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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - February 9, 2012

Winter Travel Advisory
Be prepared! Keep a bag of kitty litter in your trunk during the winter. It can help your tires get a grip when you're stuck in the snow or ice. It also helps on driveways and sidewalks. ~Stephanie

Musty Chest
I had a chest with a musty smell in it. My neighbor who is an antique furniture refinisher told me that the only way to get the smell out was to lightly sand the inside of the chest. Apparently old wood holds the odors and the only way to resolve it is to sand a fine layer of the wood away. ~Linda

Save the Batteries!
Invest in a simple inexpensive battery tester for less than $5. Many times when a gadget that uses multiple batteries goes dead, some of the batteries are still good. All it takes is one bad battery to keep the gadget from working. Don't assume they're all bad. ~G.

Easy Window Wash
With springtime right around the corner, spring cleaning comes with it. When it comes to cleaning your windows and mirrors, mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle to use as a window cleaner. It works so well, and the best part is that it's so inexpensive! I use old towels for the windows. ~Elaine G.

Children's Party Favors
We like to purchase inexpensive picture frames or picture mats, and as an activity at the party, we decorate them. We also take a picture with each guest and the birthday girl at the party. When we write our thank you notes, we include the photo, so they can put it in the frame. ~Michele

Cash Rewards
I took the advice of the person who said to make all purchases on a cash rewards credit card. I was already making my purchases each month on a credit card and paying the entire balance each month. I changed cards this week to a cash rewards card. Based on my spending history, I will get around $350 back the first year and then about $250 each year thereafter, for not doing anything but changing cards. ~Barbara P.

Longer Lasting Lettuce
After buying a head of lettuce at the grocery, I bring it home, cut it in half, and put it in a bowl of water with ice cubes. I then let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning I take it out of the bowl and put it on a towel to drain, and I have crisp lettuce to make my salads or sandwiches for the week. It seems to restore the moisture in the head, and it lasts longer. ~Missie in Pleasant Hill, MO

Treating Acne
For years, I have had a problem with acne. It is the type that actually hurts. I had purchased some aloe gel to have on hand for burns, abrasions, sunburn, etc. I decided to try it on my acne. It worked! After about three applications, the acne went away and didn't leave a scar. The entire tube of aloe gel cost $2.99, and this should last for months and months. This is so much cheaper than costly acne medications. ~Cynthia

Wallpaper Books
This is the time of year when wallpaper stores are clearing out their old sample books for the new. Often times, they will give away the books if you ask. I wrap many smaller items in the wallpaper. Wallpaper is thicker and more elegant than regular gift wrap. I even wrapped some smaller Christmas gifts with it this year and got many compliments. I also make my own greeting cards. The wallpaper makes an excellent background. ~Shelly

IRS Refund Mistake
I would hope that no one would be getting an IRS refund check in the hundreds. If you are, you need to change your withholdings. Why should you allow the government to use your money all year? I have known people who brag about getting back hundreds of dollars. The government is using your money interest free, and you are bragging about it. Why not have the correct amount held out and use the rest to get debt free? ~Viv in TX

Gift Registry Savings
With weddings coming up and couples completing their registries at some of the more well-known stores, I found the prices not very competitive. For example, a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer was listed at $299 at all the major stores. And if the color wasn't readily available at your local store, you might have to order it, increasing the cost for shipping and handling. I found a site with the mixer for $219. So, I ordered the mixer with free shipping and handling and no tax, and will save over $80 on my gift. I did call the registry site to ask if they matched prices, and they didn't. So, as you look for the perfect gift for that perfect couple, look at their registry, and then don't limit yourself. Shop around. You can call the registry's 800 number to have the item marked as "fulfilled," so there will be no duplicates. I hope my hint will save some wedding guests a few bucks. ~Mary A. in Covington, VA

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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