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

Dollar Stretcher Tips - April 16, 2015

Travel Help
I travel for business and need to look nice for meetings, etc. One item that I always pack is a hair straightener. Not only does it keep my hair looking good, but I also can use it as a mini-iron to touch up blouses and small wrinkles. ~Dianne

Lawn Mower Maintenance
Every spring, I spend a few minutes to prepare my mower for the summer ahead. I sharpen the blade, replace the spark plug and air filter, and change the oil. I've had the same mower for years, and with a little bit of attention, it's never let me down! ~Dereck

Furniture Divots
I like to rearrange my living room on a regular basis. One problem I always had was what to do with those indentations in the carpet left by the furniture. I learned that if you place a cloth over the indent and place a steam iron on the cloth for just a few seconds that the steam will swell the carpet back to its original shape. ~Jeannine

Preventing Burglars
Our house is on a street that doesn't get much traffic, so we've always been concerned about being robbed. We read that planting thorny bushes in front of windows makes it hard for someone to use them to enter the home. We went down to our local nursery and bought bushes for underneath our windows. So far no burglars! ~Ryan

Save Your Mattress
My nanny taught me this trick from when she was a girl. She said that twice a year, they turned their mattress to help it keep its shape. In the spring, they'd spin it, so the head was at the end of the bed. In the fall, they'd flip it, so the bottom was now the top. I've been using the switch to Daylight Saving Time as a reminder! ~Hannah

No Scrub Pot Cleaning
My teens are learning to cook. Occasionally we end up with pots and pans with burned-on food. To avoid scrubbing them, we developed this technique. We put a sprinkling of baking soda in the pot/pan and then add half of an inch of tap water. To that, we add 1/4 cup of vinegar. The vinegar makes the baking soda bubble. Then we put it on medium heat until the liquid simmers. After turning off the heat, we wait for it to cool. The food easily comes off of the pan. With a quick once over, the pot is good as new! ~Haley

We Negotiate
There was a time when I never would have questioned a bill from any professional. Whether it was the lawyer doing our wills or a plumber fixing a toilet, whatever they asked for I paid. No more! Recently, we went to have our wills updated with some minor changes. I was surprised at the bill and couldn't help but ask about it. He adjusted it down and didn't seem surprised by my questioning it. Now I feel free to ask about any bill. Sometimes I get a reduction and sometimes I don't. Either way, I've decided it can't hurt to ask! ~Roseanna

Easy Garlic Slices
My husband and I like garlic bread, but I hate to heat up the oven to make it. Then I found that I could drizzle a little olive oil on bread slices, sprinkle on some garlic powder, and put them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. I had to experiment a bit to find the right time and power setting, but now that I have it, we can have garlic bread anytime we want! ~Donna

Credit Card Transfer
We wanted to lower our payments, so we transferred our balances from three cards onto a 0% interest card. The card promised no interest for six months. We thought that we could make a big dent in the balance if we didn't have to pay interest during that time. We neglected to notice that new purchases were put in front of the transfer and there was a higher rate on them. It took us two months before we realized that and stopped putting new charges on that card! We'll read the fine print more carefully next time! ~Meredith

Garden Tools
Last year, I added a bucket of sand to the wagon that I use in my garden. It's half filled with sand. I put my hand tools in when I'm not using them. The sand cleans off any dirt that's stuck to the tool. And it also keeps them from getting rusty. I'm thinking of adding some used motor oil to the sand this year to give them a coat of oil each time I stick them in the sand. ~Elyse

Lower Electric Bills
When I was cooking for our family, it made sense to use the oven for most things. Now that we're empty nesters, I've been using my old toaster oven and slow cooker for many cooking duties. My husband and I aren't big eaters, so there's no need to heat up a big oven for a small roast. I've read that the oven is one of the biggest electricity users in a home, so I'll be curious to see how much we save on our bill. ~Lois

Oily Skin Care
For years, I've had trouble with oily skin and plugged pores. Anything that seemed to help dried out my skin too much to keep using. Finally a friend from my daughter's play group suggested that I try exfoliating daily with cornmeal mixed with just a little bit of olive oil. I massage it into my face and then wipe it off with a damp cloth. Not only does it solve the oily skin problem, but also my skin is wonderfully soft and has a very healthy appearance. It looks so good that I've cut down on my makeup! ~Kelli

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 2015 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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