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.

Cooking for One or Two

If you live alone and divide the meat you bought before freezing it, try this. Take the meat packets to the meat counter and ask them to divide it for you into smaller packages. Often, there is no extra charge and you don’t need to pay for the freezer bags.
Dana

Before You Buy…

When watching the TV infomercials, we are sometimes swayed to buy. Before doing so, go online and see if you can get feedback on the item. I was tempted recently to purchase an “As Seen on TV” item, but after reading the poor ratings, it made my decision not to buy very easy.
Callie

additional TDS resource: The Emotions Behind Buying Stuff

Funding Next Year’s Garden

I love to vegetable garden. I always have more than I can use. I take my produce into the office and have a cup where people can leave a dollar or two. They’re happy for the fresh fruit and I have some money to buy seeds and plants for next year. Everyone’s happy!
Phoebe

Muscle or Joint Pain?

Some of my friends have been walking or running to get some exercise. A few have complained about muscle or joint pain. As a hospital aide I’ve been asked what the hospitals use. I tell them to skip the expensive creams. Instead use a heating pad. It’ll increase blood flow to the area. A light massage helps, too.
Kayla

Why Bag?

Once you’ve mulched the leaves with the grass trimmer, why use bags at all? Just bed down your gardens with the mulch for the winter.
Joanne S.

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Little Luxuries

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Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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Deadly Sweetness

Pour sugar on plants that you want to kill. Sugar gets microbes into high gear; that is why teeth rot from sugars. The sugar actually improves the health of your soil long term, but it will cause so much microbe action that the plant/root will overload and die. This is a great way to kill off stubborn thickets or vines, which you keep trimming back.
W.

We’re Ready

When preparing for storms, etc., buy the MREs (meals-ready-to-eat) that are now available for civilians. They can be eaten cold or you can buy heating units for the meals. They are delicious and cost around $10 per meal. They are a little expensive, but they’re wonderful in an emergency. They have a shelf life of 5 to 10 years, so you don’t have to worry about spoilage.
Esther

Pet Meds

My daughter’s dog is very sick she had to fill a prescription for her. It was $75. When she told me about it, we found the same medication for $25 and a coupon! (On GoodRx.com) It’s worth checking around.
Linda

Need a Slice of Onion?

For years I have had chopped onions in my freezer to use for things like eggs or salads. The other day my recipe called for sliced onions and I did not have any. When I got onions, I sliced them, put waxed paper between the slices and put them in my freezer. Now I will have slices of onion when needed.
Diane G.

Eliminating Dryer Sheets

No more dryer sheets for me. I saw a demo where a lady put a softener sheet into bowl of clear water. She agitated the water with it and immediately the water became cloudy!! She said that this is what’s going into your clothing. She was selling those wool dryer balls, but it got me to thinking about vinegar!

Fold a washcloth in half, then again into 1/4. Put it in the palm of your hand and slowly pour the vinegar into the wash cloth. When you feel the vinegar on your hand, that’s when you stop pouring. You now have the perfect amount of vinegar on your cloth. Now toss into the dryer. The smell doesn’t linger. You can use either cider or white vinegar. Your clothes will be much softer and towels way more absorbent!

Happy drying!
BG

Our Van Reborn

We couldn’t afford a new car, but our van was really getting old and looking rough. So we decided to invest some money to pretty it up. We bought new floor mats. They replaced the old dirty ones. Now the floor looks new. I used some stain remover on the seats. They look better, too. Then we did a thorough cleaning on the outside and waxed it! Next we used a product that restored the shine to the black vinyl parts. Finally we used one of those headlight kits to make them clear again. The results are fantastic. Almost like having a newer van for less than one car payment!
Chelsea

The Clothing Rack

I live in a seniors complex and we’re all afraid to go shopping now. And most of us aren’t that comfortable with online shopping. So in our activities center we put up a rack for donated clothes. Anyone can help themselves to anything on the rack. It’s worked out so well that some of our kids have gone thrift store shopping and donated what they bought to the rack!
Lucy

additional TDS resource: 9 Ways to Extend the Life of Clothing

Great Date!

If you can’t do dinner and a movie now, try this date idea. Take your date to the grocery store! Get the ingredients for the best sundae you can think of. Even if you go crazy, you won’t spend more than you would have on dinner and a movie! Plus it’s a fun way to get to know your date! I had no idea that she liked butterscotch!
Noah

‘Creative’ Money-Saving

We already use all the usual methods for saving money. But we still need to find a few more dollars. So we have an hour set aside on Monday nights to figure out how to save money. If we can’t come up with something on our own, we look at sites like The Dollar Stretcher for new ideas. It’s surprising what you can do if you put your mind to it.
Miki

additional TDS resource: Living on a Tight Budget Successfully

The Cost of Debt

Have you ever totaled up all the interest you pay on your debt each month? I was shocked! There were finance charges on my car loan, credit card, student loan. When I added them up I figured I was working about half a day a week just to pay interest! So I decided to work hard to pay them down.
Lindsay

Get proactive about tackling your debt.

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Don’t Be Under Insured

Think that being robbed is bad? Wait till you see what your insurance company does. One day my wife and I came home from work to find that we’d been robbed. Mostly electronics and jewelry. We thought that we were covered. But when we made our claim, we only got a tiny bit of what was lost. Why? Because they said that we didn’t have proof of what was stolen and also didn’t have replacement value insurance. So if you don’t want to get ripped off twice, take pictures of your valuables, keep receipts and check your insurance coverage. You may think you’re in good hands but don’t wait until you try to collect on a claim to find out for sure.
Eric

Side Dish Special

Meat has gone way up in price. At the same time my grocery budget has shrunk! What to do? I remember as a kid we didn’t eat meat on Fridays. So I started doing that again. Not as a religious thing, but as a money thing! I call it the side dish special! My family likes things like sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and other veggie sides. So I make two or three and that’s dinner on Friday. It’s not a huge savings, but every $10 counts!
Jenn

Crafty

My kids love crafting and we’ve found that a really reasonable source of materials is old blue jeans. We can pick up a pair of good quality denim jeans for just a few dollars at the Goodwill shop and turn it into so many things! We just throw it in the laundry at home and then it becomes pillows, purses, key chains, dog toys, trivets for hot food, etc.!
Ann

Before You Adopt a Dog

I enjoyed your article very much. (The Unexpected Costs of Dog Ownership) May I add one other important consideration before getting a dog? You can lose your lease and/or your home insurance by choosing a dog breed on a “disallowed dog breeds” list. Renters can find this information in their lease or by contacting their landlord. If the list isn’t in your insurance papers, the insurance company will send you one. Some insurance companies don’t exclude any. Be sure to get a written, dated list or “no exclusions” statement from your landlord and/or your insurer.

You’d be surprised what’s on the list. Everybody knows not to get a Presa Canario, but I was sad to see my beloved Boxer and English Bulldog breeds were excluded. German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers and Dachsunds were on the list, too!
Karen

Cleaner Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans draw dust because their circular pattern creates static electricity and dust loves static. A simple (and cheap!) anti-static spray can be made with a tablespoon each of fabric softener and 70% rubbing alcohol, mixed into 1 cup of water. Recipe can be doubled or tripled to fit your spray bottle. Spray the fan blades and exterior housing after you clean the fan. This should give you a longer break before you have to climb that ladder again.
Margaret

Why Not Do-It-Yourself?

It never occurred to me that changing door locks was a do-it-yourself project until a friend mentioned it when I asked for a locksmith recommendation. We went to the hardware store, picked out a couple of new locks for less than $40, and changed the locks in half an hour. I think we saved about $125!
Corinne

Do you have a money or time-saving tip you’d like to share? Just click here to submit your suggestion.

Little Luxuries

Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher, our free weekly newsletter aimed at helping you live better for less on the money you already have!

Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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