The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 25, 2013
Affordable Band Instruments
Look at pawn shops when shopping for musical instruments. These stores are filled with almost new instruments for a fraction of the price of new. ~Christine
I love tacos, but they break when I am eating them and the contents fall out. Putting a lettuce leaf in first before adding ingredients allows the shell to break while the contents stay! ~Shirley M.
Easy Fabric Softener
Recently someone passed on a hint on Facebook to use balled up foil in the dryer to save money on fabric softener. I tried it, and it works great! Clothes come out soft and static free. I have not used anything else for two months now. ~Linda H. in Warsaw, IN
Yes, You Can Freeze Them
When buying grapes and bananas, most people cannot eat all of the grapes/bananas in a timely manner without spoilage. By freezing them, you will be able to eat them whenever you want. You can put them in smoothies later and save money. ~S.
Our 'Summer Towels'
If your household is like mine, summertime activities are very hard on bath, kitchen, and other towels that we use on a regular basis. Buy gently used towels at sales and thrift stores and put your nice towels away during the busy summer months. Good quality towels can be expensive, and it is discouraging to "lose" guest towels to stubborn stains and summertime use! I have saved quite a bit with this simple tip! ~Debra S.
No Squirrels Allowed!
Animals avoid cayenne or red pepper. It keeps squirrels away, but it does not deter or harm birds in any way. I have a yard full of birds and no more squirrel problems. I put cayenne in the birdseed. Then I put it in feeders as well as on ledges. In fact, the squirrels have left my yard altogether, and the birds love it. We love it too. ~A.
My Final Offer
One way to get around the high cost of good furniture is to watch for "Moving! Must Sell!" ads. I needed a new sofa for a new house. I wasn't too picky as I didn't have much furniture in the new living room to begin with. I started scanning the ads and called one that had a new sofa and loveseat for $699. It was indeed nearly new and very well made. I offered $300 for the set. When the owner turned me down, I handed her a card with my name and phone number and told her that if she still hadn't sold it by the time she needed to move (in less than a week), I would still take it. She called back in less than 24 hours and sold me the set for $300. She'd rather take the $300 than lug the furniture with her or continue to be bothered by lookers. ~V.
Cheap Kitty Litter
Ground corn works beautifully as a cheap kitty litter. It clumps well, has a soft texture, and is non-toxic. Adding a shake of baking soda after filling the litter pan increases odor absorption. After scooping out the waste, the remaining corn litter may be put into the compost or tossed around the yard for fertilization. Ground corn makes an excellent fertilizer with anti-fungal properties. It can also be mixed with water to make a soothing dip for pets with flea or skin allergies. Ground corn may be purchased at feed stores, farm and ranch supply stores, and many nurseries for about $6 to $8 for a 50-pound bag. Be sure to ask for ground corn, not corn meal. ~Kristie in Boerne, Texas
Great Gift Basket Ideas
One of the best gift basket ideas I've ever come across was an "Ice Cream Sundae" gift basket. You can make this very frugally or extravagantly. Just place sundae or ice cream bowls (can easily be found at a dollar store), some spoons, an ice cream scoop, sprinkles, ice cream sauces (homemade or store bought) and napkins (paper or cloth) in a basket and bring to a shower, birthday party, or housewarming. I plan on giving this to my brother for a wedding present along with an ice cream maker and an ice cream cookbook. ~Thea
Here's a tip for frugal romance that anyone can afford, and it's far more romantic than a movie and popcorn! Pack a picnic, go somewhere pleasant, and share a book. Choose something that appeals to both of you, including love poems, humorous essays, a mystery novel, etc. Enjoy your picnic as you take turns reading to each other. If you can't find/afford a sitter, this one even works in your own backyard or on your living room floor after the kids are asleep. Most of us have far too little time in our lives to enjoy a good book, and how wonderful it is to hear one read in that special person's voice! If you can't finish the book, you simply have something nice to look forward to on the next date. ~Jennifer R.
Keeping Pets Cool
In the hot summer weather, my pet chickens can suffer from the heat. They do get to free-roam around the yard with shade trees. I put out a couple plastic containers of water for them, but the water gets warm quickly. So, when it's hot out, I have an additional trick to help keep them cool. I cut two-liter soda bottles in half, fill them within an inch of the top with water, and freeze them. I keep two or three going all the time. I cut the bottle, remove the ice from the bottle, and drop it into their water dish. Adding a large block of ice like this cools their water for hours. I replace it a couple times per day. They really enjoy it. You can also put a block in a standard chicken waterer. The ice floats, so it doesn't plug the outlet. You could probably use the same trick for other animals. Put the ice in a large dog water dish, for instance. It works great and lasts much longer than little ice cubes. Don't forget your animals in the summer heat! ~RCJ
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