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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 27, 2011

Free Packing Material
Reuse plastic water or rinsed out soda bottles by putting them into the bottom and sides of a box in which you are shipping something fragile. They act as a cushion and have very little weight. ~T.

Humane Mouse Removal
The best solution for getting rid of mice is to get rid of their food source. Find out what is attracting the mice to the garage and get rid of it or seal it up. We had a mouse problem in our home and did this. We put our garbage in a sealed container, wiped up any food spills, sealed up pet food, and didn't leave food sitting out. Our mouse problem disappeared! ~Melissa G.

Easy, Cheap Window Insulation
Insulate windows with "large bubble" bubble wrap. Simply cut a piece to the size of the window. Mist the window with water and press it on the window. It's that simple. I have it on my bathroom windows, and it doubles as "window glaze" so you can't see in. It still lets light in and is not as noticeable as you would think. Removes in a second. This is great for odd-sized windows and storm doors. With the blinds down or the curtains closed, you will never know it is there. ~KM in Pennsylvania

Potatoes Plus
When making mashed potatoes, I add a can of cannellini beans that I warmed up and mash them with the potatoes. With a little bit of margarine or butter, salt, and pepper, I can't really taste the beans. The beans add protein and fiber, make the potatoes creamier, and are very inexpensive. It also makes the potatoes filling enough to be a meal by themselves, especially if you serve them with a salad or a vegetable. ~Meagan

Lunch Meat Savings
My husband and I found a way to save on the high cost of lunch meats. We buy them in chunks by the pound at discount stores like Aldi. We found a lot of grocery stores sell it this way. We slice it ourselves on a slicer we bought at an estate/garage sale for $5. If you look, you can probably find one on Craigslist or a thrift store. Since the stores mark sliced meats up on average 50% to pay for the deli staff and convenience, we feel that we are saving a lot by doing it ourselves. It has worked out great for us. ~Naomi V.

Why I Delay Purchases
Delayed gratification and not buying on impulse have certainly taken me awhile to develop, but it has been very worthwhile to me in many ways. Awhile back, I saw a book that I wanted, but I didn't have the money in my budget for it, so I didn't buy it. The book retailed for about $60. Having an allocated amount of pocket money every week, I was in the thrift store recently and saw the book for $20. I decided to use my pocket money that week to buy it. I waited several months and found a great price for a great book! Now I am trying to educate my children that developing discipline, self-control, and patience are essential elements in creating wealth. ~Lori W.

Freezer Facts
Over the years, I have found that there isn't much I can't freeze. If I open a can of tomato paste and don't use it all, I put the rest in a baggie, press it flat to take all of the air out, and use it again at a later date. If I make a big batch of spaghetti sauce, I put portions into baggies and press flat. They stack really well. Before it gets moldy, I grate cheese, put it into baggies, and use for sauces, pizza, etc. If I can't use fresh pineapple before it starts to ferment, I cube it up, put into baggies, press flat, stack, and use on pizza or thaw and have with cottage cheese or in smoothies. Leftover meats from dinner can be frozen to make soup at a later date. Pasta also freezes really well. All of these ideas are ideal for a busy schedule and will heat up in a flash. The possibilities are endless. I make sure to label and date everything. It sure saves money, and I'm not tempted to eat out as much if I don't have time to cook. ~Carol W.

Part-Time Job Idea
I know a lot of readers are finding themselves in precarious financial situations these days. Due to pay cuts and higher rent, I found myself in an untenable situation. I have discovered a fabulous way to earn a little extra income during the school year. As part of the No Child Left Behind program, schools are allotted funds for underachieving schools and low-income children for Supplemental Educational Services. There are a variety of tutoring organizations that fill this need by tutoring after school, in the child's school, usually one on one. These tutoring agencies pay the tutors anywhere from $17 to $20/hour. Typically, you are tutoring one to two hours in the afternoons. You do not need a teaching certificate as all the tutoring materials are provided for you and are fairly clear and straight forward. You do, however, need an IVP level 1 fingerprint card. The fingerprint card can be obtained from your local Department of Public Safety or police station. It is the perfect job for students, retirees, stay-at-home moms, or anyone else who has a couple of free hours in the afternoon and wants to help kids learn and earn a little supplemental income. I am working about 10 hours a week (I have a heavy schedule of four students at three different schools) and earn about an extra $600 a month. It's a win-win situation all the way around. The students are great, and I love working with them and helping them to excel in school. There is a lot of demand for tutors, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get signed up with a company. They are frequently listed on Craigslist under the education heading in their job postings. ~Regina in Tucson, AZ

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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