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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 13, 2011

Facial Cleansing Cloths
Baby wipes make awesome makeup remover cloths. I usually find mine at a dollar store! ~Deborah

Easy Rice Pudding
I combine leftover rice with a box of regular (instant doesn't work) pudding mix from the store and have immediate rice pudding to serve. Sometimes I'll add a few raisins or dried cranberries for variety. ~Joan M.

Kids Clothing for Less
It is much cheaper if you buy children's clothes, especially pajamas, through the stores' blog spot or Facebook page. Simply go through their clearance sale where they are letting go of last season's clothes for up to $4 less. Some sellers also offer further discounts if you buy more than three items. There are also those who offer free shipping. I've bought countless pajamas and clothes for my two children this way. It saves time, energy and petrol! ~A.

Reducing Heating Bills
Outlets on exterior walls let heat out, so we make sure to use outlet covers. In the colder months, I can feel the cold air coming in from these outlets. I don't know what the savings is, but it's got to be more than what we spent on the outlet covers; most of them were free from when I had my kids. Generally, they don't need replacing unless they're in high use areas. Best of all, no handywoman skills are needed! Caryn N. in Manchester, NH

For Pet Lovers
Here's a quick tip for the upcoming holidays. Local animal shelters have special events, fundraisers, photos with pets, etc. Please contact your local shelter to find special gifts for Christmas, and you will be helping the animals. For example, my shelter is making a calendar with pictures of adoptable pets. You can find tote bags, baseball caps with the local shelter's name, etc. Check it out and you will be surprised at what you can find. My local shelter also makes nice gift baskets from goodies donated from local businesses. ~Pam L.

Automatic Small Savings
If you use a debit card on a regular basis, open up a savings account and add a simple save to the savings account. It works with your debit card. Each time you use your card for any transaction, you can allocate $.50 to go directly into your savings account. It does not sound like a large amount of money. However, if you use your debit card regularly, the savings add up and you can change the amount from $.50 up to $5 per transaction anytime you wish. Some months you may just add $.50 and some months you may add more. You save as you spend. Most large banks offer this service. ~Carole M.

The Affordable Gourmet Dinner
I recently took a chance to save both time and money for a dinner party, and it worked out great! We were having a few friends over for dinner, and it was sort of last minute. I was in a "home goods" store and saw jars of gourmet artichoke and tomato bruschetta for $5.99. So I went home, boiled some pasta, heated up the bruschetta per the instructions on the jar, and combined the two. Served with a salad and a loaf of bread, it was delicious and totally different and everyone loved it. There's no way I could've bought the ingredients for $6 (artichokes, tomatoes, garlic, oil, capers, seasonings, etc.), and even if I did, they would've gone bad before we could eat them. If you check the labels on gourmet food items, they are often very high quality ingredients, and this one was even low-fat and low-sodium, too. ~Annie

Pet Urine Stains
I had a wonderful, well-trained dog that never soiled the floors, but unfortunately after three years, he suddenly developed epilepsy. This caused him to soil the floors often. Someone told us to use about one quart of water with a squirt of dishwashing liquid and two tablespoons of white vinegar on the spots where there was urine to prevent odor. This worked perfectly. After four years of doing this, we never had an odor problem. Of course, you have to get to the spot while it is still wet. If it dries, I don't know anything that will take it out. ~S.

Recycling DVDs
For years, I have been reading the latest bestsellers and watching great movies for free! I'll share my secret with you. It's eBay. I buy pre-owned books and movies from a reputable seller. Of course, I shop for the best deal. I always include shipping into the total cost I am paying. I take good care of them when I receive them. I do not bend the pages or scuff the dust jackets of the books. I don't let the DVDs get scratched or the cases get damaged. ~After reading and/or watching, I post them back on eBay for the same price I purchased them for plus shipping. When buying bestsellers, timing is everything, so make sure to read the book or watch the movie within a reasonable amount of time or the value will drop as they lose popularity. If you are an avid reader or a big movie fan, this savings could add up into the hundreds of dollars! ~CLD

Why I Shop Clearance Sections
I shop year-round for Christmas presents. Wherever I am, I always check the clearance sections for small items that may make good stocking stuffers. For example, when school supplies were clearanced, I picked up individual staplers (for my kids to use at school) for $.25 each. They will be wrapped and put into their stocking. I found little individual nail polishes that were $.10 each! My eldest is going to be heading off to college in three years, so I found in clearance a pencil sharpener (electric) that was a good brand for only $2! This will be another Christmas present for her. ~I have a labeled box for each member of our family, and these boxes are stacked in our bedroom closet. They are there year-round even if they are empty (after Christmas), so the kids don't go looking for presents. If I see something that they might like while we are on vacation, etc., I put it into the box. I save room for one "bigger" item from Santa, but the rest is bought all year-round. ~M.

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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