Dollar Stretcher Tips for May 7, 2015


Spot Remover

To clean spots on clothing, I just rub a regular bar of hand soap on the spot. Then I scrub it with both hands. In a minute, it’s gone! This is cheaper than any other spot remover I’ve tried!

Natural Shampoo

Wash your hair in the shower with a bar of plain soap, such as castile, lye, or olive oil-based soap. Rinse with a 1:10 vinegar/water solution and then wash out with plain water. Your hair will be squeaky clean and very soft and shiny. This really works!

Fresh Frozen Fish?

I love to fish and often we catch more than we can eat or give away while it’s still fresh. Then I learned a trick from a friend. I put the fish in a freezer bag and fill 75% full with tap water. Squeeze the air out, seal, and put it in the freezer. I’ve kept fish for months this way. They take a little longer to thaw, but taste just like they came out of the lake!

Summer Window Shade

Living in Phoenix, the summers get very hot. Our house faces west, so the afternoon sun can be brutal. We can’t afford the newer windows that prevent heat from entering the home, but we did come up with a solution. I bought some emergency Mylar blankets. I found 10 of them for $6. I cut one to fit each of our west facing windows. To attach them, I just sprayed some water on the window and applied the Mylar blanket. They stick, but can be easily removed. The Mylar reflects the heat back outside where it belongs and leaves us with a much cooler house and lower A/C bills!

Condo Insurance

If you own a condo, you should read your homeowner’s policy carefully. I bought what my agent recommended, and I thought that I had sufficient coverage. However, when a water pipe burst, I found out differently. I only had coverage for theft, not for property damage. So I was on the hook for nearly $10k in damages. The only thing that was covered was the carpeting. Plumbing repair, new drywall, etc. was all on me. Check your policy now before something happens to you.


Cheaper Vacation Lodging

When we travel, we like to see things that the ordinary tourist doesn’t get to see. One way we do that is to see if any colleges in the area provide housing. Some open their dorms or have hospitality centers. During the summer, they’re practically vacant, so rates are super cheap! Besides comfortable lodging, we get to experience a college campus and save money, too.

Packing for a Move

Our family moved coast to coast three times. One of the tips we found most useful was in how we packed. For example, we packed dishes in dishtowels, wrapped bedroom knick-knacks in clothing, and wrapped bathroom knick-knacks and perfumes in bath towels. This saved us in so many areas. There was no unwanted garbage, newspapers, packing materials, etc. I didn’t have to sort through boxes to find what I needed, because my dishes and dishtowels were all in the box labeled kitchen and so forth. Don’t forget the time saved unwrapping all the stuff and disposing of it. Think of the space we saved in the landfills, too.

Before I Buy

The process of buying a timeshare reminds me of the Thomas Jefferson admonition to “avoid entangling alliances.” My checklist of questions for many purchases includes the following. How do I get in? What does it cost to buy? What does it cost to maintain? How do I get out? What does it cost to get out? A timeshare always seemed like an “entangling alliance” to me.
Rick M. in Fenton, Missouri

Sheet Solution

It seems my fitted sheets always wear out first and I’m left with a fairly good top sheet. I’ve found that there are always some nice flat sheets at the thrift store. Since I learned how to make a bed using flat sheets in nursing, I now use two flat sheets to make our bed. We have a queen-size bed, so I try to find a king flat to put on the bottom. I always look for white, so I don’t have trouble matching. And I can always switch out when one wears out.

I’m Not a Boy Scout, But…

For many of us, this is the start of tornado season. After a near miss a few years ago, I decided to be prepared just in case, so I bought a water-proof container for important papers. I also keep a set of any medications my family is taking in a makeup bag that I can grab if a storm is heading for us. I also keep an overnight bag with a change of clothes for everyone. Hopefully, I won’t need any of it, but if I do, we’ll be prepared!

Burnt Non-Stick Pans

I recently burnt my coated frying pan when cooking. Since it’s coated, I couldn’t use any type of utensil to scrape it off. After unsuccessfully soaking it in dish detergent, I coated it in a baking soda and water paste. I let it soak overnight and that didn’t work either.

So I finally decided to toss the pan if one last thing didn’t work. I filled the frying pan with water. I put it on the stove burner on high and stayed right there. I actually watched it lift off some of the heavier burnt-on food. It took a few times as I emptied the pan and refilled it with water, but it worked. Every little bit of burnt-on food came off the frying pan. It’s my favorite frying pan and I’m happy it survived. None of the coating came off and it’s perfectly good to use.
Lilly P.

Before You Commit

I’ve found a way to make sure that I can handle any new payments I’m considering. Last summer, I wanted to buy a newer car but wasn’t sure I could afford the higher payment. I started pretending that I had the higher payment. I took the extra money out of my checking account and transferred it to savings. After four months, I was sure that I could afford it and traded for a newer car.

Now I’m thinking a bigger apartment would be nice, so I’m trying on the higher rent to see if it’ll cause me a problem. So far, it’s ok, but I’ll wait awhile before making a commitment. LaTisha


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