Dollar Stretcher Tips - 08/26/04


Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of
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Outsmarting the Marketers

We are taught that buying in bulk saves money, but the retail industry has figured this out and actually charges more for some bulk packaging. The number one rule of being a smart consumer is use the unit price indexing when shopping! The unit price tells you how much each ounce, pound, etc. is for each product. Even though the bottle may say "20% More," it may cost more per ounce. Unit price labels are located on the shelf sticker below each product, with the unit price at the left. Make sure that you are comparing the same units located under the unit price (ounce to ounce, not ounce to pound). We can outsmart their marketing tactics by shopping wisely!

Cheaper Greetings

I like making my own greeting cards but do not like buying the expensive papers that are sometimes used. Now I just go into my card making program and enlarge a "background" graphic (I like the marbleized granite) to cover the sheet of paper. I print it out and cut it to the size that I need for the card I am working on. It looks like the expensive paper bought in craft stores!

Nightly Hair Care

I have a suggestion to keep little girls' hair tangle free. I have always had long hair and it was such a mess when I was young. To keep it tangle free at night my mom would put it into a big loose braid after brushing it. In the morning I took out the braid and it was not only tangle free, but also wavy!
T. D.

Mobile Snack Supply

Measure under your car seats and find a plastic container that will fit. My seats are 3.5" from the floor, which will fit a pretty good-sized container. I keep it filled with Slim Jims, Teddy Grahams, tubes of applesauce, little juice cans, etc. Whatever will not be affected by sitting in the heat.

Now when my kids get hungry, they just pull out the snack box. Saves me time stopping for a snack, whiney kids, and money!!
Deb C.

Water for Gardens

For my garden I've made a rain barrel to catch rainwater from my roof through the downspout. It catches just about all I need for my gardening needs. I attached a faucet to which I can connect my hose or under which I can fill a bucket. I believe you can find plans for the barrel on the Web. You could make one for every downspout if your watering needs are heavy.
You could also plant a rain garden into which you direct your downspout water. See the Web for more information on these gardens. Use mulch around all your plants and trees to keep the moisture in the soil.


Bowls of vinegar can be used for any unpleasant odors in the home. You can heat it in a bowl in your microwave. I always use it when I cook fish. I also put it on a cloth to wipe out my microwave and/or oven. It's great for removing odors from carpeting and upholstery also.
Sharon in Virginia

New Shoes

Yesterday, I was about to leave home wearing my brand new casual shoes, and although they were comfortable, I felt the strap across my instep would probably rub a blister on my foot by the end of the day. It was a new place for a strap to fall on my instep. Also, it's hot summertime in the South and I did not want to wear hose. I started to grab some Band-Aids, but they would show through the strap and look silly. Okay, better silly than blistered. But at the last minute, I decided to experiment by rubbing my instep with petroleum jelly. Amazingly, there was immediate comfort and this lasted all day. At the end of the day, I had no blisters at all. I cannot believe I've lived this long and not figured that out before.

Paint Roller Streaks

I had a problem with roller streaks. A paint manufacturer representative told me that a lot of people run into that problem. If you have quality paint, the problem can usually be narrowed down to the quality of the roller or the direction you roll the paint on. The last roll should be a down stroke. That way the paint being applied is coming off the roller from the same direction on every stroke. You'll end up with fewer streaks or roller marks.

Fly Away!

Want to get rid of fruit flies? Pour a little red wine vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a small bowl near the area where the pests are gathering.
Charles C.

That Favorite Cap

I have an idea about washing ball caps. I find it easy to get that "new" hat look by stretching the ball cap over a 1, 2, or 3 quart "saucepan" after washing (depending on head size). Spray with spray starch and set in the sun to dry. The hat will keep its shape longer!

Cleaning Jugs and Vases

To clean empty jugs for reuse, use plain white vinegar and about a tablespoon of uncooked rice. If you vigorously shake the container on all sides, the vinegar will clean and disinfect and the rice will scrub. Rinse thoroughly and it will be sparkling clean.

Laundry Care

Here's a couple of laundry tips I've learned to help things last longer. If possible, avoid hot water, chlorine bleach, and high dryer temperatures. As well as the expense, all are wearing on laundry. If something needs to be sanitized, drying in a hot dryer will be easier on it than hot water or chlorine bleach.

Always wash and dry denim clothing and other garments that have buttons, snaps, pockets and other rough outside parts inside out with all fasteners fastened. Since I started doing this a few years ago, I haven't had a single pair of jeans develop holes or split at the seams, and I get less wear on shirts.

Bath Puffs

Here's a tip that saves money on both soap and those exfoliating bath puffs that you can buy. I take the plastic mesh bags that onions come in, fill them with leftover soap slivers, and then tie with a twist tie. It makes a great exfoliating bath puff, and it keeps me from throwing away those small pieces of soap.
Bonnie in SC

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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