The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 25, 2012
Design Your Own Lipstick Colors
You can make new colors out of your old lipsticks by layering them. This even works with the ones you thought were the wrong color. Mix and match your colors. Colors may differ slightly by the order you apply. Have fun playing. ~Lori
To get rid of acne, a mixture of olive oil and salt works very well. Make a paste and wash with it. Use daily at first and then go to two or three times weekly to maintain. My 13-year-old son swears by it. Try it. It does work! ~MF
More Efficient Heating
Heating and cooling can be more efficient and economical when the furnace filter is cleaned regularly. Metal-framed filters can easily be put in the trunk of your car and driven to the nearest car wash for this simple task. One dollar will cover the cost to "high power rinse" your furnace filter. There's no need for soap. Just rinse with the car wash wand. Bring it back home to dry in the sunshine for a few hours, and you'll enjoy a clean filter, save money, and eliminate a HVAC service call. ~Julia
Family Halloween Costumes
Last year, I dressed our three kids up as Christmas presents! We used boxes we had around the house and cut out holes for the head and arms. Then we wrapped the boxes with leftover wrapping paper. They wore sweats the same color as the wrapping paper, and we put some ribbons in their hair. We had Halloween costumes that only took a few minutes to make and cost virtually nothing! ~Sherri
Rice is a good choice when wanting to stretch a food dollar. We serve rice two or three times a week as a side dish with chili or soup on top. It really helps stretch the food, and we love it. Rice is also versatile. You can serve it plain, with butter, with soy sauce, with vegetables mixed in, or with spices like garlic or chili powder added. The possibilities are endless! ~B.
Welcome to Our Home!
An Asian tradition of leaving shoes outside has helped me reduce the amount of indoor work to vacuum and sweep dirt off our floors. It has also preserved our hardwood floors from wear and tear. To make things easy for our family and house guests to follow our tradition, at the door, I have a large basket filled with various sizes of slippers from which our guests can choose. They are also welcome to wear their own sock socks or go barefoot. Our regular guests no longer have to be told because they know the rules. Our floors always look clean and new! ~Asteria
Use bubble wrap to create double or triple pane solar windows. Large rolls of bubble wrap can be bought for around $20 at home and discount stores and will take care of the windows in an average size house with a lot left over. Cut your wrap to fit the glass. Spray the window with water laced with a bit of dish soap and place the wrap with the bubble side facing your room. Butt up sheets to fill whole pane. Sunny days will heat the air in the bubbles and actually help warm your rooms. ~RS
Controlling Craft Supply Spending
I am a craft-a-holic. I made a deal with my husband that I wouldn't spend any money on craft supplies out of our family budget. Instead, I would only use whatever money I made selling my crafts. Also, any money that I made this way was mine to spend as I chose. I put it in an envelope to keep it separate. This did several things. I was more motivated to market my crafts and didn't let unfinished projects pile up. Also it eliminated any guilt I had when buying craft supplies. And when the money was gone, it was gone. There was no "borrowing from the grocery money." ~L.
We went to a very fancy restaurant and ordered steaks for a special occasion. I asked the waiter why the steak was so much better than my homemade steaks. He simply told me to cook it on high heat for five minutes on each side for medium rare. Before serving it, he suggested that I top it with some butter and then let it rest for five minutes, so the juice does not run out. That's it!I now get my steaks on sale and do this simple method. At the end, I sprinkle with salt and sometimes garlic powder. I have even tried melting the butter with a clove of garlic to infuse the flavor and pour on top of the steak. The high heat sears in the juices and gives a nice crisp outside with melt-in-your-mouth flavor. I no longer go out for steak dinners. ~Judy in NY
Budgeting for Unpredictable Income
My husband has an unstable income, and I'm a stay-at-home mom. I found that if we know approximately what we will make in a year, we can figure pretty accurately. For example, if he makes $36,000, we know we have $3,000 per month to work with. In the months that he brings in more than that, we put away the rest for following months. I've been able to do this by paying my bills ahead. If I have a car payment for $200, and I have an extra $1,000 that month, I make three or four car payments ahead. Once I'm a little ahead on one bill, I start working on others. When I'm able to get ahead, then the lack of money for one month no longer affects my budget. Another trick that works for me is to put at least five to ten percent of every check in an emergency account until I have enough funds to cover myself for three months. It's hard to get started, but this gives us the security of an emergency fund. ~J
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