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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - March 8, 2012

Rusty Tubs and Sinks
To remove rust spots from tubs and sinks, cover the rust spot with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide and sprinkle with cream of tartar. Let this sit for 30 minutes and wipe it off with a sponge. ~Cyndi

Clothing Swaps
If you're not in a clothing swap, find one and join it! It's a great way to clear your closet and pick up some new-to-you clothes for you and your family. Some groups welcome other household "stuff" like perfume, cosmetics, home decor, plants, and small appliances. If you volunteer to take the leftovers to charity, you get the tax deduction! ~Sharon

Frosty Car Windows
When frost or ice is on car windows, use the windshield cleaner with de-icer already added. Put it in a spray bottle and spray on the windows. This will make scraping easier or you may not have to scrape at all. ~Denise

Cutting the Cost of K-Cup® Coffee
My husband enjoys the expensive single-cup packs (K-Cup®) for the new brewers on the market. I have found that you can get two cups of coffee, tea, etc. from one pack with no taste difference. ~Shannon

Make Sure It Counts
When making extra principal payments on your mortgage, be sure to tell your bank that the extra amount is to be applied directly to the principal. Some banks will not automatically apply your extra payment to the principal unless you stipulate it in writing. Our bank requires it noted in writing and also that the extra payment be made separate from the normal monthly payment. ~Renee in PA

Longer Lasting Milk
I used to buy milk by the quart. About three times out of four, I had to throw away half a carton because we hadn't used it by the expiration date. Then I discovered ultra-pasteurized milk. The expiration date is four to six weeks later, so I buy it by the half-gallon and never have to throw any away. I may pay a few cents more per ounce than I used to, but I buy less milk for a net cost savings. And, I think it tastes better. As an added benefit, fewer milk runs to the grocery store also reduces temptation to buy non-essentials. ~Marilyn H.

2 Tips from Mom
I have two favorite money-saving tips. The first is from my mother, a divorced mom of two, who received no child support and didn't make much money. She repeated this often when I was a child in the 60s. The less you spend on necessities, the more you can spend on luxuries. (In other words, turn off the lights!) My second favorite is one that I have repeated to my daughter often. You can spend a penny only once. In other words, think about what you are buying before you buy it to make sure you really want it because there is no such thing as making that same money later. You can, perhaps, make more money, but you can't make that money again. ~Pamala

Fresh Veggies in the Winter
When gardening in zone 3, on or about July 1st, plant carrots in a block of space. They will be full grown by the time of the first frost. Cover the patch of carrots with hay bales after the first frost. During the winter, remove the bales and dig out as many carrots as you want. The ground will be soft, and the carrots will taste fresh and then return the bales. I do this for my parsnips as well, but they need to be planted in the spring. This year, I will try it with beets, too. When you plant the block of space, keep in mind how long your hay bales are. Also use the bales in the spring to mulch the rest of your garden. Make sure you dig up the vegetables before they go to seed in the spring. ~BP

Do-It-Yourself Move
My husband and I needed to move from TN to PA with a small house full of goods. We also needed short-term storage for three months once we got there. At that time, the lowest cost moving van that could accommodate our household would have cost $1000 for rental one-way and even more for gas. The rental units were a minimum of $350 on top of that. Plus, we would have to rent another truck to move into our permanent place! The solution? We bought a "retired" school bus from a local school district for $800. We removed all but the front two seats and packed it up! We even were able to fit a motorcycle through the back door! Since this bus was transporting children just weeks before, it was in very sound mechanical condition. They retired it because it did not meet code for passenger safety padding. We were able to move and have storage for a fraction of the price. Plus, after this move, we used the bus for another cross-country move to AZ! We saved 1,500 in van rental. While we were unloading in AZ, a man dropped by and offered to buy the bus for $400 on the spot! It is still being used as a storage unit at a job site today! ~Mary

Practicing Good Saving Habits
We all waste money, and usually it's unintentional. Most of us are bad at saving money or putting money away because our subconscious minds are not familiar with the thought of saving. This was my 60-day exercise, from mid-June 2011. Everyday, I had to put away a minimum of one dollar. It had to be every single day for 60 days. At the time, I wasn't working, so $1 was my minimum. From July 1 to July 15, I saved a total of $27.54. From July 16 to July 31, I saved a total of $72.56. Of course, a dollar was my minimum, but the maximum could be anything. I put any extra money I had in there. For instance, when I went to the grocery store, any money I saved with a coupon went to my savings. If I missed two days in a row, and a total of three days in a month, I automatically failed! If I saved less than the minimum, it didn't count. If I only saved the minimum, I also failed! So even if I saved a total of $60 but I didn't save money every day, I still failed! The goal of this practice was consistency. With consistency, saving money will become part of the subconscious mind, and as a result, saving money becomes a natural thing. B.

Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit www.stretcher.com/index.cfm?TipsSyn to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2012 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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