Dollar Stretcher Tips for December 18, 2014
Serve one signature alcoholic mixed drink or one type of wine punch and one type of non-alcoholic fruit punch instead of many different drink choices at your party. Add coffee, tea, and water to round out your drink selections. This will saves you both money and time.
Wrapping Gift Cards
I'm giving gift cards for Christmas and plan on “wrapping” them in novelty socks for my teenage granddaughters. I'll just fold the socks up and wrap a ribbon around them, shaping them into a box around the gift card. This can be done with a man's handkerchief or bandanna for a boy.
The Wide World of Savings
I like to shop the “ethnic” section of my local grocery store. I find that many of the products are cheaper than the name brand versions. And, it's not just things like canned soups and veggies. Also, this includes soaps and laundry detergent. Check out the ethnic section and see what savings you can find.
Baby, It's Cold Outside!
Last winter, I decided that I needed to stop the drafts in my home, so I walked around the outer walls of the house with a lit candle. I turned off the central heat first and was careful not to set the drapes on fire. By holding the candle close to doors and windows, I was able to get a good idea of where cold air was entering our home. I watched for the flame to dance around. Once I found the leaks, I was able to take action.
Tree Too Big?
My three-year-old child and I live in a one-bedroom apartment. It's not real small, but a Christmas tree makes it seem tiny. Last year, when I went to buy a tree, I looked for one that was bare on one side. I got a good deal on it. The bare side goes against the wall and it doesn't take nearly as much space as a fuller tree. This solves two problems at once.
I live in Michigan where we have very cold winters. I had been using flannel sheets and a comforter, but that didn't allow me to adjust the thermostat as low as I would have liked at night. I use fleece throws for wrapping up in on the sofa, and it keeps my back warm while sitting. I decided to try it for sleeping. I took a large fleece throw and used a safety pin in each corner to attach it to the fitted bed sheet. I still use the comforter, but I'm staying much warmer and sleeping much more comfortably.
Before You Call a Repairman
My husband isn't very handy around the house, so I'm accustomed to calling professionals for home repair jobs. Lately, I've gotten into the habit of checking online first. Often I can find an article or video with simple steps that I can try to fix the problem. I've even tried emailing the manufacturer with the problem to ask for help. It doesn't always work, but sometimes I find that I can fix it myself!
Preventing Dog Chewing
Star is my dog. I love her, but she's a chewer and has bitten through her leash on more than one occasion. I had applied a liquid to prevent her from biting the leash, but it was expensive. I tried rubbing white vinegar on it. Star hated it! She no longer bites the leash. I've found that I need to reapply it every few days, but vinegar is cheap, so it's still a great solution.
Organic Stain Removal
If you have clothing that's stained from an organic source (like blood), you can get it out by using salt mixed with just a little water. The salt attracts the stain away from the clothing.
Salt can also replace bleach in your wash. Just use a mixture of salt, baking soda, and detergent in the wash. Your clothes will come clean, and an added benefit is that clothes will last much longer when you stop using bleach.
Laundry Detergent Lesson
Back in high school chemistry class, I learned that laundry detergent doesn't actually clean clothes. It just makes it easier for water to dissolve water-soluble dirt. It's the agitation of the water that does the real work.
Therefore, I've always used less detergent than is recommended and been careful to load my washer per the directions. I especially avoid overloading. That way, I get the maximum agitation and use the least amount of detergent. My clothes get cleaner and last longer.
Second Life for Leggings
My daughters wear leggings every day (long, stretchy pants). Unfortunately, the fabric is unforgiving, so the girls only wear each pair a few times before holes appear. The stretchy fabric is really tough to repair.
So, on a whim, I cut each pant leg into five-inch rings from the ankle up. You can cut the bands as wide or narrow as you wish. They don't fray.
The smallest rings make terrific scrunchies (hairbands for ponytails). The fabric is gentle and doesn't pull out hair. The largest rings (widest) make traditional headbands that are super comfortable. They can be used to hold back hair when washing your face or just hanging around the house. The widest rings also make great napkins. The upper-most part of the pants makes excellent rags and wash clothes, as they are soft and absorbent. It's a shame to throw out good leggings as soon as the first few holes appear and now I don't have to throw them out!
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