Dollar Stretcher Tips for May 28, 2015

Self Cleaning Ovens and more Dollar

Cleaning Combs and Brushes

An easy way to clean combs and brushes is to put a cup of peroxide into a large bowl and fill the bowl with water. Then drop in combs and brushes for five to ten minutes. Rinse with plain water. It’s a no fuss way to a clean brush!

Just In Case…

I’ve never lost a bag while traveling, but my friends have. I learned that it’s very helpful to have a list of what’s inside your bag. When I pack, I make a list and keep it in my purse just in case the airline manages to “misplace” my bag.

Area Rugs

Every month I take up my area rugs and put them in the dryer with a hand towel dampened with plain vinegar. I run them on the fluff cycle for about 20 minutes. They don’t get wet, but they do get deodorized. My house smells fresher for days after I do this.

Self-Cleaning Ovens

I’ve found that I can stop the self-cleaning cycle on my oven after an hour. The automatic timer would let it run much longer. After an hour, the stove is perfectly clean. I do have to wipe out the ashes when it cools down. I’m guessing that the extra time would have vaporized the ashes, too.

Upside Down Tomatoes

I wanted to try the upside down tomatoes on my apartment balcony, but I didn’t like the price. Then I spotted a stack of those reusable grocery bags on sale for a dollar or two. I cut two small holes in the bottom and then filled it with dirt. I planted my tomatoes in the holes and hung the whole bag on my balcony just like it was one of those expensive planters. I can’t wait to start harvesting those tomatoes!

Hospital Bills?

Mom was in the hospital twice last year. The first time she was there for three days. When we got the bill, we couldn’t remember what was done, so we had no way of telling whether the bill was accurate or not. During the second time she was in, we made a habit of listing all the things they did. Every time a doctor/nurse/aid came in, we marked it down. I even used the camera on my phone to take pictures of everything I could think of. The second bill was still a nightmare, but we did see a few things that we could get taken off of the bill. We sure wish they didn’t make it so difficult!

Just a Little Longer

I’ve always been in the habit of grocery shopping once a week, but last summer money was tight. I found that I could go eight days between shopping. This means that I make about one less trip to the store every two months. And, I’ve found that my grocery bill has not increased by more than a few dollars, so I’m saving money, too! At this rate, I’ll avoid six trips to the store. I’m putting the money into my IRA, so I can feed myself after I retire!

My Brand of Flavored Water

I know how important it is to stay hydrated, so I drink a lot of water. I really like the flavored waters, but I don’t like what they do to my food bill. Now, I make my own. I buy 100% juice and add it to tap water that I’ve run through my filter. I have plenty of cups with lids, so it’s easy to take my water with me. Now I enjoy my flavored water without being concerned about the cost!

Garage Sale Addiction

I’m addicted to garage sales, but I don’t need any more stuff in my home. Now I only allow myself to buy things that I can use as Christmas and birthday gifts for my family. Often I can find great things for their hobbies or interests for just pennies. It allows me to shop without spending a lot on things I don’t need. And, when the holidays come, I have most of my Christmas shopping already done!

Too Many Dishes

Our family drinks a lot of water and juice, especially in the summer. It seemed like I was running the dishwasher at least once a day with dirty glasses, so I bought some colored plastic glasses. Each set had six colors. I bought three sets. Each member of my family now has their own color. I encourage them to use the same glass all day long. Now, at the end of the day, we have six glasses in the dishwasher, not 16!

I’m Going First Class

My friends say I’m lucky because I manage to get upgraded to first class frequently when I fly. I don’t think it’s luck. I’m always nice to the gate attendants, and I make sure that I wear clothing that wouldn’t look out of place in first class (no shorts or t-shirts). I also book flights early in the day when they’re more likely to have open spaces in first class.

Mortgage Prepays

My husband and I just bought our first house. We’d like to have the mortgage paid off long before 30 years pass, so we’ve come up with this strategy. We have a copy of the amortization table. It says how much of each payment goes to pay interest and how much to reduce principal. Our goal is to add the amount of principal reduction to each payment.

In the early years, not much of our payment goes to the principal, so it should be easy to add it to the payment amount. We expect it’ll get tougher in later years, but we hope to have a higher income by then. Even if we don’t reach our goal each month, we still should be building equity much faster than we would otherwise.

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