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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - November 17, 2011

Not Dead Yet!
Everyone knows that it is wise to change the batteries in smoke alarms twice a year when resetting clocks. But, why throw the batteries away? Place them in a zipper bag and label them to be used in toys only. There is usually plenty of power yet. ~E.

Sink and Tub Scrub
I use my automatic dish washing detergent to clean my sinks and tub. For extra scrubbing power, I may add a bit of baking soda to it. This is much cheaper than the soft scrub products. ~Teresa H. in Texarkana, AR

Cleaning Vases
If you have a vase or similar object with a very small opening, put in baking soda and then vinegar. Let this mixture sit for awhile. Then add gravel (like the very small gravel for fish tanks). Shake it, and the stains will come out. You can buy a small bag of gravel inexpensively and use it over and over for years. ~Eileen

An Affordable Open House
This time of year, as well as other "occasions" of the year, I host a potluck at my home. I supply a portion of the food and beverages and everyone else brings a dish that they like. We watch old movies and pop popcorn or listen to music and visit. Most of my guests don't bring gifts, but some do. At the end of the afternoon or evening, I send them home with cookies or leftovers. I've thrown myself birthday parties this way, and everyone loves it. It's easy on my pocket book and theirs. ~KPK

Banquet Servers Needed
My husband and I have found the perfect part-time job. It is flexible and pays well. We are banquet servers for the catering company at our city's convention center. We set up, serve, buss after the meals, and tear down the job at the end of the event. We simply went to the little catering office at the convention center and submitted an application. Quarterly, we give them our availability and only work a few days a month. We are paid minimum wage plus a percentage of the job as a gratuity. We always bring home (after taxes and union fees) at least $20/hr. ~Jenny

A Cozy, Warm Bed Awaits
During the cold winter months, getting into a pre-warmed bed is heavenly, but the cost to run an electric blanket can be devilish (plus, it may not be good for you). Use your blanket to pre-warm the bed, but turn it off or, better yet, unplug it once you get in. Your body heat and an additional blanket or comforter will keep the bed warm all night at a fraction of the cost. ~Viola H. in Colorado Springs, CO

Free Chip Clips
When I buy a pair of pants, often the store will give me a hanger with the clip ends on it. I ask my husband to saw off the ends of the hanger (there are two), and I use them to close cereal bags, bread bags, etc. This is much cheaper than buying just a couple in the store at those high prices. ~LS

Homemade Windshield De-Icer
To prevent your car's windows/mirrors from icing up in the winter, treat the windows before you go to bed each night. The window treatment can be made up of three parts vinegar to one part water and placed in a spray bottle. This mixture will prevent ice from forming. It is important to spray all of the car's windows and not just the windshield. You can also make a mixture using rubbing alcohol. ~Marianne

Affordable Entertainment
gh I am a wife and a mother of two children, and we are on a tight budget. I am always looking for ways to stretch my dollars a little further. One way that helps is to look for entertainment opportunities for little to no cost. One example of this is that in our town, we have several free ski nights at our local ski area. We take advantage of this every year, and my son is able to snow board for free. My husband has also been able to volunteer at another local major ski area and get us free tickets. Another example is volunteering at the merchant tables at concerts. I was able to be in the main area where the concert was being performed while selling merchandise and got a free concert and free merchandise. I was also able to get my children in for free! So, keep looking for promotional deals or volunteer opportunities in your area. ~Lauren

Laundry Time Saver
Time is money, and it takes a lot of time to fold towels! Since we live in a two-bedroom apartment with three children, space is a valuable commodity. My husband hinted at a tip his friend's mom used growing up and I have loved it. I took a large, lidded trash can and placed it in my front bathroom that has very limited cabinet space. On laundry day, I toss the large- and medium-sized clean towels in the clean can (it's never been used for trash) and only have to fold the small washcloths, which I tuck in a basket under the sink. This has saved me a lot of folding time! ~Kristen F. in Texas

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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