Dollar Stretcher Tips for April 2, 2015


Easter Baskets

I got tired of buying new Easter baskets each year for my kids. Last year, I bought a little better ones and we’ll be using them again this year and in the future, too! They don’t take up much storage space, so there’s no reason not to reuse them.

Mosquito Repellent

Lemongrass is a natural mosquito repellent and one that my grandmother swears by. Depending on the layout of the area you’re trying to “de-mosquito,” you may even be able to plant some directly into your gardens or borders. We are going to put pots of lemongrass around the deck area in our backyard.

Where, When and How

My husband and I are both retired. For years, he’s taken care of certain things like yardwork and home maintenance. All that time I’ve taken care of our family’s bills and financial affairs. We decided that it would be a good idea if we put together a notebook with instructions and other pertinent information about running our home and our lives. We were thinking it would be useful if either of us had an illness, but it even came in handy last summer when we traveled. We gave the notebook to our son who was looking after our home while we were away.

Leftover Surprise

My family never liked leftovers, but I couldn’t stand to throw away uneaten food. Then I figured out a solution. Now when I make a meal, I visit one of the many recipe sites on the internet. I enter an ingredient or two in their search box and see what recipes appear. Often it’ll give me an idea on how to transform the leftovers into an entirely new meal. Not only does it use up the leftovers, but it also keeps our menu fresh.

No Ice Needed Picnic Cooler

Here’s a simple way to keep food cooler outdoors. You’ll need two unglazed clay pots. One should be larger than the other. Put the smaller one inside the larger one and fill the space outside the smaller one with sand. Pour water on the sand until it’s saturated. Then put your food in the smaller pot and cover with a damp cloth and a heavy lid. The inner temperature will be about 20 degrees cooler than the outside air until the water evaporates. I’ve never used it on things that spoil quickly like potato salad, but it’s great for veggies and fruits.

Milk My Way

Milk prices are about the same for whole, 2%, 1%, and skim. I prefer not to use or drink whole milk because of the calorie content. However, I have been buying whole milk for the richness, and then dilute it with water. I use a second empty, clean gallon milk bottle and pour some of the whole milk into it. Then I add water, shake well, and refrigerate until very cold. I have discovered I can even dilute a gallon of whole milk by half with water, and I am quite happy with the result. I find it to be absolutely fine for cooking, in cereals, and even for drinking. This trick cuts my milk cost in half! Also, milk can also be frozen quite well. Just pour a little off the top to allow for expansion.
Barb N.

Scam Alert

Recently, I was sent an email offering to sell me cheaper medications. Since my prescriptions have a high deductible, I thought that I might save some money, so I decided to check out the company. I was about to place my order when I realized that they had not asked for my prescription! No reputable pharmacy would send drugs without a prescription. Later I read that was a common scam. I’m glad that I didn’t fall for it!

Easy Garden

I don’t have space for a big garden. I just use a small portion of my patio. Last year, my garden supply center had a great deal on broken bags of potting soil, so I bought six of them. I set them out on my patio and cut a few slits in the bottom and a hole in the top. I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in the bags. I watered them just like I would normally and had a mini-veggie garden!

Redecorate Your Home for Free

Last fall, my sister and I both wanted to do something different in our living rooms, but with the holidays coming up, neither of us had any extra cash to spend. We were sitting in my living room when she commented that a lamp I had would look great in her living room. Bingo! I gave her my lamp for one of her lamps. We swapped a couple of wall hangings, our coffee and end tables, and two lamps. Only our families know what we did. To our friends, it’s a completely new look!

Check Your Bills!

I just checked my auto insurance renewal policy because I was wondering what additional discounts I might be eligible for and noticed the 55 and over discount wasn’t on there any longer. I checked the last few renewals and saw it was missing. I called my agent and asked why it disappeared from the last two statements and it seems the company accidentally left it out/off. I will be getting a refund of the difference and now know to check my statements.

Packing Light

We all know that when we have a lot of stuff to take with us, a trip is harder. I love it when I can get everything into one bag that’s a carry-on. I’ve found that my tablet and phone can replace a lot of stuff. Before I leave, I load both with eBooks, movies, TV shows, apps, and anything else that can make my trip more pleasant. Now I just need to remember not to leave my charger in the hotel room!

Vinegar? Yes, But…

If you’re going natural on cleaning products, you’ll probably see articles recommending that you use vinegar as a disinfectant. As a chemist, I can tell you that’s not completely true. Vinegar temporarily immobilizes, but doesn’t kill bacteria. So using it on countertops and in the bathroom isn’t the germ killer that most people think.

Vinegar is still great for cleaning windows and removing water stains. But if you want to kill germs, you need to use something like an organic biocide.


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