The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 3, 2013
Clearer Car Headlights
For cleaning your headlights, try toothpaste. Yes, it really works. It's cheaper than the kits they sell. Just put the toothpaste on your lights with a light scrubbing motion. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse dry. It works great! ~Debbie
Bacon by the Slice
When I get a package of bacon, I open it up, roll each piece of bacon up, put it in a freezer bag, and freeze it. When I want bacon, I just take out the number of pieces I need and leave the rest in the bag! Since they are all individual rolls, they don't stick to each other! ~Joann M.
Need storage containers? Just visit your local deli or lunch counter at the supermarket and ask for the empty one-gallon mayo jars. They come in both plastic and glass and are perfect for storing cat kibble, sugar, flour, grains, cookies, etc. Naturally, you'll need to clean them thoroughly before using them. ~N.
Not Lazy Savings
I find that laziness contributes to being broke! Get in the habit of taking a few extra steps in order to avoid buying pricey "convenience" items. If you don't mix that water and vinegar yourself, you'll always spend a fortune on the name brand cleaning stuff! If you don't learn how to cut up a chicken, you'll always spend needlessly on pre-cut chicken. Laziness costs money! ~Corey
Free Laundry Aid
The number one way to "stretch" laundry dollars is soaking! Soaking works especially great on stained white clothes. I simply use my detergent with bleach, let the agitator work a little, and then turn off the washer for a couple of hours. It acts like a pre-soak, and I've removed some horrible stains this way. Everything comes out whiter and brighter! For those hard-to-remove stains (like blood, chocolate, and sauces), I scrub the stain in the sink with hand soap and then let the item soak overnight! By morning, most stains are completely gone! ~E.
Fun School Lunches
Make a sandwich with one slice of whole wheat bread and one slice of white bread (or that new whole grain bread that just looks white). Then take a cookie cutter and cut a shape out of the middle and flip the cut piece over so that there's a contrast between the two colors of bread. It needs to be a symmetrical shape, like a heart, circle, star, crescent or something, so that it still fits when flipped over. Christmas tree shapes work, too. ~Evelyn
Natural Weed Killers
Believe it or not, vinegar is a natural weed killer. I had moss, etc. growing between bricks in my back patio. I took a gallon of vinegar and spread it around. In a couple of days, I was able to remove all the dead stuff with a broom! It works great, and the smell disappears shortly. This is cheaper and better for the environment than a lot of the "name brands" you can buy. Give it a try! ~Deborah
When my daughter and I go on vacation, we like to go to local libraries and peruse their "paperback books for sale" section. It's a great way to buy new books, and since it is out of our own area, we might even find something inherent to the area we are visiting. Either way, they are always inexpensive and a great way to add to our experience. ~DMM
You can do what you want if you just redirect your way of thinking. With that in mind, my grandson wanted a pillow with his favorite character on it. I looked for materiel. When I finally located some, it was way too expensive. So I went on eBay and found an inexpensive man's extra-large shirt with the character of his choice on it already. I bought it, cut it up, and made the pillow. It turned out great! ~A.
Easy Bathroom Update
One of the ways that I save money but still have a nicely decorated home is by buying inexpensive bathroom rugs in a lighter color that complements the wall/tile color of our bathroom. When the rugs start to become worn or the colors don't look as good, I buy a package of dye in a slightly darker color and dye the rugs. These rugs come out looking great, and I've had very little expense in updating them. To go along with the rug, I buy cloth shower curtains that can be machine washed and dyed to match or complement the rugs. ~L.
Grocery Mark-Down Days
I retired a short time ago and am living on a fixed income. Now that I'm not working, I shop on weekdays instead of Saturday. As a result, I found a surprise in the meat and bakery departments. Meats and bakery goods that are not sold on the weekend are marked down on Monday for quick sale. I also found that they do the same thing on Thursday to clear out space for weekend shoppers. I checked the packages thinking they would be expired, but they weren't. I have been saving $1 to $2 on meat packages and almost half on bakery goods. I buy them and put them in the freezer to use later. This not only works well at local markets but at warehouse clubs, too. You have to be flexible because you don't know what will be available each day. However, we are eating better for less money since I discovered this trick. ~Cindy B in West Jordan, UT
Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit www.stretcher.com/index.cfm?TipsSyn to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2013 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.