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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - August 2, 2012

Child- and Pet-Friendly Weed Killer
A good way to remove weeds that grow through pavement is to pour boiling water over them. They die quickly, and you will not ruin your pavement (or your animals and small children) with harsh chemicals. It is cheap and quick. You will need to do it every couple of weeks to keep it free of weeds. HV

Making Day Camp Affordable I saved money on Cub Scout day camp by volunteering. I took one week of vacation and went to day camp with my oldest son. Since I was a volunteer, I could take along my younger son for a nominal fee. A week at day camp for the three of us cost less than a week of childcare and I was able to spend time with my children having fun. I suspect that this would work with any number of camps. Just ask! TW

Handy Storage Containers
The plastic canister that coffee comes in is extra large and perfect for storing food scraps for our compost pile. I keep two of them under the sink, stacked on top of each other. Since they are made to "seal in aroma," there is never any odor emitted. This sure beats buying a fancy chrome compost pail! Kellianne A. in Michigan

Recently I found out the large containers of spices are not all priced the same. In the Mexican food section of the store, I found large containers for less than half the price of the ones in the spice row. The selection is limited, but it includes garlic granules, basil, oregano, meat tenderizer, paprika, chili powder, etc. I can not tell the difference between these and the higher priced spices. Paula in Medford, OR

Back-to-School Clothing Trick
I have a "back-to-school clothing" tip that concerns all those fun short sleeved shirts decorated with favorite graphics that kids wear all summer long. (With my son, it's generally the latest super hero.) Rather than buy several new long sleeved shirts with fun graphics, I like to buy several plain long sleeved crew neck shirts in various colors and let my son wear his short sleeved summer shirts over them. He gets the layered look, and I get to save some money! Plus, he's warmer with the layering. I also buy plain zipper hoodies that he can wear over his short sleeves. Everyone is happy! Edie, mom of 3 from IL

Rental Trucks
Here are some suggestions on rental trucks. Always open the back of the truck while you are still on the lot. Inspect it carefully for cleanliness, cable ties, and operation of door and locking mechanisms. Check the cab to be sure air conditioner works and you don't smell fumes. Check to be sure the windshield wipers, taillights, and headlights work. Check for any accident damage. Don't let them rush you off the lot before you are satisfied with the condition of the vehicle. Linda in Louisville

The Secret to Making Great Coffee at Home
I work in a coffee shop and frequently hear complaints from customers. They buy a bag of a coffee that they tasted in the store and loved only to find that it doesn't taste the same at home. There are several possible reasons for this. First, we only use filtered water when making coffee at the shop. Tap water can ruin the flavor of good coffee. Second, we grind the coffee right before we brew it, so it maintains as much flavor as possible. We also store our beans in opaque, tightly sealed bags with all the air forced out and in a dark, cool place. Light and air exposure can alter the taste of the beans (and you should never store coffee in the freezer). Also, if you buy your coffee from a coffee shop, I would suggest asking the baristas for any tips they might have. We're very friendly and we usually know quite a bit. Elise

Organic Garden Pest Control
Here's an inexpensive, organic way to rid a garden of pests. Put about half of a cup tobacco into a gallon container and add water to almost full. Place this mixture in full sun to make tobacco tea. When the tea has had a few days of good heat, add a few drops of dish detergent and four or five drops of hot pepper sauce. Shake. Pour the "tea mixture" into a spray bottle and spray your garden plants to keep away ants, cutworms, tomato worms, etc. Leave the solution in the sun to keep it brewing and use as required throughout the planting season. The tea also will kill pests in the house. Unfortunately, this concoction will also kill friendly garden insects and is dissipated after a rain. This method takes some work but is pet and human friendly. Try it. M.

Affordable Romance
Here's a tip for frugal romance that anyone can afford, and it's far more romantic than a movie and popcorn! Pack a picnic, go somewhere pleasant, and share a book! Choose something that appeals to both of you. Consider love poems, humorous essays, a mystery novel, etc. Enjoy your picnic as you take turns reading to each other, laughing, talking, and relaxing. If you can't find/afford a sitter, this one even works in your own backyard or on your living room floor after the kids are asleep! Most of us have far too little time in our lives to enjoy a good book, and how wonderful it is to hear one read in that special person's voice! If you can't finish the book, you simply have something nice to look forward to on the next date. Becky U.

Beauty Blotter Papers
Oil blotter papers retail for about $5 for a pack of 20 sheets that measure about two inches by four inches. It usually takes four of these papers to soak up the oil on an average woman. As you can imagine, the pack doesn't last long. I remembered seeing a makeover show, and the makeup artist mentioned that toilet seat covers are made of the same material. I bought a case of 1000 toilet seat covers for $19 including shipping and handling from Amazon. I cut the covers into small squares, and I got about nine squares per cover. They work just as well as the blotter papers, and I will probably never need to buy them again! Sarah S. in Utah

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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