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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - February 20, 2014

Ready to Sprinkle
I put baking soda into an empty parmesan cheese container. It already has the holes for sprinkling. It comes in handy! ~Liz H.

Thrift Store Clearance
Just a reminder that it is end-of-season clearance time at most thrift stores. Most of these stores have a day or two of "bag sales." You pay $1 to $5 for a paper grocery sack full of your choices. Call around to see when your local thrift store sales will be held. ~B

New Glasses?
As I get older, I find that I need more light to see clearly. This is especially true when I read. When I'm getting new glasses at the optometrist, I try them away from the bright light at their fitting station. This is a good test for whether the glasses are good for reading in any light. ~H.

My Hair Care Trick
Fill a spray bottle a quarter full of shampoo. Add water to fill the bottle. Wet your hair when taking a shower and spray the shampoo solution on your hair. You will get the desired suds with much less shampoo. Plus, you'll get more coverage than with a glob of shampoo in one spot. ~ T.

Unwanted Bath Beads?
I had an unopened box of bath beads sitting in my bathroom cabinet for about a year. Since I take showers instead of baths, I was going to throw them away when inspiration struck. I decided to add two tablespoons of the beads to my bottle of body wash. This added extra oils to help relieve dry, itchy skin. ~DS

Eliminating Food Bugs
I used to get pasta bugs in my pantry all the time. They would travel to the rice and various side dishes and infest everything. I ended up throwing everything away. Then I had the exterminator in and this is what he suggested. After buying pasta from the market, put it in the freezer for two to three days. This supposedly kills all such larva. Since doing this, we no longer have a problem. ~Patti

Don't Tempt Me!
One good way I have discovered to cut down on spending is to not read the ads and coupons in the newspaper and magazines and to tune them out on TV and radio. I do this at least one month per year, usually in January. While there are always "bargains" and worthy coupons, I find that I can feel the "need" for something when I've seen it advertised or see that it's on sale. If I don't truly need it, I can just save that money. This has worked well for me. There are times when I'll go for two to three months without perusing the ads or coupon inserts. Unless I truly need something, I won't go looking to compare prices or see if there is a coupon. Saving a few cents or even a few dollars on something I can do without is not saving. ~JD in St Louis

More Tax Prep Help
In the article on tax preparation, you didn't mention AARP TaxAide and VITA. Both are free services provided by volunteers who have to pass a rigid IRS exam. Some of them have been doing it for years. I personally have a year with VITA and 12 years with AARP TaxAide. Contact AARP and they can give you their sites and the IRS will give you the VITA and sometimes the AARP sites. Our office has an enrolled agent volunteering. We are required to be just as professional as the other preparers and we are tested every year by the IRS. Free is cheaper than paid. ~Jo

Nasty Counters
I had coffee stains and scratches on my cream-colored counter. I tried cleaning it with some bleach cleaner and straight bleach, but the stains just weren't coming up. My big box of baking soda was sitting on the counter, so I decided to give it a try. With about a teaspoon of baking soda on my wet dishrag, all the stains and scratches disappeared. ~Charly

Detergent Twofer
I buy two types of laundry detergent. I use the more expensive detergent for our dress clothes. That protects the color and keeps things looking new. It costs a little more, but I try to buy on sale with a coupon. Then I buy cheaper generic or store brand for washing underwear, throw rugs, rags, and my husband's work clothes. He wears jeans and t-shirts most days. It cleans things well enough, and I'm not wasting money on the more expensive brand of detergent. ~C.

A Free Emergency Fund
Our company had a wonderful cafeteria. I would go daily to get snacks, pop, hot chocolate, etc. They also had great lunches. One day, I added up what I was spending at the cafeteria. I couldn't believe the total, so I decided to start packing my lunch. Each day that I brought my lunch, I would price it from the cafeteria and add it to a total that I kept on my phone. At the end of the month, I took that money from my debit card account and put it into my emergency fund. I never thought that I could save money for the unexpected. Now, I know that I can! ~M.

Your Car's Warranty History
After my divorce, I received my former spouse's car and maintenance problems. I located all of the old maintenance records for the car in the glove compartment. I found that much of the work included various warranties. For instance, some mufflers are guaranteed for the life of the car. If replacement is needed, all a person pays for is the labor costs. Check your car maintenance records and use the company that has given you a warranty on their parts. Keep the records in a central location for quick access. ~TW

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 2014 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.


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