The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - April 19, 2012
Reduce Drying Time
Spinning the clothes through an extra spin cycle and then putting them into a dryer with a large, dry towel really cuts down on the electricity used. ~ Doris in Mississippi
A laptop placed directly on a surface can overheat causing all sorts of problems. You can buy a fan platform for $10 to $15, which will cool it off. Or you can buy a wire kitchen cooling rack at a dollar store or thrift shop for $1 or less. If you work in your lap, use the rack on top of a lap tray. This works great! ~Betty W.
No Mess Biscuits
For easier homemade biscuits with no messy countertop, mix up biscuit dough as usual. Spray 1/3 cup measuring cup with cooking spray and spoon the dough into the cup. Turn the cup upside down and then tap the cup until the dough falls onto your hand. Place onto a baking sheet and bake as usual. ~Dody
Natural Insect Repellent
I always switch to coconut shampoo and conditioner for the spring and summer months. Bugs and gnats aren't attracted to the coconut smell as they are too sweet smelling shampoos. Any brand works. I buy the cheapest from what's on sale. No more swatting those critters. ~Karen P. in Raritan, NJ
Repair or Replace?
Committed to making do, I recently spent $21 on material, grommets, and a grommet tool and four hours of my time patching up a nine-foot canopy for our sun umbrella. While slaving over the sewing machine, my husband found a new replacement canopy online for $20. Lesson learned. Check the purchase price of a replacement before you invest in the repair. ~Monika H. in Fort Worth, Texas
Here's a quick tip for peeling garlic. Microwave the clove for six to ten seconds (depending on the size of the clove and wattage of your microwave). You don't want it too hot. Just pinch it and the peel will slip right off. ~Valerie
Finding a Community Garden
Check with your local town hall to see if your city or town has a community garden. Most do, and for a modest fee (usually under $50), a garden space is yours to use. This sometimes includes seeds and use of tools. Most allow only organic growing practices, so check that topic out at your local library. You won't believe how easy it is to grow your own food! ~CC
Affordable Organic Foods
We are very interested in eating organic whenever possible. In order to do this, we joined a food co-op. Through the co-op, we are able to buy organic foods for far less. Usually I only buy things when they are on sale and then I buy large quantities of them and store, dry, can, or freeze them for use during the rest of the year. Yes, it does take extra room, but it is well worth it to clean out other clutter. I have been able to reduce our overall food budget despite my young sons eating more. There are quite a few good food co-ops available. Ask around your area and see. ~Kathy W.
Cheaper Exercise Mats
We have no carpeted flooring in our house and decided to purchase padded interlocking tiles for when we want to do floor exercises, such as abdominal crunches. I found the exercise tiles at the exercise equipment stores. They were nice quality but pricey for our home needs. We then checked the exercise section of a local department store as well as the automotive section. The same interlocking carpeted floor mat was much less in the automotive section than in the exercise section. One was labeled as an exercise mat and the other was labeled as floor tile for a shop or garage. We went with the automotive section version for a lot less money. ~DL
A Little Ground Meat, Please
Cook ground turkey, chicken, or beef in a large frying pan or saucepan. Add your favorite seasoning and then let simmer for several minutes. Cool and put cooked meat into a freezer bag, laying the bag on its side to flatten before sealing. Place flattened bag onto a cookie sheet and put into freezer until frozen. Then remove cookie sheet. Now, when you need just enough of your favorite cooked meat for tacos, stew, sloppy joes, etc., you just "snap" off the required amount and put the rest back into the freezer. This is a great time-saver! ~Dorinda B.
Yard Sale Signs
With yard sale time approaching, I would like to remind people to make their sign letters very large like on a stop sign. With people driving by at 35 miles per hour or more, one-inch letters aren't going to work. Many times, it is best to put up the signs very early in the morning. When you put them up the night before, it may rain and cause the writing to fade or the morning dew or wind may cause the sign to double over, making it impossible to read. Remember to check with city ordinances. Many will fine you for putting them up on telephone poles. You may have to put them on sticks, etc. And don't forget to remove the signs at the end of the sale. ~Vanessa A.
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