From the Editor’s Desk

Gary Foreman

Make Your Summer a Little More Enjoyable

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

For many of us it’s hard to accept that the summer vacation we dreamed about in January and February just isn’t going to happen this year. First we were stuck indoors and now we’re told that group activities like going to the park are risky.

So here are some alternatives that might make the summer a little more enjoyable. Over the years we’ve published a variety of articles with different ideas for your backyard. This could be the perfect time to do something that’ll be here long after COVID is gone (which is hopefully very soon!).

Most are relatively inexpensive. Some are free. We understand that money is tight right now, so let’s consider some low cost possibilities.

There’s something about having a place to sit and relax outdoors. For some of us that’s evolved into an outdoor room. Or at least the desire for one. How to Create an Outdoor Room on a Budget can help you decide whether that’s a project that you want to take on.

Speaking of relaxing, have you ever dreamed of living where a nearby stream could provide a calm hideaway? What would you say if I suggested that you can create a backyard water feature for less than you think? Read a An Affordable DIY Backyard Waterfall and consider the possibilities.

On a little different note, there’s nothing like a campfire in the evening. A place to relax at day’s end. To tell stories and roast weenies and marshmallows. Building an Affordable Fire Pit can walk you through the process.

As someone who does a lot of cooking, I’ve always enjoyed cooking outdoors. Sometimes with my grill and other times with the smoker. But I admit that I’ve envied the outdoor kitchens you see on TV. If you’re like me, you might want to take the plunge and Create an Outdoor Kitchen on a Budget.

Some backyard ideas combine practicality and beauty. You might be someone who loves flowers. A Frugal Rain Garden might be perfect for you. Not only will it help protect your home from water damage, but it can also provide some beautiful blooms for your home.

There are times in our lives when we need a break. 4 Ideas for a Backyard Oasis could spur your imagination and be the beginning of a wonderful retreat. In these stressful times we all could use an oasis!

If you already have an outdoor space, How to Decorate a Backyard Gazebo will help you make it inviting without spending a bunch of money.

Finally, there are many ways to waste money outdoors. Don’t Get Caught Doing These Things In Your Yard can help you avoid them.

Yes, it’s sad that we don’t get to take the summer vacation that we wanted. But that doesn’t mean that summer has to be a waste. Even on a tight budget there are things that you can do to make your outdoor life more enjoyable!

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!

If You’ve Been Hard Hit Financially

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

It was in the fall of 1995 that I wrote the first Dollar Stretcher column. Since then I’ve seen both good and bad economic times. Today’s circumstances are unusual. You don’t need years of experience to recognize that a lot of people are suffering right now.

And, it’s not only the person earning a paycheck. A lot of small businesses will probably close their doors forever. And that means jobs disappear.

If you’re one of those who have been hard hit financially by the shutdown you might find Living on a Tight Budget Successfully helpful.

Admittedly, it can be hard to find savings when you’ve already cut your expenses big time. That’s when 9 Radical Cost Cutting Tips to Reduce the Tightest Budget comes in handy.

Speaking of cutting costs, for most families food is the 2nd or 3rd biggest budget item. And the one that’s easiest to change without selling a car or moving. When Your Food Budget Is Critical will suggest some of those changes.

One change that’s important when you’re cutting grocery costs is to have a meal plan. Super Frugal 7 Day Meal Plan will give you a good handle on how to make a plan work for you.

And, if you’re really up against it, Creative Non-Cash Grocery Strategies can suggest some ways to feed your family when your food budget approaches zero.

When you’re facing a real financial crisis it’s hard to stay upbeat. Money Games That Can Make Frugality Fun can help keep you and your family from falling into depression.

Finally, we also recognize that sometimes you have to admit that you’re not keeping up with the bills. If you’re falling behind on your credit cards, it may be time to ask Am I a Good Candidate for Credit Counseling?

And, if you’re forced to consider bankruptcy, How Families Can Overcome Bankruptcy will help you understand the ramifications of that decision.

The last few months have been hard on all of us. But some are facing harder circumstances. Hopefully some of the ideas we’ve been sharing for years can be helpful if you’re in that position.

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!

About the Author

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, and Gary shares his philosophy of money here. Gary is available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

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