Dollar Stretchers

Posted on July 11, 2019

by Faith S

As a millennial I am constantly being reminded of ways I could and should be saving money by elder generations. For example, I shouldn’t even look at an avocado for fear my chances of ever owning my own home will be pitted and mashed into an unappetizing two-bedroom apartment shared with four other avocado avoiding millennials. So how can millennials save money and appease the generations that came before us? While wandering the stacks at the Main Library in downtown Toledo, Ohio I came across the 1918 collection of The Ladies Home Journal. Dealing with rationing and financial difficulties stemming from World War I, the Journal offers practical “Dollar Stretchers” to help save money and ration materials needed for the military overseas.

Here are a few of my favorite Dollar Stretchers:

  • A Garbage Can Will Not Rust, and so will last much longer if it is given one or two coats of good paint on the inside when new (The Ladies Home Journal, February 1918, pg. 60)
  • To Make the Most of the Juices in roasted fowl, turn the fowl on its breast instead of its back when roasting. By doing this, the juices run directly into the breast instead of the back making it deliciously moist. (The Ladies Home Journal, February 1918, pg. 60)
  • Easter Eggs May be Colored beautiful shades of red and brown by putting onion skins in the water which the eggs are boiled. They may also be colored with coffee grounds or beet juice. Eggs dyed in this way may be eaten safely. (The Ladies Home Journal, March 1918, pg. 46)
  • When You Have Several Bits of Left-Overs in your refridgerator, instead of reheating each separately, and thus wasting gas, see how many can be combined. For instance, if you have some cold potatoes, a saucer of beans, left-over cereal and an end of meat, cut all into small pieces, fry some chopped onion, add the left-overs, and season well. Just before taking from the fire a beaten egg may be added. Besides saving the gas, this makes an appetizing luncheon dish. (The Ladies Home Journal, March 1918, pg. 46)
  • If your Hot Water Bag is past mending do not discard it, but cut off the top, open the bag out flat and cover it with pretty colored linen. Fold into the desired shape and use as a wash cloth, toothbrush, soap and sponge holder when traveling. (The Ladies Home Journal, March 1918, pg. 46)
  • In an Emergency a much-needed ice bag was made at home by placing cracked ice in a rubber bathing cap and fastening it securely, with rubber bands, around a cork. (The Ladies Home Journal, May 1918, pg. 84)
  • Do Not Let a Leaky Bottle spoil your things while traveling. Slip a finger from an old kid glove (This author from 2019 suggests a rubber medical glove) over the cork and neck of the bottle, tie or fasten it around the neck with a rubber band, and you will find things don’t “spill out” (The Ladies Home Journal, May 1918, pg. 84)

Finally, a tip I found incredibly unhelpful:

  • Carry Lemons on Your Automobiling Trips and jaunts into the country, if you are suspicious of the purity of the drinking water. The juice of a lemon squeezed into a glass of water will purify the water and make it safe for drinking. (The Ladies Home Journal, June 1918, pg. 48)


“Dollar Stretchers.” The Ladies Home Journal, XXXV, no. No. 2, Feb. 1918, p. 60.

“Dollar Stretchers.” The Ladies Home Journal, XXXV, no. No. 3, Mar. 1918, p. 46.

“Dollar Stretchers.” The Ladies Home Journal, XXXV, no. No. 5, May. 1918, p. 84.

“Dollar Stretchers.” The Ladies Home Journal, XXXV, no. No. 6, Jun. 1918, p. 48.

Money Saving Library Books

100 days of real food on a budget : simple tips and tasty recipes to help you cut out processed food without breaking the bank / Lisa Leake
Old-Fashioned Economical Cooking: Healthy Culinary Ideas on a Budget by Winifred S. Gibbs
Happy Go Money: Spend Smart, Save Right and Enjoy Life by Melissa Leong
The Complete Guide to Personal Finance for Teenagers and College Students by Tamsen Butler
Building with secondhand stuff : how to reclaim, repurpose, re-use & upcycle salvaged & leftover materials / Chris Peterson

Featured Image Credit: Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay.

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