Dollar Stretcher Tips - 09/16/04


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

Looking for ways to save time and money? Visit and you'll
find hundreds of articles to help stretch your day and your dollar!



That Feels Good!

I used to go for therapy at the hospital after my car accident. The therapist would massage my muscles to loosen them up. They always had like a little bowl with their cream in it. On day we were talking and I asked her what kind of cream they used.

You are not going to beleive this but they use 100% Crisco Shortening. Yup. Works good.
Sharon S. in Lansing, Michigan

Freezer Bread

I buy bread on sale or bake my own & freeze it all the time. I've talked to several people who won't do this as they say the bread is soggy when thawed. I simply place the bread on a cooling rack to thaw at room temperature & there are no soggy pieces!

This also works great for coffee cake, etc. In fact, I've found that meat thaws much quicker when placed on a cooling rack. I always place an old dish towel underneath the rack to catch any nasty drips.
Kyla H.

Oversized Restaurant Portions

With today's restaurant portions so large, I purposely plan to take home at least half of my food. I eat all of my salad (since it won't keep as well as the other courses) and about half of my meat and potato or vegetable.

When the waitress comes by, toward the end of our meal, I ask for a box. Not only do I put in my usual leftovers, but I also add the rolls, butter (which they will have to throw away anyway) and even my remaining salad dressing.

By doing that, I can sometimes create three meals from one, making my "rather costly" dinner more within my price range and enabling me to enjoy eating out more often.
Donna W.

First Finger Foods

My second child became very picky about his food at about 10 months old. He didn't want me to feed him anymore, he wanted to feed himself. The problem was only had 2 teeth, and wasn't ready to eat most table foods. So i decided to make him flavored pancakes, using fruits and veggie baby food! I just added a jar of baby food to some pancake mix with a small amout of water until it became a pancake consistency, and cooked like pancakes. Then I would throw abunch in the freezer and just pop one in the microwave each morning!
My kids love 'em!
Liz H.
Mathews Va

Lunchtime Learning

My daughter just started middle school this fall. Like most schools, she now has a choice of hot lunch or al a carte. Since time is an issue with us, we have her buy her lunch at school.

The school has a debit system where you prepay all lunches. We give our daughter a set amount of money she can use every 2 weeks. So there won't be any surprises, we gave her a checkbook register we weren't using so she can keep track of her account.

Now she not only knows how much money is in there at all times, she can also budget her money so she will be able to eat for the entire week and buy herself a treat if she has extra. This also teaches her to balance her "checkbook" now rather than when she's older.

It Pays to Ask

Even cheaper than the thrift store are free hand me downs. I used to wait until some one offered me some of their children's used clothing. Not any more. I find people are grateful when I ask if they have clothes their children are no longer wearing. They tell me they are just taking up space in their homes but they did not know what to do with them. Now all of my friends and I ask and remind each other of our childs' sizes and needs and no one has ever been offended. We love to see favorite outfits from our children being used and appreciated by another little one. I find girls especially, have a very high surplus of clothing, usually in excellent condition. I have a one year-old daughter who has been given enough clothes to last up till size 5!
Katy in CA

Extra Payments

I don't have a mortgage, but I do have student loans. I have found an easier way to make extra payments.

When I make my monthly payment, I add $10 to the regular payment amount. That's 1/12th of my regular payment. At the end of the year, I have made an extra payment. I barely notice it because that money isn't sitting around someplace that I would be tempted to spend it.

This money is also saving me 5% interest, instead of earning me less than 1% interest. Just another way to get in some extra payments.

Light Bulb Life

Your light bulbs will last longer if you have a dimmer on the circuit and set it to 95% instead of full on. The 5% reduced voltage usage will hardly be noticeable, but it will increase the bulb's life. This is only true for incandescent and halogen bulbs (unless you have dimmable fluorescent bulbs).

In commercial installations, this technique is used all the time to reduce cost for bulbs and the labor needed to replace them.

Clean Queen

My former, elderly, next door neighbor was an "I can clean anything" queen. She showed me how to wash a down duvet in the washing machine. When my daughter had an accident on her duvet, I put it in our washer, filled with cold water (keep stuffing the duvet down until it is immersed, which is not an easy task) and Ivory detergent. I then hung it out to dry on my clothesline and I've never looked back.

At first, I was really worried that this wouldn't work and that I would damage it somehow. A down duvet, as you know, is an expensive item. Still, I reasoned that ducks get wet, and I didn't relish the idea of my daughter sleeping under all those chemicals that are used at the cleaners.
Carol D.

Bike Commuting

Kudos to all the bike commuters! In addition to the health (and pocketbook) benefits you're already enjoying, lots of companies and communities offer perks for you if you ask. Check to see if your employer has an "Employee Transportation Coordinator" or go online and search for a "Commuter Assistance Program" in your area. Ask about an Emergency Ride Home Program (free or reduced cost cab ride if, for example, you or your child become ill and you need a ride home) and federal tax benefits like "parking cash out." Ask a pro. If you do this right, it's entirely legal and a benefit you're entitled to! Also, the League of American Bicyclists offers free or low cost seminars on bike commuting safety. Happy biking!
Pat M.

Van Carpet Protector

Last year, when we replaced our old worn out van with a new (used) one, we went to the local hardware store to pick up a roll of plastic runner. My husband cut it to length for the floor in front of the middle seats. He was able to tuck it into the plastic molding on the sides and slit it to fit under the seats. He then did the same for the floor in front of the back bench seat.

It is surprising to see how something as simple as an investment under $5 can keep the rugs clean, especially with the winters that we have here in New York!

Mirror Magic

An inexpensive way to decorate is to use an old framed mirror (larger the better) that can be found at a yard sale. Cover the mirror with some newspaper, so that just the frame is showing. Using any kind and color of silk flower and foliage and a hot-glue gun, glue a border of flowers and greens all the way around the mirror. I prefer a thick band of flowers, maybe 4" across all the way around.

Then, using a can of the Design Master (florist) color spray "Glossy Woodtone," spray all the flowers and greens. Regardless of what color you used, it will make them look old, and offer a continuity that brings it together. After it is dried, you can add ribbon, pearls or other trims.

A Drop of Protection

I was always losing buttons off of my clothing. Now, when I buy shirts, slacks or anything with buttons, I reach for the crazy glue. One drop placed in the center of the button fuses the threads together. I have not lost a button in years.
Ken H. in Calgary

Pain Relief

I am a nurse, and recently, I worked a shift at the local Poison Control Center. We had a phone call from a frantic mother that said her 4-year-old ate some really hot peppers and was crying. She also said that the outside of her mouth was flaming red.

The solution? Apply sour cream. Instantly, the pain goes away. I had never heard of this. When I got home, I ate some hot peppers and applied the sour cream. I was amazed. It worked! Remember that pain is a warning. So see a doctor if that's appropriate.

"Vine Ripened" Tomatoes

When cleaning the garden in fall, don't throw away unripened tomatoes. I have a method that works better than wrapping individual tomatoes in newspaper for ripening. Here is the best way to ripen them indoors and get great flavor.

Pull the tomato plant out, roots and all. Shake off the dirt. Hang the plants from the rafters, upside down, in either the basement or the garage. The tomatoes will ripen "on the vine." They taste almost as good as they do in the summer, and they are much better than what is available in the supermarket in the winter. We have had fresh tomatoes until Christmas this way. I once accidentally cut the plants off and did not keep the roots intact, and it still worked. Happy eating!

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