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Dollar Stretcher Tips

on Wednesday, 07 March 2018. Posted in Dollar Stretcher

Loves Mashed Potatoes

If you love real mashed potatoes, those flakes just don't cut it, but it 
takes time to make the real thing. I've found that I can make a big batch 
at once and freeze portions that are perfect for my wife and me. I take the 
frozen potatoes and pop them in the microwave. They taste like I just made 

2nd Life: Water Heater

My water heater quit working. It wasn't leaking, but it also wasn't putting 
out hot water. Being electric, I knew there was a heating element. I read 
an article on how to replace it. It only took one wrench and a trip to the 
plumbing supply place. For $22, I saved the cost of a new water heater and 
a plumber to install it!

Easy, Quick Lunch Meal

Oatmeal makes a great, cheap lunch. I have a large old mug with a lid on 
it. The night before I put some oatmeal and milk into the mug. Then it goes 
into the refrigerator. In the morning, I take the mug and some fruit (often 
a banana) to work. We have a microwave that we can use. It only takes a few 
minutes, and it just costs pennies.

Spring Patio Prep

It's snowy now, but I look forward to spring. To help get me in the mood, 
I'm going to get my patio furniture ready. I've already lightly sanded the 
wrought iron frames to the chairs and table. Next I'll spray it with a 
black anti-rust paint. Then I'm going to shop for some new cushions. It'll 
be just like having a new patio set when spring finally arrives!

More Appliance Saving

If you need an appliance, spread the word to your friends. My husband's 
co-worker was moving his grandmother to a retirement home where laundry was 
provided for clients, so she downsized her furniture and didn't need any 
appliances. He offered her washing machine to us for $50! He helped my 
husband haul it out of her basement. It was dirty inside from soap buildup, 
but after running an empty wash of each vinegar and bleach, it was very 
clean! My friends are complaining that the new agitator-free washers are 
terrible, leaving clothes dirty, so we'll be keeping our bargain as long as 
it runs.

Save the Garden

Having a large home and surrounding yard with gardens, I've found there are 
always things to do no matter the time of the year. Since it's easy to get 
distracted and forget to follow through with a chore, I have learned to 
keep items listed in a journal by month. By doing this, I can check to see 
what needs to be done (for example, check snow blower in October) to be 
ahead of the game. Also, I can add items in my journal as needed. This has 
been a real time-saver and stress-reducer.
Joni S.

Save the Chair!

We have an easy chair that my husband loves, but the cushion was worn and 
dirty. We shopped for a replacement but didn't find anything that he liked 
and could afford. I decided to see if I could clean the upholstery. It took 
a little doing, but I did it! Next I bought some high density foam and cut 
a piece to replace the foam in the cushion. For just a couple of dollars, 
we have an almost new chair that my husband loves!

Family Time

Do you have a tough time getting your kids to put down their phones and 
iPads? I discovered a cure. My kids (early teens) help me cook dinner. 
Since they can't peel potatoes and play with their phones at the same time, 
we get to talk. I find out about their day and tell them about mine. I 
think they looked at it as a chore at first, but now they seem to enjoy our 
time together. It wasn't really what I had in mind (I just wanted some help 
getting dinner ready), but I'm glad it turned out this way.
Caroline L.

Storing Frozen Foods

I love to use my freezer, but I hate it when food comes out with freezer 
burn. Therefore, I researched how to store frozen foods and how long they 
can stay in the freezer. I've found that the main thing is to wrap items 
with the least amount of air possible. Any air will create ice crystals. I 
also found that I shouldn't keep food in my freezer for more than three 
months if it's a frost-free freezer. If it's a deep freeze, I can store 
properly packed items for up to a year.

Aid to Selling Used Items

When listing an item for sale on Craigslist and Facebook yard sale sites, I 
search online first to get an idea of a price range for the item. From 
doing this, I have learned it's also helpful to see what words are used to 
describe items that photos don't reveal, such as no dents or scratches and 
other disclosures or alerts like smoke-free or from a home with a dog 
(cat). When I couldn't pin down a style of a decorative hand-painting, folk 
art turned up as a useful descriptive. It has also been helpful to see what 
others say when stating their terms outright, such as cash only, pick up 
only, and first come, first served. A lot of this (and sometimes re-stating 
the terms and alerts in messages) saves time by helping to eliminate extra 
communications back and forth.
Lorraine in NH

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