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Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit stretcher.com to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar.

Softer sheets

Instead of paying too much for sheets, you should buy less expensive ones, and before using them, wash them with one cup of baking soda and half of a cup of white vinegar (no detergent). I do that a couple of times and then dry them. They come out so soft.

Marki

Stop the insanity

I couldn't stop my spending. I thought I tried everything until I left my credit and debit cards at home. Now I just use cash and checks. It's inconvenient, but that's the point. It gives me a reason not to buy. It
takes a minute or two to write the check or count out the cash. That's enough to cause me to think about what I'm buying. It's strange, but it's working!

Jackie

The sodium secret

I bought two roaster chickens on sale at a good price. I thawed one out to cook and happened to read the label. The roaster had 610mg of sodium per four-ounce serving. I checked the other chicken in the freezer and discovered that it was a different brand and had only 80mg of sodium per four-ounce serving. I thought that purchasing a chicken was purchasing a chicken. It is not. I checked another supermarket that did not have roasters on sale. The average amount of sodium per four-ounce serving was 50mg.

Linda S.

$100 living room make-over

Paint is the easiest way to make-over a room. Whether you just paint one wall or the whole room, changing colors makes a huge difference. I check the mistint paint section when I get tired of my decor. Sometimes I find two or three cans of the same color that I like. Other times I find two colors that I can mix. If you're not sure whether two kinds (brands) of paint will mix, just ask. For less than $100 and one day's work, I get an entirely new room.

Diana K.

Bank fees

Bank fees can be expensive. I've found that if I call and ask nicely, sometimes they'll waive the fee. Last month, the balance in my account dropped below the minimum needed to avoid a monthly charge of $25. It was just for one day, so I called and asked if they could do anything about it. They reversed the fee. I had something similar happen a few years ago when I stopped payment on a check. I don't write checks anymore so that won't happen again, but it proves that sometimes they will waive or reverse a fee if you ask.

Crystal D.

Prescription discounts

At the beginning of the year, we started on a different health insurance plan with a national provider (Anthem BC/BS). I knew that this provider had tiered coverage for pharmacies, but I didn't bother to look at what tier our pharmacy (Walgreens) was at for our new health insurance. A few months
ago, I was prescribed the generic of Tamiflu, which came from Walgreens. I later explored pharmacies for the cost of another prescription that I've been getting at Walmart under their generics list, which has always been cheaper than through our past insurance plans, even when 90-day mail order was available. I was very surprised to learn that Walgreens, even though it is a popular, well-recognized national provider, is not a preferred provider under our plan and that I could have saved $10 on the generic
Tamiflu had it come from a preferred provider. Therefore, we've switched pharmacies. It pays to not make assumptions and to check things out. Now I need to see if I am still saving on my other prescription by buying it from Walmart.

Lorraine in NH

Controlling procrastination

When I read Debra's tip about preparing for the next day during commercials, it made me think of a quote that I read, copied, and have hanging on a wall that says, "Even when the task seems to remain identical whether you do it now or later, its impact on you can be substantially different."
That little quote has motivated me to pay a bill now rather than later, put gas in my car when I didn't feel like stopping, make an uncomfortable phone call, and many other things that I considered putting off!

Corinne A.

Approaching 65?

For my job, I had to learn some information about Medicare. Although the full retirement age for Social Security has risen, you are still supposed to apply for Medicare right around your 65th birthday. If you wait too long, the government will penalize you. You will have to pay a Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP) every month for the rest of your life. Even if it's only $10 or so, the money will add up.
The rules change from time to time, so be sure to check with your Social Security office to make sure you apply for everything right on time. Don't give the government more than its fair share of your hard-earned bucks. Make sure you do not miss this important deadline!

LB

Unlocking the dollar store

I loved this article, but you should also mention that dollar stores sell brand name items at a very low cost, usually up to 25 percent less than a supermarket. However, be aware that some items cost more, so pay attention.
I buy canned tuna, sardines, and salmon at $1 per can. I stock up on jarred tomato sauce for $1 per jar, and it is not a small jar either! I can usually find brand name diced tomatoes, veggies, instant coffee, etc. Be aware of the real prices in a market.
I do my dollar store shopping first and then I go to the supermarket for the remainder of the needed items on my list. I now buy all other things at a dollar store, including paper products, cleaning supplies, and beauty products. I am saving a fortune. In one trip, I saved $29.

Mickey

More: Dollar Stretcher: Stretching your grocery budget

More: Dollar Stretcher: Leaving the credit cards at home

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