The Dollar Stretcher
by Gary Foreman
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Dollar Stretcher Tips - November 19, 2009
My TV Game
I've made a game out of watching TV at night. During commercials, I try to see how much I can do to prepare for the next day. I can make a dent on any number of small projects by the time the program comes back on. It also keeps the "lure" of advertisements away from my mind! ~JJM
We like to eat turkey throughout the year but find the size too much. I have the butcher cut them in half so I have a breast, thigh, leg and wing on each half. They will then wrap each half individually and then wrap the entire turkey together (for pricing reasons). I buy them when they are loss leaders and save a lot of money over purchasing them in the off season. ~Kim H. in Michigan
Adjusting My Credit Card Bill
I use a credit card for most of my purchases, but I like the idea of saving change when I use cash. I have found that when I get my statement and pay the bill (I always pay the total charges each month), I go through the bill and check how much change I would have saved if I had paid in cash for those purchases. I then take that amount and add all the totals together and put the resulting figure into my savings account. I do this all online and treat that money like another bill to pay. I save about $30 monthly and get interest off of the money too. It makes for a surprisingly big figure at the end of the year. ~MP
One of the ways that I keep my goals in front of me every day is to use affirmations for all of my computer passwords. My company makes us change our passwords every few months. Our passwords have to use both upper and lower case letters, and numbers and/or symbols. Therefore I create sentences using this combination. Each time we change it, I think of a new affirmation I want for that time period. My favorites to date are "DebtFree4Ever," "ThinkBe4Spending," and "Enjoy2Day." These password affirmations help to keep me focused on an area I want to work on right now. ~Lori P.
A Few Hours = $1500
Don't be afraid to tackle new projects around the house just because you haven't done it before! My new (to me) house was in dire need of insulation, especially with winter coming. Contractors all wanted $2,000 and more to insulate my attic (at R38). I went online to a major insulation company where I found that they had a video showing step by step what needs to be done and they even had an online calculator showing how much insulation I needed. I purchased the insulation (and got free blower rental) and installed R49 insulation in my attic for under $500! That's a 75% savings for just a few hours of my time! ~PM
Free Hanging Storage
Those protective air pockets that come in box shipments (instead of Styrofoam peanuts) are very sturdy and durable. The packs are attached together by perforated strips. Take about six pockets, keep them attached, and make a slit on top of each pack, straight across near the top of each pack about four inches across. You now have a strip of sturdy, yet very lightweight open containers to tack inside closets or hang on back of doors or even within drawers. They are great to store smaller items, toiletries, cotton balls, soaps, sugar packets, etc. ~Arthur R. in Brooklyn
When my children were younger, I used to dread laundry day. Having boys, it was always an adventure sorting laundry. As many times as I told them to empty their pants pockets before putting their jeans in the hamper, they didn't often comply. I was always amazed at the assortment of junk they managed to store in them and never seemed to miss when I tossed it out! I realized that among the toys, rocks and tissues, there was a rather substantial amount of loose change and single dollar bills, making their way to my laundry room. In order to teach them that I meant business, I put a piggy bank (one I got free from my local bank) on my dryer and told them that any loose change that came down went into the bank as my laundry fee. The first couple of months I was averaging about $20 or so! As soon as they realized that the change went into the family till, they quickly figured out that it was better for them if they emptied their pockets first! They are older now, but I still keep that bank on the dryer, and while it takes longer to fill, I still manage to save some "mad money" for a rainy day. ~Carol R. in Palmyra, NJ
Water Heater Savings
Hot water heating takes 30% of your heating bill. If you have an electric water heater, be sure it has a blanket of insulation around it. Then have a certified electrician put a 220 v timer on it in a place where you can reach. This is what worked for me. I set the timer to come on one hour before my husband and I get up to go to work. After my husband and I shower, I put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher and turn it on (supper dishes were put in the dishwasher on rinse and hold the night before). The timer is set to go off one hour after breakfast. In the evening, if we do sweaty garden work, there is enough warm water for a quick shower in the tank. So out of 24 hours, my hot water heater runs three hours each day. On wash day, I turn it on, and when I finish washing, I go back to the timer. ~Barbara W.
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