Here are your Dollar Stretcher Tips for December 3, 2015….
Easy, Inexpensive Bed Warmer
Each winter I take a flat piece of fleece and place it under the bottom sheet on my bed. You'd be surprised how much warmer it is. It's cheap and doesn't require any sewing. Too easy!
Large Gift Wrapping
My five-year-old is getting a bike for Christmas. I want to wrap it, but the paper would cost more than the bike! I'm heading down to a dollar store and buying a cheap table cloth. It's big enough and cheap enough!
Custom Gift Tags
All year long, I've taken pictures of my kids. Now it's time to take them off my phone and print them. I will use the prints as gift tags on their Christmas presents! This should make Christmas morning a little more interesting!
Natural Stomach Relief
We don't bother with Rolaids® or Tums® in our house. Instead we use a natural solution when we get an upset stomach. We put half of a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water. Stir it until the baking soda dissolves. Then drink it down. It tastes bad, but it does a great job on that tummy!
Shower Door Solution
I hate it when my glass shower enclosure gets cloudy with soap scum. I tried all kinds of products without liking any of them. Finally a friend suggested I use hair conditioner. I put a little onto my shower sponge and wipe it over the glass. After a few minutes, I wipe off any excess. The water (and soap scum) just sheet right off the glass now!
Making Christmas Grocery Shopping Affordable
Our grocery budget is always tight around the holidays, so I take the month of December as an opportunity to use as much as I can from my pantry and freezer. Sometimes that means searching for recipes that use what I have. Not only do I manage to cut my grocery bill down, but I also use a lot of food that would otherwise be forgotten and go to waste.
It's been an on-going project, but my wife and I have digitized all of our financial records, music, and books. We used a scanning service for the books. We had hundreds of books, thousands of CDs, and four file cabinets filled with paper. It all now fits easily on a thumb drive. Since all of our family pictures, documents, and history are scanned, I can easily provide copies of everything to anyone in the family who wants them. And, it doesn't take up any space in their house. My father moved from a 3,000 sq. ft. house to a 600 sq. ft. retirement apartment, and it was an inspiration watching him do that.
Ready to Entertain
I clean houses for a living. One thing I've noticed is that people tend to believe a house is clean if it smells clean. Therefore, when I'm cleaning a house, I make sure it smells clean. I choose an essential oil that the client likes. I place a few drops in the kitchen and bathroom drains. Then I put a little on paper towels and place them in the waste baskets. When I'm entertaining at home, I do the same thing before guests arrive. They always think I've cleaned the house just for them! (Super Great Tip! Here's a link for some great Essential Oils)
Being Conspicuously Thrifty
The best way to be thrifty and envied for it is to learn how to be “self-sufficient.” My father was a dentist and a hobby rancher. His goal was always to do, fix, build, grow, maintain, and preserve everything about the family's life. By doing this, he was able to amass a considerable estate before he died. I think many of our seniors learned this from the Depression and the uncertainty of the future. In today's world, it seems everyone wants to be rich but has little interest in putting forth the effort and time to learn it and earn it. Most people do envy the person who is a “can do” individual.
My grandma was known for her cooking. This year, I'm going to do something for my sisters and girl cousins. My mom had grandma's cookbook. She used recipe cards, mostly in her own handwriting. I've made copies of some and put them on a poster board. I'll frame them and give them this Christmas. They make an excellent wall hanging for the kitchen or family room. And it's a great reminder to cook the way grandma did at least occasionally!
An Overspending Mate
The most important method I used to convert a spender was to set specific goals for our money. It was very hard for my wife to save money just for fun. However, once we set goals, it was much easier. We wanted to have a house and for her to stay at home with our son. We established a budget with flexibility where she wanted it (some dinners out, trips to family, etc.). She had full input into the goals and budget. Then we tracked the budget over two months. We saw where our $7 lunch here and there really added up. I was very supportive of my wife. I didn't look over her shoulder or second guess her decisions. I just kept our goal in front of her and showed our progress. This worked for us.
I would sit down with your husband in a non-threatening setting. Talk to him about your short- and long-term goals (not just financial). Let him talk about his goals. Ask open and closed ended questions to help him explore the future he wants. Write all this down. Create a list with your goals combined and set an amount for each. This will shape your budget. Involve your husband in the monthly budget summary. Show him the successes.
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