Apple to the Core

Dollar Stretching Tips

Check out the Apple to the Core Shopping, for all your shopping needs and a section dedicated to saving you money,  our Bargain Shopping page!


Save at the Supermarket!

Things to remember when shopping

  • Buy large packages of paper good - Paper towels, toilet paper and napkins are cheaper in bulk so buy more and store!

  • Try to steer clear of packaged goods: They usually cost more.  Instead, stop by the deli for cold cuts and cheeses.  Buy a head of lettuce instead of the ready to eat bags.

  • Avoid the single serving juices: The same goes for prepared gelatin and pudding. Buy large sizes and fill small reusable containers.

  • Get a Supermarket discount card: Most supermarkets offer card that give savings or coupons to entice shoppers. The cards are free and you'll save over the course of time.

  • Never shop when you are in a hurry: You'll find yourself picking up whatever is available to get out the door. You may miss a nice sale of pay more for a smaller size.

  • Freeze your own convenience foods: Frozen packaged pancakes, waffles and French toast can be expensive so a make your own and freeze them. 

  • Avoid packaged bread crumbs: It's more economical to freeze bread ends and stale bread. Then, when you have enough, make bread crumbs in your blender or food processor (a cheese grater with very small holes works well too).  If you're not going to use them right away, freeze the crumbs.

  • Pass on the Frozen Pops: It's much less expensive to make your own from fruit juice.

  • Buy Bouillon Cubes: It's much cheaper than canned broth.

  • Compare pasta prices: Italian and name brand pastas can cost twice as much as the store brand or generic brand.  Generally, you can't taste the difference.

  • Buy a jar of popcorn: Don't buy the bags of microwave popcorn.  You can make your own from the jar for about 10 times less.

  • Buy bags of frozen veggies instead of boxes: With the bagged veggies you can measure out what you need and reseal the bag.

  • Avoid extras: Topping displayed near ice cream and dips stocked near chips are far more expensive than options such as chocolate syrup or homemade dip. 

  • Try not to purchase health & beauty products at the supermarket.  These items are always much more expensive than at a drug store or discount store.

  • Buy Spanish Olive Oil: Spanish olive oil is usually much less than the same-size Italian brands and taste just as good.

  • Last but not least:  Invest in a Food Vacuum Sealer.  I have saved tons of money and time since I purchased one.  I buy in large quantities when stuff is on sale and cut and freeze myself.  I can't tell you how much I love my machine.  I personally own the Rival Seal-a-Meal and it's terrific. You get plenty of bags to cut to whatever size you need.  You can see some here:  Food Vacuum Sealers.  The vacuum sealers REALLY save when meat is on sale and keeps the food fresh and prevents freezer burn.


Money and Time Saving Tip!!

Write or type up a list of your bills and the due dates. Makes copies each month and highlight as you pay them. I don't know about you but I, occasionally, don't receive my bills and I have probably saved myself a bundle in late fees because I go ahead and send a payment with a note and my account number. Plus you don't have to rack your brain trying to remember if you paid something or not, it's highlighted.

Add dimmers to switches on overhead lights. Soft light uses less electricity and is more flattering too!
Keep your freezer full; it requires more energy to stay cold when it's half empty. If necessary, freeze water in plastic milk containers to fill unused space. 
Run your dishwasher only when it's full and turn off the heat cycle.  It's much cheaper to let dished dry by air. 
Lower operating costs of your refrigerator, freezer, , air conditioner and dryer by cleaning filters and coils frequently.
Shop at thrift shops, garage sales and secondhand stores for good buys on basic tools and accessories - such as takes, lamps, bookcases and desks. If needed, refinish them yourself. 
Take advantage of free samples and small trial sizes to test new cosmetics and makeup colors. Otherwise, you may end up with a drawer full of products that you'll never use.
Buy toothpaste  in the largest available size and stick with the old-fashioned tubes. They're far more economical than pump bottles and other special dispensers.
When you buy iced-tea, lemonade or fruit punch mix, figure cost, not by weight, but by the per-quart yield the whole container will make.
Compare the cost of cold cuts freshly sliced at the deli count to packaged.
Buy cheese in chunks and shred or grate it yourself.
When buying fruit, consider edible weight per pound. You can eat almost the whole apple whereas you discard a cantaloupes seeds and rind.
Pasta is pasta, so when a recipe calls for an unusual shape, feel free to substitute a less expensive one.
Bigger isn't always a better buy. Red unit-price stickers on the shelf below each item. It show the cost per unit-quart, pound or ounce, for example. This lets you compare costs of comparable products or varying-size containers.

Use the produce scale. One head of lettuce may weigh less than the next. 
Don't us coupons unless they're for a brand you would normally buy. A 75 cent savings on something you may not use is no savings at all.
Don't assume it always pays to bake from scratch. Brownies, for example, are often cheaper to make from a mix.
Save on gas by getting ready to drive before you turn one the engine. Adjust the mirror, the seat and seat belt, put on your glasses, look at the map, then turn on the engine. You should let the engine warm up a little but extensive idling should be avoided. It consumes about 1/2 gallon or more of gas per hour.
Increase and decrease speed gradually. You waste gas when you floor the accelerator or slam on the brakes.
Buy your motor oil and other auto supplies from a discount store. Prices are well below those at a service station.
Don't buy clothes that require expensive care. Avoid whites, pleats and dry-clean only items.
Hem your own pants and skirts. If you're needle-shy, use iron-on hem tape.
Heat deteriorates hosiery and misshapes bras, so air-dry whenever possible.
Reinforce buttons on coats and jackets with heavy-duty thread before they fall off.
Spray leather and suede shoes and purses with waterproofing to preserve and protect them. 
Redye navy and black cotton T-shirts and turtlenecks in good shape when they start to fade. You'll be able to stretch a few more seasons out of them.
Carry a small bottle of clear nail polish to stop hosiery runs when they occur.
Buy your daughter's play clothes in the boys' department because little girls' clothes often cost more than boys'. An if you in the market for basics like cotton shirts or T-shirts, shop in the men's department.
Check for stains when you change clothes at night. That way you can treat them before they set.
Don't put pens, keys or any sharp or heavy objects in your pockets. They can easily stain, stretch out or tear clothes.
Check your husband's closet for old jackets he may have outgrown or lost interest in. Oversize jackets can be stylish and comfortable for casual wear. Just roll up the sleeves.
Don't throw away a whole outfit because the top or the skirt doesn't fit. See if you can pair it with other items in you wardrobe.
Buy holiday craft supplies the same way you do wrapping paper or cards, just after the holiday, not before.
Take advantage of bargains and sales for your crafts, but don't stockpile stuff you'll never get around to using because can't pass up a great deal. Have a project in mind when you buy.
Dry fruits and flowers yourself instead of buying them for wreaths and other decorations. Collect bark, pinecones and twigs throughout the year for projects and store them in a cool, dark place.
Keep your nail polish from thickening by storing it in the refrigerator.
Use less shampoo. For shoulder-length hair, you only need an amount about the size of a quarter.
Store compacts and brushes in a makeup bag. It prevents them from rolling around in the bottom of your handbag where they're likely to be damaged.
Reuse old socks as shoe bags in your luggage when traveling. Saves scuffs on your shoes and any dirt on your clothes.


Use up extra fruit syrup, save the syrup that you drain from canned or frozen fruits and: replace part of the water with syrup when making gelatin salads or desserts. Or Thicken the syrup with cornstarch for meat glazes or dessert sauces.
Perk up foods inexpensively - the appearance of food contributes greatly to its eye and taste appeal. Often a pretty serving dish and little time spent arrange the food attractively is all that's needed. Other times, using one of the following simple and inexpensive garnishes add a great deal of interest: parsley, onion rings, carrot curls, paprika, orange or lemon wedges or slices, radish roses, grated or shredded cheese, croutons, hard-cooked egg slices or cabbage leaves.
Pasta Pointers - Fancy shapes of pasta may cost slightly more than the common elbow macaroni or plain spaghetti. However, using a fancy pasta is still one of the least expensive ways to make an ordinary dish seem special.
Stick to average-sized meat servings (3 ounces cooked lean meat). To satisfy the heartier appetites, serve more of the less expensive foods such as breads.
Since fat and bone are often included in the meat you buy, use cost per serving as a buying guide rather than price per pound. You sometimes save money by paying more per pound for lean, boneless meat. You don't throw as much away.
When figuring the cost of a convenience food product, include the cost of all the ingredients you have to add. 
To soften hardened brown sugar, put a slice of apple in with it. It will soften up before long.
When celery or carrots start to soften, soak them in a bowl of ice water for one hour. They will soon crisp up.
To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against your kitchen counter before squeezing.
Put an apple in with your potatoes. This will keep them fresher longer and will prevent them from budding.
Put a piece of spearmint gum in with your flour and sugar, it will keep bugs out.
Don't throw out your leftover wine, freeze into ice cubes to use in soups, stews or sauces.
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator,  it will keep for weeks.
To make your milk last longer, add a pinch of salt to a gallon of milk.
Pour full strength white vinegar on weeds growing through cracks in the sidewalk. This should kill most weeds immediately.
Use club soda to clean stainless steel sinks and appliances. It removes the dirt and dries without leaving streaks.
Spray vinegar on your trash bags to repel stray cats or other animals from your trash. They dislike the smell of vinegar.
Drop a piece of charcoal in a toolbox to keep rust from forming on tools. Chalk or mothballs work well also.
If your camera flash doesn't work, don't throw out the batteries, instead, remove them and rub the contact points lightly with sandpaper. Replace the batteries in camera and try again. This works most of the time and when it doesn't switch to new batteries.
To prevent rust and get longer use out of a metal lunch box, coat the insides with melted paraffin. Be careful to coat the seams.
For small loads of laundry, use half the fabric softener sheet. It works just as well and you double your uses.
When you visit a Chinese Restaurant, save the disposable wooden chopsticks. They make great natural-looking and sturdy plant stakes.
When you change the water in your fresh water aquarium, use the water on your plants. It's free and excellent fertilizer.
When mending a small hole in a knit shirt, cut a small piece of lightweight fusible interfacing and iron it onto the wrong side of shirt. It's neat and inexpensive.
To save money on bath products, substitute 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil for bath oil. Works very well.
To soften skin, Toss 2 to 3 teaspoons of baking soda into the tub.
For a soothing and fragrant skin massage, mix equal parts of peanut oil, camphor oil and castor oil and add to the tub as you draw the water. 
To get rid of flaky skin or the remnants of last summer's tan, add 1 cup of natural cider vinegar or the juice of 3 fresh lemons to your bath water. Slough off dead skin cells with a dry sponge or brush.
To keep you car smelling fresh, keep some potpourri in the ashtray. This will also deter others from smoking in your car.
Place a dry towel in the dryer with a load of just washed clothes. The towel will absorb a lot of the excess moisture and your clothes will dry in a fraction of the time. Saves on utility bills and wear and tear on your clothes.



Making Cut Flowers Last Longer

You'll get maximum longevity from your flowers if you follow these tips from the American Floral Marketing Council:

  • If a container isn't immediately available, keep cut flowers in a cool place.

  • Shortly after delivery, loose, bunched flowers should be recut---underwater, so the stems will draw in water, not air.

  • Right after cutting, place flowers in a clean vase or container full of warm water.

  • Strip off leaves below the waterline.

  • If water becomes cloudy, replace it entirely.

  • For flowers arranged in a sponge-like floral foam, add enough warm water so that the foam sits in a pool of water.

  • Keep flowers in a cool place, away from appliances, direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents.

  • If roses wilt, recut stems underwater and submerge flowers in a sing of warm water for about 45 minutes.

  • Use floral preservative (five grams to every pint of water). A packet is often included with the bouquet , or you can get it from the florist.


Check out the Pamper Yourself section for money saving ideas on skin care and the Recipe Section for meals on a budget.

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