Dollar Stretcher

Funding next year’s garden

I love to vegetable garden. I always have more than I can use. I take my produce into the office and have a “Take some and leave a quarter” cup next to them. I use this to buy my plants for next year. They get fresh produce, and I haven’t had to pay for new plants in three years! I even take requests.

Christian F., in Olathe, Kans.

Delightful souvenirs

We travel several times a year. We like to go to a local “antique/junk” shop and browse for a souvenir. There are always local items available that delight us. We have a framed painted feather with the Tuzigoot parrot symbol from Arizona, a pair of a child’s Chinese slippers, an enormous skeleton door key from England and myriad other souvenirs. Each time I see one of these items displayed in my house, I think of the place we visited and the money I saved that I can use toward the next trip!

Lyn

Window cleaning the professional way

I once asked a professional window cleaner at my place of business about the secret to streak-free windows and mirrors. He told me to put three to four drops of dishwashing liquid into a 30- to 32-ounce spray bottle. First, spray and rub with a microfiber cloth to loosen dirt and oils. Then spray once more and use a squeegee. It really works! I never buy glass cleaners!

Karen A.

Free batteries

Did you know there is an AA-size battery inside disposable cameras? When you take your film from these cameras in to be developed, just indicate to the clerk that you would like to have the battery inside. If you have electronics, toys, etc., that use this size battery, the savings can really add up. The battery is like new and has a lot of life left in it. When you take your camera in, you might want to ask the person doing the developing if they have any batteries from other people’s cameras.

Joyce

Brown sugar

Brown sugar never gets lumpy in my house. I always have it available and I never have to pay the extra price to purchase it. Instead, I put together just the right amount of brown sugar when I have a recipe that calls for it. I always have granulated sugar and molasses on hand. When I have a recipe that calls for brown sugar, I first measure the granulated sugar for the exact amount the recipe calls for and then pour in a drop or two of the molasses at a time (it only takes a little) and work it in until I get just the right color.

Cheryl C., in Midlothian, Va.

Visit the country vet

I live in the suburbs of a large metropolitan area. My sister lives in a rural area, just 10 minutes from my house. My pet recently needed veterinarian care and she suggested her rural vet. I called around and I saved $150 by using her vet, over the one down the street. This was well worth the trip! Apparently, he makes most of his money on livestock, not household pets.

Teresa E.

Great storage for necklaces and bracelets

Instead of buying a jewelry box or stand for necklaces and bracelets, you can purchase an inexpensive corkboard (or use one you already have on hand) and push pins. Hang the corkboard behind a closet door or other inconspicuous place, push a bunch of push pins into the corkboard, and then hang all of your necklaces/bracelets from them. Jewelry doesn’t get tangled anymore, you can see everything you have all at once and it keeps everything organized and off your dresser, while taking up very little space.

Amy L.

Stretching tomato growing season

When the first frost comes, if you still have tomatoes coming along, here’s a very easy way to save them. No need to wrap each one in newspaper (which I did for a few years before an elderly neighbor told me what I’m about to tell you). If you have a dry basement or other unused space that will not freeze, simply pull up the tomato plants, roots and all, shake off the dirt and hang them upside-down, so that none of the leaves touch the floor. The tomatoes continue to ripen very slowly, they do not rot, and you can easily see which ones are ripest without having to unwrap a bunch of newspaper. I have had fresh tomato salsa (and fried green tomatoes) all the way to Christmas this way!

DMH

Energy savings, a little at a time

When cooking dried beans, it is not necessary to leave the stove on for a full two hours or so. Boil for just 30 minutes, then cover tightly and turn off the heat. The beans will still be done in the usual two hours, but you’ll use less natural gas or electricity. You’ll also be free to leave the room, even the house, as the stove won’t be on. Similarly, after you’ve flipped over the last pancake, turn off the stove. The residual heat in the pan will finish cooking that last pancake. Sure, the energy saving is very small, but all those little pennies eventually add up to big dollars!

Elsie, in North Georgia

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