Dollar Stretcher Tips for November 10, 2016
For storing off-season clothing, I would suggest cedar blocks or cedar chips. They are natural and don't smell nasty, and if blocks are used, they can be sanded and reused.
Between my boys' sports uniforms and my husband's yard clothes, I had to do something about clothes coming out of the washer still smelly. I found the solution in a half of a cup of plain white vinegar. I add it to the wash cycle, and the clothes lose their odors.
Insulating Dog Kennels
Even though he sleeps inside, our dog really likes to be outside. To make his dog house more comfortable, we provide some extra insulation for him. When we rake up the leaves, we put about four inches worth in the floor of his house. He loves to curl up in the leaves and take a long winter's nap!
Easy to Find
If you bought some glow-in-the-dark nail polish for your Halloween costume, don't throw it away. I use it to mark things that I need to find in the dark. Like the door on our breaker panel or the flashlight we save for when the power goes out. Sometimes all you need is a dot. You need just enough to catch your eye.
Grandma's Toy Box
My folks saved some of the games we played as kids for when we come to visit. I didn't think that my kids would enjoy those old toys, but I was wrong. They seem happy to put away their phones and iPads to play Scrabble or The Game of Life. It almost makes me wonder whether I should buy board games instead of video games for Christmas this year!
An “Essentials” Basket
Most of us have a friend that is struggling financially. If you want to help them without causing embarrassment, give them a “household” basket. Tell them it's just a gift from a friend. Include items that you know that they can use like liquid soap, detergent, and other cleaning supplies. By filling some of those needs, you'll free up some money for other things that they need like food and utilities.
If you have ever worked the evening shift at a grocery store, you know that they typically reduce prices an hour or two before closing. This is especially true in the meat section. It's a great way to cut the cost of feeding a family. I'm in the store many nights, so I can buy just what I need for the next day. But you could buy a week's worth of meat and freeze most of it.
Before you call a handyman, check out YouTube and the web for answers. There are so many videos where you can see exactly what skills and tools are needed to fix many household problems. I always check to see if it's a DIY job. For instance, I just replaced the heating element in my water heater. It didn't take any fancy tools or skills. I just needed to see a video that walked me through the process.
Reaching Your Goals
I learned something from my exercise program that helped my finances. I found that I did better if I either signed up for a six- or eight-week course or if I had a very specific short-term goal and time frame. Now I have certain frugal living sites I read and I have four-, six- and eight-week goals. Currently, my goal is to pay off the credit card that I use for craft supplies. The balance is less than $200, but I don't want to pay interest. I have until 11/20 to reach my goal. Even if I miss by a few dollars, I'm still better off than if I told myself that someday I'd get it paid. And, I've also lost 13 pounds since June 1st!
A Winter Emergency Kit
Each winter, I make up an emergency kit for each family member to keep in our cars. We live in the country, and it's always possible that we could have a car breakdown or get caught in a whiteout. Mostly, I use old worn out clothing and blankets. Lost a mitten? The survivor goes into the kit. There's no reason they have to match. Blanket getting frayed around the edges? So what? The purpose isn't to impress anyone. It's to keep warm until help arrives. I also put in some granola bars to snack on and one of those recharger sticks for my phone. That way, if I can get a signal, I don't have to worry about running out of battery when I want to call for help. I hope that we don't need it this winter, but it's better to be prepared!
Lunch for Dinner
My husband and I like to go out to eat once or twice a week, but it's getting too expensive because we live on a pension. We found a good solution. We either go out for lunch or to a restaurant that serves lunch for dinner. Lunch entries are just about the right size for our appetites, and they're usually about a third less than similar dinner entries. Also, we check out the senior's menu. Many restaurants will let you order from them no matter how old you are.
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