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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 5, 2012

Looking for Babysitters?
Check local colleges' student employment offices. There were dozens of girls that had vast experience who needed some extra cash and wanted to babysit. I encouraged them to use my laundry facilities and wireless. Many were far from home and were happy to be around a family again. ~T.

Why Waste Soap?
When traveling, take along a zipper bag for the soap bars that are provided by motels and hotels. The hotel will throw away your used soap bars. Why not bring them home and finish them off? ~LaDonna

Swim Diapers
The swim diapers that parents use for small children when swimming in the pool are very expensive. I found that they can be washed and used again. Just make sure to air dry them. Do not put them in the dryer. ~K

Can't Afford Summer Camp?
I work at a summer camp for two weeks. I get paid a pittance, and my kids get to go for free. All meals and lodging are included. Besides doctors and nurses at camp, there are opportunities in dance instruction, storytelling, religious services, and as lifeguards. Everyone gets the same deal. ~Anne

Feed Teens for Free
Everyone warned me, but I didn't think it would happen to us. Then my 16-year-old son shot up six inches (and still growing!) and turned into an eating machine! Ten minutes after eating a huge meal, he's back in the kitchen. We hit upon a great solution. He found a part-time job at a restaurant. He is enjoying the paychecks, but the best perk of all is the free food! It has saved a lot on our grocery bill. ~Shaunna

Renewing Fixtures
We recently had to paint the exterior of our home, which left our light fixtures looking very old and tired. I bought some primer and flat black spray paint and spent a few hours taking them apart, cleaning the glass, and painting them. They look brand new! We had one small and four large fixtures, so I figure we saved $500 or more. I've used this same trick to change doorknobs and fixtures inside the house from brass to brushed silver. Make sure to use primer and be patient! ~Maura N.

Solving a Daycare Dilemma
I'm a graduate student and must spend most of my day at school. As an assistant, I get a small income from some work. When we had a baby, I didn't want to take semesters off or lose the income. We needed both of our incomes, so we decided to work opposite shifts. This eliminates daycare expenses. It does have its challenges. We don't get to spend as much time together, but we do tend to appreciate the time we get much more. Plus, our baby is always home bonding with at least one parent. It may not work for every couple, but it does work for us. ~Jaycee

Traveling Coupons
Anytime we have to go out of town (or to town for that matter!), I get on the internet and change the locations on the discount sites (Groupon and Living Social, etc.). I am able to get some really good discounts on food and entertainment in the area we are going to visit. I also join the rewards programs for any hotel chain we stay at. We don't travel enough to accrue the points, but we do get some discounts just for joining. ~ Terri

The Impulse Shot
I used to agonize over all the extra impulse items I saw and was tempted to buy while shopping for other items. Many of them were great deals or things I thought would be great to have, and I hated walking away. Now I use my cell phone to snap a picture of the item and walk away easily, knowing that I'll remember the item if I decide I really want it. Only once have I actually gone back and bought one of the items. Usually I have a good laugh at the pictures of what I thought was so enticing at the time! ~Donna Z.

Natural Insect Repellents
There are several things to do when trying to protect yourself and your kids from those nasty bugs in the yard during the summer. One thing to do is plant marigolds around the yard. The flowers give off a smell that bugs do not like, so plant some in your garden to help ward off bugs without using insecticides. Try putting a dryer sheet on your belt or in your sock. The sheet will mask your smell and ward off the bugs. ~Sandy

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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