January 2013 - Posts - Dollar Stretcher Guest Blogger
Welcome to Dollar Stretcher Community Sign in | Join | Help
in Search

Dollar Stretcher Guest Blogger

January 2013 - Posts

  • My Story: Caring Extraordinary

    contributed by Linda

    My nephew, Josh, recently became a father at the age of 19. The baby girl came about a month early and had trouble breathing at first. She was transferred from the local hospital where she was born to the regional children's medical center about an hour away. Josh's girlfriend had a caesarian section and complications, so she was unable to go with the baby.

    Josh shocked us all. He went with his daughter and camped out, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor until they found a place for him to sleep in the hospital. I'm so proud of him. Several days later, when she was released, the new mom joined her baby and and my nephew.

    I remember so well how draining it can be to live at the hospital. It's physically draining, emotionally draining, and financially devastating. Last year, my husband had a stroke, and I spent day after day sleeping on a chair/bed (uncomfortable, and who can sleep with all those people coming in and out every hour or two). I fed the vending machines and wracked up my credit card eating meals at the hospital. If you've never lived through anything like that, the best way I can describe the sensation is that you're more tired than you've ever been but you have to carry an extra 50 pounds of water strapped to your back up a hill. Every little thing that you have to do for yourself takes your focus away from the person that you're caring for. You can forget to eat or sleep. You need other people so much at a time like this. You need other people who will pour something into you and help you through it.

    On the way to visit my nephew and family, I stopped at one of those stores where everything costs $1 and filled up a canvas bag with stuff like flavor drop-ins for bottled water, candy, cookies, meat snacks, cheese and crackers, and peanut butter crackers. I threw in a word puzzle book and a deck of cards. I was surprised at how much I could fit in the bag, and it wasn't a big investment for me. I lost my job at the end of December, and I watch what I spend very closely.

    Later, at the hospital, I glanced over at the vending machine and saw that there were no snacks for less than $1.20. These kids have little to no money. They appreciated that care package so much. I know it's going to help them, and it's an encouragement to have people demonstrate their love in a practical way. They told me that I'm a great aunt when the baby was born, but now, they say I'm extraordinary. If you get a chance, do something extraordinary for someone in a similar circumstance. The high that you get will be some of the best therapy in the world.

    "My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by email to MyStory@stretcher.com

  • Savings Tips for Traveling

    by Sharon Robinson

    Saving money is not something you should look to be doing only in everyday life so that you can save for a holiday. Even when you are traveling, it is possible to save money so that you can afford your next trip even sooner. There were always methods for saving money when traveling, but now with the advent of smartphones, tablets and apps, the techniques are hi-tech as well as low-tech.

    Plan Ahead

    Virtually whatever you can do in advance when making travel arrangements will save you not only time but money, and you can compare between all the different companies. If you turn up at a ticket office at the airport or a hotel without a booking, you are going to be charged like the proverbial wounded bull. And maybe not even know the huge difference. Shopping around for tickets before traveling will save you money, but sometimes when you are traveling, you will have to book a flight unexpectedly. One of the best comparison travel sites, Kayak, which also have an app, where you can compare the best prices not only for flights but also for hotels and car rental.

    If you are in a situation where you have to find a hotel at the last minute and want to do so without being taken to the cleaners, then you can’t go past the HotelPal app. HotelApp does not charge a booking fee and enables you to find and book hotels according to GPS, city, or zip. It is powered by Travelocity and contains an enormous amount of relevant peripheral information, such as descriptions, photos, amenities, and even whether the hotel is full or not.


    If you intend on renting a car, you will achieve a better rate for a long-term rather than a short-term rental and the earlier you book the better. Use the internet to research the best possible deals and only pay for insurance not covered for free on your credit card/s. Rent a car with GPS to save yourself getting lost and running up unnecessary fuel expenses and remember that before returning the car, fill it up with fuel yourself rather than pay the rate you will be charged by the rental company. If you are traveling in the U.S., the GasBuddy app has a listing of gas prices updated in real time.

    Food Cost

    Food costs can accumulate. Countries and cultures may differ in many ways, but they are also similar in many ways. In almost every market in the world, the price of food will be discounted by up to 50% starting about an hour before closing. Don’t be afraid to bargain the vendors down even further; after all, they’d prefer some money to having to throw the food out.

    Another handy app for those traveling in the U.S. and wanting to eat in a restaurant is the free Meal Ticket app. Use Meal Ticket to search for restaurant coupons and specials by area.

    During these difficult economic times in which we find ourselves, it's more important than ever to save money. Through the use of common sense and technology, you can continue saving money even when traveling.

    Sharon is a neat freak who enjoys sharing her knowledge on organizing and planning tips. She has much advice on traveling to Israel and from experience recommends to rent a car in Israel with gps, as she tends to get lost easily!

About Us    Privacy Policy    Writers' Guidelines     Sponsorship     Media    Contact Us

Powered by Community Server (Commercial Edition), by Telligent Systems