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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - August 11, 2011

Pesky Fruit Flies
Another way to get rid of fruit flies is to put a little apple cider vinegar in a small container and add a few drops of dish soap. This can be left out on the counter, and you will soon have a number of dead fruit flies in the container. ~Annette of ME

Cleaning Stuffed Animals
Cleaning stuffed animals is very easy. The more expensive ones can be washed in the washer inside a tied up pillowcase. The cheaper ones can be freshened in a paper sack with some baking soda. Just shake. I have never had any complaints, and I have two boys with very severe allergies. ~Laura

Easier Biscuits
Instead of rolling your dough out into a circle and cutting with a cup or a biscuit cutter, pat your dough into a large square and cut into 12 or 16 small squares. This saves time and effort, and there will be no wasted dough. My family and friends think that these square biscuits are "neat." ~Melissa

Extra Income
I have done a lot to cut expenses and even went back to work full time to generate more income for the family. However, I am still in debt. I contacted the school board and arranged for a foreign high school student to stay with us for the eight months of the school term starting in September. I will net about $500 per month in stipend after expenses. In Ontario, the stipend is not rental income and therefore not taxable as income. I have an extra bedroom and have two high school aged children of my own. Although there will be some sacrifices, I expect there will be many gains. One of them will be putting around an extra $500 each month towards paying off my debts. ~Helen K.

Back-to-School Clothing
Another "back-to-school clothing" tip I have concerns all those fun short sleeved shirts decorated with favorite graphics your kids wear all summer long. With my son, it's generally the latest super hero. Rather than buy several new long sleeved shirts with fun graphics, I like to buy several plain long sleeved crew neck shirts in various colors and let my son wear his short sleeved summer shirts over them. He gets the layered look, and I get to save some money! Plus he's warmer with the layering. I also buy plain zip front hoodies that he can wear over his short sleeves. Everyone is happy! ~Edie

Affordable Herbs and Spices
I saw the tip about using cloves to repel bugs and was reminded of the sticker shock I got at the grocery store the last time I bought cloves. Wow! Now I buy all of my herbs and spices at the restaurant supply store where I get a much larger container for the same price (or less) than the grocery store. My hubby made a couple of shelves in a cupboard, which is away from heat and cold and stays dark with the door closed. They last past the date on the label, and if they start to get a little "weaker," I just add a bit more to my recipe. I keep the spices that I use frequently out in some attractive containers on my counter for convenience. ~Nancy in Santee

Hair Care
My hair turned to frizz due to medication. It used to be shiny and straight. I spent about $50 trying different products until I came upon a natural and inexpensive solution. I keep a big plastic cup in the shower and fill it with about a half cup of apple vinegar and half cup of water. After I rinse the conditioner out of my hair, I use this as a final rinse. Make sure to close your eyes tight. Vinegar stings! Vinegar corrects the pH of your hair and actually smoothes the cuticle miraculously. ~Maria in Tulsa

Homemade Bath Salts
In a glass bowl, I mix about one cup of Epsom salts, a couple tablespoons of oil (preferably almond), and six or so drops of essential oil(s) for a bath that is relaxing and soothing. The essential oils can be chosen depending on the purpose of the bath. I always use a little lavender and add chamomile for calming, rose for romance, peppermint/eucalyptus/lemon for congestion, and any of the citrus oils (no lavender) for refreshing. Even my children love these baths. Be careful when exiting the tub, as the oil can make it a little slippery. Also, if you use a finer salt (sea salt) in place of the Epsom salt, and add another tablespoon or so of oil, you can stand in the bath and scrub your body gently (avoid the face). Then let the salts fall to the tub when done and then run the water for a bath. Your skin will feel incredibly smooth. ~Margaret

Simple, Single Meals
When ground beef is on sale, I buy at least three pounds. I then make individual hamburger patties, put each one of them in a regular sandwich bag (not resealable), and then stack all of them on top of each other in a bread bag, cinch tightly, and secure with tab. This saves on space and keeps me from using expensive storage bags. It's great to just take out one burger at a time. Since I live alone, I also freeze half a loaf of bread at a time and divide up hamburger buns, hotdog buns, English muffins, bagels (2-3 to a bag) and then use as needed. I save all of these bags to use again and again. ~Dorothy T.

Running Errands
In an attempt to use less gasoline, I've begun doing local errands by bike. I did have to make an initial investment of having a rack and metal fold-out baskets installed, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually driven to the grocery store for the past several months. I've surprised myself with the amount of groceries I can bring home in one trip, especially with an extra basket on the front to carry the lighter items. As I don't wait in the long lines at traffic lights, it takes just slightly longer to get there by bike than by car. These outings not only supplement my regular workouts, but make me consolidate errands. Now, I only need to go out a couple of times per week. If I make a longer trip, the trip there and home again replaces my regular workout and I get more done in less time. Most drivers in my area probably think I'm crazy, but I wish more people would do this. ~Terry V. in Hoschton, GA

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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