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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - June 26, 2014

Slow Cooker Cooler
During the summer, I try to use my slow cooker as often as possible. The reason? It releases much less heat into my kitchen than my stovetop or oven does. ~Kirsten

Garden Supplies
When we shop for fertilizer, soil, and other things sold in plastic bags, we always ask if they want to sell the ones with ripped or torn bags. Most often they're glad to offer a deep discount just to get rid of them. ~Emma

Removing Bugs from Your Car
To remove road gunk and bugs, I use baking soda on my white car. My car is almost six years old, and the baking soda hasn't scratched the finish at all. All I do is dip a wet rag in the baking soda and rub. Most of the stuff comes off easily. ~Su F. in Nashville, TN

I Know the Prices
One of the best things that I've done is to keep track of prices on the most expensive grocery items I buy. I keep a list in my purse, so I know when to really stock up on something that we'll use. Otherwise, I just buy what I need until my next scheduled grocery trip. ~Jennie

2nd Life
My daughters seem to have a knack for getting tough stains on their clothes. And it's usually the newer, nicer things. After struggling with stains for a few years, I decided to try dyeing stained clothing to a darker color. Now, instead of throwing out good clothes, I'm creating a brand new item for their wardrobe! ~Rachel

Senior Fitness
My husband and I joined a fitness center in a neighboring town for exercise and paid a monthly fee to be a member. After a time, we learned that our Medicare Advantage plan would pick up that cost if the center qualified. We asked the director of the center to check. He said that it did qualify and we have not had to pay a fee since that time. ~Joyce

Sorting Laundry Solution
I have found a way to organize our laundry. I went to a dollar store and bought several plastic laundry baskets. I keep them in a corner of my bedroom. Each is for a different load of laundry. Instead of tossing dirty clothes in a hamper to be sorted later, I put things into the appropriate basket. Now when a basket is full, I take it to the washer and toss it in. ~Cindy

Summer Splash Party
Last summer, we started having splash parties. We bought an inexpensive above-ground pool. We invite our kids' friends and classmates over. We tell them to bring their squirt guns and be prepared to get wet! I buy a gallon or two of vanilla ice cream and have some toppings for making sundaes. The kids have a great time, and the parents can relax in the shade and watch the fun! ~Janean

Reducing Your A/C Bill
One way to cut the cost of using your central A/C is to provide some shade for the outdoor portion of the unit. You can use bushes or even a section of wood fencing. Just make sure that you leave enough space for air to circulate and for a repairman to access the unit. Not only will you reduce how hard the unit works, but you'll probably increase its life, too! ~Ron

My Designer Daughter
Last fall when my daughter started middle school, she began asking for designer label clothes. We fought for a while until we came up with this solution. I always shop at sales and clearances, so now I give her what I would have spent there and she buys her own clothes. She has quickly learned to shop sales and even discovered thrift stores. She also sells her old clothes online to create some extra income. She's even sold some of her friends' clothes on a commission basis! I'm so proud! Not only has she learned to be a good shopper, but also I might be raising a future CEO! ~Jasmine

DIY Oxygen Cleaner
Do you like the name brand oxygen cleaner for your laundry, but dislike the price? Try making your own. Mix one cup hot water, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide. Just soak the clothing in it for 20 minutes to overnight. Then wash as usual. I've found that this is easier on fabrics than bleach, and I haven't had any troubles with colors running either! ~Alisha

One at a Time
My wife and I have it set up so we'll never have more than one car payment. We bought her a new car two years ago and have two more years of payments on it. My car is six years old and I'm planning on keeping it for another four years. We figure that if we rotate this way, we'll never have two car payments and should be able to pay cash for our cars eventually! ~A

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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