Here are your Dollar Stretcher Tips for March 3, 2016
My Reminder File
Awhile back, I started keeping clothing sizes on my phone, so I'd have them for garage sales. I keep them not only for my kids, but my sister's kids, too. That's worked so well that I started keeping other notes on my phone like the size of my furnace filters.
Does your microwave ever stink? Mine did after I cooked a bunch of bacon in it. To fix that, I put a bowl with a half cup of baking soda in the microwave. Then I let it sit there for a few hours. I didn't run the microwave. Instead, I just left the baking soda. The results? No smell!
I take a lot of video with my phone. It's handy, and I can share it on my accounts. One thing I learned is that using the zoom feature didn't work for me. It was always too much or too little, so I started just walking closer or further away from whatever I was recording. Now unless I want a real close-up, I never use the zoom.
My mom always said that it was important to make a home's entryway inviting, so I have a variety of welcome mats that I rotate. I also like to have live flowers nearby. Last year, I took an old watering can and painted it with some leftover latex. I half filled it with water and took some of the branches I pruned from our evergreen bushes and added them. They lasted for months! This year I'm going to do the same thing. The only difference is that I found a rusty tricycle with a basket. The watering can will sit in the trike basket!
Looking over our 2015 expenses, I added up all that we were spending at the barber and beauty shops. I was amazed! My husband and teenaged son were spending $14 each every six weeks. I won't even tell you what my daughter and I spent! So I started watching some how-to videos. I've touched up my husband and son. Our plan is for me to do them two times and they can go into the barber for the third cut. I've also trimmed my daughter's bangs. I'm trying to get up enough courage to have her trim my split ends. If this works, we'll save a bundle this year!
I was addicted to scratch-off lottery tickets, but I read something on The Dollar Stretcher that said the odds of being a big winner were ridiculous, so I came up with a new strategy. I had been playing at least one ticket per day. Now, when I don't buy a ticket, I put that money in an envelope. After a few weeks, it gets pretty fat! Each month I plan on adding that to the check for my Visa account. I may not hit the lotto, but at least I'll be reducing my credit card balance.
Easy Room Make-Over
If you want to redo a room but can't afford new furniture, try what I did. I just changed the lighting in the room. I replaced a couple of the lamps. To get the proper effect, I read a few online articles about how light can affect your room decor. I found the lamps at a thrift store. In one case, I used one of my lamps, but bought a new shade for it. My friends look at the room and ask me what's different. I love explaining how little it cost to update it.
Keeping Warm This Winter
An easy and inexpensive way to get warm is to simply move. If you sit at a desk all day, there are lots of ways you can do this. Take 30 seconds and repeatedly raise your hands above your head. Swing your feet under your desk. Rotate your ankles and/or wrists. If you really want to warm up, go to the restroom and do ten jumping jacks or walk in place (if no one else is there). The key is to get your circulation going. An added benefit is burning calories!
Cooking for One or Two
Back before the kids moved out, I used to make a beef roast once a week. But now that it's just the two of us that's too much meat. I came up with a way that works for the two of us. I buy a regular beef roast when they're on sale. I brown it in a frying pan and then put it in a slow cooker. The only thing I add is a quart of beef broth. After about six hours on low heat, it's ready. I cool the roast in the fridge. After it's cool, I slice it into meal-sized portions. Each portion goes into a freezer bag.
Next I take the broth and add some flour to make gravy. I let the gravy cool and divide it among the freezer bags. They get sealed and put into the freezer. Now I have between three and six meal starters. I can take the contents of the bag from the freezer, and using my microwave, I have beef and gravy in just minutes. Making a salad and heating some sides isn't a big deal. It's almost like an instant dinner!
Eliminating Mothball Odors
I had a problem with a lingering mothball smell. I had used cedar strips, squares, etc. before to protect my clothes, but didn't have any spares for the trunk so I used mothballs to protect my wool clothes in storage one summer. In the fall, when I unpacked my clothes, the mothball smell was overwhelming. I tried airing the clothes and the trunk numerous times in the early fall when the weather was still warm, but the smell still lingered. I hung those clothes on the line for days but still they smelled like mothballs. So one evening in late fall when the weather was cooler, I set the clothes and the trunk out in our screen room to air overnight. The screen room protected the clothes and trunk from the damp air but allowed the cooler air to circulate.
The cooler air worked! The clothes and trunk were then odor free. This worked great without adding any chemicals or sprays to the clothes and trunk. Now I use cedar all the time and have never again purchased mothballs. The cedar strips work very well and are a natural solution, especially important for people with allergies or chemical sensitivities.
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