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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - August 30, 2012

Brighter Whites!
I have the brightest whites because of a little tip my husband suggested. I add two tablespoons of salt to my washing machine, along with the normal amount of detergent. I don't know why it works, but for me, it does! Give it a try for your whites. There's no need for fancy, overpriced products to whiten. B.

Controlling Ants
When my husband and I moved into our apartment 3 1/2 years ago, we found ants all over our kitchen. I did some research and found a non-toxic repellant that would not bother our two cats. We put cinnamon at doorways and anywhere we repeatedly see ants. It has worked wonders. No more ants! Andrea

Sssh...Microwave Popcorn Secret
When you pop microwave popcorn, have you ever noticed how you always have a bunch of unpopped kernels left in the bottom of the bag? I have a simple secret. Keep your microwave popcorn in the freezer, and every kernel will pop! DS

Flat Soda?
If your two- or three-liter bottle of soda goes flat before you can drink it all, don't despair. Just fill your glass 2/3 or 3/4 full of the flat soda and then top it off with a newly-opened bottle of the same kind or even a different kind of soda for a different taste. The fizzy soda will put the fizz back in the flat one. M.

Getting to Know Your Kids
When I was a child, my mother refused to get a dishwasher. She thought it was good for the children to do the dishes. When my family was growing up and the dishwasher had a problem, instead of getting it fixed immediately, I had my two children do the dishes. It was the best time for them to talk about the day and their plans. What a good idea! Barbara W. in Ontario, Canada

Mix 'n' Match Cereal
My son loves all the colored sugar cereals, but they are pretty expensive. I like to give him that pleasure. So I buy one box of this expensive cereal and a bag of a very cheap (no sugar added), healthy cereal. In his bowl, I mix two parts cheap to one part expensive. The colors still look great, and the sugary taste is still there. Little Tristan (my son) can't tell the difference, but mom surely can in dollars and cents! M.

Frugal Funeral Urns
Recently, my mother-in-law passed away. It was a long battle with cancer and she took an active part in helping us prepare her memorial service before her passing. Being frugal herself, she was very concerned that we not spend an outrageous amount of money on her final arrangements. We honored her wishes to be cremated, and the expense I was most surprised with was the cost of cremation urns. We saw several we liked at the funeral home for well over $500, and those were not the most expensive by far. I spent a little time searching and came across sites that sell urns to the public. I also found out that in many states, you don't have to have a special urn. Any container will do. Obviously, you'd want something that's sealed and in good taste, but nothing says that you have to spend a lot to get something that's specifically for cremation. M. L.

No Time to Iron?
Both my wife and I hate ironing. We found an inexpensive way of handling even the worst of wrinkled clothing without ironing at all! In fact, we haven't used our iron in years. Simply take a spray bottle and fill it with water. Put on your outfit, and spray your clothing with the water until slightly damp. Your clothing will dry wrinkle-free within a few minutes. Thicker clothing or extremely wrinkled clothing may take a second application. Ryan

Instead of Birthday Cards
My favorite new find at the dollar store is themed or decorated printer paper. A few months ago, I bought a pack of 40 sheets of paper decorated around the edges with multi-colored birthday candles. It's like getting 40 birthday cards for one dollar! My kids have used them for their friends' parties, and I write "happy birthday" notes on them to give to friends. The decoration is appropriate for any age or gender. I know some people use ecards and other various electronic greetings, but if you still love sending/receiving handwritten greetings, this is a big help. I also purchased two packs of 40 sheets of Christmas theme paper, so basically I already have my "Christmas cards" at a cost of 80 for two bucks! Ann F.

Reducing Email Clutter
We are all aware of the effects of clutter in our homes. What about our email boxes? Every time you place an online order, that business will send you their advertising emails. Pretty soon, your email box is full of tantalizing offers, just a few clicks away. Remove that temptation! I made a folder titled "Shopping" in my favorites and put trustworthy websites that offer appealing things there. Then I unsubscribed from every "shopping" email I found in my inbox. There were quite a few, offering me temptation every day. Now, my email box is easier to use, and the temptation of a "great sale" or "a selection just for you" no longer exists. Plus, I have a folder full of go-to sites if a need arises. It's a win-win, free solution to email box clutter. Gail in NY

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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