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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 24, 2013

Easy Coffee Pot Cleaning
You can clean your stained coffee pot with a half cup of table salt and a dozen or so ice cubes (depending on the size of your pot). Gently swish them around and then rinse with cold water. ~CM

Too Soon Potatoes
When you have a couple of baked potatoes that are done before the rest of the meal, slip them into a quilted oven mitt until you need them. They will stay warm until the rest of your meal is finished. ~Yvonne Van B.

Cleaning Greasy Kitchen Cabinets
I use white vinegar to clean greasy kitchen cabinets. I use two cups to a gallon of hot water. It is very thrifty as a gallon of white vinegar costs about $2. White vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner. It's also great for floors and windows. There is no need for all the expensive cleaners. ~Nancy

That's My Pumpkin!
I have a cute tip for next year's pumpkin patch. I used to do this when all my nieces and nephews were small and I grew pumpkins. When the pumpkin is very small, take a sharp straight pin or needle and lightly break the skin of the pumpkin and spell each child's name. As the pumpkin grows, so does their name! The kids think it's cool, and they love watching their pumpkins grow. ~Seva

Icy Car Mirrors?
Since I have no garage or carport, I use plastic newspaper sleeves over my exterior car mirrors in winter to save scraping snow/ice in the morning. This sure saves time. I slip one over each mirror and tie it shut with another one around the mirror arm. If you have an SUV with big mirrors, Sunday's paper has bigger plastic sleeves. ~Gerry W.

If I Buy Two . . .
Here's something I learned as a mother of twins. Ask if there is a discount for twins or more than one of something you're going to be buying. On a well-baby visit to our pediatrician, we paid for one office visit and two of the vaccinations. For pre-school, we paid for full price on the first child and then 2/3 of the cost of the second. We received a cash discount at the orthodontist and so on. It didn't cost anything to ask, and more times than not, some concession was made in price. ~J.

Vinyl Tablecloth Wrinkles
I have a tip regarding vinyl tablecloths stored from year to year or purchased new and how to get rid of the creases. I just toss it in the dryer on low setting for a few minutes, and it comes out ready to place on the table. If needed, it can be tossed in longer. Just be careful you don't leave it too long or it will begin to stick together. I have been doing this for years and never had a problem. Just don't do it on HIGH setting! ~Tom I.

Storing Lawn and Garden Tools
When my husband was organizing our basement, he drilled small holes near the top of all of our large garden tools (shovels, rakes, pitch forks, etc.). Through that hole, he put a loop of heavy telephone wire (we had a lot of this for some reason, but jute or sisal rope works just as well). On the wall, he put some screw-in hooks to hang the tools. For small hand tools, we nailed up a few empty coffee cans (one strong nail near the top worked fine for us) and placed our hand tools in them. Both solutions worked well with very little effort on our part. ~Kathleen S.

Valuable Time
One way I was able to reduce my spending was to think of the cost in time and labor rather than dollar amounts. Before buying, ask yourself how many hours of work your desired item is going to cost. When you stop and think about the hours and labor something costs, it really makes a difference. When I take the time to think of the hours, days, or months of work an item costs, I often change my mind. Try it for three weeks, and you will be amazed at how often you change your mind. I have heard it only takes 21 days to change a habit. It worked for me! ~P.

Burnt On Food
I burned some food in a pot this week. Here's how I solved the problem without a lot of "elbow grease." I filled the pot about half full of water and then added about a teaspoon of baking soda and the same of vinegar. I boiled the pot for about 30 minutes and then let it sit until cool. Almost all of the burned on mess had floated to the top of the water. The rest was easily removed with a nylon scrubber and mild detergent. A favorite pot was saved with very little effort on my part. If you use this tip on a non-stick pan, you should re-season it by rubbing in a bit of vegetable oil. Other pans are good to go. ~Barbara in CT

A Great Side Dish!
Rice is a good choice when wanting to stretch your food dollar. A five-pound bag costs only a few dollars, and you can serve a family for just pennies! We serve rice two or three times a week as a side dish with chili or soup on top. It really helps stretch the food and we love it. Rice is also versatile. You can serve it plain, with butter, with soy sauce, with vegetables mixed in, or with spices like garlic or chili powder added. The possibilities are endless! ~B.

Custom Dusting Powder
When you finish using your favorite dusting powder from that nice box it comes in (the one with the puff), you can have a cheap replacement for it by using cornstarch and your favorite fragrance. Just half fill the original dusting powder box with cornstarch and give it a few squirts of your favorite fragrance. It can be cologne. It doesn't have to be perfume. Then fill up the box with cornstarch, give it another squirt of fragrance, and put the lid on. The next day you'll have a box of dusting powder in your favorite fragrance that you cannot tell from the original. ~Sandra

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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