Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2010 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.
When disposing of unwanted paint, we must take it to our local hazardous waste recycling, which is county operated. Anyone needing paint can get it for free. There are a lot of colors, including white that can be tinted.
Cheap Spider Traps
Instead of buying spider traps (several can get expensive), I get good quality double-sided carpet tape. This works just as well or better as I am able to put it everywhere!
My husband built small drawers that slide into the area of the toe kick under my cupboards. He put small castors on them and I can store small things like cookie sheets or cans of veggies one row high. It's slick!
Whenever I need moving or storage boxes, I check with the dairy department of the local supermarket and ask for "egg boxes." These corrugated cartons have hand grip holes at each end and are a great size for most household goods. The only thing I would not do is fill the carton with books because of the weight. They are uniform in size and easy to pick up and move.
Mary S. in Wooster, OH
How to Clean a Fan
Provided you use this method religiously at the end of every fan season and the beginning of the next, I've found that standing your fan up in your garage, carport, or driveway and using your leaf blower to blow the dust out of it works very well indeed. If you let the dust accumulate to the point where the dirt sort of solidifies on the fan, on the other hand, there will be definite limits to what the leaf blower can accomplish. Even then, though, it will accomplish something.
Taking Kids Out to Dinner
Here is a way to be able to eat out with children for less (less money and less struggle). For an occasional treat, we like to eat out. When our children were young, we fed them their dinner at home before we went out to a restaurant. Then at the restaurant while we had our dinner, our children had an ice cream dessert. Dinner out this way was always more pleasant and less expensive.
Lorraine in NH
Really Fresh Herbs
I used to spend large amounts of money on fresh herbs to satisfy an ingredient for a recipe and than inevitably the rest would go bad as I did not need it again for some time. I decided to start a flower box herb garden with two boxes out on my deck. I now have loads of basil, sage, oregano, mint and parsley that I can cut as needed. I have also had enough to pass around to neighbors and friends, which is a nice surprise for them. When I pass the variety of herbs in the grocery store that cost up to $5, I can't believe I did not do this sooner. I plan to work on a small vegetable garden next!
Summer Hair Care
Summer weather can be hard on hair due to the sun and chlorine from swimming. One of the easiest tricks to keep hair soft and in good condition all summer long is to carry along conditioner and lather through your hair as you're soaking up the sun at the pool, beach, or lake. No one will notice because your hair looks wet anyway. This works great on kids' hair as well, when they are playing in the sand or wading! It can be a cheap 99-cent brand. It still works great!
The Self-Sustaining Garden
Experienced gardeners know this well, but the rest of us may need a small reminder. While tending to your plants in this growing season, remember to allow some plants/flowers to go to seed in order to collect the seeds for next year. Like a botanist, you can pick and choose what grows best where and tailor your garden to you. Remember to mark the seed packages, and store them in a cool, dry and dark place. Then, in the midst of winter, start your babies growing. What a treat! Also remember that towards the end of summer, most places put supplies on sale, which you might need for your growing project. Your garden can be almost self-sustaining. Enjoy!
Affordable Sun Shade
We live in the desert and summers often reach 115 degrees. Windows in two of our bedrooms face west, getting full afternoon sun. Even with the vertical blinds closed and solar screens on the outside, both rooms used to get really hot every afternoon.
Last month, I bought white quilted fabric, cut it to window size plus about three inches for the top hem, surged the raw edges, and hung them with an inexpensive tension rod next to the glass. Both windows are about 45" long and 72" wide, so I made two curtains for each window that can be opened from the middle and fastened to hooks on the sides for early morning light.
Our computer is right next to one window and I have really noticed how cool the room is staying. Also, the white fabric blocks the heat but still lets in a lot of light. I'm sure this $50 investment is going to help lower our air conditioning and winter heating bills a lot. Just wish I had thought of it years ago!
Janice D. in Henderson, NV