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Dollar Stretchers

March 1, 2011
Traer Star-Clipper

Bad Lipstick Shades

If you bought lipstick and the shade does not look good on you, don't throw it away. Rather put one shade on and then another over it. You'll find that you created a third shade that looks good.


The Kitchen Sprout Farm

I grow my own sprouts, which means I have greens for salads or garnishes every day. Sprouts are so easy to grow and are truly nutritious with many health benefits. Sprouts are expensive to buy, but I can grow pounds of them for pennies. I always have plenty to share. Mung Beans are my favorite sprouts to grow, and I can harvest them at any stage of development. Growing my own, I know the quality and that no chemicals or fertilizers were used for growing or processing.


Unexpected Paint Clothes

I had an unexpected opportunity to help a friend do some scraping and painting on his houseboat. I was wearing some work clothes that weren't quite worn out enough to the stage of becoming paint clothes. I turned them inside out and put them back on so that any paint that might get on them would then be hidden once I washed the outfit and wore it right side out again. After taping some plastic bags to the tops of my shoes, I was ready to paint.


Vegetable Storage and Savings

My wife recently bumped into a great idea for saving money on vegetables. In the fall, when prices are low, she buys a lot of fresh carrots and beets. She buys directly from the farm. When she gets home, she fills her five-gallon plastic pails with dry sand then carrots then sand then carrots until the pail is full. You get the idea. She does the same for beets. They are then put into storage at a low room temperature at around 50 to 60 degrees F.

When the season for fresh vegetables is over and we need carrots, we just dig into the sand and pull out as many as we want. This is the first year we have done this. They were purchased in September, and five months later, they taste like fresh carrots.


Saving Paper Towels

When deep-frying foods like French fries, onion rings, etc., rather than using several paper towels for absorbing any excess oil, I cut open brown paper bags. I use the inside for the absorption. Fold or cut the bag to fit the dish you're planning on using. When you're ready to serve, you're not using more than one dish for serving. Simply remove the paper prior to serving. The brown paper bags work just as well as paper towels, they don't cost anything, and you're recycling!

You could also put the food in an uncut paper bag and shake it briefly. This works well for any deep-fried foods. I've even used it for chicken.


I Cut My Grocery Bill by 35%

I shop only for sales item and stock up on three months' worth at a time. I have a pricebook to know when the best sales occur, and I may buy more when that happens. When I finally have three months' worth of everything in my pantry, I will even skip the sales. I've been consistently cutting my food bill by 35 to 50 percent.

For meats, I do the same thing, and I buy in quantity, separating the packages into meal-size portions. When pork loin goes on sale, my butcher will cut and wrap a whole loin into whatever size I want. I buy burger in large packages and break it up or cook it all by making meatloaves, meat balls, or spaghetti meat sauce and freezing it. I shop for the lowest priced milk, bread and eggs on a weekly basis and cut that bill by about 30%.

I use coupons when they are really good deals, but most of the time, I don't have any coupons. We have areas in the store for food that is reaching its expiration date, but we also have a large community of senior citizens so I usually pass that up. I look for food in our dollar store, Walgreens and Wal-Mart. By planning ahead, it's easy to save on your food bill.


Applying a Camping Trick

Here is a water-saving tip that I've now used for years. Backpacking has long been a favorite hobby of mine and often some of the tricks we use on the trail make great penny-pinching practices at home.

My favorite backpacking-tested, water-saving (and money-saving) tip is for washing dishes. I haven't filled up my kitchen sink in years. Instead, once I've decided to do dishes, I simply identify the biggest pot or bowl. I then fill it up with soapy, hot water and proceed to wash all of the other dishes in it (or over it if they don't fit). Then when everything is washed, I wash out my "wash pot." Using this method, I rarely need more than a gallon to wash a couple days' worth of dishes. If you see the wash water getting really dirty, you can just dump it and add more.

Also to help with washing, I get a spray bottle that I fill with one part dish soap to three parts water. This is perfect for doing just a couple dishes at a time. Spray, scrub, and rinse and you're done! When doing a larger batch, I just add enough squirts to get the amount of suds I want. This method really keeps me from over using soap.




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