Dollar Stretcher Tips
Online Shopping Advocate
I've started doing some of my grocery shopping online. It saves me money.
When I'm in the store, it's hard to avoid impulse purchases. When I'm
shopping online, I only buy what I have on my list. I don't do all of my
shopping this way, but I'm happy to save whenever I can.
It might seem silly, but I keep my financial goal in front of me everywhere
I can. It's on my dashboard, my fridge, and my bathroom mirror. I've even
created a related Pinterest board. I figure that if I make it hard to
forget, I'll make decisions that will put me closer to achieving my goal!
I'm a big Colorado Rockies fan. During the baseball season, I have a unique
way of celebrating. I have a special account. Each time a Rockies player
hits a home run, I deposit $1. Last year, they hit 192 homers! By doing
this, I save money and cheer on my team at the same time!
Retirees Auto Insurance
When my wife and I retired, we told our car insurance company. I asked if
they had special rates for low-mileage drivers. Not only did we get a
discount for that, but they also told us about a senior driving course that
would save us even more. It'll only take a few hours, and the savings will
give us a little extra towards our next visit to the grandkids!
No Cost Birthday Gifts
My wife and I are in our forties and trying to save for retirement. Our
adult children are very busy with jobs and toddlers around the house.
Therefore, instead of buying them things that they don't need for their
birthdays, we help them with DIY projects around their house. Sometimes
they work with us and sometimes they don't. It saves them money and only
costs us a little bit of time.
Handy Garden Tool Storage
I found an old mailbox with the pole at a garage sale and decided to make a
storage vessel for my garden hand tools. I placed the mailbox near my
potting area and put my hand tools, garden string, a hammer, a small set of
screwdrivers, zip ties, and a measuring tape in the mailbox. Also, it is a
great place to hide an extra key for when I lock myself out of the house. I
no longer have to search for my garden needs. Everything is right there and
handy! Plus, I decorated the mailbox to blend into my garden theme, and I
have received many compliments on this look.
Really Dining Out!
My husband, our two teenagers, and I enjoyed restaurant meals until they
got too expensive. Dinner for four was costing us anywhere between $75 and
$100! Lately, we've been trying something new. We choose a style of food
that we all enjoy. Then we all search for recipes that look good in that
category. We choose the ones that will make a complete meal. On a Saturday,
we buy the ingredients and all work together to make those recipes. It's
great family time, and we only spend about half of what a restaurant would
have cost us. I'm sure going to miss it when the kids go away to college
and we don't have our special dinners anymore!
We installed a safe in our basement for our important papers, a few coins,
and some jewelry. It's fireproof but not waterproof. We've never had a
flood in the basement, but I didn't want to take a chance. Therefore, all
the important documents are kept in airtight freezer bags. The one-gallon
size is perfect and will keep the papers dry in case of a flood. It only
costs pennies and could save us a lot of heartache!
Convenience at a Cost
I love the convenience of automatic bill paying, but I realized that the
convenience was costing me when I checked a couple of my monthly bank
statements. I found a couple of overcharges. It was mostly from restaurants
that changed the tip amount. I also found an annual auto-renewal that I had
forgotten about and cancelled. It was so easy to get too busy and never
look at the bank statements, especially since I went paperless and get them
online. Now I take a few minutes to make sure that I'm not giving money
away without realizing it!
A Teacher's Request
The end of school is coming up. On that day, many students just toss their
unused supplies in the trash. Please don't! Like many teachers, I am always
scrambling for paper, pens, pencils, and other school supplies. (I often
purchase these items myself and am rarely reimbursed.)
Instead of a coffee mug imprinted with "World's Best Teacher" or another
bottle of hand lotion, I and most of my colleagues would not mind (in fact,
we'd greatly appreciate) getting any leftover school items.
For instance, I often take old spiral notebooks and tear out the unused
sheets and put them in my paper tray for kids who run out of notebook
paper. I also put any pens or pencils I'm given into a coffee can for those
students who are without writing instruments. Some families in our school
have a lot of children and are very low income, so it's hard for them to
resupply their kids' items.
I am happy to get any leftover art supplies (colored "map" pencils,
felt-tip highlighter pens, scissors, plastic pencil sharpeners, etc.) or
anything else that could be used in my classroom. What about the notebook
binders, paperback novels, and dictionaries? If your family is going to
discard them, instead donate them! This might not be your traditional
teacher gift, but the gesture is appreciated.
Here is one more hint. If you just "have to" buy the teacher something new,
packages of notebook paper, pens, pencils, or even dry erase markers would
make her smile.