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Dollar Stretcher

By Staff | Dec 23, 2008

Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit TheDollarStretcher.com to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2008 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

Holiday Photo Fun

I have five grown kids and have saved many pictures throughout the years. I started using pictures for Christmas gift labels. Instead of writing the name of the recipient on the package, I just glue a picture of them on the package. You can use old photos or current ones. They love it. Gwen

Inexpensive Acne Care

After spending a lot of money on acne skin products for my teenagers’ acne problems, I learned something that works well and for a lot less money.

The same “antibacterial” hand soap I buy for $4 to $5 for a half gallon works really well as a face wash to prevent outbreaks. Use it twice a day and see the difference. It’s as good if not better than all those fancy acne face washes and bar soaps. Donna

Hammering Small Nails

When hammering a small nail into a wall or in an awkward position, I always seem to drop the nail repeatedly. I have found that putting the nail through an index card and then holding the card while hammering the nail helps without fail. The card holds the nail in place.


Handy Ice Bag

To make a quick ice bag, all it takes is some rubbing alcohol and water. The ratio is 1:2 of alcohol to water. For instance, use one cup of alcohol and two cups of water. This will make it a slush-like consistency. I put it into quart baggies. Fill one bag and zip it. Then put that bag into another zip bag and zip. Freeze and use. Jan R.

“Free” Groceries

Instead of going out every week and shopping for groceries as usual, take the time to fully inventory your pantry and freezer and use the items in “planned meals.”

We were able to come up with over a month’s worth of meals that were just sitting in the house collecting dust. We saved several hundred dollars this month by just cleaning out the odds and ends. The best part of it all is that you actually use up all the loose ends before they expire.


ID Unworn Clothing

I hang up all my clothes in the closet with the hangers in the opposite direction that you would normally hang them.

When I wear something or wash it and return it to the closet, I put the hanger back in my closet the correct way. At the end of a year, it’s easy to see what I haven’t worn. I remove all the clothes that I haven’t worn and donate them. I’ve decluttered my closet and made a donation to a worthy charity. Stacey K.

Lost Mitten or Glove?

Is it time to buy glove/mittens? I have a tip that will keep them around for years until they actually wear out. When purchasing, buy two identical pairs of the same color.

It’s almost guaranteed that at some point, you will be in a hurry and will only be able to find one glove/mitten. That’s not a problem. You have another that matches. There have been times that I have lost a glove/mitten, and instead of throwing out the odd one, I still use it until the missing one shows up again. Janelle

Enviro-Friendly Christmas Wrap

I do gift bags and Christmas wrapping a little differently. When I need large gift bag, I buy the “green bags” or canvas grocery bags that almost every store sells to reduce using plastic grocery bags. They are priced at 99 cents virtually everywhere they are sold.

I use that as the gift bag, filling the bag with the gift, tissue paper, and pretty ribbon. It avoids tossing wrapping paper into landfills, and costs the same as buying a bag from a dollar store or making your own fabric gift bags.

Because the recipient can then use the bag to carry their groceries, and thus continues to reduce waste, it’s the gift that keeps on giving! Sometimes I get more compliments and appreciation on the “gift bag,” then I do on the gift! My grocery store sells green canvas bags. I plan on filling them with red tissue paper for Christmas gifts.

Leslie M.

Finders Keepers Education

When my children were younger, I used to dread laundry day. Having boys it was always an adventure sorting laundry. As many times as I told them to empty their pants pockets before putting their jeans in the hamper, they didn’t often comply. I was always amazed at the assortment of junk they managed to store in them and never seemed to miss when I tossed it out.

I realized that among the toys, rocks and tissues, there was a rather substantial amount of loose change and dollar bills making their way to my laundry room. In order to teach them that I meant business, I put a piggy bank on my dryer and told them that any loose change that came down went into the bank as my laundry fee. The first couple of months I was averaging about $20 or so!

As soon as they realized that the change went into the family till, they quickly figured out that it was better for them if they emptied their pockets first.

They are older now, but I still keep that bank on the dryer. While it takes longer to fill, I still manage to save some “mad money” for a rainy day.

Carol R.

Fly-away Hair

Add a couple of drops of fabric softener to the rinse water after you wash your hairbrush, then let it dry without further rinsing. It helps control the static electricity in your hair caused by winter dryness. M

Storing Christmas Lights

I was reading the hint about wrapping the lights around a paper towel cardboard. I have used this idea for a long time, but I go one step further. After wrapping them around the cardboard, slip the whole thing into one of those bags your newspaper comes in on a rainy day. It will keep them from catching on other strings in the storage container. Harlean

Travel Memories

When I was growing up and camping around the country in a station wagon with my parents on vacation, we always made a scrapbook. I love looking back at them. They are full of postcards, napkins, brochures, etc. from all the places we visited, and they cost very little for such a high entertainment value. Plus, they kept us busy “scrapbooking” in the 50s before that term became popular. As I recall, we even enjoyed spending time looking at the scrapbooks while we were still on the road. Tanya

Sports Memories

When my sports team won the World Series, instead of rushing out to buy expensive and poorly made t-shirts and sweatshirts, I laminated four front pages of my local paper. The total cost was $8. Years from now, when the clothing souvenirs are a faded distant memory, I bet my homemade souvenir hanging up in the basement will still be a conversation starter. Greg

Shipping Military Packages Overseas

I have lived in Germany for the last 6+ years and can tell you by unfortunate experience that if a package is not sent USPS Priority mail, it will take up to two months to get to its destination. Yes, the package is sent to the military mail center stateside, but if it is not priority mail, it will not be sent overseas via the quickest way possible.

Space available means just that. When they find room for it, it will get shipped over. Even Priority mail, which usually takes 10 to 14 days during the year, can take 2 to 4 weeks during the busy holiday season. Don’t disappoint your loved ones serving overseas by thinking cheap postage is the way to go. Some things just aren’t worth saving a couple of pennies (and honestly I have found the difference in postage to vary from a few cents to several dollars). Stefanie C.

Cleaning Fiberglas Showers

I struggled for years with a textured fiberglass shower floor. Here’s the two-step solution that worked for me:

Step 1: Get a box of Mule Team Borax and a plastic dish scrubber (the mesh ball kind). Shake a layer of Borax across the shower floor, sprinkle with enough water to make a paste, and scrub with the dish scrubber. If it’s really bad, let the paste sit for 10 minutes first. Once done scrubbing, rinse and repeat as needed.

Step 2: Stop using bar soap! Switch to a liquid and you will never have a soap scum problem again. I didn’t believe it until I tried it, and it works. Jeanna