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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - November 21, 2013

The Small Plate Diet
I found some inexpensive dinner plates at a thrift store that were smaller than our regular ones. My husband and I are eating smaller portions, which is good for the waistline and our budget. ~Y.

Sweat Stinky Clothes
If clothing has odor in the underarm area, a quick soak in vinegar will remove both odor and bacteria. If sweat stains are left behind, then soak in straight ammonia instead. It may take an hour or more, depending on the heaviness of the stain. ~B.

Why Twice?
All shampoo bottles say to wash your hair once and then repeat washing again. Sure, that's great for them. Using more shampoo empties the bottle sooner. I have been shampooing only once for the last six months, and my hair turns out just as clean! Of course, the bottle lasts twice as long and so does my money. ~M.

Canning Nuts
It's nut harvesting time. An old timer told me her recipe for canning any kind of nut. Put the nut meats in a clean, warm pint jar. Put a hot, moist lid on the top, and screw the ring down tight. Put the jar in a cold oven. Set the oven to 225 degrees and bake for 45 minutes. When the time is up, turn the oven off and open the oven door. Let the jars cool in place. These nuts will last for years. ~P.

Seed Starters
One use for those large plastic detergent caps you used to throw away is to make them into miniature planters. They are the perfect size for tiny individual seedlings and don't take up much room. You can easily tuck them between other plants in a sunny window. I especially like to plant a flower or a green pepper seed or two in them. I then transplant them to bigger containers as they grow. ~T.

Reducing Teen Auto Insurance
When your teen moves out to go to college, ask to change them to an "occasional" driver on your insurance. Different companies may have different policies. With our insurance, if the teen moves 100 miles away from home, they can change to being an "occasional" driver, which will save on your rate. ~Katie

Affordable Appliances
Go to a place that repairs kitchen appliances. They usually have refurbished ones at a fraction of the cost of new. I saw brand name, heavy duty kitchen mixers selling from $95 to $220 that are normally $300 to $400. There were scads of microwaves and freezers and other various items. The owner explained that some people get an estimate and then decline to have the appliance repaired and don't want them back or don't want to wait several weeks for a part to be ordered and just purchase another one. Occasionally some are simply abandoned, and after a specified waiting period, they are sold. The ones I saw had 30-day warranties. This might also be a great way to upgrade to a professional grade model. ~Constance

Keeping Receipts
For many years, I have kept two plastic shoeboxes in my closet to hold my "everyday" receipts. Receipts for groceries, hardware items, etc. are tossed in the box. At the end of the year, I toss out the previous year's receipts to make room for the new year. By using this system, I have two years' worth of receipts to fall back on. It's amazing the number of times I have had to go back and find a receipt to return an item or claim a rebate, etc. This has saved me a bit of money over the past few years. Of course, receipts for big ticket items are kept in a separate place as they normally need to be kept longer. ~Evelyn Z.

Older Drivers
If you are over 55 years old, consider taking the AARP or other accredited driving class. Requirements vary by state and according to the driver's age. In my state, this was a four-hour classroom course held on a Saturday. I checked with my insurance company first to be sure there would be a discount for taking the course. The course cost $12, and my insurance dropped by almost $50 a year. Plus, I'm more aware when I'm on the road. We all need a refresher now and then to be a safer driver. ~Clare

Cheap Exercise
There are many things around the house that make good exercise equipment. The easiest are right in your pantry! Use one- or two-pound cans as weights until they become too easy to lift. You'll know they're too easy when you can do 15 reps without a problem. Use your staircase as a stair stepper and for other exercises to build up leg muscles. Put a large towel on the floor to use as a mat for floor exercises. To build exercise into your daily routine, forget about being efficient. Be effective instead! Park your car at the far end of parking lots. You won't miss the extra two or three minutes you use to get to the door of the store, but you'll see the difference in no time. Go up and down the stairs at home frequently. Wash your own car. Clean your own house. Till your own garden, and shovel your own walks and driveway. All of these activities and many others around the house qualify as exercise. They really make a difference. I've lost and kept off over 85 pounds, going from size 16-18 to size 4, doing all these things. I also walk around the neighborhood and to nearby stores. I even walk to some of the schools where I substitute teach. ~Barbara

Septic Tank Care
For information on maintaining septic tanks, check with the county public works department or whatever government body issues septic tank permits in your area. Both the county and the people who periodically pump our septic tank said the additives are worthless. The bacteria needed in the tank are present in ample supply in your body waste. Nothing needs to be added. Think fertilizer. You don't add anything to manure to help it break down in your garden. Nature supplies the additives. The pumping company also said that the use of any chlorine bleach products, such as are found in many dishwasher soaps and laundry bleaches, kill the beneficial bacteria in a system. I use bleach sparingly, preferring more environmentally friendly products, such as washing soda, baking soda, vinegar and borax. For a family of four, we have had our tank pumped only once in ten years. The pumping company said the tank is in good shape with very little sediment in the bottom and that we should continue to do as we have been doing. ~L.

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.

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