Here are your Weekly Dollar Stretcher Tips for April 28, 2016
The Dollar Store Party
Before I go shopping for party supplies, I always hit the dollar store first. Often I can find cups, plates, balloons, streamers, and other party stuff for cheap! I can usually find most of the stuff I’m looking for before I go to the party store.
Natural Flea and Tick Prevention
You don’t need nasty chemicals to keep your pets free of fleas and ticks this summer. Just add some garlic to your dog food and some brewer’s yeast to your cat’s diet. It’s natural and will keep fleas and ticks from making your pet their home.
Auto Insurance Discounts
Since I work close to home, I don’t put many miles on my car. That allows me to keep them for a long time. It also means that I get a discount on my insurance. They have a special low mileage category that I qualify for. It saves me about $250 a year.
Tax Refund Rip-Off
I know that it’s nice getting a tax refund, but I refuse to let the government use my money for months without paying me any interest. So, I set my withholding to just cover my expected taxes. I don’t get a refund, but I am able to save a few dollars each month instead of sending them to the taxman.
Our summers always seem busy and finding time to cook is hard, so I do a weekly BBQ on the weekends during the summer. I cook up enough for three or four meals. During the week, I have a couple of meals that only need sides to be ready. I can come home from work and set the table while the veggies cook. It is nice and easy!
We’re probably years away from moving out of our home, but we’re already starting to clear out some stuff that we don’t need anymore. I make a point of listening when friends and family say that they’re shopping for an item. Occasionally it’s something that we have and don’t really use any more, so I give it to them. They’re happy and so am I!
A Better Backyard
This year, I’m going to create a backyard oasis. I’ve already purchased a small fountain. Next I’m going to decorate the fence. On the western part, I’m going to hang planters. On the northern side, I’m going to sketch out a mural. I don’t want it to be complicated. Instead, I just want something to draw attention to the space. It should be a great view from the sitting area I created last summer.
Our family liked to try different restaurants, but with price increases, it was getting too expensive. So we tried something different. We pile in the car and go to the grocery store. Then we hit the frozen dinner section. Everyone gets to choose their own dinner! Often we’ll have a theme like all seafood or all from the same country. While they’re cooking at home, we do a little research on the country or some other topic that we’ve chosen. We get good food and great conversation all at an affordable price!
We were repainting a bedroom and knew that it would take two coats to cover the old color. I like to use high quality paint, but it is expensive, so I looked at the mistints at my hardware store. I found a color that was close to what my final coat would be for a fraction of what my expensive paint would cost. We rolled the mistint on first and then covered with the high quality paint. The room looks awesome!
Old Fruit Saver
Wanting to encourage my family to eat more fresh fruit, I always have some around the kitchen for them to snack on. But, I was throwing away overripe fruit every few days. My solution? Freeze it! Just before it starts to go bad, I put it in the freezer. Then whenever one of us wants a smoothie, we have a selection of frozen fruit waiting for us. I put it in the blender frozen and add a little juice, milk, etc. It tastes great, and it’s nutritious too! And I’m not throwing away good fruit anymore!
When I got my first real job out of school, it seemed like a lot of money. Instead of spending it all, my dad suggested that I set aside a little from each paycheck and put it in a savings account. I still lived better than before, just not up to my full check. I kept doing that as I got raises. If I got a 5% raise, I’d allow my spending to increase 5%, but never up to my full income. I’m nearly 35 now and my wife and I have accumulated a nice amount. Makes life a lot less stressful knowing that we have some savings in case we lose a job or have a major expense.
New Home Upgrades and Warranties
I work in warranty service for a custom homebuilder and I often deal with customers who choose to use another vendor or who do certain parts of the building themselves. You should be aware that any item that is provided by a homeowner or an outside subcontractor is not covered under any warranties. For example, if you bring in an outside vendor to do wood flooring and a plumbing leak damages the floor, neither the builder nor the outside vendor are required to warrant the total cost of floor repairs. However, if the builder’s subcontractor did the floors, all repairs will be covered.
Such warranty is usually only for one year, so it would be best to let any problems expose themselves in that year and then you will have to take full responsibility for all repairs anyway. This issue is particularly important in damage from roof, window, or plumbing leaks, tile cracks, electrical/lighting repairs, countertop scratches (that may occur while under construction, but are still not covered), etc. Sometimes it is more cost effective in the short term, but there is a risk you assume when you go outside the system for your extras.
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