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Dollar Stretchers

March 15, 2013
Northern-Sun Print
Grungy Shower Curtains I wash my clear shower curtain liner in the washing machine on hot with a little bleach. It comes out looking like new, and I never need to replace it. Shari

Low Cost Screen Cleaners If smudges are on your computer or TV screen, don't buy the expensive "electronic wipes." Instead, use 100% cotton. It's also great for cleaning glasses. Don't use water or any other cleaner. Just gently rub off the fingerprints or other smudges. R.C. in KS

Stinky Food Containers To get odors and stains out of plastic containers, baby bottles, glasses, juice containers, etc., I use a denture tablet. It doesn't need to be name brand. I fill the container with water and add one denture tablet. Then I allow the tablet to dissolve. This rids the object of stains and odors. C.

Flavored Teas We eat a lot of canned fruit in the winter. I save the juice that the fruit comes in and add it to our tea. Sometimes we have peach tea and sometimes we have pineapple or pear tea. When we get tired of that "flavor," I just freeze the juice in a labeled jar and use it later. We get expensive tea flavors for free. Denise

Affordable One Day Vacations We love to travel, but going on vacation can be expensive, so we take day trips to nearby farms who offer DIY fruit/vegetable picking. These are usually in the country, and along the way, we go to garage sales and see other small towns. We pack a lunch and go to a park or the farm itself to eat. Before leaving home, I look up swimming holes nearby where we can stop for a dip. It has the "feel" of going on a trip without the cost, and as an added bonus, we bring home bushels of fruit at a low cost, which we then can/freeze for later use! Julie S.

Small Appliance Solution If you've got older small appliances that you use every day, while they are still working is the best time to begin to look for replacements on Freecycle or Craigslist. If you are able to get one, set it aside so that it won't be necessary to pay full price for a new one when the old one no longer works. Even if the replacement isn't exactly what you want, it will give you time to wait for the right one to be on sale. Susan in NYC

The Fiver Solution Keep every $5 bill you get. Don't spend it. Put it away for emergency money or to put towards something. When you purchase something and are getting change back, ask for a $5 bill in your change to put away. Make it a family event. Have everyone do it. You won't miss that $5. The very first week I started doing this, I saved $45! Try it and see how fast you accumulate money. D.

Insurance Bill Shocks When my husband and I first combined finances, I was shocked to find out all of the different insurance premiums we were paying throughout the year. Health insurance aside, we had bills for house insurance, life insurance, car insurance, ATV insurance, and the list goes on. After being caught off guard with an $800 insurance bill, I sat down and made a list of every type of insurance we had, how much the premium was, and when it was due. I then did some simple math of adding all the premiums together and dividing by 52. I opened a separate savings account (super quick to do thanks to the ease of online banking), and each week an automatic transfer puts that designated amount into our "insurance savings account." Now whenever the insurance premiums pop up, I just go to that savings account and the money is already there! Mandy in Virginia

Stretching Meat Sauces Years ago, our family of six had to stretch what little meat we could afford. One day I stumbled across a great idea. I was making chili and was already using stuff out of the fridge like a slice of leftover meatloaf, a spoonful of taco meat, half of a hamburger patty, etc. My chili wasn't "beefy" enough in texture, but the flavor was fine. I got a can of hominy (which no one else would eat), drained it, chopped it up in the food processor, and added it to the chili. This made the chili thick and "meaty." After adding it in, the "crumbles" looked like the rest of the chili meat and took on the flavor of the chili as well. Since then, I stretched other dishes I made like spaghetti, tacos, etc. with the hominy crumbles, and I got the same result. No one knew but me. Lois B.

I Can Save You Money If you have more time than money in your life, your time can be a "gift" to friends. Recently, friends of mine needed to leave town at a moment's notice due to a family emergency. They could not afford a pet sitter for their dog, nor could they afford kennel costs. They know I'm an animal lover, and since their dog requires seizure medication every 12 hours, they remembered that I once told them that I'd be happy to help out. They covered my gasoline costs. I took care of their dog, and if I have to leave town for some reason, one of them is happy to water my plants, turn lights off and on, etc. Let your friends know you're happy to help out with these kinds of chores. You'll save money and have the benefit of a true friend taking care of your pet or home (versus a total stranger). I've found that many people feel as if they're "putting you out" by asking for this favor. Stress to them that both of you benefit in the end, and it's just a great way to save money. Teri K.



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