Live Oak — Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit TheDollarStretcher.com to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2012 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.
Homemade Wrinkle Releaser
To make wrinkle releaser, use one part fabric softener to 15 parts water. Put this into a bottle with a spray nozzle for misting. Clothes smell great, and it works for pennies on the dollar!
Be sure to find out if your town offers free mulch. We've made at least four trips to fill two garbage cans at a time, but it's worth it. My gardens and bushes look nicer, and the mulch helps the soil.
Natural Facial Mask
The cheapest and best facial mask I have ever come up with is oatmeal processed to a powder in the blender mixed with either skim milk or, if you are trying to fade spots, lemon juice. It really works well for me, and I have dry skin.
Emergency Preparedness Kits
Here's something to think about for your emergency preparedness kit. Please be sure to rotate medications regularly to ensure the medications are not expired. Perhaps every time you refill the prescription, you could replace the emergency kit ones and use up the previously set-aside pills.
Before You Close On That Home...
Here's something that just caught my parents by surprise after purchasing their new home. If the house has a septic tank/field, have the seller of the home empty the tank. This can save you hundreds of dollars in removal of the waste and in landscaping fees if the previous owners didn't take care of the tank properly.
Natural Flea Prevention
My father has always added a half of a teaspoon of brewer's yeast to the wet food fed to our cats as a "treat" once a day. We've had seven outdoor cats over 25 years and have never had fleas on them or in the house. My father says it's because the brewer's yeast makes their skin unattractive to the fleas' sense of taste. It's inexpensive, too!
Caring for Leather Boots
I have had a lot of luck caring for boots by carefully brushing dirt from the area where the sole meets the upper and then applying leather cream generously. I then stuff the toes with crumpled newsprint. I recently read that a great way to store winter socks is to jam them into the toes of boots/winter shoes. The boots or shoes keep their shape and you don't need another place to store the socks. If the calves of the boots are long enough to need support, I roll a piece of cardboard to the shape needed and insert it into the leg of the boot. I store them lying down; if stored with soles on the floor, wrinkles can develop in the leg/ankle of the boots as gravity pulls the leather down.
Kitchen Water Waste
We don't have a dishwasher and find it is all too easy to let the water run constantly as we wash and rinse the dishes. Several years ago, I was replacing our bathroom showerhead and realized that the on/off flow restrictor attached to that showerhead might also work in the kitchen. I removed the aerator from the kitchen faucet, added the on/off valve, and then replaced the aerator. It worked brilliantly! With a quick push of the button, I can now turn the water off without having to reach for the faucet handle with wet, dripping hands.
Eye Makeup Removal
I can't bear paying good money for oily eye makeup remover pads when they're so easy to make. I use an old t-shirt, which is soft and lint free naturally, cut it up into squares, trim the edges if I'm feeling energetic, put these into a small container, and soak them in baby oil. I get hundreds of pads for virtually nothing. If I'm travelling, I just pop a few into a small zipper bag. It warms my frugal heart and keeps my eyes in good condition.
Why I Buy Bulk Wheat
For a good, healthy, and cheap hot breakfast cereal, buy wheat in bulk. Some sources are feed and farming stores, survival stores, or grocery stores that have a good bulk food section. You're looking for the dry wheat berries that are then ground into flour.
Boil the wheat berries just as you would rice and then add honey and/or butter (or whatever you like) to taste. It's a good hot cereal with plenty of fiber and nutrients, including both carbs and vegetable protein. Moreover, it helps you wake up in the morning because it is chewy, and chewing action helps to perk a body up.
Boil a large batch and use what you don't eat for breakfast as a rice substitute in casseroles or soups. To make a good veggie casserole, mix boiled wheat with lemon slices and chopped celery.
Wheat berries are also good for making inexpensive sprouts. Eat them before they green, or they'll become bitter. If they have barely sprouted, you can bake them and grind them into a malt-flavored powder to use instead of store-bought malt powder. Wheat sprouts go very well in salads for a bit of extra flavor or to add some hearty bulk to soups. They have a light, sweet taste with a bit of nuttiness to it.