Readers' Tips

Car Cup Holders

I tried to use the aluminum cupcake papers in my cup holders in the car to keep them clean, and they worked fine. That being said, I decided to spend a little more money and bought silicone cupcake holders. They fit in the cup holder very well. They keep things from spilling into the holders, and they are reusable and wash up great. As an added benefit, your car stays much cleaner. I found a package of 24 on the Walmart website for $7.86 with free shipping. It's a win-win situation.

Single Savings

Nine years ago, I was a newly divorced mother of two toddlers. I got the house, but the mortgage came with it. It was way too much for my income alone! I invited another single mom that I've known for years to move in with me. We split the utilities, and she paid me rent. We shared the house and household duties for nearly four years until she got remarried. I'd only do it with someone I trusted, but without her, I would have lost the house or run up some serious debt.

Additional TDS Resource: More on savings for singles

Winter Static Cling

With dry winter air, my legs need extra lotion each day. I've found that if I spread a little on my pantyhose before putting them on, they don't build up static.

Ready to Travel

This may be too late for your holiday travel plans this year, but remember it for the next time you go out of town. Subscribe to discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for the place where you're going. You're going to be using restaurants and different attractions. Why not get some discounts to make your trip less expensive?

Additional TDS Resource: 7 small expenses that can blow up your vacation budget

Great Time for Grocery Savings

Around the holidays is a great time to snag some grocery bargains. Anything that goes with parties is likely to be on sale. You will find all kinds of drinks and snacks at bargain prices. Also, you might want to buy an extra turkey to put in the freezer for February or March.

A Home Insurance Must

If you have a claim on your homeowner's insurance, you'll need to have proof of what was stolen or destroyed. Just saying you had something won't be enough. We have digital pictures of all the expensive possessions in our house, and in many cases, we've kept the original receipts, too. If we ever have a claim, we'll have proof of what was taken.

Additional TDS Resource: Get a proper settlement from your insurance company

Cord Confusion

With three teens in the house, holidays mean more electronics. With all of the electronics, there are more and more cords. To keep the kids from arguing about who "borrowed" which cord, we label them when right away. That way, we know what cords go with which device.
Mary Ellen

Affordable Babysitters

If you're having trouble finding a good babysitter, try a local college's student employment office. You can find dependable young people who are willing to work at a reasonable rate.

New Clothes?

If you received new clothes for Christmas, put a cup of white vinegar into the washing machine to help set the colors. This is especially good for dark items. A minute now will keep your clothes looking good longer!

My Savings Plan

We just finished paying off last summer's vacation. I don't want to do that again, so we're going to try something different this year. I've figured out about how much we'll want to spend on vacation next July. Everyone in the family knows our goal, and I'm putting notes and pictures anywhere I can think of to remind them to save money. We are saving everything from money that the kids don't spend on snacks after school to the overtime I earn on my job. I don't know if we'll cover it all, but it has to be better than paying off a vacation six months later!

Additional TDS Resource: More on savings strategies

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