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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - August 21, 2014

Young Artist Gift Pack
Stock up on the crayons, colored pencils, and markers being sold as loss-leaders now. Add drawing pads from a dollar store and put everything in a cheap basket or backpack. These "Young Artist" gift packs make great Christmas or birthday gifts for your kids or their friends. ~Anne C. (via Facebook)

Cleaning Range Hood Filters
I clean my filters by placing them in a large plastic garbage bag outdoors. Then, I add a cup of ammonia and tie the bag up. I let this sit for up to 24 hours. This works for any grease or carbon build-up. Then I just hose the filter off when ready and discard the bag in my rubbish. ~Carrie

Cheaper Chicken
I've noticed that our local grocery has whole chickens on sale on a regular basis. I buy several and cook them all in a pressure cooker for five minutes per pound. After cooking, I take the meat from the bones and put it in freezer bags in meal-sized portions. Whenever I want to add chicken to a recipe, it's already cooked and ready to go! ~Shelby

Painter's Hack
It used to frustrate me when I finished painting a room and could see roller streaks in the paint. A painting contractor told me how to solve the problem. He told me that if I had a good quality paint, the problem is either a cheap roller or the way I was applying the paint. He said that I could roll up and down, but the last roll should always be downward. That way, the paint is coming off the roller the same way on every final stroke. ~Randy

Before You Buy Bleach
I began to notice I was using more and more bleach to whiten my dish towels when I put them in the wash. I was buying the cheapest bleach on the shelf. When I compared the cheaper brands with Clorox® or other name brand, I found that the actual bleaching chemical in the cheaper bleach is about one half (or less) of the bleaching element in the name brand. Read on the bottle how much "active ingredient" is in the bleach. In this case, cheap isn't better. ~Tommie in TX

Need a New Washer?
We found ourselves in need of a new washer but didn't have savings to pay for it and we didn't want to put it on our credit card. With a new baby, taking her to the laundromat with me wasn't ideal. We did put it on the credit card, but we came up with a way to pay for it that reduced the pain. I put a piggy bank near the washer. Every time I used it or the dryer, I put what I would have spent at the laundromat into the bank. That way, we have a head start when the credit card bill comes each month. ~Louise

Date Nights?
My wife and I struggled to have a date night. Either we're too tired or the baby sitter canceled at the last minute. We were about to give up when we decided to have our dates during the day! We're both fortunate to be able to get away for a long lunch once a week. So we meet at a restaurant for our date night! Not only do we not have to worry about being too tired or finding baby sitters, but we also save on the restaurant bill! We usually stop at lunch, but a couple of times we've even taken in a movie! ~Beau

Cleaning Concrete Stains
When I worked at a drive-in restaurant, we had a problem with stains on our cement driveways. The solution was simple. We sprinkled some cheap clay-based kitty litter on the spot. Wearing old shoes, after letting it sit for a bit, we then rubbed it in with the toe/ball of our foot. After sweeping it up, the oil spot was usually gone. If not, we sprinkled it again and rubbed with our toe until the spot was gone. It was quick, easy, and cheap. ~Ann

Before You Store
Before renting a storage unit for unused furniture, please reconsider. If it is going to be a short time, that's fine. If you'll be storing it for a longer time, think about it. I know people who have rented for years and would have paid for what they stored over and over again. You could end up losing a lot of money that you could have saved by selling or giving away furniture and buying when needed. ~Phyllis C.

Headlight Care
Seeing well when you drive at night is important. I was concerned that the cloudy headlight covers on my older car could be reducing the amount of light that was getting to the road. I solved the problem with a little toothpaste. I spread it around the headlights and buffed with a clean dry cloth. There's just enough abrasive to make the plastic clear again. I finished by rinsing and wiping. There was no need to buy one of those expensive headlight kits! ~Dave S.

A Relieved Bridesmaid
Recently, a friend asked me to be her bridesmaid. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but I really didn't want another over-priced dress that I couldn't wear in my closet. I was about to make an excuse when she told me that she didn't want matching dresses. She was going to ask the bridesmaids to all have ankle length royal blue dresses. The style was up to the bridesmaid. I chose a dress that I can wear for more formal evening events long after the wedding. It's such a good idea that I hope that the rest of my friends start doing the same thing! ~Eve

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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