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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 31, 2013

Clothes Dryer Efficiency
I try not to use my electric clothes dryer more than I have to, but my family complains when certain items are line dried. I discovered if I throw a couple dry bath towels into the dryer with the wet clothes, everything dries much faster, using a lot less electricity. ~Shannon S.

Why I Like Rice
In a homesteading or grid-down scenario, rice offers two important things, namely bulk and carbs. If you are working hard on the homestead or working on repairing your home, say after a natural disaster, the rice will be quite useful. ~David P. (via Facebook)

Cord Control
I use pipe cleaners (now called chenille stems) to corral electronics cords. I use different colors for organizing cords behind the TV and computer. Green marks computer cords, red marks video games, and blue is used for TV cords. I also use them to keep cords wrapped up in storage. Best of all, they're about a dollar for 50 of them, which beats the Velcro ones in the electronics department ($5 for 6 straps). They also cut easily with scissors, so I use only what I need. ~Teresa in Missouri

Getting Rid of Acne
My husband's back was covered with acne when we started dating. I pulled out my bottle of rubbing alcohol and gently applied a liberal amount. For that first week, I applied it a couple more times. Since then, he seldom has acne, but if one or two spots start to reappear, we repeat the process. There's no need to rub or irritate the area. Usually only once is needed now that his acne is under control and basically gone. Rubbing alcohol can be purchased for under $1 at most drug stores. ~Joyce

Non-Microwave Microwave Popcorn
To make microwave popcorn, I use a bowl and enough paper towels to cover it. My bowl is Pyrex, but any sturdy, microwave-safe bowl should do. You could even use a lid that is not sealed on your bowl. I put a bit of oil in the bottom of my bowl, add popcorn, and coat it sparingly with the oil. Then I place the covered bowl in the microwave and turn it on for five minutes. When it almost stops popping, I turn off the microwave. I let it sit for a minute or two and then I carefully remove the bowl, as it probably will be hot to the touch. I pour it in another dish, and then add salt and butter as desired. ~CS

Affinity Cards
You know those "cards" for discounts at grocery stores and pharmacies. I have decided to take the ones that go on key chains, and put them on a key chain designated only for them. One will be in my car and the other will be in my husband's car. When we go into a store that requires the discount card, it will always be in the glove compartment. ~Barb

Natural Facial Mask
To minimize pores, make a paste using about a half of a cucumber, half of an apple, one egg white, and three tablespoons of already premade powdered milk. Mix in blender until it's a thick paste. Spread on face and leave on for half an hour. Then rinse and repeat every other day for noticeably smaller pores and soft, clean skin. ~Z.

Unique Wall Decor
I wanted to change up the art in my living room, but buying a new painting was out of the question. I thought about getting some canvas material and making my own, but then I remembered I had an old sheet I was about to throw out. It was a nice beige color, so I cut out pieces in the size I wanted and stapled them to old picture frames. I had seen a design I liked of a tree shadow. Using painter's tape, I made the design in three frames and then spray painted the background in the color I wanted. After taking the tape off, the beige tree was revealed. It came out really nice and was free, using materials I had on hand. ~Julie S.

Modern Art
A great decorating idea is to buy some poster frames and frame some of your kids' art. Even finger paintings can look like modern art if hung in a frame. Several "works" on 8 x 10 paper can be assembled into one frame to make a single larger piece as well. Plus, it will give a boost to your kids' self-esteem. ~Evelyn S.

"Electronic" Appliances
I purchased a new range and new refrigerator within the last five years. They are "electronic." The company where we purchased them suggested a warranty on the range, which we purchased. They did not do the same for the refrigerator, so we did not purchase one for the refrigerator. If your appliances have computers, I would recommend the protection. Both of these appliances failed within two years. The repairs are expensive. I have had older refrigerators that operated for ages with no problem. I have a chest freezer that dates back to 1985, and it is still going strong. Just a word to the wise! ~Barbara K.

Cast Iron Convert
Recently my mom insisted on buying me a cast iron Dutch oven. I didn't want her spending the money nor did I need another thing in my kitchen. Well, now I've decided that I can throw everything else out! I'm addicted to this thing. I browned a whole chicken and placed it in the oven. My baking time went from 2 1/2 to 3 hours to 1 hour. Brown rice that normally cooks in 45 minutes took 20 minutes. My food is moist and super delicious, and it makes the best soup. The heavy pot holds the heat and moisture and cuts down on cooking time. It's not only saving on energy costs but time too. ~Judy M. in New York

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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