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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - January 5, 2012

The best way we've found to save money is to DIY. I have always done our taxes, my husband cuts our son's hair, and we do all of our yard work and painting. In the 1980s, newly married, my husband bought the "Readers Digest: Fix-it Yourself Manual." That book has saved us thousands of dollars as it has guided him step-by-step through repairing our washer, dryer, attic fan, refrigerator, etc. I'm sure you could get similar information online, but it is nice to have a book that covers all the topics of home repair. ~Rhonda in KS

Protecting Your Blow Dryer
Periodically take an old toothbrush and clean the air vents on the back of your blow dryer, removing the lint that has accumulated. It will increase the airflow so that your blow dryer doesn't get overheated. ~Tina H.

Lotion Stretcher
Those expensive perfumed lotions can be stretched by mixing them with an inexpensive unscented moisturizing cream. Just mix a little of the perfumed cream with the unscented, and you still have the scent, but it goes a lot farther. ~Donna

Affordable Goodie Bag Idea
Being a single mom, I'm on a limited budget. When my daughter's birthday rolled around, I tried to come up with a cute goodie bag stuffer for the 24 kids in her kindergarten class. Working from the class list, I used my computer and an inexpensive clip art CD to make up personalized stickers for the entire class, using full sheet stickers from Avery. The kids loved them, and as a bonus, they get to color them before they use them! ~Denise G.

Vinegar Cleans Walls!
We bought an old house. I tried everything I could think of to clean the walls and woodwork. The cleaners just moved the dirt around on the walls. One day, I was grinding green tomatoes for mincemeat and the juice got on some woodwork. When I wiped it off, the dirt was gone. I reasoned it had to be the acid in the tomatoes and got out the vinegar. I got the same result! I now have clean walls and woodwork! ~Rose

Recipe Organization
I had a problem keeping my recipes organized. I even tried cookbook software. I finally settled on a simple three-ring binder and a packet of page protectors. I slip all of my recipes into a page protector (one recipe for the front and another for the back) and then put them in a three-ring binder. You can tape one or several index cards to a piece of paper and slip them in the page protectors. Slip magazine articles in them as well. The pages don't tear out of the binder, and your recipes are protected from any spills or splashes while you're in the kitchen. ~ Melissa

Healthier Dinners
My husband and I are trying to eat healthier and save money at the same time, which is not an easy task. So, we bought an electric wok. For the past several nights, we have chosen a type of protein (chicken, pork, or shrimp) plus a huge selection of veggies (snap peas, green peppers, green onions, broccoli, etc.) and cooked a small amount of rice to go with the dinner. We are eating better and having fun cooking the meal together. Also, our kids are actually eating tons of veggies, and we have considerably lowered our food bill. By using the meats and veggies bought on sale, and going a little lighter on the meat portions, we are saving quite a bit on our food budget. And, the cleanup is easy and fast. ~Mary R.

Why I Love My Hairdryer
If you put a self-adhesive postal stamp on an envelope and then change your mind about mailing it, it is easy to remove and reuse. Simply hold a hair dryer on it until it warms up enough to peel off, and it will stick to another envelope. If you wish to reuse manila or padded envelopes that you have received in the mail, the hair dryer works very well to remove the labels without tearing the envelope itself. I also use a hair dryer to "dust" my silk or dried floral arrangements. ~Sylvia S. E. in Huntsville, Alabama

Extra Candy Canes?
Candy canes aren't just for Christmas. If you have some left over from the holidays, don't toss them. One practical use is as breath mints. Break them up into small pieces (about an inch long) and put them into a small purse or pocket-size container, such as an old Altoids® tin. You can also crush them and store in a jar. Stir a spoonful into a cup of hot coffee, cocoa or tea, fold into softened vanilla ice cream in the summer for refreshing peppermint ice cream, mix into brownies, cookies or chocolate pudding, or sprinkle over a frosted cake. Or for a delicious surprise, cut or break off the "crook" and use the remaining straight part as a fun, edible stick for homemade cake pops. Of course, these ideas also work for candy canes purchased cheaply at after-Christmas sales. ~Diva

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 2012 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.


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