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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - August 25, 2011

Pantry Organization
I use simple, inexpensive plastic dishpans to organize my pantry. I label each one with the contents. They simply slide in and out of the shelves with ease. The plastic dishpans I bought are around $1 each and will last forever. They're also good for keeping track of children's toys and many other items around a home. ~B.

Potatoes!
I know everyone is trying to stretch their food budgets. One thing that I finally realized is if I purchase a big bag of potatoes, I can make many types of dishes. I can make mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, French fries, potato pancakes, etc. The list is endless. Whereas, if I buy just a box of instant potatoes, that's all I make. It is cheaper to buy the large bag. That's what I am doing. The same is true for macaroni and rice. ~Cynthia

Dehumidifier Drains
Sometimes the tubing from the dehumidifier curls up and the water won't run into the drain. It will even back up enough to knock the tubing off the dehumidifier, making a big puddle and wasting electricity. Using PVC that will fit over the tubing, I cut it into five-inch or longer sections and slip it over the tubing running from the dehumidifier to keep it lying flat. I have to put several pieces in strategic spots, but it does the job just great. There is no more curling tubing that keeps the water from running into the drain. ~S.

Need a Meal Idea?
When you're out of ideas when it comes to cooking, look around on the condiment shelf in the refrigerator and pantry. Find a recipe that includes whatever has been sitting there for a long time. It gives you some place to start and it moves along food that could eventually go bad. ~Lynda

Kitty Litter Stretchers
Remove solid waste daily from the cat box. Sprinkle baking soda over fresh litter several times per week. Add fresh litter as needed. This method saves me from cleaning the litter box entirely up to two or three weeks, and I have three indoor cats. ~V.

Recipe Database
I am always interested in new recipes and cookbooks. I go to the library often to look at recipe books. Instead of writing down my favorite recipes, I jot down the author or the name of the cookbook and write the titles of every recipe I would like to keep. Then I go on the Internet and find those recipes. Nearly every time, I am successful in finding the correct recipe and I don't have to write every single recipe down. I keep those recipes in my computer "favorites," and when I need them, they are there and not in a drawer or recipe box. If I do not want to search for those recipes soon, I write down the title and author and keep them in a small notebook for reference. ~RH

Combining Errands to Save Gas
Many people put things that are ready to go somewhere by the front door. For me, things kept by the front door are easily passed by and forgotten, and the errand doesn't get done. It also adds to the clutter in my house. So I've come up with another plan. When I have something that needs to be returned or taken somewhere, maybe library books or Goodwill donations, I put it in my car, either in the trunk or backseat. I keep a nice-looking basket in the backseat to hold such things. That way, when I'm going somewhere and pass by the library or Goodwill, I have the item ready and can take care of that errand! ~Anne

Don't Let Milk Go Bad
Next time you have milk that is about to expire, here are two ways to make it last longer: 1. You can freeze milk. Just thaw it out in the refrigerator when you're ready to use it. 2. Pour a few grains of salt in the milk to keep it from souring too soon. ~Lynn

EMT Stain Tip
While training as an EMT, I worked in an emergency room and learned a valuable tip for removing blood stains. The nurses used plain peroxide on a blood stain, and the chemical reaction literally made the stain disappear. The fresher the stain, the faster it works. But, I've also been able to get dried stains cleaned as well. Just pour enough peroxide on the stain to moisten and watch the "bubbles" eat the stain. If the stain is not gone when the bubbling stops, reapply. Repeat until the stain is gone. I buy the large economy size bottles of peroxide to keep on hand and have saved many articles of clothing from the rag bin. Since peroxide has a bleaching effect, you might want to test it on some colors first. ~SE

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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