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Dollar Stretcher Tips content

on Monday, 17 July 2017. Posted in Dollar Stretcher

Cooler Sleeping

We've cut back on our air conditioning this summer, but that's made it hard 
to sleep at night. I have a ceiling fan, but it doesn't do enough. The last 
few nights I've misted my top sheet before getting in bed. The circulating 
air from the ceiling fan on the sheet is just enough to get me off to 

Restaurant Treats

My wife and I like to go out to eat but only can afford to do it about once 
a month. One trick we've learned is to sign up for email alerts from our 
favorite restaurants. Some send out 10 or 15% discount coupons. Others 
offer free desserts for birthdays. It doesn't cost anything to register. We 
get a lot of junk emails, but these are among our favorites!

How Much Electricity Does My Slow Cooker Use?

I plugged my slow cooker into a Kill-a-Watt to check its usage, and I 
noticed that it fluctuated from 234 watts to 161 watts to 75.4 watts. I 
also observed that the exterior temperature (checked with an infra-red 
thermometer) read 235 degrees. Now, I place it on the stove with the 
exhaust fan running on low over it to get rid of the heat. In South Florida 
in July, it's nice to not have the oven heating up the house and making the 
A/C work harder.
Jeff E.

Buying Your First House

We purchased our first house late last year. We had saved plenty for a down 
payment and thought that we had things covered, but we discovered some 
surprises. We used a mortgage calculator to estimate our monthly payments, 
but we didn't include anything for taxes and insurance. Taxes alone are 
over $400 each month where we live! We also didn't have anything set aside 
for unexpected expenses like the fridge that died in March. The one we 
really wanted was close to $2000. Since we were forced to put it on our 
credit card, we settled for one at $950. I'd advise anyone thinking of 
buying their first home to save up three to six months' worth of mortgage 
payments, insurance, taxes, and emergency fund.
Alisha K.

The Little Things

I have found many ways that I have overlooked waste out of habit. The one I 
realized this morning is the need to measure cooking ingredients instead of 
eyeballing. I can't tell you how much most of us probably add because we 
just pour without measuring. I grew up cooking this way and just using 
products in general. I definitely think that if we make an effort to pay 
closer attention to this (those of us who do not), we will see a big 
difference in the amount of time our purchases last. A while back, I made 
this change with dishwashing detergent and saw an unbelievable amount of 

Protect Your Rental Deposit

Getting your rental deposit back when you move out can be difficult. Some 
landlords claim all kinds of damage. The only way to protect yourself is to 
take pictures or videos of the apartment or house before you move in. Send 
a copy to your landlord to let him know that you have photographic evidence 
of how things looked when you moved in. When you move out, you can take 
similar photos/videos. If you get into a dispute, it'll be easy to provide 
evidence that you didn't do the damage that the landlord claims.

A Free Vacation Day

With theme parks running $100+ per person per day, our vacation was getting 
very expensive. This year, we are planning one day a week where we'll be 
doing free things. We've been searching for ideas. We are considering free 
city parks, recreation areas, historical landmarks, and factory tours. We 
are open to anything that could be interesting that doesn't have an 
admission fee!

Help Getting Organized

With the lovely lazy days of summer, it is nice to have time to get a bit 
organized. My kids are tweens and teens now, and they are competitive with 
each other. We have been doing daily challenges, such as "Sort Your Sock 
Drawer" where all five of us spend five minutes cleaning out one small 
space in our own bedrooms. I put on music and make it fun, and we all found 
some sock matches and things that belonged in other family member's rooms. 
It is definitely a frugal win to find "free" socks in our own house. 
Tomorrow we will tackle our t-shirt drawers and see what fits and what is 
ready to be passed on. Doing a little bit every day or so will make 
back-to-school shopping easier since we will know what we have and what we 
Jen in Aptos, CA

Protect Your Valuables

Everyone knows that you need to have home insurance, but working for an 
agent, I also know that if you have any valuable collections, you should 
consider a separate rider to cover them in case of fire or theft. Most 
policies only cover to $500 or $1000 for collectibles. I've seen people 
insure collections of baseball cards, figurines, and even gas station maps 
that they said were worth more than that. If they have a fire or burglary, 
they'll be properly insured!

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