Want to live better on the money you already make? Visit to find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Copyright 2010 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.
Five Years Younger
Want to look younger instantly? Dab a bit of white eye shadow at both the outsides of your eyes and the insides as well. Blend in a tiny bit, but not too much. You'll look five years younger!
No Frills Phone
I recently realized that my no-frills land line phone has a monthly charge of $3.50 for an unlisted number. I've cancelled that feature, saving what may seem like a small amount ($42 a year), but it's money that I didn't need to spend.
Before You Shop
If you have a computer, before you head out to shop for anything, Google it! If you need toilet tissue, toothpaste, dishwashing soap, or anything at all, just type it into your search bar and follow by the word "coupons." If you know the brand name you want, that's even better. You will be amazed at what will pop up! Print out the coupons and save.
Kids Win Twice
When my two kids were small, I let them each decorate a recycled, small, yogurt container to be kept near the bathroom sink. Whenever they brushed their teeth to my satisfaction, I rewarded them each with a dime to deposit through the slots that had been made in the lids. When the containers were full, they were free to spend their earnings as they wished. They had very few cavities. I always said to them, "Taking care of your teeth is like money in the bank!"
DIY Shelves and
My husband and I built floor-to-ceiling shelves along one wall in our bedroom. We found free plans for bookshelves on the Internet, took a look at our situation, and put several plans together. We have also built two under-the-bed storage systems. A business on the Internet offered a system similar to it for over $1,000. Ours cost us far, far less. Again we took the idea and changed it to fit our situation. We built a hutch top for our dresser and a square end table for our living room. We were not set up to cut much of the lumber, so we had the lumber yard cut it for us. By doing the work ourselves and finding our ideas and plans free on the Internet, we have saved a bundle.
The Cost of Bread
Make your own bread, either by hand or using a machine. I've seen used bread machines at yard sales, in the classifieds, and at thrift stores for under $20. Buy your flour and yeast in bulk. You can usually get a 50-pound bag of flour for under $15 and a pound of yeast for under $5. Don't buy those little bottles of yeast at the grocery stores because they typically cost over $8 for less than a half-pound of yeast. Other than saving money, the bonuses are that you can awaken to the smell of freshly baked bread, the slices are bigger, the crust is still crusty when it's fresh, the grilled cheese sandwiches are great, and you can make many varieties of bread by getting recipes from the Internet. I'd estimate that the cost of the ingredients for a two-pound loaf of bread are under 75 cents.
Since I insist on getting five fruits and vegetables a day, I often start my day with a smoothie made with frozen fruit, milk, sweetener, and vanilla. I buy a lot of fruit when it is on sale. I clean and freeze it on cookie sheets and then put it in a plastic bag. This also works well for any fruit that is getting past its prime and I don't want to go to waste.
If my freezer is short on space, I blend the prepared fresh fruit first with a little milk, add my sweetener and vanilla, and freeze it in sheets or ice cube trays. This way it takes up much less room and is a quick and easy breakfast when blended with milk or fruit juice later in the year.
Creating Lower Hotel Rates
Recently I had to book a couple of overnight hotel stays. I found a "budget" hotel that was located across the street from a well-known, higher-priced hotel and found the lowest online prices for both. Then I called the higher priced hotel directly and asked them to match the price of the budget hotel next door.
At first, they declined and told me that they couldn't because they were a much nicer hotel. I reminded them that I would be spending a night in their town somewhere and would love to spend my money at their hotel instead of their competitor. I also reminded them that an empty room would make them no money at all. So why not work with me? They agreed!
The hotel I wanted for our second night was in a more isolated area. Still I researched the online prices and called the hotel front desk. I worked out a deal there where they matched the cheaper online price and upgraded me for no charge to a room with a view for booking with them directly. It was a wonderful weekend.
Finding Time for Exercise
Here is my suggestion for saving money. Use a bicycle instead of a car. I bicycle commute to work and use a bicycle for getting around. The company I work for has showers in the building so I take a couple weeks' worth of clothes in when I drive. The hardest part of bicycle commuting is not riding the bicycle, but working out the logistics. For instance, I need to get fresh clothes to work, allow time for breakfast, consider what to do for lunch if restaurants aren't close, etc.
With my commute, I get an hour of exercise a day, but it only "costs" me a half hour since I would have spent a half hour in the car. The health benefits are substantial, and I feel energized and better able to do my job.
Not only do you use less gas and reduce the wear and tear on your car, but if you can show that you are driving fewer miles to work, some insurance companies will lower your rates as well.
Roger in NC
(end Dollar Stretcher Tips)