Dollar Stretcher Tips
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
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.
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!
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.
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