The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - February 27, 2014
Winter Windshield Washer Fluid
Make your own windshield washer mixture that won't freeze by combining one quart of rubbing alcohol, one cup of water, and two tablespoons of liquid detergent. This formula will not freeze down to -35 degrees F. ~D.
Removing Smokey Odors
I used to be a smoker, and when I quit, I would get sick from the smell when I came into my house. I put vinegar and water in bowls around the house and soon the smell was gone. I also know some landlords who do that when a renter moves out. ~J
Why We Volunteer
My family volunteers at local festivals. We get in free, get fed, and usually get commemorative t-shirts as uniforms. Most festivals need volunteers in various capacities before, during, and after the event. Plus, the behind-the-scenes action is immensely entertaining. ~T.
Why Buy the Mix?
Reading the ingredients and proportions on labels is a great money saver. One example is pancake mix. All that is in the box is flour, baking powder, and a little salt. This mix contains the same ingredients and proportions as self-rising flour, which is sold in a five-pound bag. This flour often goes on sale for less than half the pancake mix. So compare the ingredients in any mixes you buy. You might save some money! ~M.
Not Instant Mashed Potatoes
I love mashed potatoes, but I hate taking the time to make them. But, I hate the taste of instant even more. So, now I make large batches of mashed potatoes and freeze them in freezer bags. I flatten the bags before putting them into the freezer. When I want mashed potatoes, I break off as much as I need for the meal and pop them in the microwave! I have mashed potatoes that taste freshly made, and they take less time than even the instant potatoes. ~CC
Before You Call the Dishwasher Repairman
My dishwasher suddenly refused to fill up. I checked the plumbing and couldn't find any problems. I have a friend who services appliances. I called him and he told me that there is a little float valve in every dishwasher. It's on the bottom typically under the dish tray. This valve sometimes gets stuck due to calcium build-up from hard water. I gently lifted the plastic cone-shaped covering a couple of times until it was moving freely. When I turned on the machine, the water began to fill. ~R.
Big Bill Crisis!
When my husband and I first combined finances, I was shocked to find out all of the different insurance premiums we were paying throughout the year. Health insurance aside, we had bills for house insurance, life insurance, car insurance, ATV insurance, and the list goes on. After being caught off guard with an $800 insurance bill, I sat down and made a list of every type of insurance we had, how much the premium was, and when it was due. I then did some simple math of adding all the premiums together and dividing by 52. I opened a separate savings account (super quick to do thanks to the ease of online banking), and each week an automatic transfer puts that designated amount into our "insurance savings account." Now whenever the insurance premiums pop up, I just go to that savings account and the money is already there! ~Mandy in Virginia
Chest Freezer Organization
To cut down on overstock in my chest freezer and to keep it organized, I use apple and water boxes. I can sort my products into the appropriate box and mark the top. This keeps the freezer neater, which cuts down on the time needed to find a desired object. Strong boxes that are the right size are needed when organizing a freezer. I put the heavy things (meat, etc.) in the bottom. I put the lighter stuff (bread, etc.) on top where I can easily move them to get to the bottom layer. Ask your grocery store for boxes. I've gotten mine for free. ~G.
A Little Quick Cash
Looking for some needed free money? I do this all the time and it helps me to buy some extra gasoline, pay a bill, buy my kids sneakers, or just treat my family to a dinner out! Ever go shopping and see a fantastic clearance sale on something that you know is worth a lot more than the store is selling it for? I was shopping at Rite-Aid last fall, and in their clearance aisle, they had three small (apartment size) pot belly charcoal grills for $9.99 each. I bought them all, took pictures of the box showing what the item was with the dimensions, and listed them all on eBay. I sold each one for $30 and made $20 each. The item was already boxed, so all I had to do was cover the box with a "free" brown paper bag from the grocery store and mail it off! All three people that purchased them were thrilled, and I was too because I had extra money in my pocket! I have done this with all kinds of things like name brand clothing (buy out of season when the items are on clearance), tools, shoes, outdoor seasonal items, seeds, etc. People live in different parts of the country, and just because it's going out of season here, others can still use it where they live. Try this technique and smile when you have some extra "green" in your pocket! ~Lisa K.
Bumped From Flight? Negotiate!
I was traveling abroad for business when I got bumped off the plane. The airline oversold seats and I was the one passenger who was a straight flight and was flying solo (not as a family), so they pretty much bumped me off the plane. They offered me 200 credit to fly the next morning on the red eye, and the price of the hotel. I stalled for a few minutes and made a call to my wife. Realizing that I wasn't getting on this flight, I decided to see what I could negotiate. After a long conversation and a few phone calls, I walked away with 300 credit (which will pay for 80% of my next business trip flight), a voucher for $24 for meals for the evening, a voucher in a 4-star hotel, taxi cab fare both ways including tip, and a very big thank you from the airline. Sure, my wife was upset, but overall, I saved my boss some money, negotiated an extra day off the following week to make my wife happy, and returned home just a day later. The airline was thankful that I "agreed" to the situation, but they did say that I was asking too much (I started off at $400 credit and $50 for meals), but in the end, I did walk away with more than the airline's initial offer. ~Matt in Littleton, CO
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