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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - May 8, 2014

Stainless Shine
Pour lemon juice into a spray bottle. Use it with a sprinkling of baking soda to shine stainless steel sinks. ~Cristin

I recently repurposed an old bed sheet and a few old spools of thread to make about 40 cloth napkins. I have less waste, and I no longer have to buy paper napkins. It's a win, win situation! ~CBN

Compost Help
With the garden season starting, your thoughts may turn to your compost. Call your local coffee shop to see if you can get coffee grounds for your garden. Most are happy to give the grounds to you in the interest of recycling. ~Toni

Affordable Wedding Dress
Can't afford to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a new wedding dress? Look at bridesmaid dresses. I found a beautiful, perfect dress that I might have overlooked since it was purple. I found that it came in white, ivory, and cream. The cost was a fraction of what bridal dresses cost. ~G

Just a Squirt for Softer Clothes
I recently started using a squirt bottle of vinegar and water to add to my clothes before I dry them. I bought a new washer without a place to use fabric softener and the washer lid locks when on. I just squirt the clothes a few times and dry. I have not noticed any static on my clothes. ~Nancy G.

Before I Checkout
After I fill my grocery cart, I take a quick break before heading to the checkout counter. I go to a quiet spot and look at everything in my cart. I weed out any impulse buys that seemed so right just a few minutes ago. I've found that this simple task has reduced my grocery bill, reduced my waistline, and also reduced the amount of food that's wasted in my home! ~S.

Softer Skin
Recently a friend introduced me to a "sugar scrub" from a store that's normally too expensive for me. It is wonderful for softening hands, elbows, and knees, but it's expensive! I found if I mix enough granulated sugar with baby oil to make a thick paste, I have the same thing. It works just as well as the expensive stuff! ~Lycea

Garden Problems?
Your local County (Cooperative) Extension office has trained volunteers who offer advice on all types of plant problems. This is a free service. Our local Extension Office offers many free and low-cost classes on things such as how to raise vegetables, how to plant and prune fruit trees, composting, green houses, raised bed gardening, food safety, and diabetes. Check your local county website for location and contact number. Extension Offices are a wealth of research based information for the residents of your county. Almost every county in the United States has one. Get to know yours today. ~Debbie F.

Reducing Food Waste
I recently discovered a way to save on food waste. Packages, boxes, and bags of food come with expiration dates stamped or written in very small letters and are often not very noticeable. I started taking a black permanent marker, and on boxes and bags of food items in my pantry, I write the month, day, and year of an expiration date in large letters and numbers. This is much more visible, and I plan meals according to which items are expiring soon. ~Zoe

Surprising Outdoor Cleaner
The other day, I was outside looking at the dirt and pollen (and, yes, even algae) buildup on my white deck railings. I decided to try something that removes "stuck on" food from my pans. I mixed just a tiny bit of liquid, automatic dishwasher detergent in warm water and sprayed the deck railings. It didn't have to stay on there long before I was able to just wipe them clean. I then sprayed some resin chairs that had set out over the entire winter and the mixture broke through the grime on these as well. It worked better than any store bought cleaner I had ever tried! ~Sandra S. in Cross Lanes, WV

Eliminating Musty Smells
My brother used to work for a tannery and they used fresh coffee grounds to eradicate smells in the trucks that hauled hides. They would open the truck doors and pour out a fresh can of coffee and then lock the doors. In a day or so, they would sweep out the grounds and no smell would remain. We began using that idea as a military family moving frequently and having our household goods periodically put in storage. After cleaning out our refrigerators and freezers prior to a move and going into storage, we would be sure each was thoroughly dried inside. Then I would take about one to two cups of fresh coffee grounds and place them in a brown paper bag (lunch size) and staple it shut. One bag would be put on a refrigerator shelf and another in the freezer compartment. Our things were often in storage for a month, and when delivered, we would always be able to open the appliance doors, take out the coffee grounds bags, close doors, and plug the appliances in. There was never that stale "refrigerator" musty smell, but always a clean, fresh smell. We have shared this with many friends through the years, and all have had the same positive reaction we did. ~K.L.

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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