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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - March 22, 2012

Save the Raise!
Years ago, someone taught me this trick for saving. When you get a raise, give your savings or retirement plan a raise, too. For instance, if you get a $50 a month raise, deduct a third for taxes and then put half (or more) of the rest into your IRA or savings account. Do this every year and you won't miss the money. ~B.

Extra Egg Yolks?
My husband likes egg whites for breakfast but not the egg yolks. As I don't want the extra yokes, I wondered what to do with them besides throwing them out. They make a great hair conditioner. They can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about two days. Mix with a little oil just before use. Rinse well. ~C.

Frugal Composting
A frugal tumbler can be made from a large, inexpensive, clean garbage can with a lid. Simply drill small holes all over the can. Put a layer of potting soil on the bottom and then add your items to compost. Every so often get someone to help you roll it back and forth on its side a few times, making sure the lid is completely closed. ~Judi

Coins for Christmas
Many years ago, my husband and I decided not to buy Christmas gifts for one another and to only focus on buying for our two children. We save our coins all year and cash them in on Black Friday. Whatever the amount comes to, we split between our kids and that's what we spend on Christmas. It's so nice to not have to scramble in December to come up with a bunch of Christmas money, and those coins add up surprisingly quickly. Then we can relax and focus on the true meaning of the holiday season. ~Dana G.

A Friend in Need
My family's best Dollar Stretcher hint is to be good friends with your neighbors by helping them out whenever you can without asking for anything in return. It is amazing how after being neighborly to those around us, they seem to come out of nowhere to help us when we have a need. Over the years, I know we have saved thousands of dollars by friends helping us out with car repairs, supplying us with firewood after an unexpected move, pet sitting, carpooling, meals during a crisis, bountiful produce from gardens, etc. We have helped others in some major ways, too, with the resources available to us. What goes around, comes around. Be neighborly. ~JW

Home Hair Coloring
Initially, I sought out and paid for professional advice from a knowledgeable hairdresser regarding coloring my hair. I knew absolutely nothing about coloring my hair. I learned the appropriate shade of hair color for me and observed her application technique. After a few "lessons," I felt confident enough to color my own hair. My current hairdresser tells me that my hair color looks great. ~Darlene in CT

Free Movies
I love to watch movies, but rental can be pricey. And my local library doesn't have much to offer. So I download movies that are already in the public domain since the copyright on them already expired. It's legal to download them. Use Google to find a list of such movies. Some great classics like Metropolis are available, and all kinds of genres can be found! The time period ranges from 1912-1989. ~Lena G.

Spaghetti Sauce for 2
I make homemade spaghetti sauce. I freeze it in tall plastic containers that hold just enough for the two of us. I put these in the freezer until frozen solid (usually overnight). The next day I carefully remove the frozen sauce. I usually make these three at a time. All three can fit into a gallon-size freezer bag. It saves on containers and also it is just enough for one meal for the two of us with no leftovers. ~Lilly P.

Prepackaged Lunches
Just wanted to share my meal/lunch idea. I buy Chinese takeaway boxes (500ml) from a catering supply shop. As soon as we finish dinner, we pack the leftovers up and freeze them. Most meals I cook feed three adults for mains and between two to four lunchboxes. This saves so much money, and it's a lucky dip in the freezer for lunch, which never gets boring. Because my family tends to not bring plastic containers home for a few days, I justify the expense of the containers (approximately 20 cents each). By then, the containers are nasty. I also think that the plastic can hold some bacteria when constantly being reheated. ~Katie B.

How Much to Repair?
Recently my elderly aunt was trying to get her doggie bed clean for her dog and trying to get rid of the odor too. She bought several different types of detergent and put it through the laundry several times, but nothing worked to her satisfaction. When I asked her why she just didn't buy a new one for $20, she told me that she thought they were much more expensive. So we took a ride to a local store and she picked one out and couldn't believe all the money she had "wasted" on detergents. It reminded me of when we bought our home several years ago and I purchased several different types of cleaners to get the toilet clean. I spent many hours trying new cleaners and scrubbing that toilet until I finally gave up and told my husband to buy a new one. I was shocked to learn that I had spent more on detergents and scrubbers (not to mention my time and effort) than a new toilet actually cost! It's wonderful to reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible, but it's also important to know when it actually saves money to buy new. ~Annie

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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