This Week’s Readers’ Tips

by Dollar Stretcher Reader Contributors

Readers Tips photo

Each week we publish a new batch of money-saving tips from our frugal readers that can help you stretch your dollars and live better for less.

In Lieu of Roses

Because of Valentine’s Day, cut roses are ghastly expensive in February.

Also, due to extremely high demand, the quality of the roses may not be as good as one would expect.

Here’s an alternative idea: if your Valentine owns a home with a nice yard, flower bed, or garden, why not give her a rose bush? Here in the South, February is a good time to plant roses, and (depending on what you get) the cost of a nice rose bush may even be less than a dozen roses. You could plant the rose bush for her the weekend before, and/or have a date going to the nursery to have her select the kind she wants. Rose bushes can also be ordered online to be shipped to your home.

The best kind, in my opinion, is a variety that will keep blooming throughout the year. This will afford numerous opportunities for cutting some roses and bringing them indoors.

With proper care, rose bushes will live for many years. And every time those roses bloom, your loved one will think of you!
Lynn

Related: 13 Inexpensive Valentine’s Ideas

Check Those Bank CDs

Since my husband retired, one of his favorite pastimes is checking and rechecking our finances. One of the items he tracks are the Certificate of Deposits (CDs) with our bank and credit union. He recently noticed that one of the CDs at our bank was earning a very low interest. In the meantime, our credit union accounts were doing much better and they kept us notified of recent changes.

My husband went into the bank and told them that he wanted to transfer the money from the CD account into our regular savings account. When they asked why, he said the CD wasn’t earning enough interest. Low and behold, they pulled out some papers and offered him a much better CD rate. We went from an interest rate on the old CD of 0.15% to an interest rate of 3.50%. If he hadn’t gone in to inquire about this, we would have never know about the better interest rate.
Toni

A Trick for Saving for a New Car

When you get into the habit of making car payments, and finally make the last one, don’t go out and splurge. Just pretend you’re still making payments, and make them to your
savings account. You will accumulate enough money to pay cash for the next car, or at least to make a sizable down payment. You’ll also always have a reserve supply of cash for an
emergency if your car breaks down.
Alice

Related: A 3-Step Plan for Saving for a Newer Car

The Bulk Food Group

I get together with friends to bulk order food from different places. It is like a food co-op of friends. It really helps the budget to purchase items in bulk, and when ordering with friends four times a year.

We’ve saved so much by buying items like powdered milk in bulk bags. The same thing applies to bulk oatmeal, grains, TVP and beans. Bulk baking cocoa is also very inexpensive when purchased bulk compared to buying it in small bags. We often do this as a group with the ladies from church and the neighborhood.
M.

Related: Buying in Bulk: An Investment Anyone Can Afford

Broken Picture Frame?

I pick up frames of all sizes at yard sales, even the ugliest of frames, just for the glass. I always keep some on hand to replace glass in frames that I use. I checked once to replace an 8×10 glass at a craft store, and it wasn’t cheap. I can pick up really ugly frames (and nice ones, too) at yard sales for $1 or less and at thrift stores for a few bucks.
E.

Don’t Overlook This Auto Insurance Discount

I saved nearly 10% on my car insurance when I went from paying monthly to paying once every six months. It was a challenge the first time I did it. But after that, I set aside my monthly payment in my savings account, and the next time my 6-month premium was due, it was easy!
Julie

Related: 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Auto Insurance Bills

A Dry Winter Hair Solution

If you’re like me, the bottom few inches of your hair becomes very dry in the winter with the cold, dry air outside and the heated, dry air inside. Instead of buying hot oils and creams and expensive deep conditioners, mix one and a half tablespoons of your favorite inexpensive conditioner with one and a half teaspoons of any olive oil in a microwave-safe container. I use a paper cup. Microwave for 30 to 40 seconds and stir. Wait for it to be cool enough to be comfortable on your scalp.

Use your fingers to put the hot solution on the areas where your hair is driest and comb it through. Let it remain on your hair for 20 to 30 minutes. Then wash and condition your hair as usual.
S.

Related: Natural Ways to Combat Drying Winter Skin

A No-Sew Solution for Hemming Pants

I had some jeans that I wanted to hem up, but my sewing machine does not do the heavy material. So I use a special glue. I was using the straight pens that come with corsages that I had received when my sons gave me corsages. I did not have enough of them to hold the hem for each leg, so it dawned on me I had large paper clips. I used them instead, and it worked perfect!
Brenda

Related: 7 Simple Clothing Fixes Anyone Can Do

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Cheaper Kitty Litter

Ground corn works beautifully as kitty litter. It clumps well, has a soft texture, and is non-toxic. Adding a shake of baking soda after filling the litter pan increases odor absorption. After scooping out the waste, the remaining corn litter may be put into the compost or tossed around the yard for fertilization. Ground corn makes an excellent fertilizer with anti-fungal properties. It can also be mixed with water to make a soothing dip for pets with flea or skin allergies.

Ground corn may be purchased at feed stores, farm and ranch supply stores, and many nurseries. Be sure to ask for ground corn, not corn meal.
Kristie

Related: Cheaper Kitty Litter Alternatives

A Linen Closet Space-maker

Storage is always a premium in a smaller home and using up linen closet space for sheets, pillowcases, blankets and tablecloths was always a problem in our home. My solution was simple, and in most cases, it was free. I went to my local dry cleaner and asked for a few heavy hangers (the ones they use to hang the very same things). I now store my extra set of bed linens in the closet of the room they go to. They hang nicely and don’t take up precious shelf space. This ends the folding problem as well. My extra afghans and tablecloths are hung up as well.
Mike & Marti

Related: Finding Affordable Furniture for Small Spaces

A Winter Solution for Line-Drying Clothing

To easily dry clothes in the winter and add much needed moisture that a fireplace takes from my home, I use a clothes rack on wheels to dry some of my clothes. I have an adjustable rack that stands about four feet off the ground and holds about 15 t-shirts on hangers. I simply wheel the rack into the room with the fireplace and let the heat in the room do the drying. I keep it far enough away for safety. If company comes, I can easily wheel it away out of sight.
K

A Cheap, Quick Furniture Scratch Fix

An owner of a local furniture store taught me how to quickly and easily fix scratched furniture.

Get a can of shoe polish that closely matches the color of the wood and use that to repair your scratches. It works great. Just rub the polish on like you would for a pair of shoes and lightly buff. The small scratches will become unnoticeable, and the deep scratches become much less noticeable.
Nicole

Related: Fixing Up Furniture the Frugal Way

Do you have a money or time-saving tip you’d like to share? Just email your tip to andrea@thedollarstretcher.com.

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Twice each week you'll receive tips that can help you free up and keep more of your hard-earned money, even on the tightest of budgets. We send subscribers exclusive tips that we do not publish here on our weekly tips page.

Subscribers also receive a free copy of our eBook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better for Less.

We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

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