Dollar Stretcher Tips for January 15, 2015


Ready for Chili Dogs?

Before the leftover chili has been finished, I scoop out a couple of small containers of the chili and freeze them. Then I defrost when the urge for a chili dog hits. Chili dogs using homemade chili can’t be beat.
Bruce from TN

Organizing Electronics Clutter

Tired of the tangled mess in the junk drawer? A hanging jewelry organizer with small compartments makes a superb place to stash electronic accessories. Wrap your cords and tie them with bread twist-ties. Label each cord/charger/implement. Then organize them either by frequency of use or alphabetically and relabel on the front of its compartment. These organizers are inexpensive on auction sites or dirt cheap at garage sales.
Margaret T.

The ‘Do Not Buy’ List

I always end up with strange stuff in my pantry. It was generally things that looked good in the store, but I didn’t get around to using. After noticing that this was a habit of mine, I decided to create a “Do Not Buy” grocery list. Any time something doesn’t get used for months, I add it to the list. When I’m shopping and something looks tempting, I check the list. I still make mistakes, but at least I don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over!

Saving On Fresh Fruits & Veggies

Trying to save at the grocery store, I make a habit of checking out anything that the store is anxious to clear out. Naturally, I look for nearly out-of-date meats, but my favorite savings is often not available unless I ask, which includes fresh fruit and veggies with slight damage. I cut off bad spots before I put the produce into a soup or other dish. No one knows that I cut off half the item and threw it away. I just ask the produce clerk and they gladly tell me what they have. Since they’d only throw the produce away, they give it to me for pennies.

Stretching Sloppy Joes

I love to make Sloppy Joe meat, and recently came up with a way to stretch it without sacrificing flavor. With the pound of ground beef, I add in a chopped bell pepper (any color) and a can of black beans. I simmer it all together with the Sloppy Joe sauce once the beef is no longer pink, and the beans and pepper take on the flavor of the sauce. I get almost twice as much “meat.” I’ve added a vegetable component, and the beans add more protein and fiber to my dish. This is especially delicious over a baked potato. Yum!
Susan K. from Virginia

Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

I bought used cast iron cookware. I sanded them down with 300-grit sandpaper. Using Dawn® dish soap, I scoured them. Then I boiled water in them to get the soap out. I boiled and cooled them twice. After adding corn oil inside and out, I baked them at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. I let it cool and wiped off the excess oil with a paper towel. Baking them several times improved the non-stick surface. The goal is to never use soap again. Just wash foods out with hot water. Soap will ruin all the seasoning.
Karen (via Facebook)

Extra Drive Rental Charge

Here is something we learned when renting a car over the holidays. We were driving a few hundred miles, so swapping drivers seemed likely. Before we picked up the car, we joined their rental program. Because we were members, they waived the extra driver fee when I asked. Joining was free.

Some states even prohibit the charges for extra drivers, so always ask when you go to pick up your rental car. You might save yourself a few dollars per day.

Rearranging Your Look

We wanted to change the look in our living room. My first thought was to replace the sofa and window covering, but then I looked at our credit card balance and realized that wasn’t going to happen!

So I came up with my version. I moved the furniture around. All the big pieces ended up in a different place. I changed the things that were being displayed on tables (mostly from other rooms). I did buy a couple of new pillows on sale, but that was only a few dollars.

The results were a completely new look for almost nothing. Everyone who’s seen the room thinks that I spent a ton!

My Personal Health Club

Doing housework, yard work, and shoveling gives me a great work out. It’s better than going to the health club, and it’s frugal to not pay others for these tasks.

I’m in my mid-50s and still do my own raking, use a push mower, and shovel even when there is three feet of snow (my property is reasonably small). It is keeping me healthy and I’m not paying any health club fees. Also, I get a sense of accomplishment and feel joyful that I still fit into my skinny jeans.

Therefore, I do not feel negative about chores. Instead, I feel blessed to have them to do.

Frozen Themed Birthday Parties

If you are one of the many families out there planning a Frozen-themed birthday party for your daughter sometime this year, the current post-Christmas sales can be a great source for your party supplies.

Look for anything with snowflakes or other wintry designs or in an ice-blue shade similar to the famous Elsa gown. Tinsel also adds the right touch of winter, and a small pale blue shiny tree would make a stunning centerpiece. Think table coverings, plates and cups, garland, ribbon, ornaments, goodie bags (and the goodies to fill them), gift wrap, etc.

With the right color scheme as your background using these “generic” items, you only need to throw in a couple of actual licensed Frozen items to complete the effect for a fraction of the price.

Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2015 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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