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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - May 29, 2014

Cool Summer Savings
One of the most economical ways to watch your budget and waistline is to drink iced tea. It is cheap, healthy, low calorie, and a great way to stretch your budget. ~Denise

Patio Furniture
My outdoor wrought iron table and chair set looked dull and whitish, so I sprayed WD-40 on a rag and applied it. It brought back the original black shine with no greasy stickiness. ~C.

My Second Account
I created a second savings account at my credit union for a direct deposit from my checking account of $300/month. It has been several months so far. I have not missed it, and I would never have gotten it done by making a trip to the bank and doing the deposits. ~Mildred L.

Gnats!
Sometimes we have a gnat problem in our kitchen. I've found that cider vinegar with a drop or two of liquid dishwashing soap in a shallow bowl helps tremendously in eliminating them. Of course, I also make sure to keep fruit and other foods in airtight containers. ~Louisa

Curling Iron Safety
After not thinking (I do that a lot), I have burned my dresser top more than once with a hot curling iron. Now I use a tall heavy vase from a discarded flower arrangement that won't tip easily to store my curling iron. My hot curling iron has a safe place while heating up or down. ~Hall

Double Savings
Do almost all of your laundry in cold water, both for wash and rinse. I have been doing this for many years and find that my clothes are just as clean as if I use hot water. It's a double savings. You don't have to pay to heat the water and pay again for removing the heat from your home. ~Chrys

Mylar Blankets Reflect Energy Savings
We have a couple of unused upstairs bedrooms that face due west, bake in the summer, and radiate heat to the rest of the upstairs. I took a Mylar blanket ($1.27/each on Amazon.com) and covered the window of one room behind the curtain. When I went up there the next day, the room with the covered window felt air conditioned, while the other bedroom felt (as usual) baked. I'm going to cover most of the west-facing windows for the rest of spring, summer, and half of fall. I believe it will make a world of difference keeping the house cool. ~Terry

Building an Emergency Fund
My husband and I have been working to build up a little emergency savings so we would not have to run up our debt when an emergency occurs. However, building six months' worth of income is a scary goal. We decided to do it one month at a time. That number not only seems like something that we can hit, but my little savings amounts don't seem so small in comparison. So far we've saved two months' worth of income. We're working on the third now! ~Robyn

Making Sure You Get the REAL Best Deal on Your Next Flight
I recently had to make a trip from Maine to Texas. My daughter gave birth to our first grandchild! I knew I would be spending more on my plane ticket because I could only go for a certain number of days and she definitely wanted me there after the baby came. When the time came, I went to book my flight online. I was chatting with my daughter on the phone, and we were both on the exact same website. However, my price was $200 more than her price. I learned you should clear your browser history before trying to score the best deal. I don't know the proper terms, but apparently the website sends out little virtual spies to "see" what purchases, etc. you make online and adjust their prices accordingly. Simply clearing your history prevents them from getting that information, hopefully giving you a better deal. I booked my flight through my daughter using my credit card and saved. ~Laura

Safe Ant Control
Want to get rid of ants economically and without endangering your pets and children? Try an equal mix of sugar and borax. While borax has some toxicity and shouldn't be ingested, it is less toxic than commercial ant killer, and you don't spray it around the house. The sugar is to attract the ants to the borax, so you put the mixture in a container with a tight fitting lid and secure it. Place holes around the sides towards the base that are large enough for the ants to go in. This method doesn't kill the ants, and it takes a little bit of time to work. The borax renders the ants infertile. I have found that it is more long lasting than the sprays and powders. In the beginning, you may need to reapply every year or two. It only takes a small amount of borax, so you will have a lot of borax left over to use as a laundry booster. ~Margie

Nearly-Free Organic Baby Food
For health reasons and for money-saving reasons, I assumed I would need to make all of my daughter's baby food. But I discovered a way for it to be nearly free. I waited until the local big box baby store put cases of my favorite organic baby food (in jars) on sale. Then I stocked up. Plus, I used any coupons that applied. The cost often came down to 50 cents per jar. When my daughter ate the baby food, I washed the jars and carefully removed the labels and glue. Then I listed the clean jars for sale on eBay. People who do arts and crafts bought them from me at 50 cents per jar, plus the cost of shipping. This made the organic baby food nearly free! ~Angela

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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