Here are your Dollar Stretcher Tips for October 13, 2016
Weeding Out the Worst
Before I make any major purchase (think appliances or cars), I check the online review sites for comments. Usually among the complaints, there's a pattern that allows me to eliminate specific models or even manufacturers. I'm sure that I've saved a lot of money and frustration. You ought to try it!
Holiday Shopping Suggestion
If you're an animal lover, Christmas is a good time to do something for our pet friends. Check your local shelter for gift ideas. Some do calendars, tote bags, baseball caps, t-shirts, or other items that you can gift. Last year, our shelter even had some silent auction items that would make great gifts!
Lining Kitchen Cabinets
When we moved into a new apartment, I wanted fresh shelf liners in the kitchen. Instead of that roll stuff, I bought a box of 12″ vinyl tiles at Lowe's. They were easy to cut with scissors, and with sticky backs, they were easy to install. They're also easy to clean. Best of all, they were only 42 cents each!
No Hassle with Hubby
My husband and I have been married for 17 years. We used to fight about money all the time. Creating a spending plan helped, but we still argued over little things that each of us bought. We would fight about things like going out to lunch with co-workers ($15) or a tool that he needed to fix the leak under the sink. Then we came up with a solution. At the beginning of the month, we each get an allowance on a debit card. We can use that money without any explanation for anything we need or want. Now the only discussion we have is when one of us feels that we need to increase the amount we get each month.
When we bought our house, I wanted to do what I could to keep our electric and gas bills low. The house is new to us, but it was built back in the 60s. Therefore, it doesn't have some of the energy-saving features of newer homes. Some things were easy like adding insulation in the attic and caulking around exterior doors and windows. One thing that bothered me was the pull down attic stairs. I couldn't figure out how to stop the draft until this idea hit me. I had some roll insulation left. The roll was narrower than the opening so I cut 2 sections a little longer than the opening and taped them together side-by-side. The result was a piece of roll batting that was longer and wider than the attic opening. I fashioned a duct tape handle for it. Now when I leave the attic I pull the insulation over the opening before I climb down. It's not air tight, but it's reduced the draft significantly! Justin
Privacy! And Warmth!
When we bought our new house, money was tight. We didn't have extra money for window treatments, which was a problem since one bathroom and our living room faced our neighbors. We wanted some privacy. The solution? We bought some bubble wrap and covered the windows with it. We cut it to fit and just sprayed the inside of the window with water. The bubble wrap clung to the window. Not only did it provide some privacy, but also it still let some sun come in, which we really appreciated in the winter months. We can now afford drapes but still like our bubble wrap better!
For anyone who is lonely, perhaps because of moving away from old friends, I recently found a nice option called meet-ups. These are groups of people (everywhere) who get together as strangers for activities, such as visiting a winery, and leave with new friends. There are meet-ups for people who share special interests like dancing or hiking and also people in different age groups who are single and want to meet new friends. To find meet-ups near you, if you have access to a computer, type in meet-ups and your zip code. I have a new group of friends that I wouldn't have met otherwise!
My Hibernation Project
Here in Minnesota, we don't get out much in the winter. Therefore, winter days and nights can get long and boring. I created a winter job for myself. For the last few months each weekend, I went to garage sales and flea markets when they were about to close for the day. I got a lot of stuff for free or almost free. I only took the stuff that I will be able to resell this winter. That's my hibernation project. Between eBay and Craigslist, I hope to sell all the stuff that's in my basement now. It will be fun and make the time go faster. This project helped pay for our vacation last year! I have a few more weeks to collect stuff. Then I'll take pictures and do any clean-up or fix-up between now and the first of the year. In mid-January, I will start to sell. It doesn't seem like it, but those sales add up. This is especially true when the things you're selling didn't cost you anything!
Trick or Treat
I have substitute taught at various schools in poorer neighborhoods. One thing I've noticed is that these kids rarely have enough school supplies, especially with things that run out like pens and pencils. Some of these youngsters are from large families, often headed by a grandparent or single mom, and they seem to struggle with having even the basics. By late October, the pencils they got for the start of school are probably nubs.
If you live or work in an urban neighborhood where there is poverty, please consider giving pencils out to the kids this Halloween. It doesn't have to be decorated with a Halloween motif. Just a plain old No. 2 pencil would do. The idea is to give out something the kids could use in class the next day.
Some businesses in various shopping centers sponsor trick or treat events, where little ones can go from store to store to get treats. If yours does, it would be a kindness to include a pencil or pen or small set of crayons in with, or instead of, other goodies. You could even give out advertising pencils or pens, even if the ad campaign is over with. Anything that writes would help them have something for school.
And if you're in a dentist's office, I bet those sample toothbrushes and toothpaste bags would be helpful as well.
Another idea is to substitute little food items, like mini bags of pretzels, crackers or raisins, for candy. That way, you could help fight hunger as well.
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