The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Tips - September 22, 2011
For easy cleanup of grease in a pan after cooking or baking meat, especially ham, put in the used coffee grounds from your meal. With a paper towel, swish it around to absorb all the grease. Dispose of the paper towel, and all the grease will be gone from the pan, making it easier to wash. ~Lois
For people who knit or crochet or just need a lot of smaller storage spaces, go to a store that sells liquor and ask if you can have their empty liquor boxes. Depending on the available space, these boxes can be stacked on each other (on their sides) to give perfect little "cubbies" for your yarn. The colors can be readily seen and there's no tangling. ~DB
"Original Recipe" Cooking
It took me a long time to figure out how to get Grandma's cooking smell and taste for the food she used to make. It was quite simple. When it calls for something like "scalding milk," I scald the milk like she used to on the stove, not in the microwave. In other words, I do things exactly like she would have done. My "Nona" had a wood stove, and quite often, I use my firepit for "braising" meat in a cast iron skillet. It works every time! ~Karen
Why I Use Gift Cards
My suggestion is to buy gift cards for stores you frequent as they usually add a bonus gift or two. We buy Panera gift cards, which we use for our everyday purchases, and always get free items as a thank you. The grocery stores often give you a free grocery card if you buy $100 worth of gift cards. We buy the cards for the stores that we use during the year and get a free $20 grocery card. ~Mary
When I am pressed for time and so much needs to be done, I choose those things that need to be done immediately and set a timer for 10 or 20 minutes. In that time, I rush into the job and get quite a few things done. A room can be straightened, a bathroom can be wiped down, a dishwasher can be loaded/unloaded, or the laundry can be sorted/put away. Get the idea? Do this two or three times a day, and mountains will become mole hills. It gets things done. It also makes it fun like a game, and I'm the winner! ~H.
Hold a Housewarming Party
Looking for help in setting up your first apartment? Since most first apartments are filled with second-hand furniture, appliances, and housewares from parents' homes, it's likely that you'll be starting from scratch. If you feel comfortable, you may want to hold a housewarming party in which your guests each donate something that they no longer want to your new home. The couple gets free stuff to start off their household, and their friends get to feel good about passing along that slow cooker they never use or that dresser that they never liked or that extra set of dishes that they inherited from Granny. Tell your guests that you would be happy to give anything that you find that you don't need to charity, but make sure to accept every object with a smile. ~K.
Wedding Advice from a Caterer
I saw some wedding tips, and they made me think of my days as a caterer. There is a trend of purchasing a smaller sized wedding cake and then getting a sheet cake for the majority of the cake slices. The cake company may even add a "dummy" cake for display only. The bride and groom cut from the "real" cake that is part of the presentation; then the caterer removes the cake and cuts pieces from the sheet cake for the guests. Another strategy for food is to do a later wedding, starting at 8pm with a reception to follow. Then serve a light buffet or appetizers with no sit down dinner. This is much easier on the wallet if you can find the right caterer. However, make sure on the invite that you state light appetizers or buffet so your guests know to eat the meal before they come. ~Matt L.
A Savings Trick
I have a tip to "trick you into saving." If you use automatic deposit for your paycheck, have the amount you have determined to save taken out and deposited in savings at that time. If you don't use automatic deposit, just be sure to deposit the amount in your savings at the same time you deposit or cash the rest. I have found when I do it this way, I don't miss the money. It is never "in my hand" so to speak, so I don't count on it for anything. That way, I am not as tempted to take a little out here and there. I have learned to live on what is leftover after my taxes and savings are taken out! ~Sue
Better Septic Systems
For years, we would get a sewer smell in our basement after heavy rains or snow thaw. It permeated the house and made it difficult for us to have company. (We never knew just when we might get that sewer smell.) I had three septic experts evaluate the problem. One said that we needed new leach lines. One said that we needed to put a drainage system around our property. The other guy said that our water table is high and there's nothing we could do. No matter which way we decided to go, it would cost us thousands of dollars to repair. A friend told us of an aerobic system that he would install for us. Most septic systems are anaerobic, which means no air gets into the tank. An aerobic system pumps air into the tank, thereby causing bacteria to break down the waste much faster. This system works great! We saved thousands of dollars and our leach lines are now clear. Most importantly, there is no more sewer stink! If you do a search on "aerobic septic system," you can get the details from several dealers. The pump that puts air into the tank hardly adds anything to our utility bill. We also learned that large water waste companies also pump air into the waste to cause the material to break down, which is the same principle. ~Margie
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.