Dollar Stretcher Tips content
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!
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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!