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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - October 16, 2014

Mascara Remover
Recently, I started using baby shampoo to remove mascara. It's not greasy. Also, it is inexpensive and doesn't cause tears! ~Renee

Kitty Treats
We have three cats, so treats tend to add up. Finally, I decided to buy a big bag of soft solid cat food. I give them a piece as a treat. Our kitties seem just as happy as when they were getting much more costly treats. ~LaTisha

I recently had my car serviced at a nationwide service center. The technician told me my car needed a new air filter and a new cabin air filter and quoted $23 to $25 for each one. I declined and went to a car parts store. Both filters came to a total of $33.04. ~JB

A Little at a Time...
My bank allows me to pay online directly to the principal. The minimum payment is $10. Any time I have $10, I pay it down. If I save $10 on something, I apply it to my mortgage. It can be surprising how often an extra $10 can be found for this worthwhile purpose! ~Connie

Expensive School Pictures?
I got a surprise when I volunteered to help on picture day at our local grade school. My goal was to make sure that my two little ones looked their best. I ended up combing hair and wiping faces of our little subjects before they were photographed. The surprise was that I got a premium package for free. I only ended up buying one package for two kids! ~Jolene

Craft Supplies on the Cheap
A great place to find craft supplies on the cheap is at church bazaars and sales. Our local community church has a Christmas bazaar every year. Last year, I found a lot of counted cross stitching supplies for pennies on the dollar. I bought a whole bag of embroidery hoops for $1. There were yarns, ribbons, sewing supplies, etc. Yard sales are another place to find craft supplies. People are either moving or cleaning out "granny's house," and you can find a whole host of various craft items very cheaply. Have fun! ~Karen L.

Homemade Copper Cleaner
My friend gave me a recipe for a copper cleaner. I wasn't sure it would work, but decided to give it a try. It turned out that it's better than anything I've ever bought. I mixed equal parts vinegar and flour. Using a soft cloth, I dipped it into the mixture and rubbed the copper. Then I rinsed with warm water. I didn't have any problems, but you might want to try it on something inexpensive before you try it on any antique items. ~Merconia

Balance Transfer Cards
I made a list of my credit cards that includes interest rates, dates when any promotional rates expire, credit limits, payment addresses, and phone numbers. This helps me two ways. If I ever lose my purse, I have a handy list of the cards and numbers to notify them. The main help is that I can start looking for balance transfer deals and be ready when the promotional rates expire. ~Dannielle

Can't Stand Food Waste
I've been trying to reduce my grocery bill (who hasn't lately?) and couldn't stand all the food that I was throwing out. I was throwing out everything from spoiled leftovers to overripe fruit. I decided to get serious about a realistic weekly menu. I used to hate the idea of spending the time to plan a menu, but I've come to enjoy it. Not only am I using up the food that we buy, but I've found that I can plan a little wiggle room for the night that I have to work late or change plans. I even have some meals in the freezer that can be microwaved in just a few minutes. The price on meat hasn't come down, but my bills sure have. ~Miki

Duct Tape Halloween Costumes
Several years ago, I made two costumes out of duct tape and paper bags from the grocery store. One was a knight costume. I cut the paper bag to fit my four-year-old son like a shirt with pointed capped sleeves and then used the silver duct tape to cover it in a design that looked like "armor." Then we decorated the front with a colored picture that looked like a crest. I made a helmet out of a brown paper lunch bag and a matching shield with cardboard covered in duct tape. The second was a robot costume made out of a paper bag covered in duct tape and decorated with electronic-looking pictures printed from the internet. We also made arm covers out of wrapping paper tubes covered in duct tape. We covered the decorations on both costumes with clear packing tape. Both costumes together only cost $3.29, which was the cost of the duct tape. Have fun creating your costumes! ~Traci R.

Frugal Foreign Cuisine
Most countries have some recipes that feature low-cost items. I love to try them on my family. One of my favorites is a variation on a Chinese theme. I take chicken that is left over from a roaster and remove it from the bone. Then I stir fry it with rice, egg, and any leftover veggies I have sitting round. After I add a little soy sauce, I have a great, frugal meal. I've just started searching the web for other countries that have frugal recipes. Can't wait to see what I can find! ~Cristy

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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