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Dollar Stretcher Tips content

on Friday, 07 April 2017. Posted in Dollar Stretcher

Decorator Swap

My next door neighbor and I both wanted to redecorate our living rooms, but 
we didn't have money to spend. We decided to swap end tables, coffee 
tables, and table lamps. We each got a brand new look and didn't spend a dime!

The Real Meaning of 'Lite'

Don't be fooled by grocery store labels. Sometimes "lite" just means 
diluted with water or other cheap ingredient. My favorite is fruit juice. 
The lite versions are often 50% water! Don't pay full price for half the 
product. If you really want diluted juice, you can add water yourself for free!

Spring Cleaning

Near the end of my spring cleaning, I look for a warm day to clean my kids' 
toys. I pull out their wading pool and fill it with water and some dish 
soap. Then we put in their toys that can handle being wet. Usually it's too 
cool for the kids to get too wet, but if I pick a sunny day, it doesn't 
hurt if they have to come in to dry off after the clean-up.

Pre-Vacation Check Up

About this time each year, my family starts to think about our summer 
vacation. This year, we're going to the Tennessee mountains. We begin to 
research the area. We look for places to go and things to see. We 
especially look for things that are low or no cost. We also look for 
discounts and ways to save on the places that we want to go. My kids love 
doing online research, and they know that the money they save can be spent 
somewhere else on the trip.

Grad Gifts

Between nieces, nephews and friends' kids, we know a lot who will be 
graduating from high school this year. I was looking for an affordable gift 
idea and came up with this. I'm putting together gift baskets with some 
college essentials. I'll include a few things that they'll need in the dorm 
like a flashlight and dust cloth. Also, I plan on including a basic first 
aid kit and topping it off with a gift card for Starbucks. I'll spend about 
$20 on each, but I think that it will be money well spent.

Triggering Online Discounts

I bet you didn't know that you can fake out online stores. Here's how. Once 
you've filled your online shopping cart, make it look like you're about to 
leave the site. Just "mousing" over the URL space at the top of the page 
usually is enough. Some sites are so concerned about losing a customer that 
as soon as you do that, it'll open a pop-up offering a discount code that 
you can use when checking out. I never complete an online order without 
trying it. It takes a second and it is surprising how often I save a few 
extra dollars!

Unhappy With Your Purchase?

Want to get your money back when a purchase doesn't do what was promised? 
I've found that if the clerk refuses to issue a refund, you need to do two 
things. First, ask to speak with a supervisor. Don't waste time arguing 
with the first person you speak with. If the supervisor won't help, tell 
them that you'll call the credit card company and request a chargeback. A 
chargeback hits them with merchant fees that they don't want. Often that's 
enough to get them to give you the refund you deserve.

Energy Savings

If you have a family, your clothes dryer can be a big expense. Therefore, 
you want it to work as efficiently as possible. I had my vents cleaned, and 
the guy who did the service showed me that I should clean the lint trap, 
too. Not only pull the lint off of it, but also take it out, wash it with 
dish soap, and scrub it. It seems that there's something in dryer sheets 
that causes lint to cling to the screen and block the air. Since I had the 
vent and lint trap cleaned, my dryer doesn't work nearly as hard as before.


With three kids under six, we weren't able to afford a regular date night. 
Restaurants and movies are expensive, and babysitting just makes it worse. 
Therefore, we do it differently. While I put the kids to bed, hubby goes to 
one of our local restaurants and gets two desserts to go. Once the kids are 
asleep, we have our desserts in front of a streaming movie or talk with 
some music in the background. Now we can afford date nights weekly. It's 
been wonderful for our marriage!

No Interest until Warning

Be careful with those 'no interest until...' deals. We assumed that meant 
no interest was charged until that date. That was not true. There's no 
interest charged if the entire bill is paid by the date. If any balance is 
due, interest is charged from day one! We were shocked when we found out 
that we were being charged four months interest on the unpaid balance on 
our living room furniture. Next time, I'll read the sales agreement before 
signing it!

Online Shopping Trick

Here's an online shopping trick I use. Most websites will send you an email 
with a discount offer shortly after you register on their site. It is 
usually sent within 24 hours of registering, so I leave whatever I was 
going to buy in the shopping cart until I get the discount code. Then I go 
back and complete the transaction with the code. Usually I get a percent 
off or free shipping. Either way, it's free money to me!
Tina R.

Checking Account Surprise

It pays to review your checking account regularly. This is especially true 
if you pay a lot of bills online. It's easy to just look at the balance to 
make sure you have money there and not get into the details. However, if 
you review your bills, you may find that there are errors or that you're 
being charged for something that you canceled. It's also a great way to 
spot patterns in your spending. For instance, I had gotten into a bad habit 
of hitting the ATM three or four times each week. Each one wasn't for much, 
but they added up quickly. Now I take a look at my account at least every 
other week. I may not like what I find, but at least, I can fix it!

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