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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 12, 2012

Summer Energy Saver
Consider solar screens as summer energy savers. These block out up to 95% of the sun's rays before they get to the window. I installed full solar screens on my west-facing windows and the difference is amazing. LR

Protecting My Hair Color
On the advice of my stylist, I've recently stopped using conditioner, which tends to strip out hair color. I have short hair, so tangles aren't a problem. I'm using up leftover conditioner to shave my legs. AC

Replacing Cooking Spray
I don't like the price of cooking spray. Even if you get it at a dollar store, you are still paying $1 for six ounces of oil when a 32-ounce bottle is $2. I put my own healthier, cheaper oil in a spray butter bottle. It works great, and for $2, I get the equivalent of five cans of cooking spray. Lisa R.

Nearly Wilted Salad
I had a salad made up and in the fridge for several days (taking a bit of it for my lunch each day). On day four, it was getting limp, and I still had a couple days left to make it last. I wet a paper towel, placed it over the salad, and placed the cover over it. When I went back to it a couple hours later, it was as good as new. It just needed "watering." I don't know if this would bring back a truly limp salad, but it brought back one getting there! LynAnne

No More Expensive Facial Scrubs
I used to use the expensive face cleansers and scrubs. But, when we had a pay cut, I had to find an alternative. The answer was right in my own cupboard. It's baking soda! It is a gentle scrub that cleans everything wonderfully. My daughter is going through the pre-teen years and is having some acne problems. She started using the baking soda and her face is already clearing up. Used with witch hazel for an astringent and a mild moisturizer, our faces have never looked better. Susan

Unusual Flavored Coffee Recipe
I used to spend a fortune buying flavored coffee for the morning. Now I have a cup of flavored tea in the evening, and in the morning, I put the tea bag in my coffee. Now I can have flavored coffee for the morning. Also, I have about 25 different flavors of tea bags, so I have a large assortment of flavored coffees. Sharon from Buffalo NY

Exercising at Home
To build exercise into your daily routine, forget about being efficient. Be effective instead! Park your car at the far end of parking lots. You won't miss the extra two or three minutes you use to get to the door of the store, but you'll see the difference in no time. Go up and down the stairs at home frequently. Wash your own car, clean your own house, till your own garden, and shovel your own walks and driveway. All of these activities and many others around the house qualify as exercise. They really make a difference. I've lost and kept off over 85 pounds, going from size 16-18 to size 4, doing all these things. I also walk around the neighborhood and to nearby stores. I even walk to some of the schools where I substitute teach. Barbara

Dental Care
I asked my dentist if it was worth it to spend more for toothbrushes (manual) and dental floss. He said that it wasn't. By far, the most important thing you can do for your oral health is to use the toothbrush and dental floss. Spend two minutes brushing your teeth (time it with your watch) at least twice a day and use dental floss once a day. The toothbrush should be soft and have a small head. The store brand or basic name brand brush is perfectly fine. All dental floss functions the same, so a store brand will do. This aside, perhaps someone likes the whitening and breath freshener in the toothpaste or the feel of a certain toothbrush and floss. No problem. But if all you want to do is maintain your oral health, the cheaper products function quite well. Linda from Iowa

Nasty Floor Odors
I have rentals and we bought a home in which there was a death. Because of the sudden death, the next of kin was unprepared to take care of the numerous pets the woman had. Needless to say, the carpet was soaked through and the flooring was bearing many odors. We tried all suggestions to neutralize the odors but nothing worked. A gentleman where we were purchasing the new carpet suggested that we seal the wooden subfloor with a cheap varnish that could be applied with a sponge mop. It has been 14 years, and the odors have not returned! It worked on the baseboards as well. CJR

I mark the date I open large sundry items, such as cleaners, cotton balls, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. I started doing this out of curiosity because some things like shampoo seemed to last forever even though I used them constantly. By checking the date I first started using an item, I can better gauge how many I need to keep on hand or how many extra to buy when I come upon a sale. This has saved me money because I always seemed to buy extra items when they were on sale and ended up with a lot more items than space. Now if I come upon a sale and know that I have an extra item on hand (I keep a spreadsheet of my extra items in my planner in my purse), I know I can let that sale slide and wait for a sale closer to the time we should be running out of that item. Lisa

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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