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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - September 18, 2014

Homemade Massage Oil
I work in a gym with massage therapists. I was talking to one of them about what kind of oil she uses for massage. She told me to avoid using baby or mineral oil as it can clog pores. She uses a very light olive oil mixed with a bit of more expensive massage oil or scented essential oils. ~Charmain

Poison Control?
I love hot foods. The spicier the better! But occasionally I eat something that's beyond even my hardened taste buds. When that happens, I reach for a glass of milk or some sour cream! I learned this trick from a friend who's a nurse at the poison control center. The milk has a chemical that counteracts the peppers! ~Doug

Bacon at the Ready
My husband and I like bacon, but we don't eat it that often. And we don't eat a lot at one time. Therefore, buying a standard sized pack of bacon almost always leads to us throwing away half of it uneaten but spoiled. I solved the problem by cutting the package in half. I cook one half and freeze the other. It's just about right for the two of us. ~Julia

Inexpensive Van Carpet Protection
You've probably seen the ads for custom cut floor liners. I don't know the price, but I bet they're more expensive than my solution. When we bought our new van a year ago, I measured the space in front of the second and third row seats. A trip to the hardware store was next. I bought clear plastic floor runner to fit the space. When I got home, I cut out openings for the seat base. I also tucked the sides under the door rail. Now we don't worry about the kids tracking dirt into the van, and cleaning up is easy. It's the best $10 I've spent in a while! ~Ben

My family loves it when I bake, especially around the holidays when I go a little bit crazy! For cooling a large amount of freshly baked cookies, I saved one of those plastic coated wire closet shelves. I use a couple of bowls as legs to hold it up and cover the wires with aluminum foil. I can put it on my dining room table and leave the kitchen countertops for more baking! ~Merlene

Dingy White Treatment
My family likes to wear white clothes. I don't mind, but sometimes it's hard to keep them from getting dingy. One solution that works for me is to pour approximately 1/2 cup Cascade(r) powder automatic dishwasher soap into the washing machine with enough cold water to just cover the clothes. I let them soak for an hour or so. Then I just run a regular wash cycle. Our clothing practically sparkles! ~Lucinda

Love My Dryer Balls
I love dryer balls! I have been using them in lieu of dryer sheets for about ten years and have saved a lot of money by not buying dryer sheets or other fabric softeners. They cost about $10 per pair and I'm on my second pair in ten years. At this rate, the dryer balls cost me less than a dollar per year. Even though I don't use dryer sheets or fabric softener, I haven't noticed any appreciable difference in the softness of my clothes. If you are a person that wants a certain fragrance in your clothes, put a clean rag with a bit of your favorite perfume on it into the dryer. ~Molly B.

Summer's Cooling Can Be Winter's Chill
We love the attic fan and how much cooler it keeps our home in the summer. It's built into the exterior wall and pulls hot air from inside the attic. Since our attic isn't boiling, it's easier for the A/C to keep up with the summer heat. As we get nearer to winter, we want to close the opening that the fan sits in. The fan came with hinged louvers, but the outside wind can lift them up and blow into the attic. So I've made a cover out of foil insulation. I screw it to the fan mounts and also tape the edges with aluminum tape. It only takes a few minutes, doesn't look bad, and keeps our attic at a reasonable temperature all winter. That way, we save on the heating and the cooling bills! ~Derek

Why Make Cushions?
My husband and I are remodeling our retirement home. We have six beautiful window seats made of hickory. I've been looking for inexpensive cushions and also pricing how much it would cost to make them. I planned to use pre-quilted material if I made them, but I couldn't believe the cost of the material. Most of it was $18/yard! My husband suggested we buy furniture pads to protect the wood and make seating more comfortable. I can't believe how good they look! We were able to get them on sale marked down from $18 each to $7 each. They are pale blue on one side and navy on the other. Thanks to my creative husband, for less than $50, we have some great looking window seat covers that would have cost us anywhere from $200-$500 if we actually purchased cushions or made our own. ~Barbara P. in Weatherford, OK

Mothball Smells
If you have a problem with the mothball smell when you take your clothes out of storage, try this trick. Take a large trash bag and put your clothes in it along with some dryer sheets. Let them sit for 48 hours (or longer if needed). Your clothes will smell great! I used this method when I took my belongings out of storage after three years. I washed the sheets, pillowcases, curtains, and clothes but still had moldy or mothball smells. They disappeared when I put them in trash bags with the dryer sheets. It seems to absorb and remove the odors. ~Sunny

Single Serve Specials
I live alone and want life to be uncomplicated. I create single-servings of things like bacon, pork, chicken, and even bread. I put them into zipper sandwich bags, put like servings into gallon freezer bags, and then toss them into the freezer. This lets me do things like buy a whole salmon fillet on sale and cut it into meal-size portions. Yesterday, I bought a whole beef rib eye at a great price, trimmed off the excess fat, cut it into thick, eight-ounce steaks, packaged them, and froze them. With the beef on sale, my cost was about $3 per steak. The steaks would cost about $20 in a restaurant. A slab of sliced bacon gets parceled out into three-strip bags. For these, I use the cheap fold-over bags, and put them into the gallon freezer bags. I take out whatever I want in advance to let it thaw. There is never any waste. In some cases, such as bread, I can even reuse the sandwich bags. ~Bruce B.

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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