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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 27, 2012

Keeping Them Warm
My three-year-old daughter likes to play out in the snow, but I hate to see her mittens come up and the snow and wind get to her wrists. Today I cut the ribbed cuffs off an old pair of my socks and pulled them on over her mittens and up over the cuff of her snowsuit. It gave her a chance to play without getting cold! ~MM

Looking for Heat Loss
After the first snowfall of the season, my father noticed that snow in one spot on the roof of his house melted before the sun hit it. He asked me to investigate. Crawling through the attic, I discovered an opening through which I could see light and feel a warm draft from the basement. It was the result of shoddy construction. For several years, Dad had been heating the whole outdoors with heat from the basement. A couple of patches and a layer of insulation later, Dad is looking forward to lower heating bills from now on. ~L.

Flannel and Fleece Fan
I have found that flannel sheets on our bed are great and polar fleece blankets and clothing is very warm. I bought remnants of fleece fabric that were blanket sized and didn't have to hem them since fleece doesn't unravel. I got three nice sized blankets for just a few dollars this way. We like to use these for covers while watching TV in the evenings. I found a flannel duvet cover for our comforter, so we really feel snuggly even without extra blankets. ~Ann

Checking Deals
I belong to several of the deal sites, such as Groupon, Living Social, etc. One thing I am finding out is that these don't always have the cheapest price when it comes to their "Goods" section. Now I always compare something I am thinking of buying by checking the price of it on eBay or other websites that might also have the item. Several times I have found it to be less expensive by quite a bit on the other sites than on the deal sites. ~Julie

Just Say "No"!
Each year on January 1st, I begin a "no consuming" policy. Of course, I still need non-negotiable items, such as gasoline, food, electricity, etc. But I play a game with myself to see how far I can go into the new year without buying one unnecessary item. I have turned it into a game I enjoy and have added nicely to my savings over the years. This year, I intend to add cleaning out the pantry and freezer by planning meals for the week using what I have and only buying fresh fruit, dairy, etc. ~Dr. Terry K.

Organizing Recipes
Pick one workable format for your recipes that works for you, whether it's all on computer, in a recipe box, or in a binder. I buy lined and unlined 3 x 5 index cards. When I find a recipe in a magazine, I cut it out and tape it to the card, using the back if needed. On my word processing program, I have an index card size template, so when I find a recipe online, I can paste it onto the template and print it onto an index card. Or I rewrite it by hand on a lined card, which only takes a few minutes. I buy tab dividers to separate and label my own categories. I never found a recipe box big enough to hold all of my recipe cards, so my husband put wood dividers into a kitchen drawer. I now have quite a large "recipe box." The recipes stay clean, and I have easy access to them. ~Jackie

Natural Facial Care
1 egg white   1 teaspoon cornstarch. Combine ingredients until stiff peaks form. Apply to a clean face and let dry. Rinse. If you have a slant board, lie on this while your mask is drying. It will look like you've had a mini-facelift when you're done. ~B.

Easy Clothes Softener
A great way to soften and deodorize clothes is to pour one teaspoon of baking soda into a liquid softener dispenser (the ball type that opens during the rinse cycle) and then slowly pour vinegar up to the fill line. It will bubble but not overflow if the vinegar isn't poured too fast. Clothes will soften and be free of odor without perfumes and chemicals. If you really like the softener fragrance, store cut pieces of sponge in a clean glass jar filled with liquid fabric softener. Squeeze out the excess liquid, so that it doesn't drip and throw the sponge into the dryer with the wet clothes like a dryer sheet. When the clothes are dry, just drop it back into the jar to use in the next load. ~Lisa

Soup's On!
I find that making soup is so cheap. It tastes great, and the house smells wonderful while I'm making it. I buy a chicken, cut off the legs to save for a later meal, and then proceed to clean the inside out really well. I fill up a large pot with cold water, immerse the cleaned chicken, and let it come to a boil. Then I turn down the heat and skim off all the foam that sets up on top. Once that is done, I add a sliced carrot or two, a whole onion, sliced celery, a lot of parsley, and salt to taste. Then I let it simmer for three to four hours! I have a lot of soup to use up during the week in the refrigerator, or I divide it up into containers and freeze for later use. My little ones do not like too much chicken in their soup, so I use the cooked breast to make another meal. I get a lot of meals out of a chicken. ~Grammy Fran

Quick Bed
Sometimes my 12-year-old daughter gives up her bedroom for guests and wants to sleep in my bedroom. After considering fold-out chairs, sofa beds and yoga mats, I came up with a no-cost solution. First, I lay a bath towel on the floor next to the wall in my room. Next, I remove the seat cushions from the two easy chairs in my living room. Then I fold a thick blanket in thirds and lay it across the cushions. I cover all this with a regular single bed sheet and add pillows and a blanket. I end up with an extra bed for free, and my daughter loves this cozy bed. The next morning, I take the "bed" apart and put everything back in its original place. There is no extra storage space required for this freebie. ~Debbie F.

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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