Dollar Stretcher: Want a raise?

Marco Eagle

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Shot of two colleagues shaking hands during a meeting at work

Less expensive hair care

I have long, thick hair that tangles easily. I got tired of buying expensive detanglers, so now I make my own. I mix 1/3 cheap conditioner with 2/3 water in a spray bottle. This works just as well as the store stuff.


Glass stovetops

An easy clean method for glass stovetops is to heat up some water to boiling. Then just sprinkle a little on the stovetop. Stains and grease wipe up easily. Best of all, there will be no more chemicals in your kitchen.


Cheaper tires

A set of four new tires can easily cost $600 or more. I go to a local salvage yard for tires. They often have sets of like-new tires for $100 or so, and I don't figure that junkyards are only for guys; I've found that they're quite happy to help a lady.


Dry indoor winter air

Everyone knows to keep a pot of water simmering on the stove to combat dry winter air, but did you know that you can have too much of a good thing? My grandmother always said that when there's condensation on the window, it's time to turn off the water pot for awhile.


Want a raise?

Here's a trick that could get you a raise. Before you approach your boss, talk to your HR person. Ask them what the salary range is for your job. If there's plenty of room in the range, you're more likely to get a raise. If you're near the top, you might be better off asking what you'd need to do to be moved to a higher job classification.


My credit cards

Having a copy of your credit cards can be very important if they're lost or stolen. Here's an easy way to protect them. Use your phone to take pictures of both front and back of each card. Then copy those files to a laptop or a memory stick. If they ever go missing, you'll have all the information you need to contact the company and protect your credit. 


Mud room mess

Our mud room takes a beating in the winter; boots track in snow, and brushing off our coats means more water on the floor. This year, I decided on a two-stage approach. I bought some plastic floor matting from the home center. A few feet inside the door, I have a woven welcome mat. We take off our boots and coats over the plastic mat, then we walk over the welcome mat to make sure the bottoms of our shoes are dry before we enter the house. My floors look much better this winter.

Melissa J.

Before you hit the check-out line

I occasionally order online and select to pick up the item in the store to save time. When I did this recently, I decided to pick up in the store because I had old ink cartridges to turn in at Staples. When I arrived at the store, I noticed the prices were higher than I saw online. I was told that online prices are always cheaper, and if I just mention this at check-out, they credit accordingly. This also happened at Lowe's, and they credited the proper amount when I mentioned the item was cheaper online.

Greece, N.Y.

Second marriage finances

It was a second marriage for both of us, and I thought that it might fail, too. We seemed to always be arguing about money. She's a spender and I'm a saver. We finally figured out that if each of us had a weekly allowance that we could spend or save any way we wanted, it would eliminate many arguments. I'm still concerned that we're not saving enough for retirement, but at least, we're not heading for divorce court again.


The decluttering advantage

My husband and I are just a couple of years from retirement. We have decided to downsize when he retires, so in preparation for that, we have begun decluttering our large home. Since we live in a more rural area, garage sales are not an option for us. Some things are going straight to the dump. Other items are going to the local charity thrift store, and if an item has any significant or unknown value, it's listed on eBay.

I have learned to weigh the worth of the item against the cost for shipping to decide whether or not to list it on eBay. Heavy items that have a relative low worth are usually not worth listing; however, small collectible and vintage items, rare items, books and CDs (that can be shipped media mail), small tools or new items usually sell fairly well. I have found used clothing only sells well if it is a very high-end brand. I look at it as an ongoing garage sale. I was surprised to find so many new, unused items in my home as I continue to declutter. I usually list items on eBay for several weeks or months. I do need to be patient. If the items do not sell in a reasonable period of time, I put them in the donation box. Since starting this little side hobby of mine about a year ago, I've made several hundred dollars and also have an incentive to start the decluttering process.

Jeanette T.

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