The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 20, 2012
Cleaning Fireplace Glass
Old newspapers and ashes from the fireplace work beautifully on the glass of fireplace doors or clear woodstove doors. It's free. There are no fumes. Best of all, you are recycling! ~Jann in Maine
I have a couple of suggestions to boost the flavor of everyday foods. A tablespoon of sherry jazzes up cream soups and canned gravy. A grating of nutmeg is great in milk- or egg-based dishes. Stir in a tablespoon of instant coffee granules to a pot of chili. In an unused salt or spice shaker, mix equal parts lemon pepper, granulated garlic, and white sugar. A sprinkle of this boosts the flavor of cooked vegetables, fish, chicken, tomato sauce, and casseroles. Plus, it's sodium-free! Add this mixture just before serving. ~Evelyn S.
Inexpensive Office Gifts
I got this idea while shopping for Christmas tree ornaments to pass out as gifts in the office. In the store, I saw the prettiest display. Clear wine glasses (which were for sale) were filled with gold tinsel. The glasses sparkled and looked absolutely gorgeous under the lights. I decided instead of purchasing gifts bags that I would purchase clear coffee mugs ($1 each), fill them with gold tinsel, and put the ornament ($1 each) inside the mug and tinsel. Then I "fluffed" the tinsel to hide the ornament. It was gorgeous, especially under the bright office lights, and the "package" turned into another gift! ~Lynn J.
My idea for a Christmas tablecloth consists of using old Christmas cards and clear vinyl that can be purchased by the yard at fabric stores. I place various Christmas cards and pictures my children have drawn on my table. Purchased icicles or any object that will lay flat can also be placed around the pictures. Then I lay the vinyl across the table after I have placed everything where I want it to be and use tape to keep the vinyl in place. I use enough clear vinyl to go underneath the table, so my tape doesn't show. ~P.
Raising Quick Cash for the Holidays
The holidays are a great time of year to make some quick cash for little or no money invested. If you own a van, hire yourself out as a delivery person or mover. Are you artistic? Wrap gifts or make holiday decorations. Play Santa, an elf, or a reindeer. Be a personal shopper or assistant for someone who can't get out or is very busy. Businesses are looking for holiday help. ~Christina in NYC
Natural Facial Scrub
Here's a tip that I learned from a friend. She makes small muslin pouches, adds a couple pinches of oatmeal, dampens with a little water, and scrubs her face and neck lightly. The oatmeal makes up a wonderful cleansing lather, leaves skin squeaky clean, and leaves behind powerful antioxidants. It's also cheap. She uses fresh oatmeal for every wash. Girls who start this at a young age end up with very few wrinkles and laugh lines into their adulthood. For older women, it really slows down the aging process. ~S.
I have always loved holiday flags as outside decorations. I was in need of a way to organize them, so I wouldn't continuously buy new for an upcoming holiday. To do this, I simply took a multi-tiered skirt/pant hanger and clipped all of my flags to the hanger by season. This has helped tremendously with keeping track of what I have as some get tattered after a season and get thrown away. The skirt hanger helps me keep them all in one place and easily assess my stock. ~Nancy R.
When we take our Christmas tree down after the holiday, we cut off all the branches on it to make kindling. These kindling pieces start a fire in the fireplace fast. Plus, the smell of the pine fire makes any home smell wonderful. There's nothing like snuggling up to a cozy fire in the fireplace on a snowy evening with a hot cup of cocoa and left over holiday cookies to munch on. ~MG
Alternatives to Soda
It's hard to believe this works, but I am a soda addict and it works for me! Here's what I do. I can drink as much soda as I want, but before I drink that soda, I have to first drink an eight-ounce or larger glass of water. Everyone knows all the benefits of drinking more water, but when I drink it, I honestly feel better! I have more energy, and I feel like my metabolism is on full-speed. My weight loss attests to that fact (altering nothing else)! And it isn't due to a reduction in sugar, because my soda is diet. I've tried mixing juices with sparkling water and all those other concoctions. When I want a diet cola, that's what I want! And that's why this little trick works for me. ~Denise S.
Saving on Baby Wipes
Even though many parents are going back to cloth diapers instead of disposables, they often still use packaged baby wipes, adding to the significant cost of diapering a baby. Cloth diaper wipes can be very expensive, sometimes costing a dollar each for what amounts to a piece of flannel fabric to wipe off poop! We've found that the white flannel diapers used as burp cloths or diaper inserts can be cut up and used very effectively as baby wipes. One diaper will yield six wipes. Simply cut them into thirds following the seams and then cut each third in half. All the sides can be hemmed, but it's not at all necessary. We purchased a small diaper wipe warmer that has lasted three years now and keep four to five wipes in it at all times (first they are moistened simply with water). The cloth wipe stays warm for longer than the disposables, and usually one wipe is sufficient for all but the messiest jobs. Simply drop the wipe in the cloth diaper bag or bucket for washing with the diapers as usual. When we are out and about, we keep the moist cloth wipes in a zipper bag in our diaper bag. ~Amy
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