Dollar Stretcher: My car buying strategy
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Poor folks' milk bath
Royalty used to bathe in milk for more beautiful skin. Here's a great substitute for us poor folks: add two cups of dry milk to your warm bath water and soak. I bring a glass of wine and a book and feel like a queen for an hour.
More florescent light
My tip for those with florescent light tubes is to check the lumens and then replace the tube with an LED tube that has more lumens. This can be a $30 easy fix. These tubes, of course, also give more light in our garage workshop.
Steve in Riverside, California
Alternative seed source
I love to grow my own herbs. Last year, I did an experiment; instead of buying all my seeds from a catalog, I bought some from my local natural food store. They were much cheaper there and grew just as well. I also planted some sunflower seeds that graced my backyard.
The 10-minute walk through
With three kiddos, it's easy for our house to get messy. Therefore, we have a 10-minute clean-up before bedtime each day. All three kids and I do a walk through, and each of us picks up any of our stuff that needs to be put away. It's an easy habit to form. The kids get used to it, and it keeps our house from becoming a big mess!
I've found that the cheapest way to buy a car is to get a low-mileage used car that's two or three years old, saving between 30 and 50 percent compared to a new model. It's still under warranty for a few years, and if I have a mechanic check it out before I buy, I am pretty sure that I'm getting a good car. I like to keep them until they're eight or nine years old with more than 100,000 miles. The last few years there's almost no depreciation, and they rarely need any major repairs until they reach 100,000 miles.
More hood filter cleaning
I found it interesting to read the suggestions for cleaning range hood filters. Many good suggestions were made, but none warned those using their suggestions to be sure not to throw the remaining solutions down your kitchen or any other drain. As soon as it gets cold, it will plug your drains up quick as a wink. Be sure to dispose of it where it won't plug your drains.
Soup for lunch
I make a large pot of soup every Friday evening or Saturday in my electric pressure cooker. From hearty bean soup to split pea soup, it's always delicious and fast. When the soup is still hot, I pour some in jars, close the jars tight, and put them upside down on my counter to cool down. Once at room temperature, I store the jars in the fridge for about a week. The rest of the soup I put in small Pyrex® bowls. I take soup to work with me about three times per week. I microwave it at work and then enjoy nice warm soup for lunch. We have the remainder of the soup for weekend lunches or pair it up with sandwiches for a simple, last-minute dinner. It's easy, fast, healthy, delicious and thrifty.
Kris in Washington
Can't afford the funeral?
My parents are getting up there in years, and we were discussing what they wanted to do about funeral arrangements. They don't want fancy funerals, but even a simple service can be pricey. They each have a life insurance policy that allows funeral expenses to be paid from the proceeds as soon as a copy of the death certificate is provided. It's not a big deal unless you don't have the money to pay for the funeral. Then it can be important at a time when everyone is hurting.
Warren in Pennsylvania
My car buying strategy
When I'm ready to purchase another car, I research online and decide exactly what year, model and color I want. Since I've had only Toyotas for decades, this is the brand I know I want with a lighter color.
Then I look online for dealers in my vicinity that I can get to in no more than two hours' driving time. I contact them by phone to discuss availability of my choice and the pricing. Sometimes one dealer will offer me a good discount and another one will top it.
When I finally walk into the dealer of my choice, I'm ready to face the salesperson. I tell them I don't know if I'll have a trade-in or not or whether I want financing. We agree on the total cost "out the door," meaning it includes tax, license, any discounts, etc. I go on from there. After I know a solid "out the door" price, I will discuss my trade-in (if I have one) and financing (if I'm going to finance). I am always ready to walk out if things don't seem fair or as discussed because I can always find another dealer.
I find the important thing in financing is not what you can afford per month, but the total after the interest is added. Many times one's credit union or bank can offer a much lower interest rate. If I finance with a dealer, I always have a "pay off balance with no penalty" included. That way, if I get a better deal down the line, I can finance elsewhere.
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