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Safety first

We just bought a home safe. We were going to have it attached to the basement floor, but we were advised that if our basement flooded, the important papers stored inside could be damaged; therefore, we poured a square platform about 10" high that the safe sits on. If we have a flood, we no longer need to worry about water entering the safe.


Grocery store sales tactics

Most of us know that grocery stores place things like milk in the back, so we have to walk through the whole store to get them. Did you know they also have certain high-profit areas they want you to visit? Instead of taking my cart down each aisle, I just do the perimeter of the store. I start with the produce section and then head over to meats and dairy. If I need canned goods or pasta, I go down that aisle, but I don't "window shop" the grocery store anymore. They may want to tempt me, but I can't be tempted by what I don't see.


Mother's Day

With Mother's Day coming up, I'd like to pass on this suggestion: instead of giving mom a box of candy or something that she doesn't need, you might want to give her something that she can't do for herself. For instance, my mom still lives in the home I grew up in, but it's gradually becoming too much for her. For Mother's Day, I'll do some inside spring cleaning for her while my husband does some outside spring maintenance around her house. She's grateful for the help, and it allows her to stay in her beloved home for a while longer.


Bank fees

Recently, due to a screw up with my employer, I got hit with an overdraft fee. The next time I went to the bank, I asked to speak with a banker. I explained what happened and politely asked that the overdraft fee be waived. To my surprise, they waived it. It probably helped that it was a local bank and I've been a customer for years. I figured it couldn't hurt to ask and I saved a $29 fee.


Credit card interest

When should you pay your credit card bill? That depends on whether you carry a balance or not. If you don't carry a balance, you should wait until the last day to pay your bill. You won't be charged any interest unless you miss your due date. If you have a balance from previous months, you want to get your payment in as soon as you can. You'll be charged interest until the day your payment is credited to your account. If you get the bill on the 20th and don't pay until the 30th, you'll add a third of a month's worth of interest to your account. Given today's savings rate, that's no bargain.


Charcoal firestarters

We learned this trick when we were camping and forgot to bring the lighter fluid. Another camper suggested that we place a couple of marshmallows on top of the charcoal and light them. Being made of sugar, they burn and melt to the briquettes. Since we like to roast marshmallows, we always have some and there's no need to wait for the fluid smell to go away before starting to cook. It's one less thing to remember to bring camping.


Brotherly love

My two brothers and I didn't spend much time together until we started helping each other with home repair/maintenance projects. Now we generally take one Saturday a month to work on a project at one of our homes. We get to spend time together (we enjoy each other's company) and with three of us, we can save quite a bit of money that would otherwise go to professional contractors or handymen. It's worked so well that our wives are talking about getting together the same day to do some batch cooking.


Auto insurance claims

I make a point of updating my car's repair and maintenance record. I also take pictures on a regular basis. It all started when my sister's car was t-boned. I knew that she kept it in excellent shape, but the insurance company insisted on paying her the average trade-in value of a six-year-old car. Fortunately, she had the receipts and pictures to show that it was in great condition. It took some time, but they finally upped their offer to a more retail number. Now I take pictures at least twice a year and keep a folder with every receipt related to my car. If I ever need it, I'll be ready.



This year I took my first ski trip, but I didn't want to buy all the winter clothing that goes with it; therefore, I borrowed a parka, gloves and scarf from a friend of mine who goes skiing every winter. She was glad to loan the items to me, as they were just hanging in her closet unused. When I got back, she and her boyfriend came over for a dinner I prepared to thank her.


Grocery shopping trick

Who says that you have to go grocery shopping every week? I've gradually stretched it out, so I only go once every two weeks. As a result, my grocery bills have come down. I knew that I was adding a few things to my basket that weren't on my shopping list, but I had no idea how much they were costing me. I can't add things to my basket if I'm not in the store.


Free Senior Fitness

I am almost 70. In California, I belonged to 24 Hour Fitness. I let my membership go because there are no facilities in Georgia, but I just found out that my Medicare Advantage plan has a Silver Sneakers program, which is free to me. It's a widely-used program, and many insurance plans have it. I figure it saves me the $29 per month I was spending for a gym membership. You can call your insurance company, check your benefits manual or check your eligibility on I checked my eligibility and they sent me a card in the mail. I live in the sticks and there are numerous facilities in my area. I would encourage anyone who has insurance and Medicare to check it out; it could save some money.


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