Here are your Dollar Stretcher Tips for May 14, 2015
When I was in Trinidad, I noticed that there was always a small bowl of dish soap mixed with water beside the kitchen sink. It makes it really easy to just dip a sponge in the bowl for cleaning. Plus, less soap is used.
Reducing Dryer Time
My electric dryer costs a lot to operate and really heats up my home in the summer, so I now use homemade dryer balls. I ball up aluminum foil and put it in the dryer with my wet clothes. This works just as well as the more expensive dryer balls you can buy.
I learned a trick from a friend of mine. She told me that you should never work on spotted clothes from the front. If you do, your scrubbing pushes the stain into the fabric. If you work on it from the back, you’re pushing it out of the fabric. I’ve been using her trick for years, and it works great!
We entertain guests for dinner, and I like to use candles to help set the mood. But, I hate cleaning the melted wax off the candle holders. I’ve found that I can place them on foil in the oven at 200 degrees. In just a few minutes, the wax melts off the holders and falls onto the foil. Then I just wipe off the candle holders and throw out the foil!
I was surprised to find out that most non-refundable airfares are refundable for the first 24 hours after you book the flight without any penalty. Check the terms and conditions before you book. I keep shopping during those 24 hours to see if I can find a cheaper alternative. You’d be amazed at how many refunds I’ve gotten on non-refundable tickets!
Watering Your Garden
I’m a big believer in using what nature gives us. One of those things is rain. I’ve rigged my gutters to pour the water into rain barrels. The rain barrels are hooked to a hose that I can use in my garden. Instead of water running off my roof and overwatering my lawn, now it’s used to help grow veggies. You can find rain barrels online very inexpensively. Try one!
I make my budget based on a regular 40-hour week and four checks per month. In the months when I get five checks, I put one into the account that holds my emergency fund. I also put in any overtime I get. By doing this, I’ve replaced a dishwasher and repaired an air conditioner and my car out of the emergency fund. I’m really glad that I didn’t have to put it on my credit card.
I love sushi, but the habit can get expensive! I looked for ways to cut costs. I realized that it was the taste of common spices they used that I liked, including pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce. I went to the grocery store and bought some of each. I also searched out some recipes that use these spices. Now, when I get the urge for sushi, I cook up one of these recipes. I save money and still get the taste that I’m craving!
When I get home from work, I don’t have a lot of time to get dinner ready. I’ve gotten in the habit of preparing ingredients over the weekend. I chop onions, peppers, etc. Peel carrots and cut them. Also, I brown any ground beef that I’ll be using in tacos or spaghetti. I do anything I can in advance. That way, when I get home, it’s just a matter of assembly, which makes it much easier.
Having a Garage Sale
Each spring I have a garage sale. Trying to decide how to price items was always a challenge until I started asking myself this question. Is it something I want to get rid of or is it valuable enough that I don’t want to just give it away? For the cheaper stuff, I price really low and will take almost any offer. But, for the better stuff, I do some research on eBay to see what similar items are going for. If I don’t sell these items at the sale, I put them up for online auction. By doing this, I get rid of the clutter and get reasonable value for my things.
My job requires me to move often, so I’m always adjusting to a new community. I’ve found one thing that makes it easier to make friends. I sign up for an adult education class. Sometimes I sign up for a non-credit class at the local high school or I audit a class at the community college. Either way, I get to learn about a new subject and find other people who are interested in it as well. And it’s so easy to ask a class mate if they’d like to get a cup of coffee after class. Instant friend!
I was involved in the planning of a retirement party for someone who had worked 35 years at the company. These were some of the best ideas of our event. We collected photographs from the working environment from day one to present. We accumulated about 100 or more photos. Then we scanned the photos into a PowerPoint presentation and set the presentation on “loop.” We set this up in a corner of the room and just let it run all night. We even got some family photos from his wife and put those in the presentation as well. People migrated over to the slide presentation all evening. We also copied the presentation onto a CD and gave it to our retiree. It was his favorite gift.
For table decorations, we gave each table a theme. Our retiree was a civil engineer, a boy scout leader, a photographer, a father, a husband, an antique car buff, an Army veteran, and a collector of hats. We used each of these parts of his life as a theme for each of the tables. At each of the tables, we provided a short description of the reason these items were here and how they applied to the retiree’s life. The result was magical and impressive. For example, at the Civil Engineer table, we placed blueprints, a hardhat, drawing tools, boots, etc. Our retiree’s wife was very helpful and let us scrounge through their house for decorations. The tables created quite a sensation among all the guests, and since we borrowed the items, it was free!
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