Dollar Stretcher Tips
Kitchen Too Dark?
If your kitchen is too dark, try this. Add some under-cabinet lighting. We
found some online for cheap. It was a fairly easy DIY install. Not only
does it provide needed light over countertop work areas, but it also makes
the kitchen seem much lighter and open.
Pre-Teen Financial Training
I wanted to teach my twin girls about how to shop, but I didn't think they
were ready for a clothing allowance. Therefore, I decided to allow them to
buy their own hygiene products like shampoo, conditioner, acne medicine,
etc. They can't make a big mistake and what they're learning now will be
really big for them later.
Heavy Duty Kitchen Cleaner
With a big family, our kitchen gets a workout. To make cleaning easier, I
like really good products. Instead of buying the stuff they have at the
grocery store, I go to a restaurant/janitorial supply store. They have
concentrated cleaners that cost much less and are stronger than the
national brands. They are easier to use, and this saves me money. What's
not to like?
My Insurance Plan
Our insurance bills really add up. Between medical, homeowners, auto and
life insurance, it seems like we're always looking at a big bill. Two years
ago, I totaled them all up. I decided to put 1/12th of that total into a
separate account each month. That way, I have most, if not all, of the bill
saved. I actually added 10% to the total, figuring that some bills (like
health insurance) would increase. This year, I'm going to make a real
effort to shop to get the best deals.
I hate spending money on my work days. Instead of going out to lunch, I
spend my lunch break in my car, and I love it! The night before I set out
some snack foods and I pack leftovers or a sandwich for lunch. In the
morning, I use a travel mug or two and pour a big cup of coffee and/or tea.
I keep it sealed up and it is hot and delightful at lunchtime. I sit in my
car with my music or (free) podcast or even a meditation app and eat my
snacks and enjoy my time. As I head back to work, I make sure to throw out
the trash. Having a little "me time" during the day refreshes me and gets
me through the day, and not spending money during my break gets me closer
to my goals.
It's still winter here in Ohio, but I'm already thinking about my garden.
It is part of my way to cope with winter. Around mid-February, I start
checking out my favorite gardening sites and boards. I get into discussions
on what we'll all be growing this year. I've also met some local gardeners
and traded seeds. We plan on swapping some produce later this year. There
may still be snow on the ground, but my heart is already in springtime!
Can I Afford...
I don't like to carry a credit card balance. The interest rate seems so
unfair. One way I avoid that is to delay purchases until I get my credit
card bill paid in full. I bookmark or shopping cart online items that I'd
like to buy, but I don't checkout. Then when my credit card is paid, I let
myself spend a little. It's been a year since I couldn't pay my whole
credit card bill. I like my new system!
Car Dealer Doubletalk
One way that car dealers get you is on the price of the loan. They get you
to say how much you can afford each month on a car payment. Then they work
backward from that and the price of the car to figure out an interest rate.
Often it's higher than what you could get from an outside lender. You'll do
best to shop for a loan before you shop for a car. Take that interest rate
into the dealer and see if they can beat it. They want to talk about the
amount you can afford. You need to talk about the interest rate on the loan.
Household Touch-Up Kit
I learned this from a friend who installs and repairs tile. He uses nail
polish to hide small chips and cracks. He says he can always find a color
to match. I took his idea and even used it to hide some scratches on a
wall. I didn't have any leftover paint and didn't want to buy a quart for
touch-up. I found some nail polish that was a good match. There was no mark
after I was done!