The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - November 8, 2012
Easy Heating Pad
For a fast, easy, and safe heating "pad," fill an old sock with two or three cups of dry beans. Close the end with a rubber band, and when needed for tired muscles or winter chills, microwave until warm (one to two minutes). ~Phyllis
Removing Stains from Plastic
I have found that a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda removes stains from plastic. Using a scrub brush and this mixture, I have restored plastic play tables ruined with paint and marker stains and also bathroom shelves stained with make-up. ~T.
Easy Freezer Meals
Instead of doing a month's worth of cooking at once, whenever I have the time/energy to make a nice meal, I double or triple the recipe and just freeze the extra. There is no extra stress and no extra time needed, and I still end up with a freezer full of fast meals. ~Rebecca
Free Gift Boxes
Never use store bought gift boxes again. Use empty food boxes (cereal, granola bars, etc.) to put your Christmas presents in before wrapping. When my kids were little, they would always figure out what their gifts were, so I started saving empty food boxes after Halloween to use for Christmas presents. Because the boxes had straight edges, they never again guessed what their presents were. ~Cathy
Another Use for Vinegar
My daughter works at a fast food restaurant, and her uniform stinks from the smell of grease when she comes home from work. In the past, no matter how I washed her uniform, the grease odor would not leave and would sometimes make the other clothes in the washer and dryer smell. I decided to add half to one cup vinegar to the wash cycle and the smell disappeared. Now, there is no vinegar odor, and all the clothes smell fresh. ~M.
Finding Flexible Part-Time Work
I was a stay-at-home mom for nine years. Now my kids are 12 and 10, and I wanted to find something that would still be flexible with their activities and school functions. I was out of the workforce for a long time, and it seemed like I would never find anything. So I applied with our local Board of Education as a substitute. I was just hired as a substitute cook and substitute custodian. And when they have another training class for an aide position, I will be taking it. You can work as little or as much as you want, and it is perfect with the kids. I don't have to worry about days that they don't have school, and I don't have to go if there are other things that I need to do. ~Liz H. in WV
Get together with friends or family to see if they have things that they are tired of and ready to discard. Then see if anyone wants to exchange or trade things around. When my sisters and parents have a big yard sale, we do this. We never charge each other, we don't expect to get equal value or quantity, and we give it without strings attached. Once the items have been exchanged, they are the property of the new owners to use as they wish. Why haggle over a few cents or few bucks? If you stick to these rules, you can get new things without spending a dime and get rid of unwanted stuff too! ~S.
Locked Out of Your Car?
When I was at the post office the other day, I was so distracted that I locked my keys in my car. When I told the postmaster what I'd done and was about to call a locksmith, he said, "Wait a minute, and I'll see if I can unlock it for you." He was a former cab driver and had an entire kit in his car for unlocking various kinds of vehicles. He said that if it ever happens again, call a cab! They usually charge around $20 for the service, while locksmiths charge around $60. ~AB
Last year around Christmas, I went into a department store and was immediately drawn to the beautiful girls' dresses they were selling. They were special, glittery party dresses. I innocently picked up a tag only to be shocked at the prices. They ranged from $50-$80! Since then, I have spent the past year on the lookout at thrift stores and yard sales where I have bought Christmas dresses for both my girls along with gorgeous birthday party dresses for a dollar each or less! These dresses are just as good as "new" dresses but at a huge price reduction, and I am sure whoever wore them before only did so once or twice at most. I know a lot of people already do year-round Christmas shopping, but don't forget to do year-round party dress shopping as well. You'll save yourself a bundle! ~Julie
Instead of a Health Club
For those of you considering joining a health club but are worried that you may not make full use of your membership, I'd like to suggest something that has worked great for me. Take adult education exercise classes at your local high school. Not only are the classes very affordable, but they are also short-term (8-10 weeks), which is much easier to commit to than a year's membership at a club. Whenever I belonged to a gym, I wouldn't go because I could always go "tomorrow." However, if I miss an adult education class, there is no "makeup." Hence, I'm much more inclined to go! I have taken several different classes from dancing to yoga, and I have always found the environment to be very encouraging and fun. If I get bored of one, I just sign up for another the next semester. Look at the policy listed in the front or back of the catalog. Some of these schools offer a discount if you join with a friend. These programs usually also offer a lot of great, fun classes, including ones about saving money and finances! ~Jodi
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