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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - August 14, 2014

Olive Oil
I love to use olive oil in my recipes, but I don't like the price. I've learned that you can dilute it 50/50 with regular vegetable oil and still not lose any of the taste! ~Zoe

Fresher Chips
I like chips and crackers, but don't eat them too often. I had a problem with them going stale on me. Using "chip clips" helped, but didn't solve the problem. Storing the opened bag in the freezer fixed the problem. I've done it with potato chips, tortilla chips, and crackers! ~Harry

Unusual Back-to-School Purchases
For Christmas, we usually give our grandkids some clothes as well as the more fun stuff. The back-to-school sales are a perfect time to buy. Not only do I get the sale price now, but also our state has a sales tax holiday on school clothes! I buy now and have that part of my Christmas shopping done! ~Gwen

Keepin' Cool
Feel like saving money while you sleep? Be sure to keep your feet out from under the covers! We lose (or retain) most of our body heat through our head and feet. Just having your feet exposed will help you feel considerably cooler and allow you to keep your thermostat a few degrees higher while sleeping! ~JR

Airport Parking
I hate airport parking lots. Every row looks the same. I realized that I could take a picture of my car and the nearest location marker with my smartphone. Then if I had trouble remembering what level or location the car was in, all I had to do was to look at the picture on my phone. Guess that's why they call them smart phones! ~Gwen

See It like a Local
I have a new habit when I visit a new city. I make sure to take an hour to have a cup of coffee at Starbucks or Panera Bread. While there, I strike up a conversation with local residents. I ask them about good restaurants, things to see, and anything else that's of local interest. I'm surprised how often I find stuff that's not in the guidebooks or online guides. And, I've rarely been disappointed in the places that were suggested. In fact, some of the best memories started over a cup of coffee. ~Renard

Tourist Warning
Now that everyone has a camera on their cell phone, it's tempting to ask strangers to take your picture in front of a place you want to remember. Be careful, especially if they offer to take the picture for you. Some cities are reporting that these "volunteers" grab the cell phone and run! And, if you've unlocked it for the photo, they have access to any apps you have on the phone! ~Janet

A Summer Outing
Each summer, I take my kids (aged 8 and 10) to a you-pick farm. We pick a day that's not too hot and bring plenty of sun screen. The kids learn about where their food comes from and what it takes to bring it to our table. When we get home, we wash and prepare what we picked. Some end up in salads or pies. Others get canned. Not only have we had a great experience, but also we've lowered our grocery bill and are eating pretty good, too! ~Jackie

Kids & School Buses
I've driven a school bus for years. During that time, I've turned in thousands of dollars' worth of lost lunch boxes, backpacks, clothes, sneakers, pens, etc. Our school district has me turn them in at the end of my shift to the school office. Other districts have different policies. Kids are often forgetful, so you'll need to remind them often not to forget their stuff on the bus. It also helps if you can put your student's name on items. We don't encourage including your phone number. The school already has that. ~Lyla

Long Car Trips
A little time with electronics (phones, iPads, etc.) on a long car trip is almost unavoidable, but I don't want them spending the entire trip with their noses glued to a screen. We tried something different this year. My wife and I selected some audio books before we left. We picked titles that would interest all of us. It was enough to keep their minds active while they surveyed the passing scenery. We could discuss the books when we stopped for meals. The audio books turned out to be one of the best things in this year's vacation! ~Adam

Your Online Estate
My husband died suddenly. I had been a widow before at the tender age of 25. The world was different then with no internet, no online accounts, and no home computers. We were young and owned nothing. This time I had the problem of not knowing passwords for online accounts. A couple of accounts like PayPal and Amazon were set so that the computer remembered and automatically entered the password. However, it took two hours to get the name changed on the phone and Uverse account with AT&T, because with paperless billing, I didn't have the full account number. I didn't know the password, but I did know the PIN. I couldn't answer the security questions because he chose obscure questions. Fortunately for me, that was the only account that my husband usually handled alone. I knew the passwords for the credit cards, etc. It would be a service to your readers to suggest that everyone keep a list of financial passwords with their wills. There is a password file on my husband's computer, but it is password protected and I don't know that password. If I weren't the person who normally handles all the financial dealings, this problem could have been so much worse to deal with. ~Wendy

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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