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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - January 26, 2012

Aw, Nuts!
So do you have a lot of nuts left from the holidays? To shell them quickly and easily, freeze them first. Even the hard to manage Brazil nuts come out whole and clean. ~TL

Easy Clean Showers
I use a chamois to wipe down shower doors and walls, and it keeps mold from accumulating. I hardly ever have to clean the shower with anything else. ~Lyn

Year-End Review
My credit card company offers a year-end summary of my expenditures during the previous year. I am astonished at the amount of money I spent on certain things. This one document will do more to help me revamp my spending for 2012 than anything I have ever done. ~Dr. Terry

Guest Toothbrushes
I purchase toothbrushes (usually sold in multi-packs) from a dollar store to keep on hand for my children's sleepover friends who inevitably forget to bring their toothbrush. It's cheap enough to throw out even after one use! ~A.

Finding Clearance Shelves
When you're not in a great hurry, take a minute and walk through all the aisles in your favorite store. Most stores designate one section of an aisle or at the end of an aisle as the "clearance" section. When only one of an item is left, or several items are not selling, they mark them down drastically and stick them in an obscure place. Don't ask me why they don't put them in an obvious spot. I know where these areas are in my drugstore and in Target. I get some great deals! ~Kathey

Upstairs? . . . Not!
We live in a cape cod style home with three bedrooms upstairs and the master bedroom on the main floor. Since our kids have moved away to college, there is no need to heat the upper rooms, so we turned the upstairs heating system way down. To prevent heat from the main floor from rising, we hung a heavy curtain with two tension rods in between the stairs. The result was a drop of over $50 in our monthly heating bill! ~Y.

Use for Old Pantyhose
I save my old pantyhose or stockings and recycle them as handy onion holders. After cutting the legs off at the panty line, I insert an onion all the way to the toe and tie a knot. Then I insert the next onion and tie until I have reached the top! I then tie a loose knot at the top for hanging. Since the onions don't touch, they stay good a lot longer! There is airflow to keep them nice. I get a lot of comments and compliments on my onion hanger! ~Joanna B. in State Road, NC

Discounted Services
Technical high schools offer huge discounts in services. These schools are taught by teachers who left the field of business to teach students who want to enter that field after gradation. Services range from cosmetology to printing to automobile maintenance to pet care. The list is extensive. This place is a gold mine. You can even go to some of the high schools and have lunch in the dining room that is run by the food department to have a restaurant quality meal for a few dollars! Every tech school is different, so you need to contact the school to see what services they provide. ~AB

Keeping Resolutions
I use this idea to motivate myself when dieting, but it works equally well for frugal fatigue. If I stick to my "plan" (i.e. budget) faithfully for a month, at the end of that month, I give myself $50 to spend on whatever I want. The caveat is that I must not obsess/worry about it being on sale, and it has to be something that feels "luxurious" to me like a hardcover copy of a new book or a nice blouse. I have "tightwad" tendencies that can sometimes be excessive, so this has helped me to have a more flexible attitude about spending. Most of the items I purchased this way are good quality, and I still have them. When I look back on them, it's a little "reinforcement" for the behavior. ~Karen A.

Cash . . . Really!
I had always heard to shop with cash, but to me, that also included debit cards and checks. I realized that when buying something even if I had plenty of cash in my wallet, I would always reach for my debit card instead. Forget that. I have started using only actual paper cash and leave the debit card and checkbook at home. It creates a sort of "pain" as items are decided over since I know I have no debit card safety net if I overspend. Even when having the entire month's grocery budget in cash on me (plenty for the weekly trip), I automatically was more frugal with my choices because I didn't want to part with the cash. I immediately knocked down my grocery spending by about 75% by doing this because I was forced to decide if items were really needed. I am amazed at how something so simple could work so well. ~C.

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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