The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - July 23, 2009
Just a Little Thing
I allow myself $5 per paycheck for some little thing at the store so I don't feel deprived. It usually is something on sale like a bottle of nail polish or a nice bar of chocolate. ~Mary Z.
Volunteer and Save
If you have a thrift store in your area, you can usually volunteer and get free clothes. Plus, if there is a food pantry in the same store, you can get free food. Stores are always looking for volunteers, and if one can get free items, that is great! ~Georgia C.
Reduce Your Electric Bill
Adding a shower curtain rod over the bathtub, higher than your head and centered, is another great way to dry clothing. Hang the wet clothing on clothes hangers with enough breathing space to dry. Some clothes don't need ironing and can be transported directly into the closet. ~Sarah N.
Car Rental Alternative
Next time you need a car rental, call a local car dealer. Not only can the desired make and model be negotiated, but also a savings of nearly 40% over rental agencies can be pocketed. A family member was able to rent a Toyota Prius for a week with unlimited mileage for under $200, taxes and other charges included. ~Rhonda B. in Eastabuchie, MS
Instead of using the expensive multi-purpose contact solutions to rinse your contacts, buy the plain saline solution and use it for rinsing. Saline solution won't irritate your eyes as much and it's much cheaper. You still need the multi-purpose solution to clean and soak your contacts. You just don't want to be pouring it down the drain all the time when you rinse your contacts! ~W.
This Will Cost . . .
My favorite way to limit spending is to figure out how many hours of work I have to work in order to be able to pay for the "thing" that I want to buy. For example, there is no way that I am going to work a half of an hour every day in order to pay for a daily fancy coffee drink. I will bring my beverage from home instead. ~Janet H.
If you want gourmet spaghetti at a budget price, buy a jar of generic spaghetti sauce and pour it in a pan. In a separate pan, sautee some peppers, garlic and onions in olive oil and add it to the sauce. Throw in a dash of sugar to get rid of the acidic taste and a few dashes of chopped basil. Let it all simmer on low for about 15 minutes. This makes awesome gourmet sauce at a fraction of the cost when you consider that this will yield about five hungry man servings. ~Regina F. in Columbus, OH
I love having polished toes for the summer, but I'm terrible at painting them myself. Pedicures are out of the question, but I've discovered that my local salon will do a polish change for $10, rather than a full pedicure for $40. So I do all the "prep work" at home, then get my toes professionally painted at a fraction of the cost. ~Karen V. in Cumberland, RI
Bitter Greens? No Problem!
My garden greens (lettuce and spinach) are starting to get bitter and just not making nice, sweet salads like they were. It's getting too warm and they've been in the ground awhile now. This is not a problem, as I am using them like other greens that you cook with. I'm stir-frying with them, cutting up some for my garbanzo stew today at lunch, using them in omelets, or just cooking up a pot and serving with vinegar/pepper sauce. They certainly aren't going to waste! And we're enjoying them! ~P.
Check Used First
My husband and I have been benefiting from online classified ads recently. These are a great way to stretch your dollar and give a second life to many things. We were in the market for a wooden swing set/fort, but hated the idea of spending over $500 for one. Someone tipped us off to Craigslist.org, and we posted a "wanted" ad for one. We waited a month to be contacted about one in our price range, but finally someone who had just moved into a new house and didn't have kids contacted us and asked us to take their swing set for free! The added bonus is that this swing set gets a second life, and we aren't taking down any more trees to build one. Our other "big" success is joining Freecycle.org. This is a group of people who offer and take things from each other for free. You can't take something and re-sell it, but usually if you want it, it's yours. We needed storm windows for our house, so we posted a "wanted" ad. Someone had them for us. And again, we were good to the environment by saving them from the landfill. Just another way to stretch your dollar online. ~Chris S. in Wayland, MI
I was shocked to find my normal cell phone bill at $50 higher than the rate. I called to check and found out my daughter had accessed the Internet through her phone, which cost an extra $30. $20 was for ringtones. Of course, when I counseled her, she thought that we had that service because she was able to access it. I called Verizon and asked them to block every single feature that cost extra over our plan. I was not aware that a service would be available even if it was not something available on our contract. From now on, we will not be able to access a feature that will cost extra. Take a few minutes to check out your service, and then block anything else you do not want to pay extra for. I told a friend of mine about this and she said that her daughter sent text messages that were not on their contract and cost an extra $100. I told her to call the company to see what she could do. Because it was a certain time in the billing cycle, she was able to add unlimited texting feature for $10 a month and she did not have to pay the $100 overage for texting. ~Kaye H.
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