Dollar Stretcher Tips - 06/03/04


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At the Ready

I line my clothes hampers (2), one for whites and one for colors with a large green leaf bag. When it is time to do laundry, I just pull out the bag and off I go. If you choose to do so, you could even leave a supply of soap for the load in the hampers.

With my wastepaper baskets, I leave a small pile of plastic grocery bags in the bottoms of these baskets and use one to line the basket. When it needs to be emptied all I do is lift it out and get a new bag in the bottom of the basket for a liner.
Marie S.

Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me

I just returned from my friends that live out in the country. They had a bad case of flies on their front porch. They were told to hang closed Ziplok baggies of plain water from the eaves of the porch roof. At first they didn't believe it would work, but surprisingly it does! They tacked up 4 or 5 baggies along the inside eaves on the porch, and we weren't bothered by a fly at all. Supposedly it messes up the fly's eyesight. Doesn't help the mosquitoes, tho.

Saving Magazines

As a librarian, I have found that laundry detergent boxes make sturdy magazine holders. Cover with inexpensive wrapping paper or butcher paper, etc. or spray paint to make attractive holders.
Carol R.
Jay, Oklahoma

Restaurants and Toddlers

Our children (4 and 2) are not big eaters. My husband and I usually just order something for ourselves that we know the kids will eat also, and then just ask for small plates for the children and we share whatever we ordered. Restaurant meals are so huge nowadays that we can seldom finish our own entrees anyway.
Nadia G.

Before You Wire Money

Instead of wiring money to help a family member or friend pay a bill, check on the Internet to see if the company they owe has a website that can deduct that payment from your checking account or allow you to make an online payment. Many utility companies and others have that option and it would save you the cost of the money transfer and the money would get credited faster.
Port St. Lucie, FL

Fixing Chipped Tiles

We had a few badly chipped tiles replaced in our shower. Luckily we had some left over tiles, but it was pricey (about $100). When I noticed a recent smaller chip, I decided to try to fix it myself. I bought a bottle of nail polish in a matching color and dabbed it on the smaller chip. It blended almost perfectly! This will keep the small chip dry so water can't get under the glaze and cause the tile to chip or peel further. It works great for now and I'll see how long it lasts. In any case, it's much better than letting the problem go or paying for a full tile replacement now.

Grandma's Plant Food

My great-grandmother soaked eggshells in water in a jar and poured the water on her plants. My plants love it!

Good Neighbors

I live in the suburbs of Upstate New York. To cut the high cost of fresh vegetables, my neighbors and I started a Crop Share. Our yards aren't big enough for a "full size" garden, so we decided that we would each make a list of things we would like to grow. Then, each of us selected several plants that we had the space and soil conditions to grow. With most plants started from seeds, there was very little start up cost. We can all "help ourselves" to each others fruits and vegetables as needed. There is no need to ask prior to going over to pick a bucket of berries or a few peas. We have really enjoyed the benefits and the support of group gardening.

Since I am the newest homeowner in the group, my kind neighbors have blessed me with free perennials from their own over-crowded gardens. It's a win/win situation. They thin out their bed and I get mature plants and bushes for my yard.

Wasted Wallpaper

Don't throw out those partial rolls after wallpapering. They make excellent shelf liner in kitchen, bathroom, pantry and linen cabinets. Cut to fit, and if it's prepasted, soak it as you would for walls and place on the shelves. It's fast, easy, and they wipe clean like magic.

You can even use the large pieces that are considered a loss when trying to match up patterns. And you can buy leftover odd rolls at the wallpaper store for a dollar or two each.

Itemized Construction

We were having a patio enclosed (1/2 walls, screening, roof) and had already shopped around for best contractor & price. We were happy with the price; then I casually asked if they could itemize the bill.

We discovered that $50 of the quoted price was for disposal of the old metal-awning-type roof. Since we knew we could take it to the landfill for a $5 fee, we had them strike that from the bill. However, when work was underway, our next-door neighbor asked if he could have the old roof -- so our "disposal" efforts consisted of handing it over the back fence to him! We saved $50, performed a neighborly good deed, and enjoyed a free meal with the neighbor on his newly redecorated patio after he installed the roof!

We have since learned that some contractors are building in a fee for delivery of materials. You may be able borrow a truck and pick them up yourselves to eliminate this fee. Or you may be able to do some of the prep work (removing old flooring, wallpaper, whatever) and save in that way. It doesn't cost anything to ask!
Becki H.
Logansport IN

Nature's Pesticide

My 6 year old kindergartner has been studying about insects for the past few weeks. While learning about lady bugs, we decided to buy some at our local nursery to see if they would eat the aphids that were munching on one of our favorite plants. The lady bugs (beetles) were packaged in a plastic see thru container which made it more interesting and educational to observe.

After "sharing" the lady bugs with the class, we let a few of them go in our garden each night & sure enough, they ate the aphids! No need to buy expensive pesticides that are harmful to humans and the environment! The lady bugs cost us $6.99 & did a lot more than get rid of our aphids, it also provided a real life learning experience for all of us!

Cheaper Commuting

As gasoline prices rise my boyfriend and I have managed to cut our gas expenses dramatically. We purchased used mopeds. Not only are they fun to drive, they get up to and often over 100 miles to the gallon. They cost only $15 to register for 4 years. They are perfect for quick trips across town or to our nearby jobs.

We've also found that we spend less money on entertainment since driving around on our peds is entertainment enough.
Audrey Z.

Cheaply Organized

My favorite deal is finding dirt cheap organizing stuff. There are a lot of well-intentioned people who do spend the big bucks for corralling their junk, then, for whatever reason, don't continue to use them and set them out in their next garage sale.

I don't remember ever going to a garage sale (and I've been to gazillions) that didn't have at least one type of organizer - usually for 50 cents. Other people's trash? Hardly!
Doreen B.

Just Add Water

Since I have been learning how to live in the land of the frugal instead of land of the frivolous, I've been watering down almost everything I use, I'll buy a huge jar of dishwashing liquid have a smaller empty one on the side, I pour in maybe 1/4 cup and fill the rest with water, it cleans just fine.

You would be amazed how concentrated our cleaning goods are. I do the same with my body soap, shampoo, even carpet cleaner. I've saved a ton of money!
Annabell of Houston, Texas

Do you have a good idea for saving time and money? Send it to Dollar Stretcher Tips, PO Box 141460, Bradenton FL 34280-4160 and we'll send you a copy of our print newsletter.

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