The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - September 26, 2013
Baking Soda to the Rescue
My mother-in-law is a master at getting out stains and cleaning just about anything. She taught me to use baking soda instead of other cleansers. For stovetops and other surfaces, wet a paper towel (wring it out well) and sprinkle it liberally with the baking soda. It absorbs all the oil that you're trying to clean off, and it leaves your hands soft. No other cleanser will cost you so little, and as an added benefit, you do not need to be quite as nervous if you don't get up every bit of residue! ~A.
I was throwing out salsa because it doesn't keep very long. Now when I open up a bottle, I divide the salsa into three or four plastic resealable bags and freeze. If I just need a small amount, I bring out one bag. If I need more, I bring out the number of bags that I need. By doing this, I'll never see mold floating on the top of my salsa again. ~H.
Kitty Litter Liners
We have a house cat as part of our family. Therefore, we have a need for a litter box. Instead of buying liners, I buy the store brand trash bags to use as liners. I use the same bags for our trash. I also put on several bags at a time. When it comes time to change the bag, I just pull up the top bag. The next one is ready to use. On the rare occasion that my cat has put a hole in the top bag, I just tie up the next bag as well. ~L.
Can't Fail Hard Boiled Eggs
When you want to hard boil eggs, just place them in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, cover with a lid, and take off the heat. Let them sit for 30 minutes. The heat of the water will cook them completely, and you will have less broken eggs. I learned this trick when I was asked to make hard boiled eggs for my son's classroom Easter party. ~Jane
Affordable Body Scrubs
I love the body scrubs from those expensive shops, but I can't justify the price. Now, I mix either salt or sugar with generic baby oil and a few drops of essential oil. It is helpful to alternate the salt or sugar with the oil so it mixes more quickly. However, when you use oils in your shower or bath, you should be careful, as the tub can get very slippery. This also makes a great gift! ~A
Stocking a Pantry
If you're having trouble finding the money to stock a pantry, try sitting down with your family to figure out what the cheapest meals are that you can make with the things you normally buy. Plan a week's menu of really cheap meals that may include hot dogs, pastas, ground beef, etc. Take your regular amount of money with you to the grocery and use whatever you have left over after shopping for "Cheap Week" to buy your bulk items. Start with things like canned veggies, macaroni and cheese, pasta and anything that you can buy as a "buy one, get one free" deal. If you do this once a month or so, you'll soon have a stocked pantry. ~A.
Ready for Touch-Ups
I've used this idea for years, and I have saved myself a lot of work with it. Each time a room is freshly painted, I use a small jar, such as a baby food jar, to save some of the paint. I use it to touch up when needed. Now, I can rearrange the furniture and wall groupings without worrying about nail holes and scuffs. It's important to remember to label the jar with the color and room identity. ~V.
If you're on vacation and looking to save money when visiting attractions, be sure to ask the clerk at your hotel if he/she has any discount coupons. Recently I asked the desk clerk if the hotel offered any discounts and he gave us a coupon for a much-reduced rate on a museum and a free tour of a factory we wanted to visit. He also told us about a free chocolate factory tour that we didn't know about and gave us a coupon for free samples at the chocolate factory's store. ~M
Some friends of ours have chipboard flooring in their living room. The floor consists of full sheets of chipboard laid down and finished with either varathane or urethane. It looks great! I also saw this flooring in a local hair salon. When I asked how they liked it, they said it was the best. The big bonus was that you couldn't see any stray hair lying around on it! We have a basement, and we plan on laying a chipboard floor. ~E.
Still Fresh Bread
When you buy a long loaf of French bread, here's how to keep it fresh and crusty. As soon as you get home from the store, slice the portion you won't be using that same day into the portion sizes you usually use. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Then put the pieces in resealable freezer bags and store in your freezer. When you want to use it, remove from the freezer and let it defrost at room temperature (it doesn't take long) or unwrap it and warm it in the oven. ~L.
Health Club Plus
Recently, I wanted to sign up for a membership at a health club. They wanted a monthly membership fee that I couldn't afford. Plus, the services were limited and many programs had to be purchased separately. Then I remembered that our local college had a great gym. It was better than any of the local fitness centers. But, it's only for students. I decided this was a great opportunity for me to get some additional education. One class would still be less than a membership to the local health club. And I get the benefit of the gym for free! I now have access to a huge climbing wall with an open climbing time twice a week, aerobics classes (several a day), gym time, tennis courts, a swimming pool with open swim times, and racquetball courts. Also, I can join clubs, such as the fencing club and basketball club. ~AF
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