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.

Fantastic Children’s Gifts

Seems like every teenager spends all their time on the phone. Either gossiping with friends or on tiktok. One way to avoid that is to teach your little ones to read. Get them in the habit of enjoying books even before they can read. Read picture books to them. Let them experience the world of imagination that books can deliver. If you get them in the habit of reading early, they’ll likely have it the rest of their lives!
Charlene

Getting Top Price for Your Home

I know that the housing market is super hot right now. And that offers even come in over asking price. One way to get top dollar is to have your home inspected by a professional and let potential bidders see it. It will make them more comfortable about making a good offer. The cost is less than $500 and could earn you many thousands.
Jeremiah

Keeping Your Home Cool

The western sun was baking our home in the evening. Since our bedroom was on that side, it made sleeping hard. The cost of solar-backed drapes was out of our budget. We really needed something inexpensive that would block the heat of the sun.

I went online and bought two emergency blankets. They’re like a big sheet of foil. I used paper clips to attach them to the window side of the curtains. They work just like the window reflectors you have for your car. The sun’s heat bounces off them. We’re sleeping much better now!
Kloe

Fun Pillows

If you like to be creative in home decorating, try making your own throw pillows from t-shirts. Use your favorite sports team (go Marlins!) or your favorite band. You can buy stuffing at the fabric store. Sewing is an easy hand stitch. You’ll add color and fun for just a few dollars!
Jayme

additional TDS resource: The $150 Living Room Makeover

Vacation Souvenir

Here’s a great way to save vacation memories cheaply. Keep the brochures, ticket stubs from attractions, and receipts. Anything paper from your trip. You might even want to print out some pictures you took. When you get home, glue them to 11×18 cardboard and then have the cardboard plastic coated at Office Depot. For just a couple of dollars you’ll have dinner placemats that will remind you of the fun you had. And if you have visitors, they make good conversation starters.
Sandra

Ridding Your Home of Roaches

Many years ago, my mother told me that she used boric acid to kill the roaches in her Texas apartment, and at the same time, she killed the neighbor’s roaches. The trick to getting where
the roaches live is to remove all of the electric and light switch plates and dump it down into the walls. You might want to turn off the electricity at the breaker while you do this to be safe. That’s the place where they live and how they travel from apartment to apartment. She said that she used a good amount in every wall, and in no time, there wasn’t a roach to be found in the whole building.
Keri of Eagleville, TN

Reuse Freezer Bags

If you are reluctant to reuse those expensive freezer bags, consider this: One-gallon freezer bags may be reused to store three to four of the less-expensive, quart-sized storage bags filled with practical-sized portions.
Ev from NH

additional TDS resource: How to Prevent Freezer Burn

Tips Food eBook Ad photo

Natural Home Deodorizer

Use coffee beans! Nice oily French Roast coffee beans in a tightly woven basket will get rid of stale smells in the house and in the car. Guys like this because it’s not a flowery scent.
Candy

Our Backyard Sanctuary

Now that we can begin to resume our lives, I want to spend as much time as possible outside on our deck. We probably won’t feel free to take a travel vacation so we’re going to spend some of that money on our own backyard. I plan on buying new cushions for the deck chairs and chaise. Also some tiki torches. Our son wants us to buy a fire pit. Out daughter wants a tent for sleepovers with her friends. It’s more than we would normally spend, but compared to a 2 week vacation, it’s a bargain!
Leona

additional TDS resource: Budget Backyard Fire Pits

Save the Dishsoap

If you rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, you can save some money by diluting your dishsoap. I add 4 parts water to each part dishsoap. You can still use it for any dishes that you handwash. Your bottle of dishsoap will last for months!
Sandy

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Little Luxuries

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Free Mulch!

I called my local tree service the other day to see what they do with their wood chips once they take down a tree and mulch it up. They give it away just to get rid of it and not have to take it to a dump site! I now have plenty of mulch for my garden and flower beds. Call them up. You will probably be doing them a bigger favor than they are you!
Shelly

Weekend Hotel Deals

Now that we can travel again I have some trips to make up! Most are just weekend deals. I find that often I can get as cheap a rate (or even cheaper!) at hotels that cater to the traveling business person. They want to get their business done before Friday so they can spend the weekend at home. That means extra rooms for the hotel. I’ve often gotten a full suite for less than a room would cost at a more touristy place.
Tammy

Too Many Bargains

Whenever I pass a garage sale, one of the first things I ask myself is “How much did all of that stuff cost retail?” Unless most of it was bought used (garage sales, thrift shops, etc.), they’re losing a lot of money with this sale! That reminder helps to keep me from buying too much stuff that would end up as garage sale inventory in my future!
Leslie

additional TDS resource: The Emotions Behind Buying Stuff

Cheap Cooling Solutions

The number one way to avoid high air conditioning bills (other than appropriate equipment) is to get the air moving in the house and dress appropriately. Overhead fans and room fans, along with sleeveless shirts, make a huge difference. With fans, we can take a temperature of 78, but without them, it takes 76 or less to be comfortable. This can translate to significant savings. We do find we need it slightly cooler to sleep at night.
Kathy in Texas

Summer Projects

You’ve probably put off some bigger house maintenance projects until the summer. Many of them require special equipment and maybe even a handyman or contractor to do part or all of the work. That’s where my neighbors come in.

There are 8 of us living on the same street. Before we rent any equipment or hire a contractor, we let the others know what we’re up to. Often we’ll have 2 or 3 that need to do similar work. If we’re renting equipment, we share the rental fee. If we’re hiring a contractor, we get a better deal by bidding them all together. Occasionally one of us will be doing something and they’re the only one. But it only takes a few minutes to call your neighbors to see if you can save some money.
Corey

Shower Supplies

I started reusing pump hand soap bottles in my shower. I just clean them and peel the labels off. They sit nicely on a shelf in my shower holding my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and baby oil.

I have noticed I use much less of these items and they last a lot longer. The pump bottles regulate the amount very accurately as opposed to just dumping some in your hand.
Theresa H.

Streak-Free Dishes

A small squirt, just a few drops, of liquid dish soap (for hand washing dishes) in your automatic dishwasher gives the same streak free finish as a rinse aid. Just put a few drops
on top of the powdered dish soap before you start the load. My husband who once was a dishwasher in a restaurant taught me this.
MKJ in Seattle

Turn Off the A/C at Night!

If you open a window at each end of the house and place a window box fan backwards in one of the windows so that it blows outside of the house, it pulls the air through the house (especially in the early morning hours) and cools your home.
M.

The Expense That Saves

Sometimes spending a little may save you a lot. Get annual check ups! You may have to pay a deductible, but you might avoid a much bigger medical bill later.

Same thing with your home. Some maintenance jobs prevent more expensive bills later. We all like to save money, but there’s a time and place to save.
Dave

Avoiding Kitchen Heat

Even better than using a slow cooker for foods is using a solar oven. It uses only the sun’s energy to cook your food. You can buy solar cookers or make your own using anything from a car solar shade folded into box shape, a cardboard box lined with aluminum foil, even a shoe box lined with aluminum foil. A dark or black pot cooks better as it absorbs the sun’s energy.

Temperatures in solar cookers can reach 400 degrees F. Foods cook to perfection as there is no burning – moist and delicious. Breads, vegetables, fruits, and meats can easily be cooked in solar cookers. Solar cookers are economical as no electricity or other fossil fuel is used, environmentally friendly, and time savers. It’s great to come home from work after a long day and have dinner already cooked, ready to serve.
S.

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 twice-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!

Your Email:

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