Dollar Stretcher: Patio furniture protection
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Paying the bill
Treat your savings account like it is your credit card and make payments to fill it back up as you pull the money out.
Donald via Facebook
Back to college
If you have a child who drives and is away at college, inform the insurance company. They won't charge for the months they won't be driving.
Judy via Facebook
Your car title
My husband and I are both 52. From here on out, any vehicles we purchase will be titled to "him or her" (not just him and not just her) because when one of us passes, it will be easier for the other than having vehicles titled to him and her or only him or only her.
New water heater ... not!
My neighbor called to ask me about a plumber. He said that he needed a new water heater. When I asked if it was leaking, he said that it wasn't, so I showed him how to check the heating element. It turned out that it was bad and all he had to do was replace it. It was a $20 part and a 30-minute job.
Patio furniture protection
We don't have room to store our patio furniture inside during the winter but wanted to protect it from the winter weather.
Therefore, I sprayed the furniture with a flat, clear spray paint. I sprayed the wrought iron and even the lawn ornaments. You don't notice the clear coat, but it helps prevent rust and corrosion.
I wanted to make sure that I got my security deposit back when I moved out. Therefore, after I finished cleaning, I took a whole lot of pictures. I took pictures of each kitchen appliance (inside and out), under the sinks and in the bathrooms. I even took pictures of the ceiling fans. I sent them to my landlord. It was a polite way of saying "don't try to keep my deposit" and it worked.
Their first money lesson
When my daughter entered first grade, I told her to keep a list of the things that she'd like to have. At first, she added something almost every day, but after awhile, she seldom added something to the list. Last year before Christmas, I asked to see the list. She scratched out most of the items before she gave it to me. I was happy to see that at age six, she had learned that we really don't need everything that we want. Too bad many adults don't understand that lesson.
Farmers market markdowns
We have a local farmers market every weekend during the summer. Most of the vendors leave about 4 p.m. on Sunday. I make a point of going around 3 p.m. on Sunday. I just ask if there's anything that they'd like to sell, so they don't have to take it back home with them. Often I'll get fruits and veggies for less than half of what they were getting just an hour earlier. I sometimes buy a whole bushel at a deep discount and go home to can, pickle, or freeze most of it. We're eating fresher and healthier now and saving money in the process. I wish I had thought of this last summer.
If you're experiencing tough financial times, one big thing that can help is to tell relatives and friends you will not be exchanging gifts or going out to eat until you are back on your feet. This way, you will not feel
obligated to spend money that you simply don't have. Instead, find free leisure activities you can do with them. The goal is not to cut yourself off from others until you have more money but to find no-cost alternatives. Even in place of a gift, a loved one or friend likely will be happier spending time with you than getting some random gift from you.
Judy via Facebook
Creative kitchen update
We bought a home built in the 1980s. The kitchen counter-tops were covered in an ugly stained laminate. Since all of our money went into the down payment, we couldn't afford to replace them. Therefore, I looked for a way to update them and came up with something really great. I bought a tan fabric to cover the counter-top and then applied three coats of polyurethane. It cleans up easily and has held up really well. I do use a cutting board, but I'd do that with laminate anyway.
If you want to get a little better deal on your savings or a debit or credit card that rewards you better, now is a great time to go shopping. Banks are competing for your business. It may not seem like much, but even one percent adds up over time. Plus, I like the fact that banks have to work to get my money. It's also a good time to get a credit card that suits your needs. The offers change all the time, so it's worthwhile to check if you're getting the best deal. Don't you just love having the banks work for you for a change?
Support your favorite team
Employees at certain stores around the local college campus are required to wear "spirit shirts" in the college's colors featuring its mascot. That is their "uniform" on game day when the team plays at home. When thrift store shopping, I recently bumped into two such workers putting several college shirts into their shopping cart. They told me they get cheaper spirit shirts secondhand there. Because they are not fans of this college and because they don't have high-paying jobs, they are only too glad to get the
college-themed, bargain-priced t-shirts or "golf shirts." Their boss doesn't know the difference. He thinks they bought them new. Even if you are not required to wear such items, if you want to show your spirit, thrift stores often sell such shirts (and sweat suits, windbreakers and hoodies) at a fraction of the price of an on-campus bookstore, spirit shop, or any store that's selling new merchandise. This is also a money-saving trick for freshmen or transfers coming to a new university or for visiting alum. You can usually get three or four items for the price of one new shirt at the college store.
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