Dollar Stretcher: My New Year's financial fast

Marco Eagle

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A metallic brick with numerical 7 etched on it lying beside four bricks with 2018 etched on them.


My New Year's financial fast

I don't do New Year's resolutions, but each year I begin a financial fast. Except for things that I absolutely cannot control (like utilities, gas for my car so I can work, minimal groceries), I refuse to spend money for as long as I can. Usually I can go between 15 and 20 days. I use the money I save to pay the Christmas bills that always come due in January. My family used to complain, but in the last two years, they've
actually joined in.



Every project looks easy on TV, but they don't always turn out that way. Before deciding whether to try a DIY project, I always check YouTube and also do a search for articles on the topic. So far, this has helped me save money on the projects I can do, and I have avoided wasting money on projects that are above my ability.


Better ground meats

If you speak with a butcher, they'll tell you to pay attention to what kind of meat you're buying. For instance, ground turkey could be any meaty part of the turkey. If you get ground turkey breast, you know exactly what you're getting. The same thing is true for beef. I look for ground chuck or ground round.


My own deli counter

I put my electric carving knife to good use. Whenever I make a roast or bake a ham, I get one that's larger than we need. Instead of letting leftovers go bad in the fridge, I slice what's left for lunchmeat. Most is frozen. My lunchmeat costs a fraction of what it would cost at the deli counter, and I never have to wait for them to call my number.


Heating unused rooms

We're retired, but we don't want to downsize. We love our spacious home, but a spacious home can mean big heating bills. Therefore, we've purchased a room heater for our family room and bedroom. Those are the two most used rooms in the house. We set our central heat at about 60 degrees (or even 55 at night). The family room heater is on during the day. The bedroom one is on at night. Our bills are tiny for a big home.


Roof inspection

After the first snowfall of the year, I check my roof. If there are any spots with little or no snow, I note where they are and then check the attic to see what's causing the hot spot on the roof. Often I'll find that I need to add a little extra insulation to keep heat in the house. The first year I checked I found three spots. Last year, I found only one spot. This year it looks like I've gotten all the bad places.


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