Saturday, March 02, 2013

70 Ways to Stretch Your Dollar



                                                      
Many Americans are still feeling the effects of the recession. Many have been forced to or have voluntarily made adjustments to their lifestyle due to loss of income, unemployment, reduced hours, reduced benefits, illness, etc.  However, many others are still struggling with making changes to their lifestyle.  Many Americans are stubborn but refuse to make the necessary sacrifices required to survive. 

I have talked to thousands of people across the country and many times when I talk some who is 50 and older they are not experiencing a financial crisis, they have one credit card or no credit cards, are not in debt or have small amounts of debt, have a savings account and a retirement account and are puzzled as to why so many Americans who are employed are struggling to pay their bills. 

If you don't much money left over after you get paid you may need to reduce expenses and spending. Everyone should reduce spending no matter what your situation to ensure you live well below your means so that if a financial crisis occurs you can overcome it without having to make drastic changes.
It is better to reduce spending because it is much easier to scale back by making small adjustments to your life than to make drastic changes such as filing for bankruptcy or foreclosure of having legal action taken against you.

You don't have to sacrifice quality just because you reduced spending and you can still enjoy the same quality of life.  Here are 70 ways to stretch your dollar.



  1. Freeze. Freeze leftover food for future use. You can freeze almost anything.
  2. Buy in bulk. Buy items in bulk to save money.
  3. Public transportation. Catch public transportation. If the subway is too expensive catch the bus which is much cheaper.
  4. Walk.  Walk instead of driving to go places. It’s good exercise and saves money.
  5. Sales.  Know when items go on sale and buy them at that time.
  6. Coupons. Use your coupons when buying items on sale. Find coupons online, in newspapers or in mailers.  Shop at stores that double manufacturer coupons.  Look for coupons on social media websites.
  7. Snacks. Pack snacks, nuts, fruits and canned foods instead of junk food to hold you over until you can eat a meal. Avoid vending machines.
  8. Reusable bags.  Bring reusable bags to use when grocery shopping.
  9. CVS. If you have a CVS coupon and an item is out of stock you can get a rain check and your CVS coupon will be accepted at the later date.  CVS will match other store’s prescription offers except for those paid by state programs.  CVS Beauty Club gives you $5 in Extra Care Bucks for every $50 spent on beauty items.  If you become a member of the CVS Advisor Panel and participate in at least 4 surveys you earn Extra Care Bucks’ https://www.cvsadvisor.com/Home_gray.aspx. For each 10 credits you earn from the CVS pharmacy you get $5 Extra Cash Bucks http://bit.ly/Xy2EeP.   
  10. Prescriptions. Buy a 3 month supply of prescriptions, buy generic or buy online. Ask about discounts, specials and less inexpensive versions of the same prescription
  11. Rewards Cards. Sign up for loyalty cards at all stores where you shop including grocery stores, hotels, rental cars, drug stores and airlines.
  12. Kitchen.  Use everything in your kitchen to make meals and use all items until nothing is left then go shopping.
  13. Exercise.  Exercise at home instead of at the gym.  Run, walk or do Pilates or yoga. Rent DVDs from the library.
  14. Dollar stores.  Buy spices, toiletries, condiments, paper products and other household items at the dollar store.
  15. Food. Buy foods that are filling and inexpensive and easy to make such as pasta, rice, beans, lentils soups, stews, casseroles. Mix beans with ham hocks, turkey necks or potatoes. Cook meatless meals by substituting meat for pasta, vegetables or tofu. Buy lower grade cuts of meats and use to cook in soups and stews.
  16. Eat like the depression.  People during the depression ate molasses with bread, mustard sandwiches, peanut and jelly sandwiches, egg sandwiches, cornbread and butter, food past the expiration date, stale food (bread, junk food, bagels etc.), drank lots of water, whole grains, tofu, sloppy joes, beans (dry or canned).
  17. Diapers. Buy cloth instead of disposable diapers. Potty train children prior to 3 years old.
  18. Eating out. Eat breakfast at home and take your lunch to work. Eat at home more often instead of eating out.
  19. Cancel membership. Cancel all memberships and subscriptions or don’t renew them.
  20. Recycle. Recycle boxes, paper, glass and plastic. 
  21. Gentle cycle. Wash clothes that need dry cleaning on the gentle cycle with Woolite and hang dry.
  22. Discounts. Shop at discounts stores for food and household goods. Ask about discounts or sales.
  23. Clothing. Shop at discounts stores, outlets, online, at thrift stores or consignment shops. Buy items off the clearance rack and buy out of season – buy summer clothes in winter and winter clothes in the summer. Ask if stores if they honor competitor coupons. Buy a few jackets and mix and match pieces to stretch your wardrobe.
  24. Stop browsing. Stop browsing catalogues, shopping channels and at the malls. Only go to the store to purchase something you need.
  25. Salad dressing. Replace salad dressing with olive oil.
  26. Get Help.  If you attend church ask your church or local civic or social organizations for help.
  27. Bundle. Bundles products to save money such as purchasing life, auto and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance with the same company.
  28. Free. Look for free entertainment in your local newspapers or online.
  29. Pets. Pet can be very inexpensive and when living paycheck to paycheck pets are a costly expense no matter what the size.
  30. Farms.  Get fresh meats from farmers such as chicken, beef, pork, lamb, milk and eggs.
  31. Milk. Drink powered milk to save money.
  32. Thermostat. Turn heat down to 60 degrees at night and keep heat at 68 degrees or lower during winter.
  33. Natural Heat. Open blinds or curtains during the day to warm your home.
  34. Gas. If friends, relatives or co-workers ask for a rider, charge for the cost of gas.
  35. Pay with cash. Pay for all purchases with cash if possible, use credit cards for emergencies only.
  36. Beverages. Drink water instead of soda. Drink tap or filtered water instead of bottled water. Buy drinks from the grocery store instead of the newsstand at work or coffee shop.
  37. Attire. Wear the same clothes each week.  You can wear the same pants of skirt and a different shirt each day. Use accessories to provide a different look.
  38. Eating. Eat the same food for 2 or 3 days each week. Eat leftovers if you have any.  
  39. Garden.  Grow your own fruits and vegetables or buy fresh at food-coops or health food stores.
  40. Make food at home. Make you own bread, yogurt, pasta, soda, jelly, preservatives, canned fruits, etc.
  41. Prepared foods. Buy canned foods and frozen vegetables which as sometimes cheaper than fresh vegetables.
  42. Negotiate. Shop at local vendors where you can negotiate prices. Contact your creditors and negotiate with them to setup payment plans to pay late accounts. 
  43. Spend less.  You should always have extra money left over each month after you pay your monthly expenses and debt; if you don't you need to change your spending habits.
  44. Trim Spending. Don’t spend more than you earn. Buy needs more often than wants. Find ways to reduce spending. Try to reduce spending by 30-50% - Try websites such as groupon.com, coupons.com, freecycle.org, ebay.com or craigslist.com to find bargains.
  45. Limit Credit Card Usage. Use your credit card for emergencies only and avoid using your credit card regular purchases such as groceries and gas.  Keep credit card balances at 20% or less of the credit limit. Pay balances off at the end of each month.
  46. Develop a Financial Plan (Budget). Write a list of your entire total monthly expenses including debt and write down your total monthly income after taxes. If you have any money left over use that to pay down your debts. If you do not have any money left over (at least 10% of your monthly income) look at the areas where you can reduce spending.
  47. Develop What If Scenarios. List different scenarios that could happen and how you would deal with each one, i.e. job loss, sickness, death, new baby, loss of health insurance or other benefits, car repair, etc.
  48. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry, buy items on the lower shelves and ask about specials, join store clubs to get alerts on discounts.
  49. Banking. Open accounts with little to no fees.  Ask about discounts and specials. Use direct deposit and online banking.
  50. Gas. Buy gas in the morning, combine nearby trips on the same day, keep the trunk empty, keep tires at the proper pressure level, get regular maintenance on your car, look for the cheapest gas and buy a gas efficient car, ditch the gas guzzler.  Drive the speed limit to also save money on gas.
  51. Health.  Buy at least basic medical insurance for you and your family, get a prescription card.
  52. Comparison shop before making a purchase to get the best deal.  Use sites like www.bizrate.com, www.nextag.com, www.pricegrabber.com.
  53. Use Coupons.  Use coupons especially during sales.  Shop at stores that offer double coupons.
  54. Lower interest rate. Get a lower interest rate on your credit cards and save up to $422 a year
  55. Eating out. Save up to $400 a year on eating out by going to restaurants that offer coupons or specials or inexpensive dishes
  56. Sew. Sew clothes for yourself and your family.  Crochet pillows, quilts, blankets, sweaters, socks and other items to stay warm.
  57. Use training schools. Go to a training school for services: go to a beauty school, barber school, dental school or veterinary school to save money on hair care, dental care and pet care costs.
  58. Cancel services. Cancel your cable, internet or cell phone service or get the cheapest plan possible. Use your cell phone to make long distance calls.
  59. Refinance.  Refinance your mortgage or car loan to get a cheaper payment and/or interest rate.
  60. Energy Costs. Reduce home energy costs by buying energy efficient appliances, ceiling fans, programmable thermostats, fluorescent light bulbs and lamps, or hot water insulator jackets.
  61. Christmas.  Buy Christmas or holidays gifts during store sales in October or November.
  62. Auctions. Buy from online auctions such as QuiBids.com. Users of the website have to pay to participate in these auctions. 
  63. Save. If you get a raise, bonus, commission save all or most of the money received. If you have debt use the money to pay off debt. Save money on a regular basis.
  64. Carpool. Carpool, use car sharing services or consider selling your car to save money.
  65. Car.  Buy a midsize or compact car until your debts are paid and to get a smaller monthly payment. Ask about incentives and specials, some dealers off 0% interest rates. Buy the cheapest gas possible for your car. Carpool and get regularly scheduled maintenance on your car to make it last longer. Keep your car for at least 5-10 years to save money. Buy a used or an energy efficient car to save money.
  66. Charity.  Donate items not being used to a charity which can be written off on your taxes. You can also sell items on eBay or have a yard sale.
  67. Movies. Rent movies instead of going to the movie theater by using Netflix, Redbox. Also use Hulu.com to watches movies.
  68. Utilities. Turn the lights out when you are not in a room.  Turn the heat and/or air conditioner off when you are not at home or set at a low energy saving temperature which can be found be calling your local utility company.
  69. Downsize.  Move to a cheaper apartment, condo or home.  Trade in your car for a used car with a cheaper note. Trade in designer clothes for cheaper brands like Gap or Old Navy.
  70. Get a roommate.  Rent out a room in your home or apartment.  Sleep in the basement or on a couch to rent out a room if you only have one bedroom.  Use the extra money to pay down debt or create a savings account.

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