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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - November 3, 2011

Pets Chewing Wires
We used to have rabbits and they loved to chew wires. Apart from being a health hazard to them, it creates a fire hazard for all of us. We solved the problem by coating our wires with liquid dish soap. The animals hate the taste and will leave the wires alone. By the way, if you have a whole bundle of wires, buy a piece of 3/4" pipe insulation and stuff the wires inside. It not only protects the wires from chewing, but it also looks a lot neater than wire spaghetti! ~Terry in VA

Grocery Shopping Clipboard
I use a clipboard for my grocery list. I have done this for years. I bought a small cheap calculator that fits on the top of my clipboard. My husband glued it on so I could keep a running total of my purchases. I also use the clip to hold the coupons I've pulled out to go with the items in my cart. ~N.

Worthwhile Compliments
We all know how to complain to a company when we are not pleased with a product or service. But, have you ever complimented a company when you were pleased? Not long ago I tried a bag of "deluxe" frozen green beans and was so pleased with the quality and taste of the product that I contacted the company on their website to tell them. Their reply was to send me several coupons for free bags of their frozen vegetables! ~Teresa R. in Burlington, North Carolina

Don't Toss That Lipstick
Many of us women have purchased a lipstick, at least once, that turned out to be a horrific shade when applied to the lips. However, I recently discovered that the same so-so lipstick, when applied to the cheeks as a blush, looks terrific. I had a lipstick that was very dark, but used on the cheek area, it looked great. I found the same thing with a lipstick that was very "gold" in color. Applied to the cheeks, it looked really good. It was almost like a bronzer in tone. Wonderful! ~Zoe

Athletic Socks for Women
I have a tendency to wear out my athletic socks quite quickly. I used to buy the type that were designed specifically for women. Since then, I have learned to buy the multi-packs of athletic socks for boys. They fit perfectly (I wear a size 9 women's shoe), and they are made of much thicker fabric so they take twice as long, if not longer, to wear out. This has truly been a great way to save a few dollars, and get more bang for my buck! ~Jessica C.

Problem with a Product or Service?
Whenever you order a product or purchase a service and things go wrong, never be afraid to ask for a discount. Recently, when I placed an order for glasses and the company messed them up and I had to wait an extra week due to their error, I asked for some kind of compensation and received a $25 gift card. When I ordered a custom cake and they placed "Happy Birthday" on the cake when that was not on the order slip, I asked for a discount and got $3 off the price of the cake. So never be afraid to speak up. Be nice and polite but firm. I have always gotten some sort of discount. I feel it is my job to watch out for our hard-earned money. ~Pam

Updating Old Bathrooms
I was recently watching a decorating show that said the best way to update a bathroom with colored fixtures is to use the "in" colors. They gave two prime examples. For those with pink fixtures, the "in" color to mix with it for a fresh, modern look is chocolate brown (or gray if you have yellow fixtures). I am thinking that chocolate brown with peach would work just as well as it does with pink! Change out anything you can without replacing your fixtures, such as rugs and contours, towels, and shower curtain, and add a fresh coat of paint! ~A.

Why I Repurpose
My best trick for saving money is learning how to creatively and stylishly repurpose items. I've made a cute lunch bag from an old tank top. The toothbrush holder that no longer fits the decor in my bathroom is now an art supply caddy. And the decorative cloth napkins in my kitchen were created from a blouse I never wore. Why spend money on things you don't need when you probably have something that could be used in its place for free and look just as good, if not better? ~Allison

How Holiday Planning Pays Off
Each year before I begin Christmas shopping, I make a list with ideas for each person and things like clothing sizes and interests. Then, I put a dollar amount to spend on each person and look for coupons at retailers online and in my local paper. I don't feel bad if I paid $10 for a $20 gift on sale. This has helped me stretch my Christmas budget for many years. ~RLS

Why Drinking Soda Is Very Costly
While it may appear that soda is cheaper than milk, in fact, it will cost you in the long run. All soda, except for soda water (Club Soda), contains either citric acid or phosphoric acid, which makes it just as acidic as vinegar. Even diet soda contains these acids. The acids lengthen shelf life, inhibit bacterial growth, and add to the flavor profile. Every time you take a swig, you are bathing your teeth in caustic acid. Dental researchers call this an acid exposure. Dental personnel call it "Mountain Dew Mouth." One soda a day is considered high risk. In the dental office where I am a dental hygienist, we see a lot of people who brush and floss regularly. However, due to their daily soda habit, they still get many cavities. Now, take this a step further. Ten years from now, fillings will need to be replaced by thousand dollar crowns. So, if you have money you would like to contribute to your dentist's next holiday or his kids' college fund, go ahead and have another soda. Alternatively, stop buying soda and put the money in your own kids' college fund. ~Lisa B., Registered Dental Hygienist

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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