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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 18, 2012

Cheaper Cat Spaying
If you've recently adopted a cat, then I suggest getting a voucher from the nearest Humane Society. I got one and a normally $150-$200 spay only cost me $45. Best deal ever! ~Juliana R.

Better Ground Meats
Simply select the cut of meat that is on sale and ask the store butcher to grind it for you. They will be more than happy to do this for you. You can specify how much fat you want trimmed off. I usually leave all the fat for better flavor, and if I'm making burgers, they hold together better. ~Steve

School Picture Day Savings
My daughter's school picture day is coming up. I volunteered to help get the kids spiffed up a bit. My motive was to make sure my own child had her hair combed and sported no ketchup stains. The school was glad to have me help out, and as a reward, I will be getting a certificate for a free packet of photos. ~Jan

A Warm Bed
I love a cozy bed, and in the winter, it gets miserably cold where I live. This fall, I thought it would be nice to have some flannel sheets, but they are so expensive. I walked into my favorite thrift store one day recently, and there was a brand new set of heavy flannel sheets! I immediately bought them, took them home, washed them, and then had another idea. I decided to use only one of the sheets at a time. Instead of putting both the fitted and flat sheet on the bed, I just put one of the sheets on and alternate with cotton. Not only is it warmer, but also I always have the other sheet washed and ready when I change the bed. I had some leftover flannel from another project and made two large pillowcases. Since most of our heat leaves our head, it made sense to me to have these warm pillowcases. This is the most comfortable and warmest bed I've ever had! I'm looking forward to hunkering down with a good book this winter! ~Karen K.

Natural Deodorant
I wanted to find a deodorant that was chemical free and worked. I stumbled upon using baking soda. I put a small amount in the palm of my hand and add a little water. I rub the baking soda and water between my hands and then apply it under my arms. I'm too impatient to wait for it to dry, so I sprinkle cornstarch over it. This has worked beautifully. I found I am still odor free even if I don't shower the next day, and I don't appear to sweat either. This method not only saved me money, but it is good for me, too. ~Renee

Who Needs Special Bags?
Recently I have been noticing ads on TV for bags to portion out meats. When you buy a package of meat with several servings in it, you divide it into the special bags and then place them in a zipper bag before freezing. The premise is that you won't have problems when you want to defrost the meat. You take out only the servings you need and the rest stays frozen. I have been doing this for years without the pricey bags. I buy the inexpensive sandwich bags with the fold over top. I can get 200 for less than $2 if I buy the generic brand. I rarely have anything that doesn't fit in the sandwich bag. I use them for chicken, pork chops, and even small steaks. They work great and make preparing dinner easier. ~Cindy B.

Pet Urine Stains
I had a wonderful, well-trained dog that never soiled the floors, but unfortunately after three years, he suddenly developed epilepsy. This caused him to soil the floors often. Someone told us to use about one quart of water with a squirt of dishwashing liquid and two tablespoons of white vinegar on the spots where there was urine to prevent odor. This worked perfectly. After four years of doing this, we never had an odor. Of course, I have to get to the spot while it is still wet. If it dries, I don't know anything that will take it out. ~S.

Stick Deodorant
I found I had several bottles of stick deodorant where there was about an inch left in each container. Towards the end of the stick, it would fall out of the container and make applying it difficult. I took a small stainless steel bowl and placed all the deodorant from all the loose containers in the bowl. I placed the bowl on a candle warmer to slowly melt the deodorant. After mixing it, I poured it back into one of the deodorant containers. I let it cool, and now I have almost a whole new deodorant. ~Kathryn

Outdoors? Or Indoors?
I have a 12-year-old glider rocking chair that I used for all four of my kids. The chair itself was in great shape, but the cushions were looking worn and out-of-date. I started looking online for replacement cushions, and they ranged from $44 to well over $100! I checked out Walmart's fall clearance gardening section and was thrilled when I found a soft and comfy lawn chair cushion for only $5! I tied it on, and it looked great. Plus, I can easily get a new one every year for that price. ~Brigitte in Fort Stewart, GA

Creative Gift Boxes
Regarding the "how" of getting free or low-cost gift boxes, here's a great idea that I read about just last night in a book on gift-wrapping. Use spray paint on ordinary boxes that food and consumer goods are packaged in to hide any lettering, logos, etc. that may be on the outside. You can apply embellishments like stenciling, sponging, stamping, charms, stickers, decorative painting, yarn, small toys, fabric scraps, snippets of lace, silk flowers, ribbon roses, old greeting cards, etc. to make your gift package look even prettier and to camouflage any damaged areas on the box. Not only will you be spared the expense of buying those expensive, store-bought gift boxes, but also you're helping the environment by recycling what would normally end up in a landfill into a gift box that's truly distinctive and one-of-a-kind! ~Lynn

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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