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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - March 5, 2015

Clearing Out the Toiletries
I travel for business and always take the half used shampoo, lotion, soaps, and conditioner home with me. My linen closet was overflowing with them, so I decided to use them up! It's been six weeks and I haven't bought any toiletries! Not only am I reducing clutter, but also I'm saving money. ~Meredith

Natural Garden Pest Control
We had a problem with rabbits using our garden as a cafeteria! I found the answer in whole coffee beans. I just sprinkle them in my garden and the rabbits disappear. It seems they don't like the smell of coffee. I buy the cheapest and strongest I can find. One bag does the job for the whole growing season. ~Ike

Travel Lighter
In an effort to avoid baggage fees when I fly, I looked for ways to reduce the amount of stuff that I pack. I've decided that I don't really need to take my tablet, laptop, digital camera, and phone on my trips. I'm down to just my tablet and smartphone and getting along fine. Cutting down means that I need fewer accessories (think power cords) too! ~Reba

What's That Size?
Ever get to the home center intending to buy a furnace filter and realize that you forgot what size to buy? I've solved that problem by adding a person to my phone called "furnace" and entering the data there. My wife has done something similar with our kids' clothing sizes. Since my phone is always with me, the data is right at my fingertips! ~Louis

Context for Impulse Buys
I love shopping online. However, I don't enjoy the end-of-month statement. When I come across something I think I want, I print out a copy of the item and put in an envelope with my bills to be paid. When it's time to pay bills, I review the items in the "want" envelope after paying bills. More often than not, I find incurring more debt isn't worth it. ~Peggy

Low Cost Entertainment
If you're looking for some ideas for low cost things to do with kids or seniors (or just ideas to get them out of the house during the winter), try your local high school. There are basketball games just about every weekend (girls and boys) and there are school plays in early spring that might cost a few dollars. It's great to cheer on your home team and their schedules can usually be found easily online too. This is especially good for tweens who can be tougher to please and may be headed to the school in the near future. Just be sure to double check if the weather is iffy since games can be canceled for bad weather. ~OA

A Comfortable Winter Home
I live in the center of the country, and it has been bitterly cold at times. The heater can make the house feel uncomfortable with noticeable static electricity, irritated eyes and nose, and dry skin. I discovered a helpful and free way to add moisture to the air! I have started washing a load of clothes in the evening. Then instead of using the dryer, I hang as much as possible in the doorways and closet doors near the bedrooms. The wet clothing adds the much needed humidity to the air overnight as it dries. The next morning I simply put the dry items away in the closet! I do stick the towels in the dryer for a few minutes to soften them up, and I also do the same thing with any other garment that needs to be softened, fluffed, or refreshed. ~Barb N.

Natural Oven Cleaning
A really easy, economical way of cleaning one's oven without the problems of the canned stuff is to simply mix equal amounts of baking soda and salt. Then add enough water to make a paste out of it. I usually use about one cup of each and then just gradually add the water until it becomes the right consistency. Then I close the oven door and bake as I would with the canned stuff. When it cools down, I simply use a damp sponge or cloth and wipe everything down. It really does work! ~Joyce K.

Save the Juice!
In cooking, I had been accustomed to discarding various juices from canned fruit, cooking liquids, and other liquids not needed in the dish I was preparing. But, I realized that I was throwing money and nutrients down the drain, so I started saving these. Cooking liquid from vegetables or meat can be added to a container in the fridge or freezer, and then added to another dish like a soup or casserole or to cook rice. Liquid drained from canned fruit can be frozen in ice cube trays and then saved in a bag to add to a smoothie or for muffins or other baking. Why throw away the good stuff when with a little forethought, you can improve your next dish? ~Anne W.

Selling Your Home?
We're in the process of selling our home. Since we moved in six years ago, I've kept track of repairs and upgrades. I put that information into a notebook that we leave for prospective buyers. I included receipts for things like A/C repairs and our new roof with dates. Also, I've included copies of our tax and utility bills. I used those clear plastic covers, so it makes a nice presentation. It answers a lot of questions and gives us a step up on other houses for sale. ~Denise

Lottery Winner!
I was playing the lottery every week hoping to win the big prize. I was only spending a few dollars each week. Then I started tossing my losing lottery tickets into a shopping bag. At the end of the year, I decided to count the tickets. There were over 150 of them! Now instead of collecting losing tickets, I put that money in an envelope. So far, I have over $200 saved! I'll soon put it in my checking account and buy myself a treat! ~Rory

Learner's Permit
Just out of school, I was looking for a reason to get out of my apartment in the evenings. I signed up for a reupholstery adult education class. I haven't reupholstered anything since the class, but it was a big help choosing furniture when we bought our first home. I understood how it was constructed and could separate the good stuff from the stuff that just looked good (but was cheaply made). ~Celine

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 2015 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.


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