Stretch A Dollar

by Barb


When my husband and I first arrived in Canada, thirty years ago, we came with three suitcases and a baby! Money was in short supply and we really had to stretch a dollar.

... I remember buying a really pretty pillowcase at a yard sale - I opened the end and hemmed it, sewed rows of elastic around the top, added thin spaghetti straps and there, I had a sun-dress for my 3 year old! It was a beautiful blue dress that she wore all summer and only years later (in her teens) did she find out that I had made it from a 10 cent pillowcase and was horrified!

My mother-in-law had 4 sons and knew ways to stretch her money, but the funniest one was when she would cut the leg off a pair of panty-hose that had a run, she kept the panty part with the good leg still attached. When she had another pair that had a run in one leg she would cut the bad leg off and save the rest. She would then put them both on as she had two good legs and two panties - it kept her lower back warm in those cold English winters!

My family likes chicken, but if I serve chicken breasts they will eat one each. If I make a stir fry, I can use less meat - for example three chicken breasts will serve five people if you slice the meat and serve it in a stir-fry.

I also buy ground chicken or turkey and use that to make meat-balls for chicken curry - instead of using a more expensive cut such as chicken breasts.

Also, if ground beef is on sale, I buy lots of it and make several different dishes which I freeze - lasagne, spaghetti and meat balls, meat loaf, chili, etc.

We also grow our own tomatoes in the summer time - if you pick the ripe tomatoes and make sure that the skin is unbroken, you can freeze them raw and whole. I store them in zip-lock bags. When needed for soups or spaghetti sauce, you just defrost them in a bowl and they are great.

When my children were younger some friends and I formed a sort of co-operative where we would all exchange clothes that our children had outgrown - it was great - sometimes I only had to buy one or two outfits a year and my kids did not mind getting used clothes.

I love to knit, but yarn is expensive. I have bought heavy sweaters at thrift shops and pulled the yarn back and re-rolled it into balls, and then re-used it to make new items! If you want you can steam the yarn so it is smoother and not as wrinkled, but I don't bother. To knit hats, mitts and scarves for my children it would have cost a lot of money, but to buy two ladies sweaters (in a nice Chunky yarn) cost me $5, which I then turned into many hat, mitts and scarves sets.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to tell someone about my ideas.

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