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 2011 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.
If you need to remove wallpaper off the wall, mix 50% water and 50% fabric softener. Using a paintbrush, spread it on the wallpaper. Let it soak for a few minutes, and the wallpaper should come off with ease.
Drink water! Most of the time we aren't hungry but thirsty. Drink just plain water before a meal and during a meal. You will be less hungry, get the water you need, and lose weight.
Trimming trees? Don't forget that the wood from many trees and shrubs in your backyard makes dandy firewood. Just cut it up into pieces short enough for your fireplace. If it's green, it may have to set out a season to cure, but if it's deadwood, you can use it right away. If you don't have a fireplace, share it with a neighbor or friend.
When I get a new gadget that has a cord that belongs to it, I take a piece of white or colored tape, fold it over the cord to make a flap or tab, and write the name of the gadget it goes with on the tape with permanent marker. This helps because those cords start to pile up and most of them look alike. With no identification on them, it can turn into a real problem.
A Different Kind of Date
Get online and search for a nearby, small city. Try finding what local attractions they have on the city's website and also look for restaurants. There are a lot of sites that offer reviews submitted by people who've dined there. Search around, and when you find a suitable place, plan a short trip there on a weekend or whenever both of you have a day to spare. Take the local train or bus (the tickets cost less than big cities) and have fun exploring the small, charming, and often less-advertised city! If you have children, take them too!
The Conveniences of White
Last year I began buying all white or off-white linens. I find that it is easier to find white sheets, pillowcases, and towels on sale because people seem to buy up the colored ones first. I also can go to salvage stores and find really nice "matching" linens for a fraction of the cost. Since all my linens can be washed together, I am really enjoying how much time I am saving since I have fewer loads to wash.
Envelopes and List
We put monthly income in envelopes all labeled for different bills, entertainment, car maintenance, clothing, groceries, etc. Once the money in the envelope is gone, it is gone. It helps us understand where our money goes. Don't forget an envelope for savings and to pay yourself first. That way, if inconveniences happen, there is money set aside. A 30-day waiting period for "wants" also works. Instead of impulse buying, put it on a 30-day wait list. If 30 days passes and it is still a must-have item, then it must be important. Most of the time, you will pass on it after 30 days.
While companies may not give raises or raise health insurance premiums in a difficult economy, other benefits may have increased to compensate. Find out if your donations to your child's school are matched by their math and science education matching gifts program. Can the company's legal benefits provide a free will that you've put off getting due to the cost? Ask if your resolution to quit smoking will result in a savings on your health insurance or rewards from Human Resources. If you are planning on finishing a degree or taking certification classes, find out if revised educational benefits programs will help pay for it.
The Purse Swap
I work in an office with about 15 other women, and I arranged for us to have a "purse swap" every three months or so at regularly scheduled staff meetings. We started by bringing purses that we didn't want and exchanged for another purse. Some folks bring in items and don't take anything back because they are de-cluttering. It is a small friendly group, and our rules are pretty loose! The idea has grown and we now have sweaters, jewelry, books, and other items to swap, too. It opened the door to the idea of bringing unwanted items to exchange or donate. On the rare occasion when an item is brought in that no one wants, we drop it off at Goodwill.
Slider Sandwich Buns
I wanted to make some "slider" sandwiches for a family get-together, but it was really hard to find the right size rolls for them. The recipe I was using was for a pretty hearty type of sandwich, so soft dinner rolls would not have worked. I bought a package of eight whole grain sub buns, brought them home, and cut them in half across the middle. Voila! I had 16 perfectly sized sandwich rolls, which was just enough for the meats and cheese.
Next time these go on sale, I plan to stock up and put them in my freezer. Then I can make any size sandwich I want from big meatball subs to mini-burgers.
The $3 Exercise Program
Like many of us, I am currently trying to lose weight and get healthier this new year. I also wanted to save money while doing so. Walking outside is not an option for me, since my neighborhood is filled with stray dogs and I have two little girls to care for. I needed an indoor exercise, but home gyms and gym memberships are expensive.
So I took a little trip to the dollar store where I found a jump rope for $1, a kitchen timer for $1, and a calendar for $1 as well. I have been doing interval training exercise where I jump rope in intervals of 30 seconds and then rest two minutes for a total of 20 minutes. The timer helps me do this correctly, and I mark down each day I do so on my calendar for accountability. I have already noticed my pants feel looser, and I feel a difference in my energy levels! The best part is it is only going to cost me $3 dollars total to improve my health!