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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - June 12, 2014

Too Many Suds?
A lady in the washateria showed me this trick. If you get too much soap in the washer, don't waste the electricity and water trying to rinse the suds out. Just pour some fabric softener into the washer and it will take the suds right down! ~Deb C

Why Buy White?
I buy only dark towels and wash cloths for bathing and for kitchen use. I save money by not having to bleach them weekly to keep them looking nice. Plus, the towels and cloths last much longer because they are not be damaged by weekly bleaching. ~Janet

>Updating Vertical Blinds
My mother had verticals for her sliding glass door and window verticals in the family room. She took her vertical blinds down, placed them on the patio floor, and spray painted them in a rose color. Then she took a stamp, dipped it in gold paint, and put a pattern of gold leaves on each panel. They turned out beautiful. ~LW

Women's Wide Shoes
I need a wide sized shoe. I wear a ladies' size 8W. Looking for running shoes, I discovered that I can wear a boys' size 6. It was about half the price. So if you wear ladies' size 6, 7 or 8, check out the boys' department sizes 4, 5 or 6. You won't find dress shoes there, but for loafers and sneakers, it's a real money-saver. ~Daisy

Check for Seconds
We're sprucing up our old home one frugal corner at a time. We are working on our outside. In our high-desert climate, we've decided to xeriscape our yard, but we found the price of pavers, rock, etc. to be crazy. We went to a rock yard and found that they had "seconds" of several kinds of pavers and offered a senior discount! The pavers supposedly weren't the right color, but they look beautiful and are as durable as pavers from a big box store that cost six times the price. ~Terri

Hiring a Contractor?
Make sure you are informed about permit fees when working with contractors! I recently called around to get bids for having our garage demolished. I also called the city to find out about any required permits and I found out that I would need an $85 permit. One contractor included a permit fee of $500! He didn't get the job. Some contractors were willing to drop the fee if I got the permit myself. So find out about permits and fees before you choose your contractor. ~Robert

All-Natural Shampoo and Conditioner
I do not use shampoo and conditioner anymore after trying the tip of baking soda and water as shampoo and rinsing with vinegar and water. I use a tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water (hot) and spray it on my hair. I shower or bathe and rinse my hair with water. Then I spray my hair with one tablespoon of vinegar with a cup of hot water and then rinse. I do not have tangles when I get out of the shower or after I sleep. My hair looks so much better, and I'm saving money. ~Mary J.

Traveling for Graduation
If you must travel to see your child graduate, and getting a hotel reservation is difficult, ask your student if they know anyone out of town for that time and rent their apartment. My son got us a huge two-bedroom apartment for $100 per night when modest hotel rooms were charging $500 per night. It fit my family of three perfectly, and it had a kitchen, amenities, and a resident cat! Be respectful that you are in another person's home, and this can be a great, affordable option. ~J. in Oregon

Cheap and Easy Garden Mulch
Cardboard boxes make good garden mulch and are also a cheap alternative to landscape cloth. I get free large packing boxes from local retailers after they get shipments. Once the boxes are cut open and laid flat, they work well to prevent weed growth and retain water in the garden. They also work under bark mulch in the lawn. Eventually, the boxes break down, which is good for the soil, and also avoids the problem of having shredded pieces of landscape cloth all over. ~Sue M.

Skin Soft Scrub
I have very sensitive, acne-prone skin. Exfoliating is important to keep skin healthy. But, my dermatologist said that washcloths and exfoliating cleansers, like apricot scrubs, can be too harsh. Plus, they are expensive. She recommended that a few time per week when I wash my face to put a little baking soda into my hand and mix with my normal soap. The baking soda acts as a very gentle scrub. I've found that a just a spoonful is about right. ~Jennie

Easy Hand Painted Borders
I saw a beautiful hand-painted border in a decorating magazine. I wanted to try it but was afraid of getting done and not liking the results. If it meant repainting the whole room, I wasn't willing to risk it. Then it occurred to me that I could use my daughter's washable watercolors. I did use a real artist brush. And I did make a few errors, which I just washed off and started over. It only took a few minutes to complete the whole border! I had planned on painting over with latex, but it looks so good I'm going to leave it. In a year or two, I can wash it off and do something different. The room got a whole new look for just a few dollars! ~Kindra

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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