Dollar Stretcher: Summer dryer maintenance
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Summer dryer maintenance
Each summer, I do some basic maintenance on our clothes dryer. I unplug it and take off the front and top covers. There are a couple of screws holding each. I check the belt for cracks. Last year, I bought one online since the old one was showing its age. I found a YouTube video that showed how to replace it. I also vacuum out the traps and airways of any lint build-up. Drying time drops by about 25 percent after and it usually only takes an hour.
Save the fridge
Have some stinky odors in your fridge? Here’s how to get rid of them. Pour a bottle of vanilla extract into the fridge, close the door, and let it run overnight. In the morning, wipe it out with a paper towel full of vanilla. It'll be good as new.
We like to visit big cities on our vacations. There is always so much to do in big cities, but parking at the hotel garage can cost $30 a day. We learned to look for overnight parking lots or garages near the hotel. We can save $10 to $15 per day. That adds up on a weekly vacation.
Tired of looking for receipts? I take a picture of any receipts that I could need later for appliances, electronics, tools, etc. I keep them in a directory on my laptop and a thumb drive. I can sort the directory by date or name to easily locate a receipt. I no longer have to dig through file folders to find what I need.
Don’t leave home without it
My credit card company called and asked if I had made a $2k purchase at Macy's in Chicago. I was glad they did because someone was trying to use our card. They sent a new card right away, but it occurred to me that we were planning a trip for this summer. Our daughter just moved into a house, and it’s likely we'll be making some unusual purchases far away from our home. I’m going to call the credit card company before we go to let them know, so they don’t challenge the charges.
Except for the hottest days, it cools down into the mid-70s during the night. We open up the windows and draw the cool air through. The wind usually comes from the west. Therefore, in the west facing windows, box fans push the air into the house. On east facing windows, we have box fans pulling the air out of the house. Box fans are cheap compared to running our air conditioning. Plus, the movement of the air makes it feel a couple of degrees cooler.
The wedding planner
If you’re planning your own wedding, you need to pay attention to prices. I was going to use a caterer until my sister called and asked for pricing for a birthday party. She was quoted a price per person about 20 percent less than what they told me my wedding dinner would cost. I’m calling around now to
do some price comparisons. Just because it's for a wedding doesn’t mean they should take advantage of me.
I used to work the call center for a well-known national company. They told us to always turn down requests for refunds unless it was the second time that someone called in. Therefore, if I need to get a refund, I call once and make sure that they log in my call. Then I call back the next day and ask again. It doesn’t always work, but it works often enough to make it worth trying. Try it next time you get a bad product or service.
I was raised by my grandparents. They didn't have much money, but I always had the things that really mattered. One thing that my grandpa always said was that it was easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble. This is true in life generally and in money matters, too. I’m in my 40s now, and I am so grateful that he taught me that lesson. I have friends who make more than I do but are always complaining about their credit card bills and the interest they're charged. I don’t owe anyone except the
mortgage company. Grandpa also said that there wasn't much difference between being poor and being wealthy. He meant two things by that. Little money decisions add up, and wealthy people still have troubles in their lives. We share that fate, but for me, worrying about debt isn't something I do.
Thinking of free
Once a person starts to look for “free” stuff, there’s a whole new exciting world available. Curbside shopping just before trash pick-up day comes to mind. One day, I harvested a set of four refinished golden oak circa 1910 antique chairs in excellent condition and a small 1940s secretary. I sold
them the same day to a woman who paints and sells furniture for $35. I also found an antique door and two sets of beautiful, like new outdoor chairs. One set was lacy cast aluminum (painted them jelly bean green and kept them) and one set was incredibly heavy wrought iron mid-century modern chairs sold at a sale.
If you really start curbside shopping, you'll need to have a couple of yard sales a year and you’ll be surprised at how much money you get from selling discards. Need children’s clothing? Ask your friends who have slightly larger children for hand-me-downs. Once you replace “buy” in your mind with
“free,” you will save a ton of money, save the environment, make America’s balance of trade better, and find a fascinating new pass time.
Reducing home repair costs
I am moving into another home and needed some home repairs done. I needed carpet removed and laminate flooring put in, deck boards replaced, ceiling fans installed, etc. Therefore, I asked around. I was surprised at who my family, friends, and co-workers knew. A friend's son is a licensed electrician. He installed three ceiling fans and a kitchen light for $100. My sister's friend does construction jobs on the side. He did my flooring and repainted two rooms for me. Another friend has a tractor. Her husband came out and leveled my new front yard and driveway for $75.
All were very reasonably priced and willing to help. Before you hit the Yellow Pages, ask around!
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