Buy tennis shoes/sneakers in the children's department. A woman's size "8" is the same as a boy's size "6." This has saved us half the price for name brand footwear.
A place to find storage is over the doors and windows. A simple shelf laid across two brackets can allow space up to 18 inches deep. You can store seldom-used items in attractive boxes, baskets, tins, bags, etc. Deborah Z.
Doggie Digging Up Flowers
My dog kept digging in my flowerbed next to my house. A friend of mine told me to put chicken wire over weed prevention covering and secure it with stakes or rocks. My dog could not dig in my flowerbed anymore.
If you are coming back from a trip and have a large amount to exchange, go to a commercial bank. If you're a member, they'll generally change your money for free. If you're not, most banks charge a flat fee. It's a lot less than going to a currency exchange, and you haven't lost all of your money especially if you're planning on never going to that country again.
The Lost Laundry
If you use community washing machines and dryers, little things tend to get lost. Many women have garment bags they use to wash bras and such things so they won't snag delicate fabric. I have recently taken to washing my socks and underwear in them as well. This way, I leave with as many socks as I walked in with.
We Don't Need Gas This Summer
To save a little money when every dollar counts, I called my gas company and asked if they charged for turning off the gas and turning it on again. They said that there was not a charge. We only use gas for the furnace and the pilot light is electric. They were charging me every month for not using any gas but for the line, taxes and such to the amount of over $20 per month. I now have them shut off the gas on the first of May and turn on when needed in the fall. Be sure to check with your gas company about the charges.
I have always cut my celery stocks into chunks and plunged those into cold water in the fridge to get the celery to stiffen back to its original state after becoming limp. I wondered if I could do something similar to revive some lettuce that I had. My romaine lettuce had become terribly wilted, but not brown on the edge of the leaves. I tore the wilted leaves from the rest of the "stalk" and stood them with the torn/cut ends in a glass of water in the door of the fridge for a day. The water was about two to three inches deep in the glass. I was shocked and pleased to see that the wilted leaves came back to their original crispy fresh state. I have even resurrected the same lettuce leaves more than once with this method.
Defeating Summer Boredom
I organized a toy exchange with some of the other moms in my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. We each picked out several toys that our kids don't care about and put them in a box; we then swapped boxes. Whenever I need a "new" toy for my son, I grab something from the box. This is especially helpful when we go on long car trips. I give my son a special "new" toy every few hours to keep him occupied. The best part about the toy exchange is that it is free! And, it can work with older kids, too!
Paying for Grad School
Anyone wanting to attend graduate school should speak with representatives of the school, and with current students and recent graduates of the specific program (not just the whole university) about funding options. Have conversations with many people in many roles. I was able to attend a very expensive private graduate school through a combination of fellowships and assistantships, but I had to talk to dozens of people to get the information I needed and gain access to these. The effort was well worth it. I have the graduate degree that I wanted from the school where I wanted to go and borrowed only a modest amount of money to make up the gap in my expenses.
My Daily Dollars
I'm a debt free single mom who owns her own home. I have become a whiz at budgeting out of necessity. Lately, I had really been struggling to save but invented a nifty trick. When my paycheck comes, I deposit into checking only enough to cover my regular monthly bills, which I have automatically deducted. I next deposit $250 into my savings account. With the money left over, I get cash. I know that there are 15 days between paychecks, so I divide the sum by 15 and pay myself the correct amount each day from my cash envelope. It turns out for me to be $30/day. No more running out of money before payday! It has made me much smarter and I put more thought into my finances. I write the date on the envelope before I take out the money to help me keep track. I drive my bank crazy by asking for 15 tens and 15 twenties every pay day, but I am now able to save $500 a month! Trina
Those "Free" Vacations
A huge way people get taken advantage of in travel scams is to get a free vacation to visit a potential vacation investment. People are wary of the hard sell tactics used by these hucksters.
What they frequently don't realize is that the "free" air travel and three-night stay will result in a Form MISC-1099 to the IRS for the full value of the air fare (not discounted) and hotel stay that will create a large federal and possible state income tax liability. I have had clients owe taxes in excess of what they would have paid out-of-pocket for a nice vacation if they had shopped for bargain fares themselves and not had to waste a vacation day listening to the hard sell of condo investors and time-share sellers.
Arlene C., CPA
(end Dollar Stretcher Tips)