This Week’s Readers’ Tips

by Dollar Stretcher Reader Contributors

Readers Tips photo

Each week we publish a new batch of money-saving tips from our frugal readers that can help you stretch your dollars and live better…for less.

It’s Time for Winter Clothing Repairs

It won’t be long and we’ll be pulling out our winter clothes again. I always take mine out a little early and look everything over for needed repairs. I usually find a few buttons that need attention. Often a sweater or two has a snag. I’ve learned to push the snag through the back and then tie it off. It looks fine from the front and won’t unravel.
Corene

Related: 7 Simple Clothing Fixes Anyone Can Do

Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder

I’m a coffee snob. I admit it. So I grind my own beans daily. Once a week I like to clean my grinder.

To get it really clean without soap (which would leave a nasty taste), I use uncooked white rice. I put enough in to cover the blades and then run the grinder. The rice scrapes off any bean residue from the blades. They I wash everything in warm water. The rice doesn’t leave any flavor behind. Next morning I get only the coffee flavor I’m expecting.
Rich

Related: 10 Things You Can Do With Leftover Coffee That Saves You Money

Natural Bug Bite Remedy

We use vinegar for ant (fire ants especially), mosquito, and bug bites. We have tried all the other home remedies and vinegar works the best for my money. We pour the vinegar (white or apple cider) on a paper towel or wash cloth and hold on the bite. The swelling and burning or itching completely disappears after a few minutes. The smell disappears soon afterwards.
Tammy

Related: Natural Health Remedies That Can Save You Money

Cheaper Hair Coloring

If you color your hair, you can save money by purchasing the dye, developer and an applicator or two at a beauty supply store. The developer can be purchased in large bottles, and the dyes can be purchased separately in small bottles like the ones that come in the kits. The application bottles have measurements on the side, making it easy to use just what you need (such as just half of a bottle of dye for touching up your temples and roots). The intense post-coloring conditioners are also available in large bottles.

The cost is far less than a drug store hair coloring kit, especially if you color or touch up every four to six weeks.
D.D.

Related: Tips for Stretching Your Hair Color Dollars

Better Than Store Bought Burritos

My daughter loves those frozen meat/bean/cheese burritos you buy at the supermarket. I noticed that they seemed to be mostly tortilla with little filling and were expensive.

I buy whole wheat tortillas (which have a rich flavor and are more nutritious) and generously fill them with mashed black beans, brown rice, different shredded cheeses, browned ground turkey or beef, salsa, etc. I then fold the ends and put them in an inexpensive sandwich bag and freeze them.

They are more filling than the store-bought kind, and I control the quality. The preparation and assembly takes about an hour to make enough to last several weeks. They can be heated in the microwave for one minute and 45 seconds, or brown bagged in the morning and ready to eat by lunchtime. Great for both kid and adult lunch boxes!
Dorinda

Toothpaste Cleanser

I had a discolored circle (from a rusty can) on my kitchen countertop. It had been there for at least two years and nothing would remove it. I read about the cleaning ability of toothpaste, so I tried it. The stain is gone! It rubbed right off. Toothpaste has just enough abrasive content to remove deep stains but not enough to scratch the surface.

I then used it on my bathroom counters to make them sparkle. On a whim, I also tried it on a shower I couldn’t get “shiny.” It took a bit of work and a tiny dab of toothpaste on a sponge. Now, my shower sparkles!
Christy D.

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A Tip From Grandma for Extending Lettuce Life

My grandmother taught me this tip.

To keep lettuce fresh longer, rinse it, cut it, and dry it off. Put the lettuce in a gallon-size resealable bag. Close the bag only far enough to insert a straw in the top. Suck out all of the air with a straw and then carefully seal the bag.

It keeps for weeks like this without turning brown!
Megan

Related: 15 Frugal Food-Rescuing Tips from Grandma

A Cheaper Hairball Remedy

I am a vet technician. A cheap method for hairballs is using petroleum jelly. Place a teaspoon of petroleum jelly on the front legs. Press it into the fur, so the animal has to lick it off and can’t shake it off. If you look at the ingredients of hairball laxatives, the majority of the product is petroleum jelly with some flavoring.
Janine

Related: 5 Cat Essentials You Can DIY

Bye Bye Birdies

I was having a very big problem with birds trying to nest on our small front porch. There were always bird droppings on the porch. I thought of how those fake snakes scare them away. I didn’t have one so I took one of my husband’s black belts and hung it on the overhang. I have not had any problems since doing this.
G

Doing My Own Gel Manicure

I decided to do my own gel nails. It’s the only polish that doesn’t chip within a couple of days. I watched a few videos on YouTube and realized it was worth an investment. All I needed was a lamp, a bottle of top/bottom coat, two bottles of polish, and acetone remover. The cost was a little more than $50. It’s the cost of a manicure and pedicure. I did my toenails in red and my fingernails in beige just as I would have them done. They came out great. It saved me time, money and the cost of a salon visit plus no gas!
Caryn

Related: 6 Alternatives to Expensive Salon Treatments

Week-Long Chicken Savings

Every week at Sam’s Club I buy a rotisserie chicken. These are inexpensive (only $5 where we live) and can be stretched very far! We use the chicken itself for dinner the first night, which easily feeds my family of four. We typically have leftover meat on the bones, which I can pick off to make chicken salad, hash, or add to soup. I always boil the bones and either make a broth or use the meat I picked to make a nice soup, which I can put in the freezer. When we have pasta, rice or couscous, I use the homemade broth to add to the flavor.

After boiling the chicken bones, I pull off all remaining soft bits (carefully so as not to get any of the small bones) and use that to add flavor to my dog’s food for the week. So for $5 and some ingredients I also have on hand, we all have healthy, tasty options that last us all week long!
C.

A Surprise Go-To Cheap Cleaning Product

I have a suggestion on the topic of things-that-are-hard-to-clean: Dry dishwasher powder is my go-to and just about only cleaning product I use around the house. A tiny bit in that cruddy pan dissolved in hot water and soaked for awhile or just used with a scrubby pad will do the trick.

I use dishwasher powder for everything that needs a cleaning, degreasing or dissolving action, including bras and undershirts (deodorant residue, body oils), gardening gloves (earth, grime), plastic lawn furniture (scuffs, grime), bathtub, tile, shower surrounds (soap scum), walls, appliances…you get the idea! It works for everything! You will know by the toughness of the task how much to use. And no job takes very much product to be effective. This is a powerhouse of a product! Dollar store generic brands work as well as the name brands, but I always look for “no phosphates.”

Would you believe I have used dishwasher powder as a low-sudsing, deep-cleaning laundry powder for years? Just two level tablespoons per load – whites, darks, colors, of whatever material. Three tablespoons if a really big load, and perhaps a bit of baking soda, first dissolving separately in some of the hot water, and then adding to the wash water before putting in the laundry. My whites, even the oldest, are white, and everything is fragrance-free, even if I use a powder with lemon scent. Be sure to dissolve the powder completely if you choose a cold water cycle.

I’ve saved a small fortune on laundry and household products over these many years – money that I then had in my budget for many another better use!
Diane

Related: Homemade Natural Dishwasher Detergent on the Cheap

Do you have a money or time-saving tip you’d like to share? Just email your tip to andrea@thedollarstretcher.com.

Get Dollar Stretcher Tips delivered to your inbox.

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Subscribe to get money-saving tips just like these by email that can help you stretch and grow your dollars.

Twice each week you'll receive tips that can help you free up and keep more of your hard-earned money, even on the tightest of budgets. We send subscribers exclusive tips that we do not publish here on our weekly tips page.

Subscribers also receive a free copy of our eBook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better for Less.

We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

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