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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 10, 2014

Kid & Pet Safe Weed Killer
Don't use toxic chemicals on your weeds. Put ordinary white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the weeds. Within three to five days, the weeds will be dead. ~Helene

Protect Your Garden
My neighbor's cat loves my garden, and I wish he didn't! It was becoming a problem until I placed a bunch of pine cones in the garden. I don't know why, but it seems that cats don't like them. ~Janis

Soured Plastic Containers
We all have food storage containers that have picked up foul odors. I used to throw them out because I couldn't get rid of the smell. Then I learned that a piece of crumpled up newspaper tucked inside of a closed container will soak up much of the odor in a few days. It also works for your plastic picnic coolers! ~Cheryl

Traveling Abroad?
If you travel out of the country, you've probably heard the horror stories of people who have a passport lost or stolen. It can be a real nightmare. You can make things simpler if you register with the STEP program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). You just register your trip with the government here. If something happens, the nearest embassy or consulate will already have all of your information available. ~Jeffrey

Explore!
Our family vacation usually includes a car trip (actually a SUV). We always look for states' welcome centers and local chambers of commerce. They're full of travel folders for the area. Many of them have coupons for discounts. We've found many interesting places that we didn't know about by doing this. Last year, one of these places was the best part of our vacation! ~Kristina

Too Hot To Sleep?
We're trying to keep our every rising electric bill from killing us, so we turned up the air conditioner. Now, I'm having trouble getting to sleep at night. We have a ceiling fan and it helps, but I still sweat all night. A friend at work suggested that I take a damp towel, put it on my chest, and let the fan blow down on it. It's almost like standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open! Now, I sleep much better! ~Corrie

While You're Grillin'
While you have the grill in action this holiday weekend (or anytime), grill enough meat for the next week or two! It's very quick and easy to grill brats, burgers, hotdogs, and other goodies that you can then pop in the fridge or freezer. Then you have your entree ready to warm up in the microwave while you throw together a side dish and or salad. Slash the cost of grilling by taking advantage of the hot coals you've already got going and save time later in the week while preserving that great barbecue taste and aroma! ~JD in St Louis

Easy Garden Mulch
I'm a big believer in mulch. It makes it harder for weeds to grow and saves water, too. The best and cheapest mulch I've ever used is newspaper. In my veggie garden, I put sections of newspaper between rows. A sprinkling of dirt holds the paper down. In short order, the newspaper begins to disintegrate. By the end of gardening season, the paper is all gone. I get a year's worth of mulch without spending a penny! ~Logan

The Cheapest Wrinkle Releaser
Recently, I was going to get the wrinkles out of a blouse by putting it in the dryer for a few minutes. Before tossing it in, I sprayed it with plain water. Before my eyes, the wrinkles disappeared! I didn't even need to put the blouse in the dryer. I've found that it works on all cotton items and some blends. Occasionally I'll need just a bit of the "official" wrinkle releaser, but my bottle is lasting much longer now that I mainly use water. ~Dyana

Catnip Hack
Want to refresh the catnip in your cat toys? Simply put the item in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. (Be sure there is no metal in the toy.) Or, you can put the item in warm water a few minutes and let it dry. The heat allows the oils to recirculate. I just put one in the microwave and couldn't believe how my cat now spends a lot of time with it. ~Shirley M. in Fenton, Michigan

My Vacation Memories
The vacations we took when I was a child still bring back wonderful memories. I encourage my girls do to what I did, which is to keep a trip notebook. We buy a small bound notebook before the trip. Along with it, we take a package that includes a glue stick, a few different colored pens and markers, and a small pair of child-safe scissors. They add receipts from the stores we visit, boarding passes, ticket stubs, business cards, or anything else that will remind them of the places we visited. They'll also write a sentence or two of something memorable that happened. They can work on it while we drive, while we're waiting in an airport, or in the hotel in the evening. Not only are they building a memory, but also they're thinking about the experiences as they happen and even learning a few writing skills! ~Samantha

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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