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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - June 27, 2013

Why I Check Receipts
This is just another reminder for folks to always take the time to look over store receipts for accuracy. Today, at the grocery store, I was charged for an adult circus ticket of all things. I had to take it to the service desk to get my $7 back! ~Betsy

Homemade 'Oxygen' Cleaner
I love to use an oxygen cleaner for my laundry, but the name brand is so expensive! I have learned to make my own from a mixture of one cup hot water, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide. It removes even old blood stains! Just soak the clothing in it for 20 minutes to overnight and then wash as usual. This will not harm fabric like bleach. It doesn't harm colors either! ~Christine U.

Garage Sale Trick
At our recent garage sale, we had more merchandise than table space. Wanting to keep our goods on tables, not the ground, we got creative. Bi-fold closet doors, which removed easily, were placed across the backs of two kitchen/dining chairs, which gave us instant tables! We received many comments about these quick and easy tables throughout the day, and kept merchandise at browsing level for the customers. ~LLC

Window Shades for Cooling
If you have a room that gets hot when the sun shines in, get a 4x8 sheet of 3/4-inch white foam insulating panel. Cut it to fit the window opening and pop it in. From the outside, it looks like a curtain. On the inside, if you close the shade or curtains, it isn't seen. You can easily remove it any time you wish. This saves big money on cooling bills, and it even helps keep in the heat during the winter months. ~Ken P.

Garden Supplies for Less
When my husband shops for fertilizer, soil, and all the things sold in plastic bags, he goes to the larger stores with garden departments and asks if they want to sell the ones with ripped or torn bags. They always do, and they practically give them away to him just to get rid of them. It's really a big savings. ~E.

Non-Poisonous Ant Repellent
We've had an ant problem in our house ever since we moved in about 17 years ago. I have always hesitated using chemicals to kill them because of small grandchildren and pets. However, recently I found out that ants don't like chalk. I got some colored sidewalk chalk, chose the color closest to my linoleum, and rubbed a chalk line where the ants had to cross. Within a couple of days, the ants were gone! ~BC

Gift Bag Decoration
While trying to come up with filler to add to a gift bag, I found an easy answer! I took pieces of wrapping paper I had saved that were too small to use and put them through the paper shredder. It's an easy way to come up with colorful filler for the gift bag! ~S.

More Efficient Air Conditioning
One way to drop summer cooling bills is to shade the outdoor unit. Bushes, trees, and trellises can be very attractive and effective. You need to be careful to put the shade source far enough away to not impede future service to the unit, and choose plants the will not go wild and try to grow into the unit. Also, leave enough room for air to circulate around the unit. ~G

Dinner at the Ready
When I bring leftovers home from a restaurant, I immediately put them in the type of dish I will reheat them in and cover them. The next day, I just have to pop them in the oven or microwave. I find that the leftovers stay fresher this way, and it takes less time to reheat when I don't have to find the correct dish to reheat the leftovers. ~Kathy H.

Summer Kitchen Heat
My family loves my meatloaf recipe, but during the summer, I hate to heat up the kitchen for an hour while it cooks. Here's how I cut the time in half! I make the normal meatloaf recipe. Instead of using a loaf pan, I shape mini-loaves with my hands and put them on a baking sheet. I usually put down a wire cookie rack inside to set the loaves on, which helps drain off the grease! I top with regular ketchup or a mixture of ketchup and barbeque sauce. Then I bake them at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. This makes for a cooler kitchen, and I don't have anything to slice up! ~Debbie C.

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 2013 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.


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