Dollar Stretcher Tips - 05/27/04


Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of
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Themed Bedrooms

If you wish to re-decorate your child's room with their latest favorite character, here is an alternative to purchasing those low thread-count sheet sets. Buy a good quality neutral color sheet set or separates. Fabric stores usually carry novelty character prints. If you can't find the exact thing, chances are you can find something along the same theme.

For example, if your child is into Tarzan, pick up a green leafy fern print for the jungle. Purchase enough to make a pillowcase or enough to trim the top edge of the flat sheet and the open edge of the pillowcase with the character print. You can also trim the edge of the bedroom curtain with the new print. As tastes change, add a new pillowcase to the collection or remove the old trims and replace with the latest favorite.

Not So Fast!

My 4-year-old daughter is wearing sizes 4, 5, and 6, depending on the clothing cut and style. I discovered that shopping in the girls department for these sizes is much more expensive than shopping in the toddlers department in big stores like Target and Sears.

Just yesterday in Target, I found jean shorts in Toddlers for $3.99. The same size, similar style jean shorts in the girls department was $8.99! Ditto on shirts, with $3.99 in Toddlers and $4.99 to $6.99 in Girls. Target coordinates their colors and fabrics between their collections, so I could find the same pretty prints in her size in Toddlers that she fell in love with in the girls department, and we were both happy!
Donna H.

Grandpa's Hospital Bill

My best friend lives with her Grandmother. One day we were both walking into her house together and her Grandmother was laughing. She rarely laughs. Her husband died about two years ago and she had just gotten off the phone with the hospital billing department.

She said that the billing representative told her that her husband had a past due bill for a whopping $10,000 for a surgery he had six months ago. After the billing representative said this, Grandma just sat quietly on the line. The billing representative asked if she was okay and Grandma said, "No, I am very upset that my husband came back to life to get a surgery but he didn't stop by the house to say hi."

Then the billing representative went really quiet. I guess she finally collected her thoughts and said that the bill would be cleared up. Grandma said that was good since he died over two years ago. She giggled and then said good-bye.

We all still giggle about grandpa's "surgery." So I guess it's a good idea to look very carefully at all bills before you pay them. You might be getting someone else's bill.
Katrina B.

Summer Storage

When storing winter clothes, I put a dryer sheet in the tied trash bag. When I open the bag in the winter, they come out smelling fresh and clean.
June E. Fisher
Etters, PA

"Hot" TV Programming

TVs put out a lot of heat. We only have one set, but my friend seems to have one in every room of the house. Even the kids have a TV and VCR in their rooms. In most cases, most of the TVs are on when everyone is home. They can be just like little space heaters. One day, my friend noticed that her son had left his TV on in his bedroom and had closed the door when he went to school. When he got home, the room was very warm.

They have TVs going even when no one is watching and they are just heating up their house.
Mary J.

Odor Removal

My husband works at a car dealership and their service department uses sheets of Bounce fabric softener under the seats to remove smoke smell from cars. It really does work!

Fine Dining

Since I am retired, I often enjoy going out to lunch with my husband or friends. Our local vocational-technical school has a culinary arts program and the students operate a restaurant where they serve lunch to the public four days a week. They usually have at least four choices each day. The food is delicious and the prices are very reasonable. The entire meal rarely costs more than $5!

It is a good learning experience for the students and a delicious and economical way for the public to dine out.
Susanna S.
Goshen, CT

Vacation at Home

One year we didn't really have enough for both holiday accommodations and activities once we got there, so we decided to stay at home. Instead, we did "tourist" activities every day. Because we didn't have any accommodation or travel expenses, we could afford to go to theme parks, eat out, and generally have a good time.

This works well for us as we live in Brisbane and there are tons of tourist destinations within an one hour drive of our house. But, even if you don't live near major attractions, there's probably some points of interest within an easy drive. It was also great not having to pack and unpack!
Kathie L.
Brisbane, Australia

Buy Half, Get Half

Many stores offer "Buy one get one free" deals. However, with my children raised, my family is reduced to just me and my husband at home now, and we don't need to buy as much of every item.

If you don't need two of an item, just buy one. Most stores will ring it up at half price. However, this is not the rule at every store, so you may want to try doing that once with just one item and check your register tape afterwards to see how much you were charged for that item. You'd be surprised at how many shoppers I've spoken with at the grocery store that are unaware that this is an option.

The stores do not advertise that they do this. I think they would rather we didn't know that bit of information about the item ringing up at half price, because they would like to sell two items!

Yarn Barn

I use the mesh bags from the produce department for "yarn barns." I just put the yarn into the bag. They keep the skein of yarn neat and tidy as I am crocheting. When you are using more than one color, it also works great to keep them from tangling.
Northern Manitoba, Canada

On Time!

As my bills come in my regular mail or email, I enter the amount at the date it is due on a calendar that I use just for this purpose. I keep the calendar in my "Bills" folder. I have used this method of reminders for years and it works well for me.

Drug Company Helps

My doctor recommended that I look into what the pharmaceutical company that makes my diabetes medicine will do for me. I inquired and they're setting me up with a customized meal plan, exercise plan and all sorts of phone and online assistance. This works with all sorts of other ailments. They're sending me books and charts and will work with me to meet my goals and continue to customize my program. All just for the asking. I hope everyone gets the good help I'm getting.
Paul B.

Throwing Out Odors

Good old vinegar! I put my washable and non-washable throw rugs along with a hand towel well-dampened with white vinegar in the dryer and run on fluff cycle for 20 minutes. The rugs don't get damp, are deodorized, and the house smells more fresh.
Joan B.

Home Security

Anytime you advise the post office to hold mail, newspaper to stop delivery, or any other service, you have notified untold numbers of people your house will be empty. Why not find a neighbor, friend, or someone you trust to stay at your home, or at least come by and take in the mail, newspapers, delivered packages, as well as checking on the condition of your home?

A quick walk through can spot leaking water, broken windows, or other emergencies that need to be attended to before you come home. You can return the favor when the friend leaves town. Or, do something else to assist them. The person checking on your home will also likely park a car that will signal to anyone watching that people are coming and going, even if it's not the usual people coming and going. And, the person visiting your home can turn different lights on and off, hang out and watch TV.

Another suggestion from my brother the policeman, exterior lighting is a cheap form of security. Where I live, we have suggested to neighbors to turn on porch lights at sunset. A well lit neighborhood is a neighborhood burglars will likely drive on by.
C W in Texas

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