Dollar Stretcher Tips - 08/05/04


Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of
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Veggie Wash

When washing fruits and veggies, white vinegar comes in handy. Fill a bowl with cold water and a few tablespoons of vinegar. Put the fruit in to soak a few minutes and wipe dry. I was amazed how much junk came off on the towel I used compared to the soap and water method, which I used to use. And there is no vinegar taste left on the fruit.

Let Your Fingers Do the Vacationing

Here's another tip for saving money when visiting attractions. Check the phone book in your hotel room. Most have coupon sections now, and you may find savings on museum fees, local restaurant prices, etc.

Also, call local supermarkets and ask if they are selling discount tickets to amusement parks, etc.
Mary W.

At the Ready

I leave a backpack in my car with a complete change of clothes for all three of my girls. (Don't forget socks and underwear!)

Even though they are way past the diaper stage, they are not past the "falling in a creek at a park stage" or the "spilling a milk shake down their shirt stage" on the way to visit out of town friends. I also keep pain relievers, indigestion medicine, Band-Aids, a plastic silverware set, bug spray, pens, and hair ties for them.

It is something that does not take up a lot of room but has been a real life saver in many situations. In the summer, I also keep a swimsuit in the bag.
Mandy I.

Juice Box Geysers

We don't buy drinking boxes often, so when we do, it is very disappointing when one of the kids squeezes it and wastes half the contents. We solved this problem by replacing the attached straw with a longer "regular" straw. No more spills, messes or waste.

Kathy R.

Ready for Bills

I found a great way to make sure I always have plenty of money to pay the bills when they come. I opened another checking account. At my bank, this is free. My only cost is the checks, which I would be using anyway if I only had one account.

I add up what my bills usually are each month (there are only two that vary in amount from month to month) and then divide by four (usually four paydays in a month). For me, my bills add up to $1700 a month, so I take $425 out of my regular checking and put it into my bills account. Then, when my bills come in the mail, I always have plenty of money to pay them!

Also, since there is four "extra" paydays a year (meaning five in one month instead of four), I end up with an extra $1700 at the end of the year! What could be better than that? I never have late bills, and I have nearly two thousand dollars to put toward vacation, retirement, or whatever every year!
Sarah in TX

Soap Savings

For those who prefer liquid soap, I have a suggestion. The ingredients in liquid hand soap are essentially the same as those in liquid bath soaps, and it's a better value for the money (especially when the bath soap is purchased from a dollar store). Substitute the liquid bath soap in your hand soap dispensers. Not only do you save money, but also you have a greater choice of fragrances.

Also, many liquid bath soaps are so thick that your dispenser will pump out more soap than you really need. These can be mixed with water in 1:1, 1:2, or even greater ratios for more- than-adequate cleansing. This also holds true for regular liquid hand soaps, so if you have a favorite type that you're partial to, you can make that brand last longer by diluting with water.
Donna L.

Border Patrol

I always shop the perimeter of a supermarket before I go into the center. I find lots of bargains in the "perishable" departments. I also find the most bargains on the day the sales end. By bargains, I mean marked down items that usually need to be cooked, frozen or eaten within 24 hours of purchase.
Mary L.

One Mom's Junk

I'm a part of a weekly Young Moms' Bible Study. Every now and then, we have a "Junk Swap." We get together and bring everything that we would normally put in a yardsale or donate to charity. We set our things out on tables and then we look through each other's junk. We take things that we think we could use, and then after we're done, we take all the things that are left and give them to Goodwill or some other charity.

Since we are mostly mothers of young children, there are always lots of children's clothes that others can use, as well as kitchen things, household objects, linens, toys and books.

And Goodwill gets a big donation that they might otherwise not have gotten. I may never have an occasion to "de-junk" if I didn't have the deadline of the "junk swap" event. It's always fun to see what other people bring, and it's free! It feels so good to be rid of "junk" that was cluttering up my house and could be useful to someone else.

This idea could apply to any group (church, neighborhood, playgroup, etc.) as long as the group is not too big and as long as you have someone with a big van or truck who can take the "leftovers" to Goodwill when you're done.
Betsy in Tennessee

Remember That Purchase...

I work downtown and pass by the same stores often. I picked up a handy tip when shopping with a friend. She bought a few simple necklaces and earrings that were on sale to give as gifts to friends and family. A few days later, we stopped back into the same store and the same jewelry was greatly marked down from the original sale price. She had the receipt with her and asked that the store honor the marked down price. They did, and she ended up getting all the pieces for less than what she paid for one originally.

Since then, I have gotten into the habit of carrying my receipts with me for several days and checking back with the store a few days after a large purchase to see if the merchandise has been marked down further. This works great as long as you don't make unplanned purchases when you visit the store for the second time!
Jodi in Boston

CD Repair

I have found a way to fix scratched or scuffed CDs. I use Brasso, the brass polish. Put it on the CD and wipe outwards from center to edge with a soft cloth. After a couple of rounds, the disk will be like new. Also, toothpaste and Pledge furniture polish, used in the same way, work just as well.

This works for CDs, DVDs, and Playstation/PS2 videogames and costs a lot less than one of those expensive repair kits. Just make sure that you have all of the polish off of the CD before you put it into the player!

Lisa S.

Electricity Saver

If you own your home, we have found that purchasing an electric heater timer from your local home improvement store will save loads of money and will pay for itself very quickly. It is installed between the water heater and the electrical connection. It's very easy to do. It can be set for certain hours to come on and go off by itself. Great savings!

Clothes Protection

To save your clothes, always wear a full apron (barbecue style) when working in the kitchen. I have saved many of my clothes from serious stains by doing this.
Terry in Alberta

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!

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