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Dollar Stretcher Tips

on Wednesday, 28 March 2018. Posted in Dollar Stretcher

I Won!

I love to enter contests. I don't bother with the big ones that have 
thousands of entries. Rather I enter the ones on my local radio station 
like the "10th caller wins..." I also look for contests or surveys on the 
bottom of my receipts. They only take a minute or two to enter, and I'm 
surprised how often I win a gift card or free product.

Personalized Meatloaf

My husband and I have crazy work schedules. We're rarely home for dinner at 
the same time, so making a regular meal is hard. I've learned to make 
personalized meals. Instead of making a regular meatloaf, I use a muffin 
tin to make personalized, tiny meatloaves! They freeze well, and after a 
quick heat-up in the microwave, dinner for one is ready. I do similar 
things with lasagna and other dishes. Until I started making personalized 
meals, we were both eating a lot of junk food. We're saving money and our 

Natural Snake Protection

Here in Florida, we have a lot of snakes. One way to keep them away from 
your house is to spread lime around the outside of your house. Somehow it's 
hard on the snakes' skin, so they avoid it. You can buy bags of lime at the 
local home center or feed and seed store. Pets and kids won't be harmed if 
they walk on grass treated with lime. It is an easy way to keep snakes off 
your property!

Seasons Change

Each time the seasons change, I update my wardrobe. For instance, this year 
I'll begin by getting rid of things that I haven't worn all winter. If I 
didn't wear them this year, it's not likely I'll wear them next winter. Any 
clothes that need dry cleaning or repair will get what they need before I 
put them away for the summer. I'll also note anything that I'll need next 
winter and try to find an end-of-season sale or someone selling on 
Craigslist. When I take out my spring and summer clothes, I'll have a 
wardrobe that's ready to wear. I like to buy a few bright accessories each 
season. It could be a belt, scarf, handbag, or necklace. I want it be 
something that people will notice about my outfit.
Pamela G. in Dallas, TX

Before Your Car Trip

We're planning a two week car trip vacation this summer. Our eight-year-old 
van is probably too old to make the trip. Plus, it doesn't have some of the 
conveniences like satellite radio. We were thinking of shopping for a new 
van until we saw the prices. Instead, we're going to rent a minivan for the 
trip. We can rent one for about what two car payments would be. Sure, it's 
expensive, but we really don't want to sign up for years of car payments. 
This is especially true since our own van is fine for another few years.

Matching Fixtures

I was redoing our dining room. It was nothing major, just a little paint, 
etc. One thing I did after painting was add a wallpaper border. It added a 
little color to the room. The chandelier was beginning to look its age. I 
was shopping for a replacement when I realized that I could paint the old 
one a color that matched the new border. A little sandpaper and a can of 
spray paint did the trick. The room came together beautifully!

Unaffordable Housing?

We wanted to buy our first house, but it looked like we were priced out of 
the market. We looked at smaller homes but even they were expensive. Then 
we got the idea of buying a bigger house and renting out the extra rooms. 
We bought a 2100 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home. Both of the extra 
bedrooms are rented out. We were very careful in deciding who to rent to. 
We did background checks and asked for and talked to referrals. We set out 
rules for cleaning and using common areas like the kitchen. It's a little 
like being in college again, but it got us into a house that we love and 
couldn't afford otherwise. When we're ready to start a family, we can 
reclaim the bedrooms and stay in the house we love.

Double Rewards

There were two things I wanted in 2018. I wanted a new tablet and to get 
some regular exercise. Here's how I paired the two up. I've been taking 
walks (about two miles) three or four times a week. Each time I do, I add 
$2 to an account that's for my new tablet. The one I wanted was kind of 
expensive, but I'm getting close to my goal. Now I just need to watch for a 

Monthly Review

Each month, I take an hour to review all my credit card and bank 
statements. I look for any errors or monthly services that I no longer use 
and can cancel. I've also found charges that I did not approve. Looking at 
each bill also makes me aware of where my money is going. Instead of just 
disappearing into thin air, I can see those smaller expenses that add up 
like my $3 afternoon coffee break habit. I don't eliminate all those little 
pleasantries, but at least I can make an informed decision.

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