Dollar Stretcher Tips - 07/29/04


Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of
Email your time or money saving tip to [email protected]


Berry Good

We go to Costco and buy big baskets of blueberries for very little. Then I wash them, dry them real well, put them on paper towel lined cookie sheets, and freeze them. After they are frozen, they go into freezer bags. You can then just grab them by the handful and use them for pancakes, desserts, smoothies, etc. This is really great in the winter!
Alix Z.
Reno, NV

Scrub for Less

I like to use those rough green nylon scrubbing pads in my kitchen for the sink, pots and pans, and tough-to-remove food on dishes. When the pad starts to get worn, I use it on the tough spots on my linoleum before throwing it away. However, two small scouring pads are about $2.50 in the grocery store.

I was thrilled several months ago to find a package of large green nylon scouring pads in the cleaning section of a major home improvement warehouse for only $2.50 a pack! I use a pair of old scissors to cut these large pads into quarters, and ended up with 32 scrubbing pads at about 8 cents a pad versus $1.25!
Terri C.

Sugar Sense

Though I wished they liked more hearty meals, my kids love cold cereals for breakfast. I don't like for my children to have a lot of sugar, but somehow, they found out about those "high sugar" cereals (which usually cost much more too). One day, I decided to put mostly a "low sugar" favorite (like Cheerios or Kix) in their bowl and then just put a bit of the "high sugar" cereal on top. They loved it! The kids liked having two kinds of cereal in their bowls and being able to have the more popular (high sugar) cereal. I loved saving money by using less of the more expensive brand and compromising with my children without giving in and allowing them all the sugar!
T in Texas

Great Baby Present

My twin great-nieces just turned one. I gave them presents that everyone loved. Last year, on the day they were born, I put away two copies of that day's newspaper. I wrapped up the newspapers in two boxes with cards saying, "The Day You Were Born Was A Day To Remember." Their mom was thrilled.
Maria M.

Student Instruments

I made the mistake of rent-to-own with one daughter's viola. It was okay while she was growing and we could exchange it each year for a larger size. But, once she reached full size, I paid for three years before I realized I had only made a very small dent in the total price. I quickly paid it off.

We got our daughter's clarinet at a yard sale for $25. It had belonged to a girl who decided to stop playing after high school. It needed a new bell that cost $60 and pads that cost $20. It served us well over the last 19 years. Three of our kids have used it in band.

We have also had pretty good luck with instruments from eBay. We got a nice full sized violin for about $100 with shipping.
Marianne in Maine

Cheaper Kitchen Cabinets

Quite by accident, we discovered that our local building supply store sells their scratched, slightly damaged, or discontinued display kitchen and bath items at a huge markdown. We were redoing our laundry room at the time and bought the wall and floor cabinets we needed for less than $100 total! The styles aren't exactly the same, but by checking often, we were able to buy cabinets that are the same color and go very well together. We even bought a couple extra cabinets for storage in the garage. We were also able to buy a new pedestal sink for the bathroom for practically nothing because there was a chip at the top of the pedestal, but the sink completely covers it up!

Ask your local building supply store what they do with their damaged merchandise, and if they sell them, you might find exactly what you need for just a few dollars!

Flea Bath

My husband wanted two cats to control our mice infestation. We got two kittens from different families. Needless to say, we got an infestation of fleas with the two cats.

We put two pie pans of soapy water just under the night light in different rooms. The next morning those two pans were full of dead fleas. There were so many that I couldn't count them all.
Jane R.

Do We Really Need Storage?

When we moved to take a new job, we opted to rent for a while until we learned more about the area and various neighborhoods. We owned a large refrigerator and the apartment we rented had one already. We asked the apartment complex to move out their fridge so we could use ours. We saved over a $1000 on storage fees that year.

Dinner Time-Saver

We have a large family and are always looking for ways to save time. When I fry hamburger for a certain recipe or dish, I try to fry up a minimum of four to five pounds at a time. Most recipes call for one or two pounds, so I use the amount needed, and freeze the rest in one-quart freezer bags, trying to keep it around one pound per bag.

In the future, when I need cooked hamburger, I just go to the freezer and pull out a bag without having the mess and time of cooking more. It is convenient, and on those days when it is hot, I don't need to heat up the kitchen. It is a great time saver when making pizza burgers. I just pull out a couple of bags of the frozen cooked hamburger, stir in some canned spaghetti sauce, spread the mixture on a hamburger bun half, and add a little cheese to the top.

You can stick them in the microwave for 25-30 seconds, and you have a quick nutritious and hot meal ready to go without a lot of prep time.
Dee B.
Gering, Nebraska

Travelling Light

My husband and I travel a lot, and I hate to take a lot of luggage with me. I also hate taking full size toiletries with me, but the trial sizes are too expensive. To cut costs and the amount of luggage I have to take, I bought empty small refillable bottles and trial size products that could be refilled.

When I come back from a trip, I refill all the bottles and pack them away in my travel case for next time. I also save trial sizes of products, such as toothpaste or moisturizer, to pack on trips, and I keep a spare toothbrush, comb, etc. in my travel case. (The only products I would recommend not taking out of their original packaging are sterile things, such as saline solution or eye drops.) This saves money and time when traveling.

Yesteryear's Sweaters

Over the years, I have made a lot of gifts by crocheting them. I have found that by using yarn from my damaged sweaters, I can make pretty scarves, hats, gloves, and even a purse. I unravel the yarn, roll it into a ball, and then use it.

When I need some for my project and an old sweater or blanket isn't available, I buy it from thrift stores or yard sales.

The 'Bad' Tomato

Recently, I was at my local grocery store and noticed that the produce manager was throwing away several tomatoes, which looked perfectly fine to me. I approached her to ask her about it, and she said that they had spots or had broken a bit. After talking for awhile, she agreed to save all her "bad" tomatoes for me. A few days later, I came back and she had a whole case for me, along with a few peppers, etc. After sorting through and cleaning them up, I was able to make nearly 20 pints of salsa and spaghetti sauce! All for free!

Some of the veggies were beyond help, but the majority were just fine after cutting out spots, etc. The produce manager explained that it wasn't cost efficient to go through and "fix" them for sale, so they just tossed them!

It doesn't hurt to ask. This lady was more than happy to save them for me!

Layout Lessons

Years ago, I learned that the best bargains are almost always at the back of the store. If you really want to save money, start shopping from the back of the store and work your way to the front. The plus-size clothing store I frequent always has a large clearance section in the back. The racks in the middle may have a small discount, but the racks in the front always have the most recent and most expensive merchandise. I rarely make it to the front before finding several cute items!
Euclid, OH

Air Loss = Money Lost

I recently bought aluminum insulating tape and taped over the joints on our furnace ducts. This is not duct tape. Duct tape dries and cracks. This is found in the heating section at the hardware store, and just covers the joints and stops air from leaking out of the ducts.

As soon as we did this, we noticed a marked improvement in airflow to our upstairs bedrooms. Our daughter's room never was warm in winter or cool in summer, and now her room is much more comfortable. We paid special attention to taping the joints on the ducts that ran to her room.

Our basement is no longer freezing cold with all that air leaking out through the ducting. Our A/C doesn't run non-stop anymore either! Paying attention to small details can make a huge difference.

Removing Sweat Stains

Just a quick suggestion for removing sweat stains from clothing. Soak the fabric in Era or another protein dissolving detergent. This will help dissolve stains and buildup on t- shirts. If the shirt isn't colorfast, don't leave the Era on for a long time before laundering. For colorfast clothes, you can let the Era sit on the fabric overnight before washing. Usually, you will see improvement after one treatment, but you may have to repeat the process a few times to get all of the deposits removed. This suggestion came from a professor of Textiles and Clothing.
Jill L.

Do you have a good idea for saving time and money? Send it by email to [email protected]. Your idea could help thousands of readers!

Work From Home Jobs