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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - February 6, 2014

Before You Wash Clothes
Turn black jeans and other dark clothes inside out before you wash them. They will keep their color longer. ~Jane A.

Firestarters
I break firestarter blocks into two or three pieces when using them to start fires in my fireplace. I find that a third of a block is sufficient to get the fire started and helps save me money! ~A.

Free Moving Boxes
When I move, I go to the nearest attorney's office and gather their cardboard boxes. I visit them every other day for about a month. They use a lot of paper and buy it by the case. The boxes are just the right size for most things, and they have handles. Best of all, they are clean! ~Jacqueline

A Warmer Bed
If you want warmer feet in bed, just get a length of no-pill fleece. Get one about 3' wide and the width of your bed. As you make the bed, place the fleece at the foot of your bed on top of the bottom sheet. Above that put your top sheet, blankets, etc. When you get into bed, from your knees down, your legs will be on the warm fleece. I do not use my electric blanket any more, as this keeps my feet from being so cold. ~Judy in Montana

Use Those Broccoli Stems!
I don't know about other dollar stretchers, but I know that a lot of people cut the florets off raw broccoli and throw the stems away. I used to do that. Then I started peeling the stems and cutting them up or just eating them. Recently, I thought about the broccoli slaw that you can buy in the store. If you buy the wrapped broccoli, usually they have very long stems. I started peeling and then grating the stems of the broccoli to make my own broccoli slaw. So, instead of wasting the broccoli stems, I enjoy them to the fullest. ~Darci S.

Garbage Collection Savings
A way to save on garbage service is to check with your local hauler to see if they offer "one time service." In our area, we can call the night before for service. We put it curbside and pay per bag. We do this three to four times per year. By doing this, we avoid the cost of weekly service. ~D.

Leftover Lemon? Clean Your Microwave
I saw this microwave cleaning tip on a television program. Take a piece of lemon, place it in a bowl filled with water, and boil until you can't see through the microwave window. Take a paper towel and wipe it clean. ~M.

Winter Windshields
Unfortunately, we do not have a garage in which to park our vehicles. During the winter, this is very hard on them. We have to let them "warm up" for extended periods just to defrost the windshield. So, instead of running the vehicle longer than truly necessary and to keep from "scraping" the windshield to remove the frost, I use an old shower curtain to cover the windshield at night. I make sure to close the ends inside the vehicle's doors to hold it in place. When I'm ready to warm up my car, I simply pull the curtain from the windshield! This can also be accomplished with a tarp or other long thin piece of plastic sheeting. ~C. L.

Problem Pet Hair
I have found two unusual, but effective ways to lift pet hair from carpets and furniture. For large clumps of hair, purchase cloth gardening gloves with plastic "nubs" on the fingers and palms. These nubs will catch the hair as you rub your hand over the furniture or across the floor. Keep a trashcan at your elbow, and as your hand gets full, simply pick the hair off the glove and throw it away. For small amounts of pet hair or for short hair that's hard to see, use static electricity. Inflate a balloon and rub it across the carpet. The static on the balloon's surface will pick up the pet hair, and it will stick to the balloon. Once you use a "side" of the balloon, switch to a clean side or you'll just keep transferring the hair back to the carpet. ~MR

Lower Your Electric Bill
A refrigerator needs less electricity to cool objects than it does to cool air. Therefore, a full fridge is cheaper to run. On this theory, I fill my freezer with containers of water. When I first tried it some years ago, the total electric bill went down significantly. Any covered container will do. Fill them, leaving room for the ice to expand. Rectangular containers can be more tightly packed. Avoid some containers. Paper milk containers break. Glass breaks. Uncovered containers cause the automatic defrost to work overtime. I move the ice containers in and out as needed to accommodate food. ~K

Dry Winter Hair?
If you're like me, the bottom few inches of your hair becomes very dry in the winter with the cold, dry air outside and the heated, dry air inside. Instead of buying hot oils and creams and expensive deep conditioners, mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of your favorite inexpensive conditioner with 1 1/2 teaspoons of any olive oil in a microwave-safe container. I use a paper cup. Microwave for 30 to 40 seconds and stir. Wait for it to be cool enough to be comfortable on your scalp. Use your fingers to put the hot solution on the areas where your hair is driest and comb it through. Let it remain on your hair for 20 to 30 minutes while you do chores, talk on the phone, read, etc. Then wash and condition your hair as usual. I used it last night and my hair looks the best it has in months! It really works. ~S.

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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