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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - August 18, 2011

Ready Citrus Zest
When recipes call for lemon, orange or lime zest, I always have some available. I freeze the peels in a zipper bag and make sure to remove as much air as possible. ~Mary G.

Save the Nail Clippers
We have been using the foil wrappers off our dark chocolate candies to keep our nail clippers sharp. Just clip the foil, and it will help keep them sharp and lasting longer. ~Kim W.

Less Expensive Bird Baths
Since bird baths can be quite expensive, we are using large pot saucers instead. We bought metal plant stands to raise the saucers off the ground. We have three on stands and one on the ground. We attract a lot of birds, and the one on the ground is perfect for passing cats and the bunnies that live down our back slope. ~Emy in Granada Hills

Just the Right Shade
I just did two of my favorite things. I saved money, and I cut back on waste! During the summer months, my foundation make-up color changes due to sun exposure. Rather than buy new foundation that I will only use a short time, I bought a small tube of foundation from a dollar store that is two shades darker than my normal color. I use a tiny amount of the darker shade with my regular color on my application sponge, and I have a new "summer" look without a huge expense. ~WE in New York

Bulk Food Source
Do you live in a state with an Amish community nearby? I've visited Amish communities in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. They've all had little stores with terrific prices on bulk merchandise. Just last week I bought flax seed, allspice, and Jell-O powder at amazing prices and dry yeast for less than half what I pay in the grocery store. I've also found oatmeal, flour, various spices, and baking ingredients at Amish bulk stores. Besides the great food prices, the scenic drive through Amish country is priceless! ~Brenda N. in Rochester, MN

Long-Lasting Chew Toys
As a dog trainer and owner, I recommend toys for your puppy that are long-lasting, such as a Nylabone™ toy or rawhide chews. They not only last longer and cost less in the long run, but also they're more suitable for your puppy's needs. They help with teething and building strong jaw muscles and healthy gums. Most discount department stores carry good chew toys, or if you live in a rural area, cow or deer hooves are wonderful chew toys if you have access to them. ~NPB

Affordable Wall Decor
I have a beach house in Gloucester, MA that needed decorating. The wall over the sofa was a large, bare area. I solved the problem by going online, printing several 8" X 11" photos, and putting them in matching frames that I bought for $1 each at a local dollar store. Everyone who comes into the house loves the pictures, which are of local scenes, such as the famous Fisherman's Statue, Hammond Castle, etc. ~G.

Tarnished Silver?
I found that those little desiccant packages (which come in vitamins and many other products) are great for preventing tarnishing of silver and brass (and anything else that needs polishing periodically). I keep a few in my jewelry box along with my sterling earrings, bracelets, etc. and haven't needed to polish those pieces for years. I also put some in my silver chests with the sterling flatware and a silver plate. I inherited a few larger pieces, which I keep in a plastic bag with a few packets in there. This has really cut down on the time I spend keeping my pretty silver pieces looking nice. ~Nancy in Santee

Ink In Your Dryer?
My daughter washed and dried an ink pen and the ink was all over the barrel of my dryer. I used vegetable shortening to clean it out. With the dryer empty, I ran it for a few minutes to warm the drum and then smeared vegetable shortening onto the ink. After waiting a few minutes, I rubbed the area with a paper towel, turning it frequently to get up all the ink. This also works if you have tar in the dryer. It may take repeating the process several times. ~Wayne

Cooking and Food Storage Pans
I like to freeze extra meals for my own family's use as well as giving to others for various occasions. I did manage to find foil pans cheaper at a nearby dollar store than at the grocery store or local Wal-Mart, but I hate the throw-away aspect of them. So I started looking at thrift stores and yard sales for casserole pans (square, rectangle, and round). They are usually no more than $1, and since I get many uses out of them, I feel it's worth the cost. Since I send food to family and friends, I always get the pans back eventually, but with my stockpile, I'm not waiting on them. The glass and metal pans work well in the freezer. If you don't want to put the glass pan straight into the oven from the freezer (Pyrex® pans are made to withstand the temperature changes), then just thaw the dish out in the refrigerator the night before you plan to bake it. ~Jenny in Missouri

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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