Dollar Stretcher Tips - 08/19/04


Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of
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Coffee's Ready

The companies that advertise filter packs are pushing the convenience. No fumbling for a filter and measuring coffee in the morning when you are tired and in a rush to get somewhere. When I do the dinner dishes, I put a filter and the coffee in the coffeemaker. By doing this, there is no morning fumbling. Just add the water and hit the button like you would with a filter pack!
Jamie H.

College Co-Op Programs

Northeastern University in Boston has a co-op program. My sister and I graduated from there and it was a tremendous help to our parents in financing our education. One year I was on co-op for nine months and made $13,000 that year. It helps keep student loans to a minimum. And as a physical therapist, the experience is accredited. Being out of school seven years, I can claim nine years of experience, which increases my pay scale. And the experience gave me more confidence for my licensing boards.
Sue in San Antonio

Eliminating Centipedes

When I lived at home with my parents, the house they bought was full of centipedes. They were everywhere you looked. We finally heard somewhere that if you sprinkle 20 mule team Borax (laundry aisle at store) around the edges of the rooms, it deters them from coming in the room. I did this around my bedroom and never saw another centipede in there. I would sprinkle more around the edges of the room after vacuuming.

Supermarket Strategies

Near your supermarket's entrance door, you are likely to find temporary shelves offering some name-brand item for sale. Let's use cookies as an example. When you walk through the cookie aisle, you are likely to see that the regular price of the economy brand of cookie is even lower than the sale price of the national brand. Hence, do not be taken by those so called sales. Give the economy brand items a chance. I am finding that they are either just as good as the national brands or at least good enough to justify the savings.

Also, if your supermarket offers some sort of "member's discount" card, be sure to use it or apply for one right away. (I have already saved a month's rent with mine).

Trimming Expenses

In our family, we save both time and money by letting Mom trim everyone's hair in between trips to the barbershop. Mom makes sure that the styles are easy and trims her own bangs and our son's hair every month.

Our goal as a family is to make a trip to the barbershop every four months. This way we are only out $10 each three times a year. This also saves time. We can enjoy ourselves outdoors instead of spending one Saturday every month in the barbershop waiting to get our hair cut.
Keith M.

From a Band Teacher

As a former band teacher, I have a few suggestions about obtaining instruments fairly inexpensively. Common instruments like a trumpet, trombone, flute, clarinet and saxophone can usually be found used for a few hundred dollars. That's a lot until you consider that many of my former students' parents went on to sell their old band instruments after their children decided band wasn't for them for the same price they paid for it!

Look in the classifieds for instruments. Some pawn shops have instruments at a decent price. Many of my students' parents were honest with me and I was able to assist them in locating a good, used instrument. Do your homework just like you would any other major purchase. An overhaul on a flute in my area varies from $75 to $150. This is exactly what it sounds like. You end up with a practically rebuilt instrument.

In Arkansas, they have a program called "Play It Again!" in which instruments are donated to enable all interested students to play in the band. Perhaps there is a program such as this in your area. If not, try to get one started. Music can be a wonderful and economical way to enrich your child's life.
Rejena A.

College Textbooks

Good sites for buying/selling college textbooks are,, and
Kathleen H. in Alta Loma, CA

Environmental Savings

Most grocery stores offer a five cent per bag reduction from your total purchase when you bring in your own bags. Think of all the paper and plastic you'll save by reusing your clean, strong grocery bags!

Also, if you bring in your own commuter cup to most coffee houses (like Starbucks), they offer a ten cent per cup savings. Again, you are helping our environment by reusing your own clean cup and you are saving money!

Dripless Water Bottles

Put an old sport sock around a plastic water bottle. This prevents the water from dripping and getting table surfaces wet. It is cheaper then buying the "insulated" bottles, and it is washable!
Erica W.

Gloves: Round Two

If you get a hole in one of your rubber gloves, don't just throw it out. Cut two or three strips about 3/4 inch wide from the top. These make great rubber bands when you need a larger one than usual. Also, cut the fingers off. These make great covers for your fingers if you are wearing a bandage and help to keep the area clean when you are doing a dirty job.
Jeanette M.

Minimal Service, Maximal Savings

Like many people, I have a cell phone, but I also want to keep a landline for backup purposes. Where I live, in a large urban city, unlimited phone service is around $30 a month. With a $35 cell phone bill, I hated the idea that I was paying $65 per month just for phone services. I don't even make that many phone calls!

I called my local phone provider and asked about limited calling plans. They have a plan whereby I can make up to 30 calls a month for $14.88. There are no restrictions on incoming calls or minutes used. They told me that if I exceeded the 30 calls, each call was 8 cents.

I did some quick figuring. For me to approach my normal bill of around $30, I would have to make more than 185 extra phone calls beyond my baseline of 30 that was included in the price. I'll never come close to doing that. I'm going to save about $180 this year with the change.
Barbara B.

Save Some Dough

I never liked the taste of any type of bread that had been frozen and then thawed. The crust always seemed "funky" after it thawed. Having recently adopted three little girls, we now go through about three loaves of bread per week. I was always running to the store for bread. My friend told me to thaw the bread on a cooling rack to get airflow underneath it.

I now buy bread every time it's on sale, and it tastes better and fresher than the first day that I bought it. I think the airflow underneath is the trick. Who would've known? This has saved me numerous trips to the grocery store for that fresh loaf of bread.
Shelly in Fort Lauderdale

Cracked Carafe

As we all know, coffeemaker carafes are flimsy and crack easily either in the sink or if it comes in contact with your faucet a little too fast! I found that my local Church thrift store carries a multitude of carafes that sell for around one to two dollars. So try your thrift stores before ordering a new one or buying another coffee maker!

Bridesmaids Dresses

I am constantly hearing complaints from bridesmaids about their dresses. They are spending hundreds of dollars for a dress (sometimes a hideous one!) that they will never wear again. This often ruins the feeling of honor and excitement about being asked to be in a friend's wedding.

Instead of choosing dresses that are all the same, why not just specify the color and maybe the fabric and length? Let the bridesmaids choose their own dresses. For example, you could specify ankle-length, cobalt blue satin. It's obviously easier if you choose a more common color. I did this for my wedding and my best friend did it for her wedding as well. I found my beautiful dress at a thrift store for $10! The effect is really just as nice. If you think the bridesmaids will have trouble finding an appropriate dress, you can always suggest a catalog or store for ideas.
Judy G.



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