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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 13, 2012

Something to Think About
Here is the thought for the day. Each dollar saved is worth more than each dollar earned because you do not have to pay taxes on it. ~J.

Cat Litter
Clumping cat litter is expensive compared to clay litter, but it sure is nice. I mix some of the cheaper clay litter into the clumping brand. It works as well and saves money. ~David

Controlled Dispensers
My kids are always using too much shampoo, conditioner, and body soap. I decided to put the soaps into empty liquid hand soap bottles. Now I do not have to buy that stuff as often. ~Mary B.

Cleaning Hardened Spills
Whenever I have a hardened spill on the floor or counter, I microwave a half cup of water and sometimes add dishwashing liquid. I pour enough hot water over it just to cover the spill. Then I leave it until it's cool enough to wipe up. As another option, I dip an old toothbrush in the hot water to scrub crevices or other tight areas. I love this simple trick. I hope you do, too! ~CS

Homemade Cream Soups
I don't know why people use canned soup for recipes. It is loaded with salt, and it's expensive. A cream sauce is easy to make! For one cup of sauce, melt two tablespoons butter, whisk in two tablespoons of flour until well blended, and then stir in one cup of milk, broth, or a combination of the two. Cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick. Add salt, pepper, paprika, or melted cheese to taste. ~D.

Inexpensive Food Gifts
As a stay-at-home mom, I often seem to have more time to bake than the teachers in my children's schools do. I put together a gift basket of brownies in different flavors and jars of spiced tea or my homemade cocoa mix. I always put a basket together for the gals in the office as they are often forgotten. This year, I plan to add a cookie mix in a jar. They can bake at their leisure during the holidays. The teachers have always loved this gift. I am sure not to bake ahead and freeze, so they have the option to freeze the goodies if they need to. Several have commented to me on how nice it was to have something ready to serve holiday guests. ~Karen P.

Protecting Your Table Top
We recently purchased a folding banquet table to use when serving our holiday meals, but we needed something to go under the tablecloth to protect the plastic top from hot dishes. A padded aluminum car window shade worked wonderfully. When unfolded and taped into place, it covered nearly the entire tabletop and was hidden under the tablecloth. I'm sure they would protect a wood table, too! ~Leslie in New Mexico

Need a Long Curtain Rod?
While looking for a very long curtain rod, I had trouble finding a rod that was 10-feet long. I was about to go to a big decorator store out of town when I chanced into a hardware store where the clerk told me about using copper plumbing pipe. They come as long as 12 feet. They are about half an inch in diameter and cost only a few dollars. They can be cut to any length. Their finish resembles some designer rods, but they are very inexpensive to use and their sturdy material keeps the middle part from sagging as easily as most rods if the curtains are heavy. ~Donna C.

Silver Care
After the silver is polished, put some of those little desiccant packets in your storage container (the kind inside vitamin bottles, etc.), and it will really slow down tarnishing. I put some in my silver chest after Christmas last year (which has a lining to supposedly slow down tarnish but doesn't always do a great job), and when I took the pieces out at Thanksgiving, they looked freshly polished. I also put a few of these in my jewelry box along with all my sterling pieces, and they stay shiny bright. ~Nancy

Homemade Wrinkle Releaser
Commercial wrinkle releaser is expensive and even more so when you consider you're paying mostly for water. Put two tablespoons of liquid fabric softener into a standard spray bottle. Fill the rest with water. Shake. You've made wrinkle releaser. I was lucky enough to have a small sample-sized bottle of fabric softener put in my mailbox about three years ago, so while I use wrinkle releaser at least once a week, I haven't paid for it in years. ~Angie

The Christmas Craft Book
My daughter-in-law suggested a great gift for me to do for my homeschooled granddaughters. I went on the web and printed off craft ideas, coloring pages, and many other things. I then bought the ingredients for the crafts. This will be their Christmas present. I spent maybe $50 for the three girls in Walmart for the craft items. I used dividers and found something for every month. The craft book includes Origami suggestions, Wizard of Oz coloring pages, and many other things. The web is full of many craft ideas. I will cover the notebook with fabric to make it pretty. ~NT

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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