Tag Archives: saving money

Saving Money–Flexibility Helps!

As I thought about saving money, it occurred to me a useful trait to have is the willingness to be flexible.

What do I mean about being flexible?

Flexibility allows yourself to look for other options. It means saying to yourself, “I think I want or need (fill in the blank). Do I really have to have it? Can I get along without it? If I still need it or want it, can I use something I already have to fill that need or want? If I don’t have that choice, can I wait for awhile to save money to buy it? If it’s going to be on sale, can I wait until then? Are there less expensive options out there that will give me what I need or want and work just as well?

A practical example is shopping at thrift stores. The thrift stores in my area generally feature clothing, purses, household goods, furniture, decorations (seasonal and year-round) books, music, toys and electronics.

A former co-worker told me she routinely bought work pants at a thrift store; she got what she needed without paying high prices.

Years ago I bought a sweatshirt at a thrift store. The tag on it was a well-known, good quality brand. I was happy to pay just four or five dollars for it. Had I paid full price at that time, I would have spent twenty-five dollars. I was thrilled to get such a bargain! I still enjoy wearing it. Although that time I was aware of the brand, usually brand names don’t mean that much to me; in clothing, I buy whatever fits as long as it’s not expensive. That’s an example of being flexible.

Purchasing food is another area where the willingness to be flexible instead of just automatically reaching for national brands can give you some extra change when you leave the store. For example, store brand canned vegetables work well in homemade soups.

Flexibility works in many different buying categories. Money saved in one area means more money available for something else. It’s certainly worth trying!

P. Booher

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Using Table Salt to Kill Stumps

saltLast year I took my trusty pruning saw and cut down a couple small (2″—3 ½”) diameter trees growing where I didn’t want them to. I left quite a bit of the stumps remaining.  Wanting to ease the job of killing the stumps I poured ordinary table salt in holes or defects in the stumps. Given time, the table salt will eat away at the stumps and they will rot away.

Although this method is slow it is effective for places where time is not a major issue. There are no toxic chemicals involved, and the cost is very low.

P. Booher

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For Shiny Floors the Thrifty Way

For tile floors that shine without using expensive cleaners, simply add a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of hot water. White vinegar is a disinfectant, but is not harmful to children or pets who might walk across a floor before it’s completely dry. Nor is the vinegar/water combination likely to cause problems for people who have allergies.
P. Booher

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Saving Money While Out and About

A savings of almost $200.00 a year on a couple of drinks a week!

While driving around doing errands I like to have something to drink (preferably tea) available.

To avoid paying anywhere from $1.49 to $1.99 per 16 oz. container at a convenience store, I make my own before leaving the house.

I keep a jar of store brand instant tea on hand and make a cup as I need it. That way, I save time and money by not stopping for something to drink while out shopping or running errands. Saving $2.00 or so a glass may not seem like much at one time, but that can easily add up to more impressive amounts, when I figure it out over the course of a week or a month.

P. Booher

Quick Inexpensive Sweetened Iced Tea Recipe


1 10 cup coffee maker, 1 gallon juice jug, funnel, 5 tea bags, 1½ cups of sugar or an artificial sweetener that measures the same as sugar, cold water, lemon juice to taste or a pack of your favorite Coolaide (optional)


Put ten cups of water in your coffee maker, remove the tags from the tea bags and place teabags in the pot, turn on the coffee maker. Turn off the coffee maker when all of the water has run through, allow the tea to steep for half an hour to forty-five minutes. Using the funnel, pour the sugar or sweetener and lemon juice or Coolaide into the jug. Add the tea. Fill the rest of the jug with cold water, place the lid on the jug. Holding the lid firmly, shake well.

Pour into glasses with ice, or chill for four hours.

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Looking for Inexpensive Toys for Your Playful Feline

cat in the office

If you use tea bags, the next time you enjoy a cup of tea, crinkle the tea bag and throw it. Your cat will enjoy pouncing on the bag, swatting it and carrying the bag around in its mouth.

A Word of Caution:

1. If your cat enjoys ingesting paper, you may wish to remove the tag.

2. Some brands of tea secure the tag with a small staple.  Remove this before tossing the tea bag to your pet.

     Other suggestions for toys include empty cardboard boxes (purrfect for hiding in!), tubes from paper towels, and old socks filled with catnip. Your cat may play with these “toys” more than the ones bought from pet stores!

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A Thrifty Way to Buy Books


If you, like me, enjoy reading, but shudder at the thought of paying high prices at the bookstore, check out your local library.
In addition to offering thousands of books available for people to borrow, many libraries set aside a permanent section of used books for sale. That section may be as large as a room, or as small as a table.

Don’t let the word “used’ fool you: some of the books are in like-new condition. Some are, in fact, new books. Occasionally libraries acquire duplicate copies. The duplicate is placed in the “For Sale” area. The only thing these books don’t have is the $10-$20+ price sticker!

During my trips to local libraries, I have come across hardback books in like-new condition, priced at $1.00. Depending on your library’s policies, you may find even better bargains!

CDs and DVDs, particularly children’s titles, pop up on for sale tables too.

As a bonus, your purchase of used books, CDs or DVDs benefits your local library.


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Save Money Make Larger Payments Than Necessary

Add a few dollars more a month, pay it off quicker, and save money!

Save money by making larger payments than you need to??!! That sounds like an oxymoron for sure!!

Adding onto a monthly payment to save money over the long term is a concept I’d heard of concerning mortgages, but somehow I didn’t connect it with anything else until I bought a car. Then my cousin, who was also buying a car, told me that “adding even a few dollars to the monthly payment, over time, adds up and makes a big difference”. Her suggestion is one of the most useful pieces of financial advice I’ve heard.

Following her recommendation is rewarding financially and psychologically: although not able to add extra every month, I will have my car paid off a few months ahead of time. That’s a relief to me!

Note: Please check with your lender to make sure you can do this. Some lenders penalize people who try to pay off their loans ahead of time!

P. Booher

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Save Money – Start House Plants From Cuttings

You can start beautiful house plants for next to nothing.

Have house plants, but want to try different kinds – but don’t want to pay nursery or department store prices?

Here’s an idea – start a plant exchange! Get cuttings of family, friends, and neighbor’s plants in exchange for plants you have.

Plants that do well from cuttings (recommendations come from a person with a green thumb.)






Spider plants (You want to take the “little spider” offshoots as the cuttings)

Snake plants

Rooted, African violet leaf ready to plant

Most of the above plants are easy to take care of and begonias and geraniums have beautiful flowers. Begonias, coleus, and philodendrons are available in different varieties with different colors of foliage.

A bonus is that some plants, such as spider plants, add oxygen and purify the air in a room – an important bonus, given that homes are insulated tighter now to keep energy costs down and to make homes more comfortable.

P. Booher

Check the sites below for information on propagating some easy to start species.

Geraniums –


Coleus –


Fig –


Gloxinia –


African violet –


Ivy –


Philodendron –


Snake plant –


Christmas cactus –


Spider plants –


Trileaf wonder –


Begonias –


Unusual Plants that can be Started at Home

young pineapple plant

Young Pineapple Plant

(These plants also make excellent science projects for the kids!)

avocado –


Pineapple –


Sweet potato vine –


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Save Money, Time, and Frustration at the Grocery Store


We all like to eat, right? But I guess that many people wouldn’t nominate going to the grocery store as one of their favorite pastimes. What should be a simple errand often turns into an exercise in frustration.

You can’t control some things, as when a customer insists on paying for a pack of cigarettes with loose change, or when the cashier announces that her register froze up and won’t let her do anything. (Believe me, that does happen!) Be proactive before you even go in the store, and you can save yourself time, frustration, and money too. Take the following into account and have a more peaceful, less stressful shopping trip.

1. If at all possible, time your trip so you aren’t shopping at lunchtime, suppertime, or the day of a nationally televised sports event. You are almost guaranteed to run into long lines at those times. The store I frequent offers a “Senior Citizens Discount Day” every Tuesday. One of the local retirement communities buses residents to the store twice every Tuesday. The people coming in from that community need their groceries bagged differently. Register lines get long; other customers complain. Try to be aware of such possibilities at any stores you shop at regularly.

2. Read the fine print on all ad circulars. A product, for example, a certain brand of coffee, may be advertised at a special price, but not all forms of that coffee may be at that price. The ad may say, “Selected varieties only”. Be aware of what the ad says!

Following these little tips can save you aggravation while you’re trying to save money: When cutting coupons, make sure you don’t cut the expiration date off. If the expiration date is cut off, the cashier cannot accept the coupon, so make sure the date is readable.

squishy-vegetable-coupon3. When using coupons, make sure you’re getting the product the coupon specifies—the correct size, form, etc. Again, read the fine print. Check the store’s Internet coupon policy before heading for the cash register. Despite what many magazines say, not all stores accept coupons printed off the Internet.

4. Bring all the patience you can muster with you. There will be days when you’ve gone in at what you thought would be a “slow time” and every register open will have lines. Having patience will help keep stress and blood pressure levels down. Remembering that the world won’t end even if the bread gets squashed helps too!

P. Booher

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Save Money – Take Care of Yourself

backacheMy back has been achy and “cranky” lately. Last month it was irritable enough that I left work early, went to the doctor’s, and missed two days of work (something I haven’t done much in the nearly five years I’ve been at my current job). That weekend I spent icing my back and being very careful in my movements (and groaning a lot). All I could think of was my back and how much it hurt. I’m sure you’ll agree that’s no way to spend a beautiful weekend.

While nursing my growly, cranky back I read Stormie Omartian’s book Greater Health God’s Way. She writes that God is honored when we take care of our bodies. She writes about how she felt before she started embarking on a program to improve her health and how she felt after. She emphasizes getting outside, eating natural foods, drinking plenty of water, combating stress, practicing prayer and fasting, and getting a good quality of sleep. I don’t agree with everything she wrote, but I do agree with the point she makes to be proactive on health matters—take care of small matters before they become big ones. The big ones just take too much time and money. All of us have limited amounts of those (some more limited than others) and each of us just gets one body. Research has led to incredible improvements and innovations in health matters, and I know that many people who were injured in some way are now able to walk, speak and do things due to advancements in technology, but I don’t know of any person getting a 100% new body this side of heaven!

Had I taken my body’s previous signals more seriously, for instance, I could have avoided much pain, not lost work, and not be spending money for physical therapy co-pays (thank God I now have company health insurance). I am trying to discipline myself to do the stretching exercises and things I should have been doing before. That should be easy to do, because it helps avoid pain. It’s not. But in the long run, as I work to improve my attitude and my physical strength I know I will gain. I’ll save money, reduce stress about my health, and more importantly, I’ll have a body that lets me do the things I want to do. I’ll be able to spend time with the people I care about and do the things I care about.

For too long I’ve had the attitude that “My body will keep going because it has to. I have to go to work; therefore my body will keep going.” In more ways than one, last month has been a loud wake-up call to me that that attitude doesn’t work. Bodies break down, whether we can “afford” to have them break down or not. But if we take the time and make the effort to take care of small matters before they become big ones, we may avoid some breakdowns and live easier, better lives.

P. Booher

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