The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - September 1, 2011
Handy to Have
Everyone who has to use a walker to get around should have a back-scratcher in the pocket on the walker. It extends one's reach and will pick up many items when dropped. Plus, it reaches the light switch on walls. I find so may uses for mine. I wouldn't/couldn't be without it. ~Frances
Ask people for what you need or want. I have asked my friends and co-workers for items like kids' clothes, sport shoes, and coupons. You would be surprised at what they are willing to give you for free. Instead of paying for a costly toddler bed, one of my co-workers gave me her son's old one that was in perfect condition. She just wanted it out of her house. I received a Thomas the Tank Engine bed I saw at a store for over $200. I have also given away stuff I no longer need or want that is in good condition. ~RLS
Own, Don't Rent
If you get your Internet through your cable company, it pays to buy your own modem. You can buy these at Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, etc. Do a little research to find a decent one. My local cable company charges $7 per month to rent their cable modem. That is a cost of $84 per year. If you multiply this over the years you have had their service, that could equal over $420 over 5 years just in rental fees! A decent modem can cost between $50-$80 as a one-time purchase. It'll pay for itself in six months to a year! Many of these modems last for a good five to ten years. Just make sure to return your rented modem to your cable company so they do not keep charging you their rental fee. You will also need to call your cable company when you set it up so the company can recognize your modem. However, after that, you are on your way to saving $84 per year! ~R.
Those of us who are in search of small household/beauty appliances may find this tip to be helpful. For the last week, I have been in search of a professional, high quality flat iron for my hair. I located a great flat iron for $140 but was determined to find it at a lower cost. After scouring the Internet, I found an older edition of the exact same flat iron for $50 that was brand new! I couldn't believe my eyes, but as far as I can tell, the only upgrade to the newer model is a shinier power button and flashier packaging. The design and electronic components haven't changed a bit. ~Linda
It seems there are so many accessories at my computer like printers, radios, lights, etc. and all were sucking phantom energy because I left them plugged in. Finally, I corralled all plugs with pipe cleaners and mounted two surge protecting power strips to a leg of my desk table. Now with a flip of a switch, I turn the strips off. I also labeled all the cords, so I know what cord goes to what gadget. I placed two labels. One was placed close to the power strip and another label was placed midway on the cord. I got the power strips on sale for $3 each, which was a clearance price. I had procrastinated a long time before undertaking this chore, but it's well worth the effort as I expect my total power bill to go down as I continue placing power strips throughout my home. ~S.
Bulk Baking Soda
If you use baking soda for a large variety of household uses, try my tip. In many big box or larger grocery stores, you can buy it by the pound, especially in stores that sell bulk spices, flour, etc. Ask an employee, and you may be able to reserve a 25-pound bag (this is how the stores receive it in bulk) for a mere $12-$15. You can transfer it at home to an old laundry soap bucket with a lid and add a measuring cup to stay in the bucket so it won't get lost. Your baking soda is there to use in kitty litter boxes, refresh the fridge, assist the dishwasher soap, etc. And it's much less expensive than several one- to two-pound boxes. ~Janna
Finding Local Free Events
You can pick up free copies of local parenting magazines at daycares, some schools, and many children's resale shops. Even if you do not have children, the calendar of local events broken down by day is very useful. These event calendars include all of the free concerts, poetry readings, tours, and meetings that are family friendly in your area. I put free events on our family calendar for each weekend. When plans fall through and we are looking for something to do, I can point to a concert or arts and crafts activity that we can do, and most of them are free or low cost. ~TW
Curing Poison Ivy
The absolute best cure for poison ivy is a simple one. Don't waste money on over-the-counter creams and sprays. Purchase a large box of baking soda. Run a warm bath and put a considerable amount of the baking soda into the water. Soak the affected area(s). The baking soda will leach the poison out of your skin. There will be a noticeable difference the following day. The affected areas will begin to dry out. Continue baking soda bath daily until it is gone. ~RT
Moist Slow Cooker Meals
The number one thing that I found that helps my meals stay moist is to brown the meat before placing it in the slow cooker. This helps seal in the juices. Don't lift the lid during cooking unless absolutely necessary. It increases the cooking time and lets precious moisture escape. Also, make sure you are putting enough liquid in the cooker to keep things moist. It doesn't need to be a lot, but a little will help your meal steam a bit, which prevents moisture loss. Finally, make sure your recipes require enough cooking that they won't be completely overdone when you get home. For example, a recipe that calls for eight hours cooking is probably fine on low for up to ten hours, but a recipe that only called for five to six hours of cooking could be overdone if you don't get home until ten hours later. ~Cindy
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