June 18

Dollar Saver Newsletter– June 2014 Edition

This is first of our monthly Dollar Saver Newsletters.   Don’t forget to send your ideas over for how to save money in and around your home and we’ll be sure to include them in an upcoming edition!  Get creative.  We look forward to hearing your ideas.   Also, don’t forget to Like us on Facebook to get all of our Exclusive Facebook Fans only tips and tricks.  Click the Like box in the side bar over there——–>  And now, without further delay, here is your Dollar Saver Newsletter– June 2014 Edition

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Here are 25 More ways to save money today.

1.  Almost every community has a Free Home Energy Audit program.   You generally are paying toward it in your monthly electric bill.  You just don’t know it.  So don’t be shy about taking advantage of this service.   A home energy checkup helps energy users determine where their house is losing energy and money – and how such problems can be corrected to make the home more energy-efficient. A professional technician — often called an energy auditor — can give your home a checkup. Items include checking for leaks, examining insulation, inspecting the furnace and ductwork, performing a blower door test and using an infrared camera to check for heat loss.

Last time Mr. C and I had them come in, they installed $1200 worth of insulation and a sealed attic door box and they sealed the attic and basement– all for free.   In addition they installed 27 fluorescent bulbs throughout our home, 2 programmable thermostats, and 2 “smart” power strips for no cost.   Google “Free Energy Audit” for your state, and set up your evaluation today.

2. Add a phone back to get a Cable/Internet/Telephone “bundle”.   Even if you no longer use a home land-line, check out the specials on cable/internet/telephone bundles from your cable t.v. provider.    We were able to drop the cost of our services by $40 by ADDING a phone line so that we could get the bundle, and in the process we also upgraded our internet speed for free.   We still don’t use the landline.  We just don’t plug a phone into the wall.   We only use that line occasionally for the fax machine.

3.  Locked in Cell phone contract.  With cell phone contracts changing all the time, competition between the four big carriers is fierce.   Even though we were locked into a contract for another year, we were able to drop the monthly fee for our cell phone service by $60 by calling to inquire about our early termination fee.    When asked why we were thinking about terminating, we told them that we could get the same service for $60 cheaper at another carrier and it made sense to switch even with the early termination fee.    Our carrier matched their offer and we didn’t have to change a thing.

4.  Septic Pumping.  Coordinate with our neighbors to have septics pumped the same day then negotiate a cheaper price with the pumping company.   They will agree because they are saving on fuel by being in the neighborhood already.   Sometimes this can save as much as $15-25 each on the cost of the pump!

5.  Summer treats for the kids.  Sometimes going old school is still the best option.   Popsicles and Fudgesicles can cost upwards of $6 a box, and if you have more than one child the box doesn’t last very long.    You can make your own and you can even make them healthier if you’d like.    Pour your own pops using:  Apple Juice (as low as 5 cents each!), lemonade mix, apple sauce, yogurt, jam, leftover Jell-O, the juice left over from canned fruit, fruit or chocolate syrup, ice tea mix, or any other liquid you can think of other than alcohol.  Add in bits of fruits or sprinkles to make them more enticing to the kiddos.

6.  Eat meatless as often as you can.   Use chopped cauliflower to replace the beef in your chili, use beans to make meatless loaf.  Load your pasta with garden veggies instead of meat.  Get creative.   You can shave $30+ a week from your grocery bill by going meatless for 3-4 dinners a week.

7.  Haircuts and color or permanent waves at your local cosmetology school are very inexpensive and fully supervised by the instructor.   You can get the same hair treatment for about 1/4 the cost of a salon.

8.  Department store purchases.  Before you go to the register at any department store, google to see if there is a sale.  Even if you didn’t know you were going to be stopping to shop, you can usually use the store coupon right on your smart phone.    Last time I did this was at Kohl’s and I saved 40% on my entire purchase!

9.  Hot Water Heater.  In our house we really only use hot water at night for washing the dishes and bathing, so there’s no reason to have the furnace/ water heater continually heating and reheating the water all day or all night while we sleep.  We turn off the furnace by flipping the main switch (the red one on the wall) all day long, and all night long, and we only flip it on from 4 pm-8 pm.   (It takes ours only about 15 minutes to get completely up to temperature when we turn it on.)  This saves us a lot of oil and electricity.

10.  Buyer’s Remorse.  All too often we get caught up in the excitement of shopping and of “keeping up with the Joneses.”  Make it a policy to keep every single receipt for 14 days no matter how much you think you love your purchase.  Then any time you have a problem with an item, it breaks or shrinks or even if you just regret buying it, return it.   Period.   Do not be embarrassed to do so provided the purchase is still in new, salable condition.  Soon you will learn to delay purchases all-together to avoid having to make a return in the first place.

11.  Contact Lenses.  Our daughter saves 70% on her replacement contact lenses (she wears the 14-day version where you use them for 14 days then throw them away).  She orders them, using the prescription given to her by her doctor, by mail order using one of the services available such as lens.com or 1-800-contacts.com  Check pricing and specials on all the main sites before you buy as they change frequently.   No matter where you buy them, you will be ordering the same brand and prescription that you would get at your eye doctor’s office.

12.  Prescriptions.   Did you know that Wal-Mart has hundreds of prescriptions that you can get for $4 for a 30-day supply?   These are the same prescriptions that cost much more at your local pharmacy.   Check Wal-Mart first by going to their website and downloading the current list of available prescriptions.

13.  Replacement Parts for almost anything.  No matter what you have that breaks, you should always check the manufacturer’s website for replacement parts before you throw the item away.   Often times you can fix an expensive item for just a few dollars.   There’s also usually an 800 number that you can call if you can’t find the item list on line.   That 5-minute call could save you lots!   As one example, my middle daughter called about her Kitchen-aide mixer.  A small ring had fallen off of it and even though the mixer worked fine, the missing ring left some areas open where food particles could enter making it unsanitary.   Kitchen-aide sent her an entirely new mixer (a $300 item at the time.)

14.  Car and Home Insurance.  Have an insurance agent review your insurance policies yearly.  It only takes a few minutes of your time to hand a copy of your current policies to them.  We did this last year and were shocked to hear back that our home owners’ insurance wouldn’t have covered us in the event of a fire because of two things that had been entered incorrectly, both would have been deemed insurance fraud had we attempted to file a claim.   We were able to get corrected insurance and still save hundreds of dollars.   Now that was time well spent!

15.  Baby Items.  Most of the items you feel you have to have for your baby will be used little or not at all.   My third grandchild never once slept in his very expensive crib, for example.  If you are expecting, get the bare essentials– 8 bottles (if you are not nursing), a car seat (Non-negotiable!), a FEW clothes (mostly PJs.  You won’t use all those frilly outfits!), one or two packs of cloth diapers ( Don’t buy more until you are SURE you are going to stick with cloth) or a pack or two of disposable diapers, and a bassinet or inexpensive crib.   You don’t immediately need a changing table, swing, high chair, walker, or any of those types of items.  In fact you  will more than likely be given those items by someone else looking to get rid of theirs or  you will find them  free or very inexpensively when the time comes that you need them–IF you need them.  You can use a regular big bag as a diaper bag.  You can use wash clothes instead of wipes.  Shoes are unnecessary until your baby begins to walk.  Use socks.

16.  Defrost your freezer.  When the frost built up reaches 1/4 inch, you need to defrost.  Allowing it to go further will cause the freezer to use a lot more electricity.

17.   Use the Grocery Store scale!  I don’t know how many times I thought I’d be spending $4-5 dollars on something (like grapes, for example) and when I weighed the package it was more like $11-12.  Needless to say, I skip those and choose a cheaper option.    If you wait until the items are wrung up at the register, you might not notice or you might not care because you are eager to leave.   Check the scale!

18.  Label your towels.  If you have more than one child, label two bath towels with each child’s name.   Then tell them they must re-use a towel 2 or 3 times before it can be thrown in the laundry.   This is also a great method because you will know who left theirs on the floor!

19.  Socks.  Buy all identical socks for each child.   You never need to sort and you never have to throw a pair away because one is missing or torn.

20.  Caramel Popcorn.  Make your own cheaply and easily.   Ingredients:  3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 3 tablespoons corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 8(ish) cups popped popcorn (use a bowl and plate in the microwave or an air popper), 1 cup peanuts (optional).   Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt over low heat until butter melts.   Cook for 3 more minutes.  Add baking soda and vanilla.  It will “foam” up.  pour immediately over popcorn and mix. Mix in peanuts too.   Press into single layer on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees.   Viola.  Yummy.

21.  Postage and mailing supplies.  Did you know that you can mail any sturdy, unbreakable item you can stick a label on without boxing it?   I work in the Direct Sales industry and at times when we are doing promotions for our teams we have mailed flip flops, coconuts, and other crazy items just as they are.   We wrote the addresses directly on the bottom of the flip flops and we stuck labels on the coconuts.    You can also use plain brown lunch bags as mailers.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy envelopes.

22.  Free Attractions.  Watch the calendar section of your local newspaper for free attractions coming to your area where you can bring the family.  (You may even be able to view these on line.)

23.  Protect your car seats from food and spills from the kiddos by tossing old crib sheets over them.  They usually fit neatly over the back seat.

24.  Windshield Wiper blades.   Soak briefly and clean in vinegar and water and often get several more months use before you need to replace them.

25.  Bathtub stains.  Before you spend a lot of money to refinish a stained bathtub, try this:  Wet the surface and sprinkle with cream of tartar.  Rub all over with the cut surface of a lemon.  Wait ten minutes. Then scrub as usual.

That’s it for this edition!  Don’t forget to send us your ideas!