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The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman

StorkNet.com > Columns > The Dollar Stretcher

Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 2, 2009

Need Moving Boxes?
When you are planning a move, check with the local moving company for boxes. Often, they will give previously used boxes to you free of charge. They have to dispose of them somehow and often will give them to you. ~LaVonne

I'll Volunteer!
Go to theatres and offer to usher at stage productions in exchange for being able to see the shows. I've seen marvelous productions in my college city for free. ~Nancy from Statesboro, GA

Easy Toiletry Organizer
We have a small bathroom. I bought a shoe holder (with pockets) that hangs on the back of a door. I put it on the wall behind the door. I have my makeup, brushes, toiletries, toothpaste, extra soap, moisturizers, razors, etc. in one place and out of sight. It is an awesome space saver. ~Joanne

Better Than Banking
I save money on my banking by dealing only with credit unions. Credit unions are member owned, and although you usually have to be a member of some "group" to belong, the group may be as broad as residing in a certain county. I belong to several credit unions and never pay any fees for services of any kind. The service is always exceptional, and I have never had a problem or a dispute with the credit union or its credit card carrier that took more than one phone call to resolve! ~Linda

Feeling Like a Winner!
You only have to turn your radio on and listen to a local station and the announcer for a chance to win passes or tickets to local sporting events, plays, music concerts, etc. I won two free passes to sit in the grandstands of a ladies golf tournament on Saturday. All I had to do was call in and be the third caller! My husband loves golf, so naturally I let him join me! This ladies tournament is one step away from the LPGA. We were in the shade, got a free meal, drinks, and were just yards away from the ladies as they finished up their game on the last hole. It was peaceful, the birds were singing and we were watching quality golf. ~Theresa in Maroa, IL

Weed Mats
To prevent weeds, I place cardboard, newspapers or any similar material (like catalogs, magazines or cereal boxes flattened) around the area we don't want weeds or grass to grow. To hold this in place and make it look better, I cover with grass clippings, hay, straw, leaves or mulch from my local free county mulching center. This mixture will decompose, while keeping weeds at bay and holding in moisture. It becomes nutrient rich soil and feeds the plants. To find out if your county has a free mulching program, call the general information number listed in your phone book for your county. If you have a pickup truck, remember to take a tarp to cover the load while driving. ~Joyce

Our Second Set of Wheels
My husband I own a pick-up truck and a two-door hatchback that are paid for. We had been talking about replacing the truck with another fuel-efficient car. However, we couldn't justify spending several thousand dollars on a car (plus the insurance, which is mandatory and very expensive in my state) in order to save a few hundred dollars on gas, so we came up with a better idea. We decided on a bicycle! For a few hundred dollars, we bought a good-quality mountain bike, complete with a baby seat and helmets. I've started doing all of my weekday errands within pedaling distance, while my husband takes our car to work. For grocery shopping, I either take the car one evening per week, or I take advantage of our grocery store's delivery service (only a $5.00 charge). We're saving a lot of money on gas, plus it's great exercise and recreation for my toddler and me! You don't have to spend a lot of money either; instead of buying new, you could always tune-up an older bicycle. And if you have more than one child at home during the day, instead of a baby seat, you can get one of those bicycle trailers for around $100 or so. ~C.

From Saving to Savings
Most frugal people recognize the benefits of doing things for themselves to save money. For example, they may do a simple home repair instead of hiring someone, prepare a brown-bag lunch rather than going out to a restaurant, or do beauty treatments at home. While this definitely prevents you from spending money, it also presents an opportunity to maximize your savings. Each time you take one of these cost saving measures, transfer the money you would have spent from your checking account to your savings account. For example, this weekend, I gave myself a lovely at-home manicure and pedicure. If I would have paid someone to do that, I likely would have spent nearly $40 to $45 for the service plus a tip with a total cost of at least $50. Instead, I decided to pay myself by doing an online transfer from my checking account to my savings account in one simple step. I'm going to try to do this each time I bring my own lunch to work, too. Even if you estimate conservatively (say $6 per meal), the savings will add up if you do it a few times each week. And it is no more trouble than paying the cashier at a restaurant. If you don't bank online, you could simply write yourself a check. Either way, you're rewarding yourself for your efforts and putting the money in your savings rather than toward the profits of some business! ~Wendy in Ballwin, Missouri

Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit www.stretcher.com/r/99.htm to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2009 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

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