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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - December 26, 2013

My Tip as a Banker
Save at least 10% of your bonus. It's even better if you can save 50% and then use 40% of it beginning January 1st and purchase the things you wanted before Christmas at reduced prices. ~ Venezia in South Africa

Sewing Patches
I have a solution for sewing patches on clothes. If you use clear nylon thread, the thread will not show at all, and if you are not the best at sewing, mistakes will not show. I have used this thread for many patches with great success. It is also extremely durable! ~ Maureen M. in Virginia Beach, VA

Using Your Freezer
I use plastic crates to organize our freezer. I don't use cardboard boxes because cardboard is an insulator and doesn't allow the cold air to circulate. I use different crates for different categories. Red is for beef, yellow is for chicken, green is for veggies, etc. I can look in at a glance and see where I need to stock up. I use a diagram to keep track of where the crates are located. ~ Christina

A Little Olive Oil Please...
Expensive European creams and lotions often have olive oil as a main ingredient because it is so good for dry skin. You can add a little olive oil (regular or EVO) to either your everyday lotion/cream or your more expensive perfumed types. I pour a little in and stir. If I think it could stand being a little thinner, I add more oil and stir. The olive oil doesn't affect the fragrance at all and adds just a little touch of luxury to my daily routine. ~ Kathy D.

Reusing Wedding Tulle
After my daughter's wedding, we had yards and yards of white tulle from decorating the reception hall. I used it, along with colorful yarn remnants, to sew reusable produce bags (instead of the plastic bags in the produce section). Some I gave as homemade Christmas gifts, usually with something inside, such as a vegetable brush, herbs from my garden, or a favorite recipe. Some I sold at craft fairs. ~ Nancy H. in Elk Grove, CA

What? Potato Water?
When making mashed potatoes to accompany a meat dish like pot roast, I always drain the water the potatoes have cooked in into a large Pyrex(r) measuring cup. When it's time to make the gravy, I use the reserved "potato water" along with whatever other liquid is needed and stir it into my roux. The "potato water" gives my gravy an extra burst of flavor. If I have more than I need, I use it to water plants after it cools. They love the extra dose of potassium. ~ Sue S. in San Antonio, TX

Cheaper Cat Dishes
We desperately needed new cat dishes to replace the plastic ones our cat was using. She was pushing them around and tipping them over when she ate. When I looked at cat dishes in the pet section of a local discount store, I was shocked at how expensive they were. Then I considered the bowls only needed to be small and heavy, so I went over to the housewares section. I found two lovely ceramic bowls that fit the bill perfectly. They were called "ramekins" and the total for two of those was less than half the price of the cheapest cat dish in the pet section. It pays to "think outside the box." ~ Jari S. in Mason City, IA

Another Baking Soda Use
A great way to soften and deodorize clothes is to pour one teaspoon of baking soda into a liquid softener dispenser (the ball type that opens during the rinse cycle) and then slowly pour vinegar up to the fill line. It will bubble but not overflow if the vinegar isn't poured too fast. Clothes will soften and be odor free without perfumes and chemicals! If you really like the softener fragrance, store cut pieces of sponge in a clean jar filled with liquid fabric softener. Squeeze out the excess liquid so it doesn't drip and throw the sponge into the dryer with the wet clothes like a dryer sheet. When the clothes are dry, just drop it back in the jar to use in the next load. ~ Lisa

Clothes for Nursing Moms
As the mother of six, I have a bit of experience in what clothes a nursing mother needs and perhaps could offer some help. I tried the very expensive and trendy catalog clothes and I can tell you now that the easiest and most comfortable clothing for me and the baby was over-sized t-shirts! I would buy pretty ones and tie a knot at the hip when I was not nursing the baby. When it was time for nursing, I untied the knot and had plenty of room for baby and enough soft material to keep myself covered. At one time, I was nursing two babies (one adopted and one home-birthed). The t-shirts really worked well for me. I nursed all my babies in malls, restaurants, and even walking around flea markets and nobody really could tell because I was covered by my t-shirts. Also, it helps uncomplicate matters if you go without a bra. But if there are times when you just can't, then get one that is easily accessible to opening and closing with one hand. ~ Kay A.

Body Warmers
In cold weather areas, packages of hand, toe, and body warmers are sold for use by hunters who choose to stand for long periods of time in the woods. Put a package of body warmers in the glove compartment of your vehicle. Should an accident occur and you are likely to remain there for some time, these really work to preserve body temperature. Toe warmers and hand warmers work well for long periods of snow shoveling. Body warmers are also great for power outages. Just snuggle with one under a blanket and you will be warm for hours. For people with Raynaud's Syndrome or who suffer from past frostbite injuries or cold feet from diabetes, these are an inexpensive solution to use any time. They can be bought now and will keep for years until opened. Often they go on sale for $1 per package as the season ends, but don't wait. They even make considerate gifts. ~ Bev in Michigan

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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