Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of TheDollarStretcher.com.
Email your time or money saving tip to [email protected].
I like to use regular hand lotion when I shave. It lubricates and moisturizes my face. Occasionally, I'll use a skin conditioning lotion that contains the fragrance of my favorite cologne.
you prefer the soapy lather, you can simply work up a lather in your
hands using regular bar soap and hot water. Soaps like Dove that
contain lotion are particularly nice.
Permit Fee Pirate
Make sure you are informed about permit fees when working with contractors! I recently called around to get bids for having our garage demolished. I also called the city to find out about any required permits and I found out that I would need an $85 permit.
I obtained my first quote, I asked if that included the permit fee, and
he told me the permit fee was $500! He agreed to take $500 off his
quote if I went and got the permit myself. That's incredible! $415 for
a trip to city hall! I'm so glad I asked!
Women's Wide Shoes
I need a "wide" sized shoe. I wear a ladies size 8W. I discovered that I can wear a boys size 6. Not only is it wider, but also it's generally half the price. So if you wear ladies size 6, 7 or 8, check out the boys department sizes 4, 5 or 6 and save some money.
Poison Ivy Cure
My husband is a horticulturist and is exposed to poison ivy regularly. Quite by accident (we were treating and cured our dog's mange with lemon juice), we found that fresh lemon juice completely eliminates poison ivy overnight without burning the skin. I have very sensitive skin and this worked for me without irritation.
The Tiny Bathroom
We have five people in our house and only one small bathroom. There was never enough space on the towel bars for each person's towel, let alone enough space for them to dry quickly enough to avoid that damp mildew smell from setting in. I went to the local Home Depot and purchased nice brass double coat hooks, a pretty white decorative chair rail, and some bright drywall screws. I went home and measured the areas for the new towel racks. Then I installed the coat hooks to the chair rail every six inches, with a bright screw between each hook, and affixed the whole thing to the wall with Liquid Nails adhesive behind it for extra support.
Now everybody has their own hook,
and we even have a few extra hooks to accommodate other things like
galvanized pails to hold tooth paste, hair brushes, and other bath
things. It updated the look of the bathroom and made it more functional.
Tons of Toys
If your kids are like mine, they have tons of little toys. I bought small food storage containers from the Dollar Tree. They are clear with colored tops. All small toys are put into them by "theme," such as skateboards, motorcycles, etc.
We also have large plastic containers for toy boxes. The small containers stack nicely inside the large ones, and they do not need to dump the whole box to find that one small toy.
My son has a
bunk bed. We removed the bottom bed, and he has tons of storage space
underneath. The plastic containers stack nicely and they are out of the
way. If you add some curtains, you have a great fort!
I have 5 cats and 2 dogs and accidents do happen. I use equal parts of vinegar and water added to a spray bottle with 2 tablespoons of dish soap. When the animal has a mess, blot up as much as you can with white paper towels, shake the sprayer bottle, spray the spot until it is wet, blot up again with white paper towels, and let dry. This takes the smell out and the animals will not go potty there again. I have tried a lot of various treatments for this and this really works.
I also use it as a cleaner around the house. It is good for cleaning windows, mirrors, chrome, and stainless steel sinks.
Every other year or so, my husband and I travel to the Midwest to visit friends. We fly there and stay in motels in a couple of areas. When we get there, we head for Wal-Mart where we get one of the cheap styrofoam ice chests for a little more than a buck.
At Wal-Mart, we also pick up cans of soda, juice, and snack food at good prices. Sometimes, we go to a grocery store and get lunch meat and cheese, keeping it in our ice chest in the motel room. By having snacks on hand, sometimes we only eat a restaurant meal once a day. I always pack two big gulp cups, which we fill for refill prices when out and about. We always avoid buying snack foods at the gas station marts where prices tend to be high.
In places like
Hawaii, where things are pretty expensive, we go to a grocery store and
get milk and cereal (we stay in a condo). By having the cereal for
breakfast, we usually get by with one meal out per day.
Using Soap Scraps
Find a 3" x 5" x 1" sponge. At the center of the 1" side, make a slit (be careful). Then insert the soap in the slit. When wet, I always have a soapy sponge. This is great in the tub and shower as you never have slippery soap getting away from you.
I started reusing pump hand soap bottles in my shower. I just clean them and peel the labels off. They sit nicely on a shelf in my shower holding my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and baby oil.
have noticed I use much less of these items and they last a lot longer.
The pump bottles regulate the amount very accurately as opposed to just
dumping some in your hand.
Re-Usable Swim Diapers
Today, in most parts of the country, both public and private pools and water parks require that any non-toilet trained child or those three and under wear the disposable pool diapers. These are sold under several brand names. In general, they cost more than a $1 a piece.
While at the beach last summer, our youngest was required to wear these at the pool. By mistake, I put a used wet one in the dryer with the towels and bathing suits. It came out exactly like it did from the package. To be sure this was not a fluke, I intentionally wet it again and put it in the dryer alone. Again, I got the same results. I would not wash them with any objects other than towels or other objects lacking buttons, Velcro, or zippers.
I continued to do
this throughout the trip and at home that summer. I had to purchase one
package for the entire summer. They held up great and never tore.
I recently saw a beautiful hand-painted flower border in a decorating magazine for little kids. I thought I might try this myself. I was afraid of getting paint on the walls, hating it, and being forced to repaint the entire room. So I grabbed my little girls washable watercolors just to practice. Any time I messed up, I just wiped it off with a damp cloth and started over.
took me about 15 minutes and the cost of the washable watercolors is
under $3. I used a real artist brush that I already had instead of the
one that came in the paints. I intended to redo it in some other more
permanent paint when I was finished, but it turned out beautifully. Now
as she gets older and wants something different, I can just wipe it all
off in a minute. And she still has watercolors to paint with!
'Used' Baking Soda
Don't throw away those "used" boxes of baking soda from your fridge! I use the "expired" baking soda for cleaning the kitchen sink and counter tops. I've also used the expired baking soda mixed with water to clean the corrosion around my car battery receptors. Disconnect first.
can also use the leftover baking soda to freshen cat litter, sprinkle
on carpets before vacuuming, and absorb fresh stains. They say ants
won't cross a white line of powder, so pour a fine line around the
outside of your house. There are many uses for that "used" box of
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.