Dollar Stretcher Tips - 06/17/04


Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of
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Storing Fresh Herbs

I know of a way to store fresh herbs without having to dry them. Take the fresh herb (type doesn't matter) and place it in the small cups of an ice cube tray. Fill the cups with good water (should be filtered for maximum freshness) and place in the freezer.

After the herb/ice cubes have frozen, take them out of the tray and place in plastic baggies. The herbs will not lose their potency or color because the ice around the herb is protecting the plant from freezer burn.

Yardsaling With a Purpose

Before each yardsaling season begins, I decide on what items we would like to have, or will need for the following year. I also pick one "wish" item. Then I spend the summer checking yardsales for those items.

The benefit in listing the things needed is that I don't feel like I have to spend money at yardsales. I can walk away from a whole Saturday morning empty handed and look forward to the next weekend. And I don't bother shopping at retail stores, because experience has taught me that sooner or later I will find what is needed. Or find something that can be substituted.

This year, my "wish" item was a crystal chandelier. This past weekend I found an absolutely beautiful crystal/brass five-arm chandelier in fabulous condition for $10. Even the bulbs were included. My husband re-wired it and used a new brass chain on it for another $10. The total cost was $20!

I called the local lighting place and asked for the price on a similar item. The answer? The starting price was $599. Already I have had a great summer yardsaling!

Saving Laundry Time

Instead of using baby detergent with my kids, I used the free and clear brands. All work well and are fairly inexpensive. Then I could wash all of our clothes together rather than in separate loads. Great saving for someone who has to use a laundromat or coin operated machines in their apartment building.
Mom of 2

They 'Had a Ball'

The best and cheapest children's party we've had was when my daughter turned 5. I bought 30 large colorful rubber balls for 99 cents each, one for each child, plus a few extras just in case.

We put them all (balls and children) in the backyard, and let them play away. At the end of the party, each child got to take home a ball as their party favor. Entertainment and party favor wrapped up in one, and everybody had a ball!
Holly G.

Eatin' Good on Vacation

My husband and I went to Hawaii about five years ago. Once there we went to the local supermarket and bought breakfast foods, sandwich supplies, bottled water and pop.

We also chose things to do that included a meal. Our snorkeling trip, for example, included a meal and drinks. In this manner, we were able to go to five star restaurants four out of the five nights we were there.

We told our tour group our strategy and they all laughed at us on the way in. On the way home, they all took notes. We enjoyed ourselves so much more than they did because we were not stressed by spending.

Easy Skin Care

I have very sensitive, acne-prone skin. Exfoliating is important to keep skin healthy, but my dermatologist said that washcloths and exfoliating cleansers, like apricot scrubs, can be too harsh (not to mention expensive).

Her recommendations were as follows. A few times a week, when washing your face, just sprinkle a little baking soda into your hand and mix with your normal facial cleanser or soap. The baking soda will gently scrub off the dead skin. I keep some baking soda next to my sink in a little glass sugar dispenser. Can't get much easier or cheaper than that!
Chris P.

Baking Time Saver

Measure out three separate "sets" of the dry ingredients in your recipe, such as sugar, flour and baking soda. Use one "set" for the item you are currently baking and store the other two "sets" in resealable bags.

Next time, you'll only need to add in the wet ingredients. This saves so much time and effort in both preparation and clean up. By doing this, I whipped up banana bread from scratch in just six minutes!
Houston, TX

'Safety Soap'

If you have a dollar store in your area, some of them carry mesh bags. Loosen the drawstring loop at the top and insert pieces of leftover soap scraps.

I gave one to a frugal friend who was in her nineties so she would have somewhere to put her collection of soap pieces. Instead, she inserted her whole soap bar and slipped the loop around her wrist. Now she could hold onto the shower railing for balance and soap herself down with the other hand. No worries about dropping the slippery soap and having to retrieve it with the risk of falling!

I use one when travelling and keep inserting soap as I go. There is no need for a soap carrier. I carry this in a plastic bag, so it doesn't dampen my clothes. Kay

No More Moles

I have finally found a way to stop filling in the mole holes before cutting the grass. It is not only very effective, but it is also cheap!

Take old used kitty litter and fill the holes. They won't be back in your yard. You'll have to tell the neighbors this trick when they move to their yards!
Seattle, WA

"Olden Days"

Here's an "Olden Days" tip from my mother that I use. During WWII, there were rations of meat. So my grandmother would use one pound of ground beef to make her chili and put it over macaroni noodles to stretch for a family of 6. My mom, sister and I still make it that way today! Her recipe is quite good too!
Jean A.

Quickie Stain Treatment

To save yourself some time and lengthen the life of your clothes, keep a bottle of stain remover or a stain stick where you keep your laundry basket. As soon as you undress, pretreat any stains and then toss your clothes in the laundry hamper. You will be much more successful at removing stains and spots when you wash clothes later in the week if you spray them immediately after undressing.
Angela H.

Bucket Brigade

Many years ago, I met an old timer who worked for the city sewage department and he told me a story about clogged drains in the city's buildings. It was his job to unclog the drains. He had a sure-fire method and all he needed was a big bucket!

When he went into the bathroom, the first thing he did was to run the hot water full blast and fill his bucket with hot water. Then he'd pour it down the toilet. He did this three times and viola! The hot water cleared the toilet slick as a whistle. I tried this and it works.

I live in an apartment building. Even though the other tenants are always calling for the plumber we have never had to. We just pour three buckets of hot water down the spout. Clears it every time. Try it. See for yourself. The cost is a lot cheaper than a plumber's house call.
John D.


The clear plastic boxes that strawberries come packed in make excellent mini-greenhouses for those gardeners who like to start their own seeds. The box is generally already punched with ventilation holes and, when inverted, fits perfectly on top of the plastic six-pack trays that bedding plants come in. It's a good way to start seeds on a sunny windowsill.
Ron O.

Removing Wall Paper

When you want to take down wall border trim, don't buy the stripper from the paint store. It's a lot cheaper if you use one part vinegar to three parts water. This does a great job.

Inexpensive Children's Gifts

What do you give that special little person for a birthday, Christmas, or another special occasion? Books! Kids love to read, and reading skills are so important to kids. I buy gently-used children's story books at yard sales and used bookstores. They are often $1 or less.
Susie in Vancouver Canada

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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