Dollar Stretcher: No more veggie waste

Marco Eagle

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No more veggie waste

If you have a food dehydrator, you don't ever have to throw away spoiled veggies. Dehydrate any veggies that you think will go bad.

You'll have a stock of fruit leather and dehydrated veggies that you can re-hydrate and use in various recipes. The problem is solved.


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DIY in the kitchen

Everyone talks about how much they save with DIY projects. I think that the best paying DIY is in your kitchen. Every time I cook a meal for my family of four, I save 50 percent or more of what it would cost to eat out. If I make my own mixes and cook from scratch, I save even more. My best money-saving tools are my fridge and stove.


Renewal rebid

I love competition. Every time one of my contract periods is up, I contact all of the suppliers/providers and let them compete for my business. I've done it with phone, internet, gym membership, and even an eye exam. I almost always end up with a lower price than if I had just renewed. Many times, I don't end up changing companies. I just get a better deal.


Good neighbor saving

One of the best money-savers I know is to become friends with your neighbors. I offer to help them whenever I can. This is especially true if it's a repair that I've done before or know something about. Offering a loan of my tools is also available. I can't tell you how much our neighbors have saved us over the years. If I have a DIY repair, there's always someone willing to help with their experience or tools. I know it's unusual for neighbors to be this close, but it started years ago and is a part of the neighborhood now.


Really easy AC maintenance

Fall is a good time for some home maintenance. One job I always do is hose down my air conditioning compressor. I start from the top and wash any dirt down. I pay special attention to the cooling coils. If those fins are dirty, the unit has to work harder to cool my home. It only takes a few minutes, and if I can keep my AC running well, I avoid a service call or buying a whole new unit.


Cleaner shave

Most men don't know that you don't need a face full of shave cream to get a close shave. Just a little soap is all you need. Rub some soap in your hands until you have a little lather and then spread it on your beard. Shave like normal. All the soap or shave cream does is provide a bit of lubrication for your razor. The shave cream may look good, but it doesn't do anything more than soap does.


Advantage garage sale

Anyone who garage sales has probably noticed that a lot of the good stuff is being put on Craigslist or eBay instead of being put into a garage sale. Often all that's left is kids' clothes and other cheap stuff. I'm fine with that. This means that there are fewer people shopping. I no longer see the crowds that I used to see at sales. It also means that occasionally I find someone who includes the good stuff, and since there are fewer buyers, I can get a better deal. Therefore, while most of you shop online, I'll keep going to garage sales.


Low mileage used car secret

The old joke about the little old lady who only drove to the grocery store and church is true. I've scored a couple of great low mileage used cars in estate sales, and they're not all old people cars. Many of them prefer SUVs, Accords, Camrys and Impalas. Many are garage kept and look like new, and the cars don't get the wear and tear that a family puts on a car. The final advantage is that most people want to move estate assets quickly, so they don't have to watch over them. Therefore, I can often make a low offer and still get the car.


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Big ticket secret

Some big ticket purchases don't need to be made right away. You can't live without a refrigerator, but hardwood flooring is a different deal. Whenever I'm thinking of a big purchase, I watch for odd places to buy it. For instance, some local charities have silent auctions to raise funds. People and businesses give items to be auctioned off. For instance, we needed new flooring for our living room, but we couldn't afford it. I watched and found some at a school auction. I put in a low bid and won. Last year, most of our family vacation was paid for by winning a call-in at a local radio station. You can't do this for every big purchase, but it sure is nice when you can.


The Power of ‘no’

"No" is probably the most important word if you're trying to reduce spending. I needed to learn to say "no" to myself when I wanted to buy something that I didn't need. I needed to learn to say "no" when the kids hassled me for some toy that they didn't need. I needed to learn to say "no" to my husband when he wanted to buy a boat. Also, I needed to learn to say "no" to co-workers who wanted me to join them for lunch. You can't put a dollar value on it, but saying "no" is really important if you want to cut your spending.


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