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Dollar Stretchers

April 19, 2013
Northern-Sun Print
Easy Fertilizer The best garden fertilizer I have found is Epsom salts. The active ingredient is magnesium sulfate. You can purchase it in the first aid aisle of your local store or pharmacy for less than $5. The back of the bag has instructions for use. A bag lasts me all summer. The plants and vegetables grow larger and keep producing as long as you keep using it. No more expensive garden fertilizer for me. C.

Buying Winter Wear I always use March and April to buy new gloves and hats for next year. All of the stores have them for at least 75% off. I just picked up a two pack of gloves for 37 cents. I also try to stick with black when buying the thinner gloves. They look great with everything, and if I lose one, all of my extras already match! Julie G.

Reduce Your Vet Bills One thing that can drastically reduce vet bills is to keep your cat indoors! Outdoor cats are exposed to a host of things that can harm them and lead to high vet bills. Those things include other animals that may attack, cars that can hit them, parasites, fleas, and ticks. Also, an outdoor cat is much more likely to ingest something harmful, such as antifreeze or garbage. Any good vet will tell you if you want to keep your cat healthy, keep them indoors at all times! Karen I.

Relaxing Oatmeal Bath I make my own oatmeal bath! I buy a large container of generic 100% oatmeal and put about two cups into my blender or food processor. I blend on pulse for about three minutes until it's very powdery. Then I pour it into a zipper bag. This is also great for diaper rash soaks or skin rashes, and I saved about $6 by doing it myself. C.

Next Year's Property Taxes I am single, and each year, I have property taxes totaling about $1200. My work offers direct deposit, and I set up a special account. I put $50 per pay period (I get paid every two weeks.) directly into my special account. Now when my taxes are due, I have $1300 waiting for me. Since I don't even see the money, I don't miss it, and I budget with the remaining balance from my paycheck. It works great for me! A.

Quick Meal When I cook chicken breasts, I always cook two or three extra. Then, I cut them into small chunks and freeze in separate containers. For a quick meal, I add one container of the cut up chicken to a bag of frozen vegetables and a stir fry sauce or soy sauce. In less than fifteen minutes, our main course is ready. You can also add leftovers from the fridge. Joan M.

Custom Body Lotion I use body lotion after every shower and throughout the day on my hands. Therefore, I go through a lot of it. I love the scented lotions, but they are so expensive. I used to ask for bottles as Christmas or birthday gifts, and then I used it only for special occasions. Then I realized that I could make my own. I now buy a generic body lotion and put it in a pretty lotion dispenser. As I add the lotion to the dispenser, I add drops of lavender essential oil, mixing as I go. I add 15 to 20 drops of the oil. There are many essential oil scents from which to choose. Although the oils are not cheap, they last a very, very long time. I now use wonderfully scented lotion every day for a fraction of the cost. E.

Easy Blender Clean-Up I read this tip a while back, and I recently tested it. I was both amazed and thrilled with the outcome! After using your blender for "smoothies" and such, remove the pitcher and rinse thoroughly. Fill the pitcher with hot water and one little squirt of dishwasher detergent and return it to the blender base. Put the pitcher lid on, hit the blend or chop button, and let it run for 10 to 20 seconds, depending on the degree of cleaning required. Your blender will be squeaky clean! Be sure to rinse thoroughly and let it drain in the dish drainer. You'll occasionally want to wipe off the exterior of the blender base. Sherry H

Timely Discounts My husband was in two hospitals in different states in December and January. When we received the bill from the first hospital, it stated plainly that if the bill was paid in full within 10 days, a 10% discount could be taken. I looked for the same policy when the second bill arrived. I was disappointed not to find it, so I called the hospital's finance department. I explained the first hospital's policy to the woman and asked if their policy was the same even though I didn't see it stated on the bill. I was delighted to hear that it was. So, one toll free call netted us $120! Joyce in Wisconsin

Planned Obsolescence? I recently spent some time shopping with a close friend of mine, and in the process, I learned a valuable lesson about thinking long term when purchasing large-scale sporting goods. My friend is an avid outdoorsman. He enjoys skiing, kayaking, and mountain biking. All require a lot of expensive gear in order to participate safely. However, he created a system to minimize those costs and allow him to keep up with new developments in equipment. Whenever he purchases an expensive item such as a new paddle or a pair of skis, he spends a little time researching the re-sale of that item. He searches eBay, looks at club website classifieds, etc. to find what brands are hot on the re-sale market. He also takes care of his equipment, cleaning it after use and storing it someplace where it will be away from the weather. At the end of a year or two, he resells his old equipment and uses the money to purchase new gear (always on sale). He is usually able to get at least 60% of his original costs back and sometimes even makes a profit, depending on whether he found a good sale price on the original item. In these times of overstuffed garages and sports that can drain your pocketbook quick, this kind of approach can help you spend more time enjoying the great outdoors and less time cleaning up a cluttered garage or working overtime to pay for your expensive hobbies. Allison C.



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