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Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit stretcher.com to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar.

Instead of dryer sheets

If you don't want to spend the money on dryer sheets or you are sensitive to the fragrance, you can take a piece of foil and ball it up to about golf ball size to get rid of the static without fragrance. And, it'll last you all year.

L.

Kids clothing

If you're looking for kids clothing deals, check eBay. Search for "Boys size 6 lot" for example (lot is the important word here). It'll be a big jumble of clothes. Instead of going through consignment stores piecing it all together, you can get a ton of pieces for about $20.

Melanie via Facebook

Pet food

We all love our pets, but feeding them can be expensive even if the food is purchased at a big box store. I adopted two strays and they are not picky about what they eat, so I'm always on the lookout for "closeout" cat food. After doing a little research and making a few calls, I found out that when a new product from one company is coming on the market, they will close out and markdown one or two that are already on the shelf. By watching, I have been able to stock up on cat food and save a ton! It doesn't go bad and my cats love the variety of flavors. I have spent as little as a dollar a bag!

Susan

Receipt protection

The one thing I have found out the hard way is that receipts seem to fade and vanish within a year or two and sometimes sooner. I suppose it depends on what type of paper and ink the company uses. I say that I learned this the hard way because after completing a major house remodel, some items failed before the warranty ended. Although I had kept meticulous records, when I went back to get a receipt, it was as good as useless. It was faded badly. Now I keep a folder on my laptop for scanned receipts for almost all of my purchases. I haven't had an issue pursuing a claim in years because of those scanned receipts. I also scan warranty terms and conditions. I just thought this tip might benefit someone else.

Sharon

This Christmas

Last year, my brother, sister, and I decided that we wanted to make Christmas easier and spend less. I think I've come up with a solution. With so many people suffering because of hurricanes, instead of buying each other things we don't need, I'm going to suggest that we each make a donation now to a charity that's serving hurricane victims. We'll save time near Christmas and do some good now when people really need the help.

Lisa

Reduce drying time

Everyone knows that an electric clothes dryer is an energy hog. One way to reduce the cost is to cut down the amount of time that it runs. There are a couple of things you can do to reduce drying time.

First, when your clothes are through the wash cycle, run an extra spin cycle. That will ring more water from your clothes. Next separate out some clothes that don't or shouldn't go in the dryer. For instance, your delicates should be hung to dry. And t-shirts can be hung to drip dry.

Debra

How to start meal planning

Don't try to plan for a whole week or month at first. You don't want to get overwhelmed. Instead, just try to plan for perhaps three to four days. Note those meals on index cards. Plan on a leftover day and then plan different meals for another three to four days. Repeat the whole process until you build up your stock of menu cards. Then you can begin planning for longer blocks of time.

Claudia via Facebook

Easy decor trick

Ever feel like you want to change up your decor but don't have any big inspiration or a big budget to do the job? Try this. It costs about $5! Remove your wall light switch covers and spray paint them a color that contrasts or compliments your room color. It doesn't seem like much, but it can give the room a different vibe. If you find that you don't like the change, you can replace the covers for about $1 each.

Twila

Win/win losing strategy

I've been unhappy with my weight and my credit card balances. Both went up after my daughter (now 6) was born. I had trouble losing the weight I had put on during pregnancy and the cost of daycare wasn't helping our budget. Here's what I did. I promised myself that I'd use my elliptical trainer every other day for 30 minutes. For every calorie I burn (it's displayed on the trainer), I add to my debt loss fund. On the same day that I go online to pay my bills, I add the money from my fund to my minimum payment. Most days that I exercise, I add between $3 and $4.50 to the fund. It's not so much that it pinches my budget, but it is enough to make a difference to the account balance. Also, it's a great motivator to help me lose the weight! It's also a whole lot cheaper than buying $300 worth of food every month from one of those weight loss programs.

Kat

Fresh tomatoes all fall

If you live up north, you're always expecting an early freeze. For years, I lost nearly ripe tomatoes to that frost. Then a neighbor told me that he had a method to save them. He uproots the whole plant and hangs them upside down in his basement. The plant shouldn't touch the ground. The tomatoes will continue to ripen gradually. It's not unusual for us to have tomatoes six or even eight weeks after the first frost!

Mike

Do you have a tip that you’d like to share? Just send your suggestion to Tips@stretcher.com.

 

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