Dollar Stretcher: Saving on pet healthcare

Marco Eagle

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Stove top cleaning

Spray-on oven cleaner works great on the outside of the stove. I use it on the stove top every two weeks. After spraying it on, I wait a few minutes and then wipe it off. Now I have the cleanest stove in town.


Dog in a bed.

Saving on pet healthcare

Become a "client" of every vet near you and then call to price check procedures. In my area, two vets wanted $200 for an extraction of one tooth. A third wanted $50, and a fourth wanted only $25. However, when our cat passed away, it was less expensive to cremate our cat at the first vet.

Donald via Facebook

Homemade finger paints

I created my own finger paints by mixing a few drops of food coloring into a spoonful of vanilla yogurt. I can create almost any color I want, and it only costs pennies. It is also non-toxic and safe for my kids. The best part is whatever yogurt is left in the container makes a good snack for the artists.


Maximizing your retirement plan

We usually get an annual pay increase at my job, usually two to four percent. When my 
annual evaluation rolls around, I find out what the increase will be and then I go to our HR department and have the additional percentage added to what they deduct for my 401k plan. I add more to retirement savings and never miss the additional money.


Before you buy anything

I've found that readers' product reviews are a great way to check out something before I buy it. This is great not just for big things like a TV, but also for smaller electronics and even new foods. Some companies manage to get in some paid fake reviews, so I check the bad reviews. I read them to see if there are complaints about things that would bother me. I've avoided a bunch of bad buys this way.


My weekly cash call

My wife and I both work and need to buy lunches and snacks during the week. We try to bring our lunch as often as we can, but some days that's not practical. Therefore, we're trying out a new system. We read that our brains resist spending bigger bills. Each week, both of us go to the ATM and take out two $10 bills. We also have a $20 in our wallet from the previous week. Our goal is to get through the week without touching the $20 bill. Most weeks, we're successful. It probably doesn't make a huge difference in what we spend, but every little bit helps.


Creative date nights

Our kids are mostly grown (meaning our day isn't dominated by their activities), but my husband and I still seem to be constantly busy. We decided to start up our date nights again. Instead of doing the typical dinner/movie thing, we went another way. We started with a couple of adult coloring books! It seems silly, but it was a lot of fun and opened us up to 
some fresh ideas. Next I think that we'll take on a craft project to see how that goes. After that, perhaps we will refinish a piece of furniture. It's brought us together in a way that we thought we'd lost years ago.


Just checking ...

One advantage of being retired is that I can spend a few minutes checking my bills for errors. Just this month I noticed that my auto insurance didn't include the 55-plus discount. I called my agent. He said that it was just a mistake, and they'd put the credit back on my account. Last spring, I found an error on my phone bill. They added a monthly fee for a service that I didn't order. It was only $8.95 a month, but I am not sure how long it was there before I caught it. Even if you are not retired and don't have much time, it's still worthwhile to check your bills to make sure you're not being cheated.


Inexpensive bridal shower gift idea

Here is a tip for bridal shower gifts. My mother-in-law is a genius. She buys everything at a dollar store for her gifts. She fills a small cleaning bucket with bathroom cleaning supplies and then bundles it in pretty clear wrapping. She does the same with a tall kitchen trash can and fills it with dish soap, scrub sponges, paper towels, pot holders, a tea towel set, etc. She's never had a disappointed bride-to-be yet.

Kimberly via Facebook

Small Christmas gifts

Recently I was buying a necessity on Amazon and only needed to spend one more dollar for free shipping. Did you know that when this happens on Amazon, you can do a search of items that cost less than $1? I looked and found cute little coin purses for $.59 each, so I ordered nine of them to give to the members of my book club. We usually exchange little gifts, and these are perfect. Not only did I save on shipping, but also I got nine Christmas gifts for less than $6. I can now check these off on my Christmas shopping list.


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