Here are your Dollar Stretcher Tips for December 10, 2015 (I fully admit that the image doesn’t exactly reflect the content in this post but they are mentioned so ha!).
Getting Another Opinion
This time of year it’s hard not to see ads that encourage you to buy or ask for something as a gift. I’ve found an antidote. When something catches my attention, I search out sites that include negative reviews of the product. Often that’s enough to turn me off on the product.
My husband and I like scrambled eggs. Since the kids are all gone, we only use milk for eggs, and often it would go bad before we used it all. Then one day when I didn’t have milk, I tried using dry milk. It worked perfectly! In fact, it might even be better. Unlike regular milk, it doesn’t separate when I cook the eggs.
‘Fly Away’ Hair
During the winter, my hair tends to get dry and doesn’t hold well. I hate using a lot of hairspray, so I found another way to keep my hair under control. Once a week, I soak my hairbrush in water that’s had a few drops of fabric softener added to it. I let it dry without rinsing. It’s amazing how something so simple can help control my hair!
Ditch the Paper!
With three toddlers in the house, it’s easy to reach for a paper towel every time something gets spilled. I was going through a lot of paper towels! Finally, I took my sister’s advice and bought some old cloth diapers. They’re super absorbent, and I can use bleach or whatever I want to get them clean. And, I think I can wash them 1000 times before they wear out!
I’m a Paid Cook
Some nights I’m not motivated to cook dinner for my family. I found a way to make it easier. If I’m making lasagna, I figure out what we would pay if all four of us went to a restaurant and had it. It would probably be somewhere around $50! So I look at it as if I’ve saved that money for my family. Knowing that I’m putting us closer to paying off our credit cards makes me feel much better!
Protect Your Carpet
We like a live Christmas tree but don’t want to take a chance that we’ll damage our living room carpet. So we bought one of those plastic trays that are used under a washing machine. We put the tree stand on top and any spills are contained in the tray. Then we use a big old table cloth on top of the stand that catches any needles and sap. Between the two, we enjoy our tree and never need to worry about our carpet!
Save the Hot Air!
Everyone knows that hot air rises. Therefore, it’s warmer near the ceiling than near the floor where you typically stand or sit. The solution? Turn on your ceiling fan! Just make sure that you change direction and have it run in a clockwise direction. Most fans have a small switch near the base that determines its direction. There’s no reason to heat your ceiling. Push all that hot air down to where you are!
Clothes Dryer Maintenance
During the summer, we try to line-dry our clothes, but winter weather changes all that. Therefore, I do an annual clothes dryer maintenance. I unplug it and turn off the gas. Then I take off the top and front. There are only a couple of screws holding them on. Next, I check the drive belt for any cracks. I apply some belt dressing that I get from my auto parts store. Then using my shop vac, I clean out all the traps and airways. You’d be surprised how much lint collects in a year. After I reassemble it, the dryer runs like new and much more efficiently than if it was still full of lint.
Winter Lawn Tool Storage
I saw a great tip for storing rakes, shovels, etc. on a do-it-yourself show. You need a length of heavy-duty chain, some “S” hooks, and some eye screws. Simply insert the eye screws into the top of the handles of the tools. Then, hang the chain from a stud in the ceiling and place the “S” hooks down the chain. Hook the tools on the “S” hooks. You can store a lot of tools in a relatively small amount of space.
Breakfast to Go
Since there are days that I don’t have time to make a nutritious breakfast, I always keep a batch of quiche muffins in the freezer. They’re so easy to make. I just mix four eggs and a handful of onions, peppers, spinach, cheese, bacon, or whatever I like at the moment in a bowl. Then I pour it into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. After they cool, I can keep them in the fridge for days or freeze them and take them out as I need them. It beats grabbing a toaster pastry.
Winterizing Your Grill
Most of us are finished grilling for the year. I like to take a few minutes to winterize my gas grill before I put it away. I begin by wrapping the grill surface with foil and then turning the burners on full blast for about 15 minutes. That pretty much vaporizes anything left on the grill. Once it cools, I dust it off and coat it with cooking spray. I then remove the gas tank and store it in the shed away from the house. The grill goes into the garage for the winter.
Think Outside the Gift Box
This time of year, a lot of stores offer bonus gift cards when gift cards are bought. We don’t have a lot of people that we give gifts to, so normally we wouldn’t be buying gift cards. However, when a store or restaurant where we go frequently offers a deal, we buy them for ourselves. For instance, last Christmas, one store offered a $25 card if we bought one for $100. We used it when we needed a new microwave oven. They had a model we liked on sale. Besides the sale price, we got an additional 25% off because of the gift card bonus. One other benefit is that it’s a little like having a small savings account. We set aside the money now, so it’ll be a little easier on the wallet in the future.
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