Here are your Dollar Stretcher Tips for May 5, 2016.
Quick Room Renewal
Want a quick way to give a room a new look? Just paint one wall! Not only is it easy to do, but also usually one quart of paint will do the job, so it doesn't cost much either. It works especially well if the other three walls are a fairly neutral color.
A Night Out
My husband and I check the community calendar section of websites for our city. Often there are plays, concerts, and dinner fundraisers that we attend. Often they're bargain priced, and even if they aren't, we're helping to support local organizations.
Cleaning Silk Flowers
The easiest and cheapest way that I have found to clean silk flowers is cheap hair spray. Buy the least expensive kind you can find (make sure it is aerosol) and just spray directly on the “plants.” Make sure to do it outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. It works like a charm! The dust disappears and the plants look brand new.
Natural Hair Conditioner
If you want to go natural with your hair, try this recipe for hair conditioner. Mix 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1 quart of water. I keep a squirt bottle of it in my shower. Just rinse your hair with it after shampooing. I let it soak in for a minute and then rinse with water. My hair has never looked better!
You Won't Believe This Marinade!
I keep a jar of leftover coffee in my fridge. It's the best marinade for venison! I marinate the meat all day or overnight. Then I drain the coffee from stew meat or steaks and cook the meat as usual. For roasts, I leave the meat in the coffee and cook the whole thing in my slow cooker. It's tender and delicious! It's the only way my husband wants it done now.
Kids Toys (and Other Devices)
Many toys require more than one battery. Until recently, when a toy stopped working, I replaced all of the batteries at once. Then I bought a simple volt meter. In just a second, it can tell me how much voltage each battery is producing. Most of the time, it's just one or two that are bad, so I only replace those. There's no sense in throwing batteries away that still have life!
Let Me Count the Ways!
I use plain distilled vinegar for more things than I can count. If I find a line of ants invading my house, I put a little vinegar in their path. I add some to my son's sandbox and it helps keep neighborhood cats from using it. I also add a little to the laundry when I wash clothes for the first time. It helps to keep them looking good longer. I can't think of a single room in my house where I don't use vinegar for one thing or another.
Can We Afford It?
Too many of my friends buy something and then realize that they can't afford it. I have a solution that works for me. Let's say I'm thinking about buying a new car and the payment will be $300 a month. First, I make sure that the payment will be about $300 (sometimes it's more than I think). Then I start taking $300 out of my checking account each month and transfer it to savings. If I can do that for three or four months, then I can be pretty sure that I can afford the car. If not, I can wait or consider something less expensive. Either way, I've avoided making a big time mistake.
Watering Your Garden
I use rain barrels to collect water that runs off the roof of our house. I have three, each fed by my gutters. They sit on cement blocks to keep them off of the ground. Each has a hose spigot attached. I use the water for my garden. Using rainwater reduces my water bill. Each barrel has a cover, so no pets or children can fall in and drown. I also had to check with my county planners to make sure that rain barrels were legal where we live. It's a great way to work with nature to grow food.
Take an Inventory
It may be a little late for spring cleaning, but it's still a good idea. Each year as I clean my house, I take pictures of any new items in the house that are valuable like electronics, furniture, collectibles, etc. I keep a digital file on a thumb drive that my sister keeps. If I ever have an insurance claim, I will be able to prove what I own. Without pictures or other proof, I would have a hard time collecting.
Beware Free Wi-Fi
If you travel, you'll often find free Wi-Fi. Unless I know who's offering the service, I won't use them. Often hackers set them up in places that get a lot of traffic. Once you sign on, they can capture any information you send. It's especially dangerous if you do any banking or shopping while connected through their hotspot. I'd much rather use a little more of my data plan than have to fix an ID theft problem.
When Friends Say You're Cheap
The best thing to do when faced with friends that make comments about your financial status is to smile like you know a secret they don't. This is true because you know a sense of freedom they can't comprehend.
I have been living frugally for the past eleven years, and for the first several years, I was constantly trying to infect my friends with the excitement I felt at learning to take control of my money. Being frugal lets me do and have the things that are really important to me.
But sadly, not everyone (even our nearest and dearest friends) sees things the way we do. Though I tried very hard, I could not get my friends to see what I was doing. The need to “keep up with the Jones'” is a way of life a lot of people don't want to give up, and we can't change that, no matter how destructive we might think it is.
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