Dollar Stretcher: Save on auto maintenance
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Bill time reminder
Before I buy anything that's not a necessity, I wait until I pay my monthly bills. If I don't have money left after the bills, I have to really want something to put it on my credit card. I find that many of the purchases that I delay never happen.
I wish I knew then ...
What financial advice would I give my 18-year-old self? I wish I'd known about Index funds much earlier! I would have had a lot more money invested due to fees and salaries paid to others who were just using what I could have been using and making money off of my ignorance.
Lauren via Facebook
Low cost entertainment
College/university towns can be great places for low- or no-cost entertainment and information. While living in a college town, I attended a silent movie festival, foreign movie festivals, Gilbert and Sullivan
performances, many theatrical plays, a "tacky food party," various "extracurricular" lectures, art exhibits, fashion shows, independent movies, and more. I volunteered as an usher and saw a magic show and a number of plays. There were more things to see and do if I had the time. Most of these things occurred in the evenings, so students could attend. They were advertised in free student newspapers although they are probably online nowadays.
Surviving tough times
When we were going through a few tough financial months, I went through our home and sold stuff we had not used for a long time. I then took the money and stocked up on really inexpensive food essentials (no snacks or beverages) or paid a bill. They weren't the best meals we ever ate, but it got us through. If you are realistic and honest with yourself and truly cut your budget of non-essentials and see where you can make a few extra bucks, you can cut get by and survive until your situation improves.
Terri via Facebook
I got tired of always having to put our insurance bills onto my credit card and then paying them off with interest. Therefore, I totaled all the money I spent on insurance last year (auto, home, life, medical) and decided to add 1/12th to our monthly budget. I probably will still be short since the premiums keep increasing. I think I'll take the yearly total and add 10 percent before I divide it into monthly pieces next year.
Save on auto maintenance
I don't know much about cars, but I've learned two tricks that save me money. First, I follow the instructions in the owner's manual when it comes to oil changes.
They specify 5,000 miles so that's when I do it, not at 4k or 6k. I figure they know best. I also watched a video on how to clean battery terminals, and I do it every fall before the cold weather strikes. A small stiff bristle brush and a paste made of water and baking soda does the trick. It's a 15-minute job and it keeps me from calling (and paying) for a jump on a cold winter morning!
Rooms to go
No, I'm not talking about the furniture place. It's a game that I created. With three grade-schoolers in the house, things can get out of hand quickly, so I created a game for my kids to play. Whenever one of us goes from one room to another, we try to find something that should be in the room that we're going to and take it with us. It doesn't seem like much, but it's made a big difference in clean-up time on Saturday mornings. Once the kids realized that it meant more Saturday play time, they started helping out.
Savings for one
I like to cook, but it's not easy cooking for one. Most meats are packaged for a family of four. Even if I split a package and freeze half, I'm cooking twice as much as I want. One day I was explaining this to a friend when we came up with a solution. She lived alone, too. Now we both cook enough for two meals. We cook one to eat and one for our friend to eat. We usually cook the friend portion partially through. We bring it into work and can easily cook it to completion at home in no time. Now we don't waste
nearly so much food or get tired of eating the same thing night after night. If you're single and like to cook, look for a friend where you work!
Love to feed birds, but hate the mess?
I love to feed birds, but I only do this in the winter months as I believe there are plenty of insects for them to feast on during the warmer weather. When you purchase your birdseed, empty the bag into a large, deep baking pan. Set your oven for 200 degrees. Bake the seeds for 30 minutes. Baking
seeds stops them from germinating when they hit the ground, so you will not have weeds and whatever growing beneath your bird feeders.
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