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July 2011 - Posts - The Dollar Stretcher Review
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The Dollar Stretcher Review

My take on articles and ideas presented on Dollar Stretcher.

July 2011 - Posts

  • Back to School!?

     

    It's back to school time already?? In the midst of harvesting, canning, swimming, weeding, mowing and yearning for cool weather, there comes yet another thing to occupy our time! If you have kids, you have to get them ready to go back to school. Yep. Unfortunately, you can't opt out of that. Even if you homeschool, there are expenses.

    That means clothes, books, notebooks, pencils and for some, calculators, computers and cars! And that means it's going to cost you big time. At least it will unless you've done your homework and have kept your eyes open for coupons, sales and markdowns since school let out a few weeks ago.

    If you haven't done such a good job of that, you can still save, but you'll have to work at it.

    First, never let a sales paper make it to the trash without looking it over critically. The local farm and ranch supply store carries rulers and protractors, as well as good quality lunch bags. Office stores sometimes have awesome deals on pencils, calculators and notebooks. It will literally pay to watch the sales.  

    Secondly, don't be afraid to shop second hand. No one will know that your son's shirt was lightly used if it still looks good and fits well. It may not be a first day back to school shirt, but surely will be appropriate for the second or third day.

    Third, don't panic and buy everything at the same time. How many shirts can he wear at one time, anyway? Geting what he really needs for the first few days will buy you some time to look things over and find bargains. Some schools send home lists of needed items on the first day of school, so you won't know how many boxes of tissue or what kind of pen your child might need until then.

    The last tip is probably the best: Go to Dollar Stretcher's Back to School page and load up on all the hints and tips and ideas you can find to save money and make this year's back to school event the easiest ever, both on you and your wallet.

    P.S. If you homeschool, be sure to check out Brandy's blog: The School Room: Education at Home

  • Christmas in July

    That's an almost worn out phrase; you'll find it all over the internet, but it's something to keep in mind if you're frugal. Not having Christmas in July, but buying for Christmas while it's July. The key is to be careful and not buy anything at full price. Sales, clearances, and yep... garage sales and even thrift stores can yield some pretty amazing things. 

    Especially if you know a collector and you know what that collector would like to have, it's possible to come across the perfect gift for a lot less than you'll find it at, say, an antique show or a dealer's site. Collections are, by definition, "used" items. Things like Depression Glass or sports cards turn up regularly in the second hand market. Do a little research before heading out and don't be discouraged if you don't find anything the first time or two you look. Keep looking and you'll find it! 

    The only problem that might pop up is that you'll find lots of other things that you may want to buy instead. Don't, or you'll defeat yourself. It's okay to look for jackets for the kids or a lid for a pan or whatever, but make a list of those things and stick to it. Keep gift giving as your priority and you'll see things you might not have noticed before. 

    Try it. It won't hurt. 

    And while you're at it, read Yard Sale Christmas Shopping on Dollar Stretcher. She has a little bit of a different slant, but the idea is the same: This is one way to stretch your dollars to get the most out of them. You don't have to be poor or broke to do it. Actually, this is a good hedge against ever being poor or broke. Stretch your money before you have to and you may never have to. 

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