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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - November 14, 2013

Burnt Pans?
Boiling water with baking soda in a pan will make any burnt-on mess very easy to clean out. ~E.

My "To Do" List
When making a list, put the "need to do" items at the top, and then the "want to do" items should come after. Often, these two get mixed up, and the wrong stuff gets done. ~S.

Tangled Necklaces?
Frustrated with how to store my necklaces, especially the long ones, it occurred to me to try using a tie hanger. They now hang in my closet and are easily visible, accessible, and untangled. ~Jann

Boot Care
The noodles we swim with in the pool and ocean are a great way to keep your knee high boots in shape. Just cut them down to size. It is a lot cheaper than buying those expensive boot shapers. ~Linda Y.

Dry Nails?
Use plain old lip balm to treat very dry nails and cuticles. The waxy residue soaks in quickly and isn't greasy. The results are far superior to any lotion or other manicure product I've ever tried. Medicated lip balms like Carmex® may provide extra benefits, but any lip balm will do. ~Julie

Minimizing Stretch Marks
My husband calls them "honor badges," but everyone else knows them as "stretch marks." I help diminish these "honor badges" with extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. When I finish with a shower, before drying off, I apply about 1/2 teaspoon over the marks, like a bath oil. I began to notice a difference in a few weeks. I also use a high quality olive oil and aloe lotion on them twice a week. The bottle lasts me about a year, so it doesn't impact my budget. My husband noticed a difference, too. ~Crystal

Free Rose Bushes
In late October, I cut roses with a 4" to 6" stem having a "Y" branch. Then, I place the stem into soil in my garden to cover the "Y." I cover the entire rose and stem with a leftover clean mayonnaise quart jar, giving the jar a twist into the earth to keep it secure. I water occasionally and do not uncover until April when I should have a new rose bush that will bloom in a few months. ~M.

Really Clean Paint Brushes
Cleaning paintbrushes has never been something I really enjoyed, as I could never get all the dried paint off the brush. Recently after painting, I had the idea to run a small wire brush through the paint brushes as I washed them out. This worked great, and I got every bit of paint out. My brushes look new again. ~Z.

Great Homemade Gift Ideas
Make a "Journal in a Jar." We put about 100 strips of paper with questions on each into a colored-glass jar from the dollar store and gave with a blank journal book. The questions included "What did you want to be when you grew up?" and "What is your favorite holiday and why?" We gave it to my dad and my mother-in-law, and they are picking a strip out of the jar occasionally and writing the answers in the journal. This will be something we always cherish from them. I also gave a collection of letters from my mom's family members and friends to my mom. I sent out a form letter (as many as possible via email to save on postage) requesting that people send me letters about my mom, and I compiled them in a beautiful leather album that I found at Goodwill. She loves it and looks through it all the time. ~Anonymous

Hanging Posters
My son likes to put posters or pictures from magazines on his bedroom wall. Poster frames can be pricey, but pictures tend to curl around the edges without them. Thumbtacks make holes in the wall and pictures can tear. We recently stumbled upon a great idea when painting another room. Painter's tape makes great frames! It comes in a variety of colors and widths. Just tape the pictures directly to the wall. Trim the tape in the shape of a frame. Pictures can be taped individually or overlapped like a collage. We've even used wide tape and cut it down the center with fancy scissors to create a different edge. This is an inexpensive, colorful way to go since a roll of tape goes a long way. There are no more holes in the wall and no ripped or curled edges, and best of all, this leaves no sticky residue on the wall or pictures! ~K.

Auto Clubs
I used to work for a call center, which handled roadside assistance calls for multiple insurance agencies and companies such as AAA. From experience, I have found that most insurance companies offer roadside assistance. However, it is important to know what's covered. If you're worried about flat tires or getting locked out of your car, etc., most coverage is about the same. When it comes to services like winching (if you're stuck in a ditch or something), some companies only cover five to ten feet and then you have to pay by the foot after that. Also, when it comes to towing, consider the distance that is covered compared to how far you normally drive. If you have a long commute or travel often, it's a bad idea to only be covered for a ten-mile tow. Some companies even have "choose your own" assistance where you can eliminate services you may not need. Does a close friend have a spare key to your car? If so, maybe you don't need lockout coverage. Lastly, pay close attention to tire services. Many companies will send you a tow truck when you just need someone to put a spare tire on for you, or they will charge extra for after hours or weekend services. This should be part of your emergency assistance, not an additional cost. And don't pay for something you don't need! ~Jenny G

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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