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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - March 29, 2012

Easier Weeding
A good time to tackle your yard weeding is after a rain. The soil is much softer to pull the weeds out so you can easily get them out with the roots, using just your hands. ~Krys in WA

Ice Cream
Tired of having crystals form on the top of your ice cream? If so, turn the container upside down when you return it to the freezer. I don't know why it works, but you won't have crystals in your ice cream any more. ~BD

Try Before You Buy
If you are looking to buy something like a car or anything else that is expensive, find out what your payments would be each month and save that amount for six months. This allows you to see if you can afford the amount comfortably. Also, it allows you to have six months' worth of payments planned in advance at all times. ~RS

Natural Mosquito Control
For mosquito control, nothing beats purple martins and mud martins. Put up some purple martin houses. We got our 12-family birdhouse and the pole at Wal-Mart. These birds eat their weight in mosquitoes every day. When the little mud martins come and build their little mud houses in the eaves of your house, don't tear them down. They are very much worth the mess they make. We never have mosquitoes when they take up residence. Alas, we moved a block away last year and they didn't find us. Hopefully they will this year. ~Edna

Cheap Home Security Measure
Most people don't know that patio doors can be lifted off their tracks from the outside, unless they have a locking pin on the inside. Most older models don't have this. So I went to the farm store and bought cowbells and strung a cord that was about 2 feet long through them and hung them at various places. I hung one on the patio doors, front door, etc. They are very loud. ~NAJ

If You Must Go to the Mall...
Whenever I am going to be doing a mall-shopping trip, I go online before I head out. I just search for printable coupons for the stores at my local mall that I know I will visit. I easily save $15-$30 per shopping trip just by doing this little trick. And you can expand this to other stores you visit, like the drugstore, restaurants, etc. ~Tina S. in Greenwood, DE

Reusing Freezer Bags
Freezer bags can become quite expensive, so I have come up with a way to reuse them. I buy the cheap baggies and put my meats, vegetables, etc. into the baggies and seal them up. Then I put the baggies into the freezer bags (I use the quart size) and then label the bags with the items and the date. When the last baggie has been used, the freezer bag is ready to reuse again. I just mark through the labeled information. The bags are reusable indefinitely. ~Sandra R.

Free Towels
Sometimes hotels will give you "out-of-service" towels for free if you ask. These are usually perfectly good towels that are too worn to be acceptable for guests' rooms. The slight roughness of these towels makes them good for cleaning up dirty jobs, like scrubbing down the dog after he's been romping in the mud. My husband uses them to wipe down his hands and arms after working outside. ~Jen in Michigan

Ladies' Business Casual Slacks
I've worked in offices for years where I am expected to wear "business casual" clothes. Women's dress pants are pricey, flimsy, and often dry clean only. I save money by buying khaki, white and black jeans. I use a seam ripper on a new pair to take the belt loops and back pockets carefully off, and they look like dress pants for much less money. In 10 years, no one has noticed the difference. Keep your black jeans looking good by re-dying them a couple of times a year. ~Mary C.

The Value of Cooking
I love to cook, and I have discovered how much money it saves! Next time you go to the grocery store calculate how many items you have in your cart that you could make instead of buying. Sweets like cake, cookies, even candy are very expensive when you add them up. You can also save a bundle by making your own bread, pancakes, pizza and cinnamon rolls. All you need is the basic ingredients. You can even premix the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and just add the yeast and milk or water when you want a quick meal. ~Christine C.

Vacation Eats
We all know that vacations can be expensive, especially eating out. As soon as we have decided on a vacation location, I go to all the local coupon sites that email their deals and sign up. Usually we know a few months in advance where we will be vacationing and we will then purchase the coupon deal for restaurants and sightseeing if they come up. We also are signed up for a local city that we often visit for weekends. We again purchase these coupon deals for this city knowing that although we don't have any concrete dates to visit, we will be visiting within a few months regardless. ~Cam

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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