1/13/17 Dollar Stretcher Tips content
Time for Thrift...Shops
January is a great time to visit your local thrift stores. Many people make
year-end donations to either get the tax deduction or to clear out before
holiday guests arrive. There are also some who donate unwanted Christmas
I'm a Pepper
Who knew? Pepper has uses outside the kitchen. When sprinkled in trash,
it'll keep out rodents. Sprayed in a garden, it will prevent insects from
damaging tender plants. I even sprinkle some in my socks before I go out
skiing. It helps to keep my feet warm.
My Olive Oil
If you cook with olive oil, you know that it can go rancid if it sits long
enough. I found a solution. It's air that causes the problem. Therefore,
after you've used some, fill the bottle to the top with water. The water
takes up space, so there's less air in the bottle. The water settles to the
bottom and doesn't mix with the olive oil. It's a perfect solution!
Whether it's an apartment or a car, it's important to have proof of any
damage that happened before you rented it. I always do a walk around with
the landlord or leasing agent. I take pictures of any damage. My phone
camera dates the pictures, so there is proof that I didn't do the damage.
I've heard of horror stories of people who were charged for scratches to a
rental car that they didn't do. I don't want that to happen to me!
My wife gave me a very practical gift for Christmas. She gave me Mylar
thermal blankets. There were ten in the pack, and my wife said that the
pack cost less than $10. It's not unusual for us to lose power in the
winter or to get stuck in the snow. Therefore, I put a few blankets in each
car and kept a few in the house in case of an emergency. It's hard enough
waiting for help to arrive without freezing while you're waiting.
I learned this trick while cooking for a crowd. We wanted to make bacon,
but we didn't have space on the stovetop or enough fry pans. It was
suggested that we bake the bacon. We took out cookie sheets and covered
them with aluminum foil. We spread the bacon on the foil and baked it at
350 degrees for about 15 minutes, flipping the bacon half way through.
There was no grease spatter or smoke. I'll never cook bacon on the stovetop
Wooden Kitchen Utensil Care
I enjoy using wooden spoons, cutting boards, and serving bowls in my
kitchen. Each year around this time, I give them a little tender loving
care to keep them in top notch shape. Frequent washing tends to dry them
out, so I give them a coat of vegetable oil. I moisten a paper towel with
oil and wipe each item. After they dry, I repeat the process. You can
actually see the wood change color as it soaks up the oil. I keep repeating
until everything is good as new!
Most of us focus on blankets and space heaters when we think about keeping
warm at night. Here's something that you can do once that will help keep
you warm all winter. Check your bedroom for outside drafts. Look around
windows and any place that could allow outside air to enter the room. You
can use a candle. Hold it near the window to see if the flame moves away.
If so, you have a cold draft entering your room. You can seal most with
caulk or insulation. There are a lot of videos showing how to do this. If
that's not possible, hang heavy drapes or even a blanket over the opening
to block the cold air.
Dryer Sheets - Not!
Here is another dryer sheet money-saver! I reuse the socks that get massive
holes from my kids to make dryer balls. I bunch a few up, stuff them into
another sock, roll them up, flip a side of the sock over the rolled ball,
and sew the ends shut. Then I dip them in a solution of water and white
distilled vinegar and toss them into the dryer. The water stops the static,
and the vinegar (which does not leave the smell behind) eliminates odors
and softens. They last forever!
Affording a Healthier Diet
I want my family to eat more fruits and veggies this year. I mentioned this
to the produce manager at my local market. He told me that they often have
slightly damaged items that they sell cheap. I might have to cut out a
small section, but the rest of the fruit or veggie is fine for any recipe
that I have. He told me to just ask when I visit the store, and he'll let
me know what he has available. I plan on talking with him weekly.
Annual Insurance Update
Once a year, I do an insurance update. Last year, I was able to increase
the deductible on my auto insurance, which saved me big time. I also make
sure that we have pictures of any new big ticket items that we buy. In case
we get robbed, I want to have proof of what was stolen, so I can collect on
the claim. It took less than an hour and now I know that my insurance is up
Before You Book International Travel
I love to travel internationally, and I usually base my trips on flight and
hotel bargains. This strategy can work out very well if you're open to
multiple regions for your travel destination. It also helps to be able to
travel at different times of the year and sometimes at the last minute.
This information isn't anything new to bargain travelers, but the unplanned
extras can really impact your bottom line. For example, when I went to
Russia, I found out after I booked my flight that the Visa fee was almost
$200. When I traveled to Africa, the recommended vaccinations cost me
almost $300. These were costs I did not anticipate. Before you book and pay
for your bargain international trip, do some research to find out what
could end up making your trip less of a bargain. If that changes your cost
too dramatically, think about going somewhere else.
Heidi in FL