Dollar Stretcher Tips - 08/13/04


Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of
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"New" School Uniforms

My kids wear uniforms to school (navy blue shirts and khaki pants). After so many washings, the colors fade, but the items are not necessarily worn to the point that they need to be discarded. I purchase a bottle of fabric dye and dye all their shirts together. I usually do this around the middle of the school year instead of buying new. Once the shirts are dyed, they look as good as new, and I've only spent a couple of dollars for "new" shirts.

Picture Postcard

A friend just told me about using four-inch pictures as post cards. I had never heard of such a thing before. I tried it and it worked. I just put a line down the middle of the back of the picture and proceeded as if it was a postcard. It went through in great shape.
Bee J.

Natural Roach Control

This is the most effective "treatment" I ever found for roaches. We were living in the Northern Territory in Australia where they are about 3" long and very scary.

Take a glass jar and put some peanut butter in the bottom of the jar. Put a good smear of vegetable oil around the inside lip of the jar to make it very slippery. The roaches smell the peanut butter, go in after it and can't get out (they slip and fall back in the jar again). When the jar has a few in it, cap it off with the lid and put it in the sun to kill them. Then throw the whole lot in the garbage. This will effectively reduce the population in a short time. If they lay egg cases while they are dying as they do with traps, it is all contained in the jar.

When we started doing this, we would have a half jar every morning. After about three weeks, I had two to three in the jar.
Kath T.

Dryer Relief

Here's a tip to decrease drying time when you do the wash. If you remove the towels and terry cloth items and dry those in the sun or elsewhere, the laundry will dry much sooner.

Move It or Lose It

I have helped people move and I have moved a dozen times myself. I even worked for an outfit that rented Ryder trucks. I drove and did the moves.

It's very wasteful when people think that they need every bit of their furniture. They end up renting the biggest truck, which translates into worse mileage, more work, etc.

Now this only applies to items that can be easily purchased where you're going and items to which you aren't attached. For example, if you have a 10-year-old refrigerator and you know that its normal life expectancy is 8 years, then it's logical that you should get rid of it. Sell it before you move and buy a used one when you get there, or a new one if money allows. You'll save a lot of work, gasoline, and money.

Out-of-Season Clothing Storage

Want to store seasonal clothes in an a vacuum sealed bag to protect them? Use a small plastic shopping bag, fold the items to be stored, and place them in the bag. Using a vacuum hose from a vacuum cleaner, insert the hose into the bag about 1/3 of the way, gather the plastic around the hose to form a seal, turn on the vacuum briefly to withdraw the air, and shrink the bag to the desired size. Remove the vacuum hose quickly, give the gathered plastic material one or two twists, and then attach a tie wrap.

You now have a vacuum sealed storage bag without buying the expensive vacuum seal bags as seen on TV. The seal should last for several months and greatly reduces the area required for storing garments or bedding items.

Olive Oil

Love the taste of olive oil, but not the price? Dilute it 1/3 to 1/2 with vegetable oil. You'll still get the olive oil taste, but at a reasonable price!
Donna V.

Single Portion Planning

When ground beef is on sale, I buy at least three pounds. Then I make individual hamburger patties, put each one of them in a foldable sandwich bag (not resealable) and then stack all of them on top of each other in a bread bag, cinch tightly, and secure with tab. This saves space, and I don't need to use expensive storage bags. It's great to just take one burger at a time out and it's all ready to cook.

Since I live alone, I also like to freeze half a loaf of bread at a time, and I divide up hamburger buns, hot dog buns, English muffins, and bagels to use as needed.
Dorothy T.

Icing Disposal Odors

I remove the odor from my disposal by putting ice cubes in the disposal and then turning it on. It works great!

Funeral Flowers

When my Mother passed away, the gentleman at the mortuary at first said that he could not recommend a florist (for a casket blanket, etc.), but then he leaned across the table and suggested a particular chain grocery store with a florist.

We were skeptical, but we checked it out. For about 75% the cost of a "regular" florist and less than half the cost from the mortuary, we had a very nice full casket blanket with my Mother's favorite flowers. We also recommended the same place for relatives and friends from out of town and provided them with the phone number.
Mary D.

Membership Tips

Most museum memberships come with reciprocal memberships to many other museums. The science museums belong to a group with 230+ museums around the world!

It pays to shop around. There are four somewhat local museums near me that I would love to visit. Having a membership to one gets me into all of them for free. I checked all of them and got prices ranging from $40 to $100! Since my main purpose in getting a membership was to be able to visit many different museums, I went to the cheapest place to get it. Of course, if you will be frequenting only one museum, it would be in your best interest to get that museum's membership.
Sheri in Illinois

Toddler Toy Clutter

When your infant/young child outgrows his toys, but you don't want to get rid of them, use them as decor!

Buy three pieces of wood shelving that are the length of your child's three bedroom walls. You don't need one for the wall with the door in it. Sand, prime, and paint the wood the same color as the walls. Then mount the wood using large shelf brackets, also painted, near the ceiling. You can get the brackets from the hardware store, or try garage sales and junk stores to find these at bargain prices.

Choose the toys you wish to display and there you have it! The toys come up off the floor or out of the toy box to reduce clutter! To clear the clutter created strictly from stuffed toys (anything else is too heavy), hang a hammock or fishing net in one corner of your child's room. Instant toy storage! Any leftover unwanted items can be taken to Goodwill or a resale store. Or better yet, go with your child to donate them at a local children's hospital or shelter for a lesson in giving!

Hand-Crafted Goodie Bags

For my son's second birthday, we had a "train" theme. He loves trains. For the goody bags, I simply used plain brown paper bags and stamped them with a foam train stamp ($1). The bags were filled with a cardboard train book with wheels ($1 each), a pack of fruit snacks ($1 for 10), a train sticker, and I made train magnets personalized with each child's name. I bought wooden train cut outs from a local craft store (25 cents each). I painted them and attached a magnet to the back (you can purchase a roll of magnetic strip for about a dollar) and wrote the child's name with a paint pen. The bags were a hit and I had so much fun creating them without going broke!
Katie C.


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