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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - February 2, 2012

Affordable Tires
The cars at a junkyard may be "totaled," but the tires are often excellent. By shopping there, you save 50-80%. ~Alisha

Ready Cash
Having cash on hand is an excellent idea in case ATMs and credit card services are unavailable. Just make sure the cash value for bills is not over $5 and keep a supply of coins available as well. Cash registers may not be working or merchants may not be able to cash the larger bills or make change. ~Pat G.

Avoiding Kitchen Odors
If you put a little white vinegar (about 1/4 cup) in a bowl on the counter while cooking fish, it will keep the room from smelling like fish. We have used this tip for about six months now, and it works great. ~Pat

Kids' Gloves
While talking to parents of younger children, the topic of wet/misplaced gloves came up. I shared this tip with them. Every year, I purchased ten pairs of all one color "stretch" gloves. Each one of these gloves fit on either hand. The key is buying in all one color. I would put two pairs of gloves on my daughter to go out and play. When those gloves got wet, she would come in and put on more gloves. As the season went on and gloves were lost or damaged, she never ran out as there were always enough gloves to replace those lost or in disrepair. ~Roxanne

What to Cook?
After grocery shopping, I write out a list of all the meals I can make with the groceries I have on hand and post it to the side of the refrigerator. When I make a meal, I cross it off my list. This is a visual reminder to use up what I have on hand. Before I started doing this, I would forget about a lot of the things I had in my pantry and freezer and feel that I had to run to the store and spend more money to make dinner. Now I really try to use up what I have. ~Becky M. in Searcy, AR

Making Money a Daily Habit
At the end of the day, my husband and I have made it a habit to update our Quicken financial software before we check email. It helps us have a 5-10 minute financial discussion before connecting online. The daily update prevents over-spending the next day, gives us action items for the next day like following up on uncleared checks, and lets us know how much there is available for other bills. It's a habit that prevents double-payment of bills or missed payments and helps keep the budget and family communication about money on track. ~Tamara W.

The Kitchen Herb Garden
I love to keep a few herbs growing in my kitchen, but the cost of those cute little pots is not in my budget. I cut clear plastic bottles in half, punched several holes in the bottom for drainage with an ice pick, and planted my herbs. I even scalloped the cut edges for a different look. I tied a cute bow around the bottle. Plastic drink bottles as well as many juice bottles are excellent choices for growing herbs or small plants, such as African Violets. The bottle containers are very portable, don't take up much space, come in different colors, and are free as you are recycling them into something useful. Grouping several together of different heights makes a stunning display. A plate can be used to catch any drainage occurring. I've also used styrofoam meat trays as saucers for drainage. ~Saga

Avoiding Temptation
How much money do we spend every time we head into a store? If you're like me, you most likely end up buying a bunch of stuff you didn't really need and could have done without. Multiply that by how many times you visit all those stores, and you've shelled out a load of extra dough. This year, if you're lucky enough to be getting a tax refund, take a fair portion of that refund and spend about two weeks stocking up. That two weeks will give you a chance to catch things on sale. If you can buy a year's worth of the necessities, enough to carry you until next year's refund, you'd be surprised what it will save by removing the temptation to purchase all the unnecessary stuff over a year's time. ~Lezlie

Time for Reviews
I love to shop, but I rarely buy anything without first reading its reviews. There are countless product review sites for every kind of product on the market. Whether it's a beauty product, appliance, household item, etc., it is best to review before you buy. To me, it is all about comparing prices, as well as quality. I have been tempted to buy things on numerous occasions, but held back because I did not have enough background information on the product or company. More often than not, I did not end up buying those products because of reviews that indicated they were not right for me. Being patient and understanding as much as you can about the product before you buy it is essential to not wasting money on items that are not a good fit for you or that are just plain poor quality. Plus, if you plan to purchase ahead of time, you may be able to find discounts and coupons online to use towards your purchase later. ~Emily

Eggs-actly the Same!
In college, I worked weekends for an egg packing company. When you go to the grocery store shopping for eggs, you will typically see a store brand for the lowest price, followed by one or more other brands. The eggs are exactly the same, regardless of the name on the carton. (This may not apply to those labeled "organic.") When we packed the eggs, we would fill an order, and when we used up all the cartons for that order, we just grabbed the cartons for the next order with whoever's name was on it. They are the same eggs sold with your local grocery store's name, dairy's name or national chain name, and they are the same eggs that are sold to restaurants and fast food places like McDonald's. Don't be fooled into paying extra just because there is a different name on the carton. ~David B.

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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