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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - January 30, 2014

Wedding Showers
I attended a shower that had the "holidays" as the theme. Each of us was assigned a holiday and asked to bring something for the bride/groom/home that pertained to that holiday. I had the 4th of July. The couple automatically had decorations for every holiday. ~Joy

The Refund Strategy
Whenever I receive a refund of any sort, I put it directly into savings. When I purchase things for work or my 4-H club, the reimbursement check goes straight into savings. I didn't realize how much it helped until I saw my year-end statement from my savings account. ~NC

Picky Eaters?
I have a large family and inevitably there is at least one person who doesn't like what I cook for dinner on any given night. Every weekend, I make one back-up meal that is usually some kind of soup, stew, casserole, or baked pasta dish. It is always something I know everyone likes. This way, the picky person can choose to reheat that meal if he/she doesn't like what's for dinner, and there is always a quick back up lunch to grab if needed. ~L.

A Fun Goal
A friend of mine set a fun New Year's Resolution that is free and recreational. She set a goal to see every Academy Award winning movie from the year of her birth to now (around 55 years). Movies are available at the library because they are classics (you can reserve them in advance or have them forwarded from other libraries if yours does not have one). It's very simple to google the list of winners. ~Ginger

Credit Card Protection
It's important to keep a copy of your credit cards in case they get stolen or lost. Either photocopy or take a digital picture of them. Make sure you also photocopy the back. There are numbers on the back that you may need. Most credit cards also have their "call if lost or stolen" number on the back, which can save you time in finding that as well. ~P.

Photo Prints
We print out a lot of photos for family and friends. The special computer photo paper is too expensive for us to use. At a paper supply store in our city, my husband found a high-gloss paper and a semi-gloss paper that we use as alternatives to the expensive computer photo paper. The quality turns out better than you'd expect, and best of all, we have beautiful photos to give/frame at a fraction of the cost! ~D.

Why Print?
I used to print out so many useless sheets of paper from my printer. Even if you use the reverse, you're still wasting expensive ink. Then, I found the "save as PDF" button in my printer screen. It may be a "print to file" button in your computer. I started using this feature for items that I might need later. Now I think twice about printing. I have a flash drive that I use for most documents. If I still need a hard copy later, I can always go back to print it out. ~B.

Reduce the Cost of Drying Clothes
I have recently discovered something that can help families save money in the laundry room. If you replace dryer sheets with a reusable aluminum foil ball, you do not need to use a dryer sheet. It takes all the static out of your clothes. Also, you can cut your dryer time in half by adding a dry towel to your load. The average American family of four does eight loads of laundry a week. It has saved me hundreds of dollars per year in not having to buy dryer sheets. ~M.

Dust Mites
I found this information in a health newsletter. It stated that dust mites are one of the most common household allergens and a major risk factor for asthma sufferers. The article suggested that washing your bedding with eucalyptus oil virtually eliminated these pesky critters, according to researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia. The researchers got rid of 99% of the mites on wool blankets by soaking the blankets for 60 minutes in a solution of 6 tablespoons eucalyptus oil (0.4 percent concentration), 1 1/4 tablespoons liquid laundry detergent, and 13 gallons of water. They then rinsed the blankets in cool water. Without the oil, the laundry detergent alone got rid of only 2.4 percent of the mites. You can purchase eucalyptus oil at most natural food stores or wherever essential oils are sold. ~Carolyn

Neater Bathroom
To save space on bathroom counter tops and in the tub/shower, for a small initial investment, I purchase travel size bottles and containers or small versions of my favorite body and hair products and then fill or refill them from more economical, larger size versions that I store in a closet. I have a plastic basket from a dollar store for the counter and one on the corner of the tub to keep everything together and looking neat. This also saves a bit of time and energy when cleaning since all of the products can be moved out of the way simply by picking up the basket. Plus, I find that smaller containers are easier to handle in the shower when hands are wet. ~Lorraine in NH

When You Order Checks
Recently I ordered "cute" checks from one of those mail-order places. I thought it would be fun to have something other than plain blue. The cost was $35. (I have since learned that my account gives us free checks!) When the order arrived, I neglected to verify the account number. Well, if your account number is not correct, your bank will refuse to pay the check! In addition to a lot of aggravation, this goof has cost me a lot of money in returned check fees and late charges. Be sure to verify everything on a new check order. ~Madeline in VT

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 2014 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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