Dollar Stretcher: What's better than bacon? Saving money (on bacon)

Marco Eagle

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Motivated to save

Seeing the people who have survived the hurricanes reminded me that a lot 
of what we buy really isn't necessary. Therefore, I decided that for the 
next month, I would only buy the essentials, and I'm going to give a 
portion of what I save to hurricane relief. It seems only right that I give 
up a few wants and do something to help those who have so little right now.


Attic vents

Do you have vents in your attic to get rid of some of the hot summer air? 
We have a fan in one gable that pushes the hot air out of the attic. It's 
great in the summer for our A/C bills, but in the winter, it can let in a 
lot of cold air that we don't want. Therefore, I cut a piece of insulation 
that's bigger than the fan. Each fall I tack it up to the studs, so it 
blocks the fan from the inside. No winter wind can come into the attic. I 
like saving on the A/C bill, but I also like saving on the heating bill!


Bacon for two

My husband and I like bacon. We don't overdo it, but we like bacon on 
sandwiches and salads. Cooking a full pound is too much for us, so here's 
what I do. When I get home from the store, I cut the pound in half. I put 
each half into a baggie.

The demand for bacon has helped to drive prices upward.

One or both go into the freezer. I've found that half a pound is just about right for one or two meals for us, depending on what I make. The rest is good for months in the freezer until I need it.


It's the refills

If you're watching your spending, you probably shopped around before buying 
a printer. Comparing prices was important, but did you consider the cost of 
ink cartridges? Some brands or models are more expensive than others. The 
same thing is true of other things you buy. This is true for everything 
from razors to coffee makers. You can usually get cheaper supplies online, 
but it still pays to consider the cost of refills when you make your 
purchase decision. In some cases, the cost of those refills might keep you 
from making the purchase in the first place.


My raise

For the first time in years, I got a raise at work. It was only about $50 a 
month, but I was glad to get it. I decided to split it up. I set aside 
about 25 percent for income taxes (I live in New York) and another 25 percent goes into my IRA. 
For the last few years, I haven't had anything to add to my IRA. Now I do. 
The rest of the raise goes to my regular monthly expenses and an occasional 
goodie. It was tempting to spend the entire raise, but I knew that I'd 
regret it later if I did.


Your IRA

We just updated our wills. We learned something important that we didn't 
know before. A will doesn't control where everything goes when you die. For 
instance, if you have any beneficiaries you have listed on your IRA 
account, they would get the money regardless of what your will said. The 
lawyer told us that in some states if you have minor children, the home (or 
its value) would be used for the children instead of going to others named 
in the will. We thought that we could write out a simple will and that 
would be the end of it. It turns out that we really did need to get some 
professional advice.


Not a happy consumer

I was unhappy with a coffeemaker I just purchased. When I went to the 
company website, there was literally no way to contact them to let them 
know I had a complaint. I found their Facebook page and posted my 
complaint. Instead of replying, they deleted it! That made me mad! I then 
found that they had a Twitter account. I tweeted to my account with the 
company name as a hashtag. It wasn't long before I heard from them. It 
wasn't easy, but they finally replaced it.


Business casual

Our office is business casual every day. Ladies dress slacks can be 
expensive and often require dry cleaning. They also wear out quickly. 
Therefore, I started buying and modifying jeans. I buy them in either white 
or black and carefully remove the belt loops and back pockets. They cost 
less, are easier to care for, and last forever. Plus, I don't think that 
anyone at work has ever noticed.


Online purchase protection

With all the big ID thefts happening, I wanted to protect myself. Even with 
a protection service, it's still a big pain if ID is stolen. I decided to 
take something from the cop shows I watch. They always have trouble finding 
the bad guys who use multiple shell corporations. I decided to set up a 
separate email and PayPal account just for online purchases. To transfer 
money to the PayPal account, I take it from a low limit credit card. Now, 
even if a store or PayPal is compromised, I have very limited risk.


Uncertain Income

If you live on commissions, you know how hard it can be to predict income 
and expenses. I created a "slush" account. Any month where my income is 
above average, I put the extra into the account. Then when I have a month 
that's below average, I know where money for the electric bill, groceries, 
and mortgage will be. It's made life a lot less stressful for my wife and me.


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