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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 29, 2011

Handy Blankets
We used to live in a drafty old farmhouse where we often needed an extra blanket on the bed at night. I came up with the idea of installing a towel holder to hold the extra blanket. I installed it on the back of each bedroom door. It was out of sight and out of the way until those extra chilly evenings when an extra bit of warmth was needed. ~Kathy L. in Wooster, OH

Cheap Snack "Cups"
When serving children (or yourself) snacks during the day, here is an alternative to expensive paper plates or using dishes that require washing. I purchased a package of small recycled coffee filters for $2 (box of 200). Each filter makes a nice "snack cup" for fruit, pretzels, goldfish, nuts, or other small snack items. You can even use the coffee filter as a wrap for a finger sandwich, hot dog, or other finger food. Young children like the cup shape, and it contains the snack much better than a napkin or paper towel. ~Ann McM.

Color Coded
Here is something else to think about with the after-holiday sales. As a teacher, I buy everything that's red and save it for Valentine's Day. Even candy canes, when put together, make hearts! The green? I use for St. Patrick's Day, of course. ~Staci

Cleaning Brass Fireplace Trim
Lemon juice and salt will clean most brass. Dip half a lemon into ordinary table salt and rub directly onto the area that needs cleaning. Alternatively, mix lemon juice and salt into a paste and rub onto the area with a cloth. For both options, the area will need to be wiped over with a damp cloth followed by a clean, dry cloth to buff the shine up. ~Beckie

Inexpensive Wall Art
You can buy cheap greeting cards with no words on the front and frame them. They look great with mats in frames. I make mats with card stock paper. You can also buy them already made. I look for frames at yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. Also, they have cheap wooden ones at the local dollar store or at Walmart or K-Mart. The wooden ones can be spray painted whatever color you like. One can of spray paint will paint a lot of frames and some other accessories as well, and they will all match. ~Melissa

Learning from a Spendthrift Friend
I was just at a spendthrift friend's home and noticed something that bears repeating. In the laundry room, I noticed that she didn't measure her laundry soap, bleach, or fabric softener. She just poured until the dispensers were full. In the kitchen, she was making soup. A recipe called for 1/2 cup of carrots. She chopped up three carrots and threw them in. At home, I discovered that one carrot of equal size measured out to a half cup chopped! She used three times the carrots she needed! A teaspoon here and a tablespoon there over the course of a day, a week, a month, or a year really adds up. Break out those measuring utensils! ~Serena C. in Hamilton, OH

Preparing for Tax Time
Here is a financial tip to make your tax filing and checking account balancing a little easier. Make it a point to use a new checking account register at the start of each new year. After you use your register to find all of your tax deductions (such as charitable contributions, medical insurance premiums, etc.), you will be able to file the register with the rest of your tax papers for the year. You won't need to keep pulling it out for the first month or two of 2011 to balance your checkbook. If you are like me and tend to go through checking account registers quickly (I like to keep notes on several lines), just ask your bank teller for extra registers. You don't need to order (or pay) for extra registers when you re-order your checks. ~Susan A-G in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Dry Eyes?
This is a tip that I received from my optometrist. When I complained about my contacts drying out, he suggested I take flaxseed oil supplements. He explained that he took them for the same problem. He didn't recommend a dosage, so I've taken 1000mg a day for the past six months. Not only does it help with dry eyes, but it also helps my skin. I don't have to use excessive amounts of heavy lotion to treat dry, itchy skin because I'm not experiencing it this winter. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! ~Pam in Arkansas

Cheaper Earrings
Every female who wears earrings knows that unless you buy 14K gold, they tarnish and become unsightly and unusable rather quickly. Aside from the cost, I also hesitate to buy expensive earrings because I typically manage to lose one. It seems that the more expensive they are the faster I lose them. To solve this problem, I found that if I buy inexpensive gold or silver toned pairs and immediately coat them with clear nail polish, they stay bright and like new for just about forever. My last $5 pair of gold hoops is going on a year's worth of daily wear and still look great! ~Renee

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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