Readers' Tips

Renter's Insurance for a First Apartment?

As far as buying renter's insurance, some building complexes require all renters to purchase it. The landlord should state in the lease if it's required. If it's not, the lease may state that all possessions of the renter are the renter's responsibility if a hazard (fire, earthquake, etc.) should occur that damages the possessions.

Therefore, see if it's a requirement first. If not, check to see how much a policy would cost versus the cost of replacing all of your possessions. If it's within your budget and at a reasonable price, then buy it.

editor's note: Visit here for more on renter's insurance.

Warehouse Membership?

If you are considering a warehouse membership but not sure if it can save you enough, you can always shop at them without a membership for one day. Most will let you try this. Another option is to go with a friend who has a membership and shop using their membership. They have to be with you, but you can at least get an idea of what is available and for what prices.
Terri via Facebook

Additional TDS Resource: 10 warehouse club shopping do's and don'ts

Your Car Title

My husband and I are both 52. From here on out, any vehicles we purchase will be titled to "him or her" (not just him and not just her) because when one of us passes, it will be easier for the other than having vehicles titled to him and her or only him or only her. Michelle

Security Deposits

I wanted to make sure that I got my security deposit back when I moved out. Therefore, after I finished cleaning, I took a whole lot of pictures. I took pictures of each kitchen appliance (inside and out), under the sinks, and in the bathrooms. I even took pictures of the ceiling fans. I sent them to my landlord. It was a polite way of saying "don't try to keep my deposit" and it worked!

Additional TDS Resource: 5 tips to getting your security deposit back

Their First Money Lesson

When my daughter entered first grade, I told her to keep a list of the things that she'd like to have. At first, she added something almost every day, but after awhile, she seldom added something to the list. Last year before Christmas, I asked to see the list. She scratched out most of the items before she gave it to me. I was happy to see that at age six, she had learned that we really don't need everything that we want. Too bad many adults don't understand that lesson!

Additional TDS Resource: How much do kids need to know about the family budget?

Farmers Market Markdowns

We have a local farmers market every weekend during the summer. Most of the vendors leave about 4 pm on Sunday. I make a point of going around 3 pm on Sunday! I just ask if there's anything that they'd like to sell, so they don't have to take it back home with them. Often I'll get fruits and veggies for less than half of what they were getting just an hour earlier. I sometimes buy a whole bushel at a deep discount and go home to can, pickle, or freeze most of it. We're eating fresher and healthier now and saving money in the process. I wish I had thought of this last summer! Lauren

Additional TDS Resource: Visit our library section on "Frugal Cooking Tips"

Paying the Bill

Treat your savings account like it is your credit card and make payments to fill it back up as you pull the money out.
Donald via Facebook

Readers' Tips

New Water Heater...Not!

My neighbor called to ask me about a plumber. He said that he needed a new water heater. When I asked if it was leaking, he said that it wasn't, so I showed him how to check the heating element. It turned out that it was bad and all he had to do was replace it. It was a $20 part and a 30-minute job!

The Mix Master

I read labels. I started by reading the label on the pancake mix box. It dawned on me that I had all the ingredients in my kitchen. Therefore, when I ran out, I made my own homemade pancake mix. Now I'm on the lookout for any mixes, cleansers, or seasoning mixes I can make myself. Most mixes only take a few minutes, and the savings can be significant!

Additional TDS Resource: How to make your own mixes

Back to College

If you have a child who drives and is away at college, inform the insurance company. They won't charge for the months they won't be driving.
Judy via Facebook

Additional TDS Resource: 4 ways to save on auto insurance

Patio Furniture Protection

We don't have room to store our patio furniture inside during the winter but wanted to protect it from the winter weather. Therefore, I sprayed the furniture with a flat, clear spray paint. I sprayed the wrought iron and even the lawn ornaments. You don't notice the clear coat, but it helps prevent rust and corrosion.

Additional TDS Resource: Creating an outdoor room

Tough Times

If you're experiencing tough financial times, one big thing that can help is to tell relatives and friends you will not be exchanging gifts or going out to eat until you are back on your feet. This way, you will not feel obligated to spend money that you simply don't have. Instead, find free leisure activities you can do with them. The goal is not to cut yourself off from others until you have more money but to find no-cost alternatives. Even in place of a gift, a loved one or friend likely will be happier spending time with you than getting some random gift from you.
Judy via Facebook

Additional TDS Resource: Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter "Surviving Tough Times"

Stop Supporting Microsoft!

A really effective way to save money is to stop using Windows and Microsoft programs on your personal computer and laptop. I use Linux Mint. It's not too difficult to use, and it is absolutely free. You can read about it and download it for free at this link. Linux works on almost every type of PC, even very old ones. Don't get a new PC. Instead, breathe life into your old one. Instead of using Microsoft Office products, use Libre Office. Save yourself a lot of money and learn something new. I have used both of these products and love them.

Support Your Favorite Team

Employees at certain stores around the local college campus are required to wear "spirit shirts" in the college's colors featuring its mascot. That is their "uniform" on game day when the team plays at home. When thrift store shopping, I recently bumped in to two such workers putting several college shirts into their shopping cart. They told me they get cheaper spirit shirts secondhand there. Because they are not fans of this college and because they don't have high-paying jobs, they are only too glad to get the college-themed, bargain-priced t-shirts or "golf shirts." Their boss doesn't know the difference. He thinks they bought them new.

Even if you are not required to wear such items, if you want to show your spirit, thrift stores often sell such shirts (and sweat suits, windbreakers and hoodies) at a fraction of the price of an on-campus bookstore, spirit shop, or any store that's selling new merchandise. This is also a money-saving trick for freshmen or transfers coming to a new university or for visiting alum. You can usually get three or four items for the price of one new shirt at the college store.

Creative Kitchen Update

We bought a home built in the 1980s. The kitchen counter-tops were covered in an ugly stained laminate. Since all of our money went into the down payment, we couldn't afford to replace them. Therefore, I looked for a way to update them and came up with something really great! I bought a tan fabric to cover the counter-top and then applied three coats of polyurethane. It cleans up easily and has held up really well. I do use a cutting board, but I'd do that with laminate anyway.

Additional TDS Resource: More on updating laminate countertops

Banking Roulette

If you want to get a little better deal on your savings or a debit or credit card that rewards you better, now is a great time to go shopping. Banks are competing for your business! It may not seem like much, but even 1% adds up over time. Plus, I like the fact that banks have to work to get my money. It's also a good time to get a credit card that suits your needs. The offers change all the time, so it's worthwhile to check if you're getting the best deal. Don't you just love having the banks work for you for a change?

Additional TDS Resources: Compare CD rates and find a better credit card

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