair to repair, smooth, and hydrate. Just warm the oil, massage it into your hair, and leave on half an hour before washing as normal. Makes your hair luxurious and smooth. ~E.

Handy Magnifiers
I buy very strong reading glasses at a discount store or find them at yard sales. They're great for removing splinters without having to try to hold a magnifying glass in one hand and a needle in the other. They also make small craft projects and close work much easier. ~BB

Patios and Walkways
Something my sister did to make her own patio might also work for a walkway. She collected broken pieces of cement from someone who was ripping it up. Then she broke it into manageable pieces and various shapes and made a beautiful patio by arranging the pieces like you would do with flagstone or other material and filled the cracks with small stones and pebbles from a nearby river bed. It looks great and only cost her time. ~Joan W.

Better Off Late
Here's a tip we discovered accidentally. We happened to have free tickets to a local minor league baseball game, so we decided to attend even though we would be late. We arrived at the ballgame during the fifth inning, and to our surprise, we did not have to pay for parking. And no one was there to collect our tickets! I inquired with the team office the next day and found out that parking and admission to the game is always free at the bottom of the fifth inning. My kids were thrilled when they found out we could attend all the home baseball games as long as we came late! Imagine all of those times we have said, "Hurry up. We don't want to be late." Well, going to the baseball game is now one time we can be glad we're late! ~Beth H.

Car Insurance Tips
Many insurance companies offer a discount for "mature drivers" (generally over 55) who take a driver improvement course. Check with your insurance agent. My car insurance company started a new program offering a discount for policy holders who sign up to report their mileage twice a year. I got an immediate reduction in my premium for signing up, and depending on my annual mileage (namely if it stays low), a larger discount will follow. Again, check with your insurance agent. ~Joe

Search and Sell!
In order to make some much needed school money, I had my kids go through their closets and give me every piece of clothing, toys, electronics, books, and sports equipment that they had outgrown. I searched the online sites to determine what they would be worth. I went through our office and my husband searched his hunting and fishing equipment and tools. I decided that anything worth more than $10 would go online and the rest would go into a garage sale. We have sold more than $800 online. The garage sale with nothing over $5 raised $300. The closets are more organized, and I made the kids promise to tithe a percentage. All the unsold items have been donated to charity. Each kid will get money to spend on school activities (sports, yearbooks, and clothes), and they have said that they want to take good care of the new items they bought since they may be able to resell them. ~L.

Daily Exercise at Home
There are many things around the house that make good exercise equipment. The easiest are right in your pantry! Use one- or two-pound cans as weights until they become too easy to lift. You'll know they're too easy when you can do 15 reps without a problem. Use your staircase as a stair stepper and for other exercises to build up leg muscles. Put a large towel on the floor to use as a mat for floor exercises. To build exercise into your daily routine, forget about being efficient. Be effective instead! Park your car at the far end of parking lots. You won't miss the extra two or three minutes you use to get to the door of the store, but you'll see the difference in no time. Go up and down the stairs at home frequently. Wash your own car, clean your own house, till your own garden, and shovel your own walks and driveway. All of these activities and many others around the house qualify as exercise. They really make a difference. I've lost and kept off over 85 pounds, going from size 16-18 to size 4, doing all these things. I also walk around the neighborhood and to nearby stores. I even walk to some of the schools where I substitute teach. ~Barbara

Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit www.stretcher.com/r/99.htm to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2011 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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