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Don't Replace Door Locks
In changing my door lock, I have found that by having the cylinder "re-keyed" represents a huge savings (as much as 50%) as opposed to buying a new lock and chucking the old. Plus, it is a bit greener! Then, if one is slightly handy, installing the lock is a no-brainer! Even more savings here!
Sometimes after storing leftover turkey in the refrigerator, it gets a "different" taste to it. I have found that if you cover the turkey with chicken broth, it'll continue to taste fine. When re-heating the turkey, use the broth to make more gravy. When freezing, the broth helps to protect against freezer burn.
Joann V. from Ohio
If you have a problem with fleas on your cat or dog, here's a non-toxic trick. Take a nit comb that you can get alone or with lice shampoo (cheaper with the shampoo), dip the comb in vegetable oil, and comb your pet. The fleas and dander come right off. Your pet will love the combing, and it's natural and safe.
Convenient AND Cheap?
While many convenience items are more costly than their non-convenience counterparts, this is not always true. When my local supermarket puts the store brand shredded cheese on sale, the price per pound for the cheese is less than the chunk cheese. Since I use a lot of cheese for my vegetarian night dinners, I stock up. Then I can have convenience and a good price. It pays to do the price comparison.
Ruth C. from New Jersey
Cut Your Electric Bill
Power strips. My house is equipped with them in every room. The kitchen toaster, can opener, microwave, coffeepot and telephone are plugged into them. They do not need to be on all the time, and it saves a great deal of energy that way. The television and DVD player are also on a power strip, so when it is not in use, it is not drawing energy. The bedrooms have power strips for the cell phone cords and there is nothing on during the day in the rooms. My electric bill went from $175 a month to $78 and less each month. I had a bill for $51 one month with everything turned off.
I go to flea markets later in the day. One reason is the admission is usually free. The dealers want to get rid of things, so they deeply discount items. At the very end of the day, many start selling things for 25 cents, and then you hear many yelling, "Free! Free! Free! Take it away!" I can usually fill up my mini van with very cheap or free things. I also check next to trash barrels. Many people leave stuff they don't want there. After a few of these outings, I set up a yard sale with the day being pure profit. Good job done.
Cheaper Craft Supplies
When shopping for craft supplies, don't forget your local Goodwill or other thrift store. I frequently find plenty of materials I need for my sewing projects there at a fraction of the price of most craft stores. I have gotten fabric for $1 for several yards on sale days and bags full of trimmings for about the same price. Plus, I've gotten patterns for 50 cents or less.
Affordable "Luxury" Christmas Gifts
Do your Christmas shopping at your local library. Our library sells gently used or new books for around $2 for hard cover and only 75 cents for paperback. I got a "new" book on Ireland. The jacket price for this book was $36, but I got it for $2. My sister is going to Ireland in March, and she will love finding this book under her tree. I do tell the recipient that it was purchased at the library or thrift store if it isn't new. I also tell them that it is sent with love. Times are hard, and everyone is understanding. You can even mail the books media mail for Christmas if you shop early.
Before You Attend...
It is state fair time, and the weather is beautiful with highs in the eighties with no rain in sight. I was getting excited about the rides, performances, exhibits and food until I saw the admission price. This year admission is $16 per person and parking is $15 for a total of $31 for one day's entertainment, which is beyond my budget.
I began thinking about what to do. In my past "spend, spend, spend" days, I would have just paid the full $31, but now that I am debt free and want to remain that way, I decided to look for a discount.
I Googled and found that on Wednesdays, admission is $2 if I bring two canned goods to be donated to the food bank. I also found that I can take public transportation from my house to and from the fair for a total of $4. My cost for a day at the fair dropped 81% from $31 to $6, so I am headed to the fair!
With Halloween just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about what goodies you will pass out to trick-or-treaters. While candy is the obvious choice, it can get expensive. Besides, the kids don't need all that junk!
Try looking around your house for non-food alternatives. Do you have a drawer full of colorful, unused pencils? How about a box full of like-new toy cars or untouched prizes from fast food meals? Maybe you have a pile of interesting stickers or temporary tattoos. Do you have extra bouncy balls or novelty erasers? If you collect comic books or trading cards, weed out your collection and give away ones that you know aren't worth much money (check a collector book first to make sure).
After Halloween, watch at stores for 90% off holiday items. Stock up on multi-packs of party favors that can be given out as next year's treats. Be creative and think outside the candy box!
Beth in Galesville, WI