Dollar Stretcher Tips for November 11, 2015


Homemade After Shave

I made my husband a custom after shave lotion. You can, too! Fill an empty bottle a quarter full with rubbing alcohol and then water until completely full. Add a touch of cologne or essential oil to the mix and shake. It’s easy! I’m thinking of making some for the men on my Christmas list!

Natural Beauty Secret

It seems like I’ve always struggled with skin care. Finally I asked a friend who has flawless skin her secret. She laughed and said that I wouldn’t believe it. She uses baking soda as an exfoliant. Twice a week, I mix baking soda and water to make a paste. I rub it on my face, neck, and arms. Then take a shower. In just a few weeks, my skin was silky smooth!

Easy, Peasey Decorating

Want to give a room a new look but have only a few dollars to spend? Do what I did. Visit home decorating sites online and then your paint store. You don’t even need to paint the whole room to get a totally new feel. Just painting one wall in an accent color can make a huge difference. Or paint the bottom three feet of every wall a contrasting color. You might want to divide the upper and bottom colors with a wooden chair rail or one-inch stripe in a third coordinating color. For $50, you can get a whole new look for your room!

Better DIY Rain Barrels

Living in Florida, we get some very heavy rains. I use rain barrels to catch the water from my roof to use in my garden, but sometimes in a big rain, they overflow. Since they’re right next to my house, all that water could erode my foundation. I decided to put an overflow drain into each rain barrel. About one inch from the top, I added a PVC drain that’s always open. Connected to it is an old section of hose that takes the water about eight feet from my house. Any time that the water gets to that one inch level, it just flows out the top drain and away from the house.

Midnight Trash Inspectors

Raccoons were tipping over our trash cans and tearing open the bags that contained any food scraps. I got tired of sweeping up the mess and decided to do something about it. I knew that animals tended to mark their territory with urine. Since we don’t have a dog, I did the next best thing. I sprinkled some ammonia over the trash bags and around the trash cans. I re-sprinkle both each week. So far, it’s kept the little critters away.

Personalized Holiday Gift

Here’s a simple craft that makes a wonderful Christmas gift. I buy plates with a white background at the thrift or dollar store. Then I take a black Sharpie and write a saying that reflects the person who will get it. I like to use something that talks about helping others if they’re a giver or being a good parent, etc. After I’ve written what I want, I put it in a 150 degree oven for 30 minutes. That bakes the words into the plate. I add a hook on the back to make it easy to hang in their kitchen or hallway. Total cost? It’s usually less than $2 each!

Ordering Gifts Online?

There have been robberies in our subdivision. They drive around and look for packages that are sitting on doorsteps and porches because no one was home to take delivery. I plan on doing most of my Christmas shopping online, so I contacted my police department for some solutions. They suggested that I could have the packages delivered to a retired neighbor’s house or see if I could have packages delivered at work. Another option would be to rent an address at one of those mailing places for the month. Finally, if none of that works, they suggested that I could always set up a video camera to record what happens on my porch. I might not prevent the robbery, but I would increase the chance of catching the robbers.

“Instant” Oatmeal

My family didn’t like the flavor of microwave instant oatmeal and always wanted me to make it the old-fashioned way. However, some mornings that’s not possible. Then I learned a trick. I had some leftover oatmeal one morning after breakfast. I put it in a container in the fridge. The next day I wanted a snack and remembered that I had it. I reheated it in the microwave with a little milk. It tasted just like I had cooked it fresh on the stovetop! So now I make a little extra and store it as individual servings. When one of the kids needs a snack or has an early morning, they can have their oatmeal in just a minute!

Token Gifts

I have several people that I like to give at least a token gift each year (mail carrier, beautician, library assistant), but even token gifts can add up to a major expense. This time of year, I begin to buy one $10 or $15 gift card each week or so from a place that is used by most, has no fees or expiration associated with the gift cards, and is handy for me to stop by. For me, that’s a national gas station chain. I place those cards safely in a drawer until I see each intended recipient. Then I pop each card into a greeting card with a small note expressing my appreciation for the person’s service. To make my token gifts even easier for me and possibly more meaningful for the recipients, I tend to give them around Thanksgiving rather than Christmas. One bonus is that should the person no longer work at the place I use, I have not lost any money. I simple make use of the card myself for its full face value.
JD in St Louis


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