Dollar Stretcher Tips - 09/02/04


Dollar Stretcher Tips courtesy of
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Tricky Pricing Practice

One of my treats to myself is to purchase a magazine in the check out line at my local supermarket. The other day, I saw a magazine with a big, bright star with the price of $1.99 in it on the cover at my local supermarket. Since Wal-Mart gives 10% off the cover price of magazines, I thought I'd buy my copy there this week.

When I got to the check out line at Wal-Mart, the very same magazine had a big, bright star on the cover with a price of $2.50! At 10% off, this is still more than the copy at the supermarket chain. I'll look more closely at magazine prices before I automatically buy them now.
April G.
Irving TX

Instant Protection

My mother-in-law keeps a spray can of matte (not shiny) urethane on hand to spray all the items she puts outdoors each summer that may rust, such as wind chimes and small lawn ornaments that are made of metal, and wooden objects that may rot, such as bird houses, etc. This really increases the life of these treasures.

The Educated Consumer

I have a vacuum that just didn't seem to be working right and it was only a year old! I was so fed up with it I had plans on buying a new one.

Before I did though, I went through my owner's manual and found out this particular vacuum had 2 filters that needed to be washed periodically. I removed them, washed them, reinstalled them and the vac works like new!

The moral of this story? Read your owner's manual no matter how trivial you think the appliance is. It saved me almost $400!
Karen in NE Indiana

Delighted With Dehumidifier

One of the best purchases we ever made was a dehumidifier for the basement. In just a couple of weeks, most of our munching/crawling insect population had vanished! In our humid summer, the roaches and centipedes were eating holes in boxes, the papers stored inside, etc.

The dehumidifier's impact was even noticeable upstairs. Fewer insects up there, too. Plus, when it's too humid to hang wet laundry outside, I hang things in the basement, where the dehumidifier is nearby. I'm sure this uses less electricity than to power up my electric dryer, plus it saves the a/c work cooling off the house.

Freezing for One

I am notorious for buying meat and eventually throwing it out because my busy schedule didn't allow me to take the time to cook or freeze it. I have started coming home from the grocery store, immediately opening the packets of meat, then freezing individual servings of pork chops, ground round, and chicken in "Hefty One Zip" storage bags, preferably the freezer bags.

I have found that the cost of the bags is much less than the cost of wasted meat. Also I am only eating one serving or less because that is all I cook. I'm spending less money at the store and can count the number of servings in the freezer when I'm getting ready to go back to the store.
Willette B.

Student Budgets

Most college financial aid offices have a wonderful guide available that is a 'budget book' for students. It allows the student to put his/her expenses in appropriate places; set up a visible daily/weekly/monthly expense calendar and allow for unexpected expense.

It also has counseling for use of credit cards, loans, car payments, etc. My kids' college tuition was worth getting this alone!
Rhonda B.

Eligible for Phone Discount?

Phone companies, cable companies and others who provide essential services often have discounts for seniors and the disabled, but they seldom advertise this. I get $7 off my home phone bill (which now totals only $11.14 a month) and used to get about the same off my cable bill too.

All it takes is a phone call to inquire and a quick trip to show proof, which can probably be mailed in as well. A Medicare card is good documentation.

My phone company also gives discounts if you use their internet service as well as their phone service, another savings of $4 a month, plus tax.

Crummy Carpets

As any mom with kids and a van knows, the floor is always a mess of crumbs and other debris. Since I like a clean floor, I was paying to vacuum it at the local car wash far too often.

I found that a little stiff bristled whisk broom works wonders between real cleanings and I don't need to vacuum as often. I keep it in the van and use it each time I fill up the gas tank. It does a great job of keeping the crumbs under control, and it even balls up the dog hair so I can just throw it in the trash!

Of course, you can also save money by using your home vacuum instead of the coin operated ones - I just like the big suckers!
Julie in Washington State

Handy (and Inexpensive) Mop

I purchased a Clorox Ready Mop and though I love having a mop handy at all times without fear of my young children playing in mop water, the cost of the pads and solution were eating at my household budget. To solve the problem, I make my own solution. In the bottle that comes with the mop, I mix one cap full of Pine Sol cleaner. I suppose any all purpose floor cleaner would work. I also add 1/2 cap full of bleach to add disinfecting power and fill the bottle with water. Make sure at this point that your cleaner can be safely mixed with bleach without making harmful fumes.

For the pads, I recycle old towels. Using one of the purchased pads, I cut the towels to the same size. Make sure that you leave the tabs to push into the points on the mop and that enough material is cut from the front of the towel to not block the sprayer. Simple and cost effective.
Melissa H.
mom of two young girls

Affluent Neighbors

I have a tip for saving on nice clothes for kids. There is a large church in our area with affluent members, which holds a rummage sale twice a year. The prices are better than garage sales. I buy clothes, but also baseball cleats, tap shoes, sporting equipment such as helmets, basketballs, football pads, etc, for pennies on the dollar. They have all the name brands and many sizes.

I actually put it on my calendar because it is the same 2 weekends every year.

Pat in Kansas

Check for Discounts

Check out your AAA or other membership cards for extra discounts. I get discounts on shoes at Payless, clothes at Casual Corner, tickets to sports games, etc. I receive more than just travel or car related discounts.

For instance, I found out that my AAA card gives me a 10% discount at participating Burger Kings.
Gayle G.

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