Dollar Stretcher Tips - 09/23/04


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!



Buy Big, Freeze Small

Buying meat in the "family packs" is almost always cheaper. Instead of spending all the money on the small freezer bags so I can freeze in portions that I will use later, I wrap each chicken breast (for example) in plastic wrap and then put the pieces into one or two gallon freezer bags. Since each piece of meat is wrapped in plastic, they don't stick together when they freeze and they are also less likely to get freezer burn. Then I can pull out exactly how much I want and not have too much or too little.
Katie In Utah

Down Done Right

I was continually taking my down comforters to the dry cleaners to be cleaned. Finally, one day, the dry cleaner took pity on me and told me that they use regular laundry detergent and cold water to wash down comforters that people bring in to be "dry cleaned."

To fluff the down and get it back in place after washing, they just throw the comforter into a large dryer with three new tennis balls. This works great. My comforters come out looking like new and it costs a fraction of the cost of the dry cleaner.
Nicole M.

Behind the Baby Oil

If you look at the ingredients of your baby oil, you will see that it is mineral oil with a scent added. Save by buying generic mineral oil and adding scent. Just be sure that any scent you use is safe for your baby.
Renee in Colorado


To add a little "zip" to our evening meals, a friend, who is a Family Nurse Practitioner, recommended adding a few ounces of lemon juice to a gallon of water. This makes a "thrifty" gallon of fluid that is fitting for our sweltering heat in the deep south! I've never really calculated the cost per ounce, but by using generic juice, the cost is minimal and the value is tremendous.

Next time you want a break from the run-of-the-mill (and expensive) drink, try this lemon water refreshment. Without sugar or artificial sweetener added, this is a "real deal."
Dave and Anne

Cleaning Up Pet Hair

To get pet hair off carpet, clothes, etc., try using a rubber glove. It's a great hair and lint remover. If the hair still won't come off, then try a slightly damp towel and "scrub" the rug with circular motions. A lot of hair comes up then.
Bev C.

Can't Cancel!

For those companies who automatically send stuff and do not seem to cancel, refuse their shipments. After you have written them to cancel do not open any more shipments. Write "Refused" or "Return to Sender" on the package and place in the mail.

More Than We Need

I have found that some bottles of shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, and toothpaste have openings that are quite large, so we use more than we need. I happened to have saved a top from an old bottle that I am using on top of a new shampoo bottle. I saw somewhere how much more in sales this sneaky tactic nets the manufacturer. It's quite a large sum.
Betty R.

Custom Birthday Cakes

I have an idea for cake toppers. I found that action figures work great, and they make a nice gift as well.

For my son's birthday this year, I made a cake that had Harry Potter on it. For my other son's birthday, I had Star Wars figures. One of the figures looked like he had been "blown up," so I scattered the pieces on the top. I used brown sprinkles to make it look more realistic. The cakes were a big hit. And the kids got to keep the figures as part of their presents.

Other ideas include are bugs, jungle animals, dinosaurs, etc. Use colored frosting or sprinkles to add to the ideas.

New 'Blues'

Here's an easy way to keep those jeans looking good. Wash faded jeans with new jeans or any other new dark blue clothing item. Dark blue has a tendency to bleed, so the old jeans pick up the extra dye! Plus, doing this reduces an extra load of laundry just for those new blues!
Kathy B.


Every time I went for a pan in the cupboard, I would have to go through a major ordeal to retrieve the appropriate pan and waste even more time putting the pans I didn't want back in place.

When my patience finally ran out, I got a piece of wood about 1 1/2" by 1/2" and the vertical length of my cupboard. I nailed the wood on the inside top of the cupboard. I bought some cup hooks and screwed them into the wood about 2" apart. Then I started hanging all those pots and pans, since every one had a hole in the handle. This has made a huge difference. I know they sell something like this at the hardware store, but my total cost was 89 cents, since I already had the piece of wood.
Lisa L.

Large Cookie Racks

For cooling a large amount of freshly baked cookies, I have saved one of those plastic coated closet shelves. I cover it with aluminum foil, put a couple cereal bowels on my table, place the rack on top of them, and have a great rack to cool cakes, cookies, etc. I have two sizes that I store in my pantry closet to use for different things.

Ready Onion

I've always had a bad habit of cutting enough onion for the recipe at hand, then throwing the rest away. When I finally realized how wasteful I was being, I decided to mince the whole onion, use what I need, and then put the rest in a small baggie. I then put that baggie inside another baggie for extra "smell" control.

Using baggies eliminates the need to soak the stink out of plastic containers. Now whenever I need onion for hotdogs, hamburgers, tuna, etc., I just reach in the fridge and grab the baggie, and I only have to cut an onion about once a week.
CJ in Virginia

More Filling, Tastes Great!

I want to tell you about a great piece of wisdom that I got from my chiropractor that also dabbles in nutrition. He said that although it may look like eating healthy costs more, it really doesn't. If you are eating healthier foods, you fill up faster and you eat less. You also are putting more nutrients into your body, which means you get sick less often and see the doctor less.

Cubbie Storage

For people who knit or crochet or just need a lot of smaller storage spaces, go to a store that sells liquor and ask if you can have their empty liquor boxes. The boxes have dividers between each of the bottles.

Depending on your available space, these boxes can be stacked on each other (on their sides) to give perfect little "cubbies" for your yarn. The colors can be readily seen and there's no tangling.

Speak Up!

Don't be a dissatisfied consumer. Speak out. On one occasion, I bought a whole chicken from a local grocery store. After unwrapping and washing the chicken, I found it was inadequately cleaned at the processing plant. I took the name and address off the wrapper and wrote a polite letter advising that they needed to pay closer attention to quality control as the chicken I purchased still had feathers on it and looked improperly cleaned. To my surprise, the company sent me a letter of apology, two coupons good for two chickens, a chicken cookbook, and a cutting board. All it took was a little time and a polite way to inform a company that their product needed their further attention.

I have written other companies in the same way when a product was unsatisfactory. By doing this, the company makes better products and sales, and you are a happier consumer with a better product. So learn to speak up.
Phyllis T.

Moisturizer with Sunscreen

By now, everyone is aware that it is recommended to use sunscreen everyday. But in my hurry to get ready for work, I find it too "mushy and globby" to apply both sunscreen and moisturizer at once. And I have not found any "off name" moisturizers that offer sunscreen, and name brands are too expensive.

Now I just take 1/2 sunscreen (cheapo brand) and 1/2 moisturizer and shake in the moisturizer bottle. Instant affordable moisturizer with sunscreen!

Ground Savings

Recently, the sirloin tip roasts were on sale at our local grocery store and the butcher offered to cut it into steaks for me for free! This was great, but the real savings came when he ground the rest into ground beef. This was about 30 cents a pound cheaper than the cheapest ground beef! Since then, anytime they have roasts, etc. on sale I buy one and ask them to grind it up. It is usually cheaper than the "regular" ground beef and the service is free.

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