Negotiating For A Car

Posted on October 31st, 2014 by Discount Debbie

car

The buying of a car can be one of the most frustrating things a person can do. You want to make sure it’s safe, in your price range, and that it runs. There seem to be fees added and services you could take or leave. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when negotiating to buy a car.

Bring Your Best Self

This doesn’t just mean to do your research and know what you want, although those are both very good ideas. You should also make sure you are feeling well, wearing comfortable clothes, and not hungry. Make sure you minimize those things that would cause you distraction during your talk with your sales representative. If your are going to be thinking about where to eat during the transaction, it’s best just to go eat first.

Time Limits

Most sales agents are making money on commission. This means that the longer it takes for you and your agent to come to an agreement the less money they are making, and the less invested they may be in helping you get the best deal. Let your representative know you are only giving them a half an hour of your time and set an alarm on your watch or phone. When the alarm goes off on your phone, if you haven’t made a deal yet, walk away.

Pre-Approved Loan

Go to a loan company, bank, or credit union for a loan before going to the dealership. This will help you know what is within your price range and enable you to go to the dealership with an already determined price range and amount of money. This will also enable you to negotiate as a cash buyer. The money being in your hand gives you the perfect bargaining chip and the upper hand during negotiations.

What Are These Extra Fees?

Know what fees and added services are going onto your bill. Some dealerships make up their own fees. Legitimate fees would include state and local sales tax, documentation fees, and motor vehicle registration fees. With regards to services, know what the service is for and what other dealerships charge for the same service. Don’t get gouged by overpriced added services. 


Getting Rid of Stains on Jeans

Posted on October 30th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

denim stain removal

Clothing care is one of the best ways to save money. Jeans particularly take quite a beating when in use. Sewing buttons back on and patching a hole are good ways to prolong the life of an article of clothing. Nothing, however, prolongs the life of your jeans like being able to remove stains from them.

Ink

Try to get as much of the stain out as you can with a wet paper towel. Don’t wipe the stain because you could smear the ink. Dab the stain instead. Next put something under the stain (like a piece of cardboard) that you don’t mind getting dirty. Next spray some hairspray liberally directly onto the stain and let it sit and saturate for about five minutes. Blot the area with a clean wet cloth. Repeat the process until the stain has been removed. This may not work if the stain has been exposed to heat, for example if a pen exploded in a hot dryer.

Grass

Using hot water, scrub the stain with a regular bar of body soap. Next pour hydrogen peroxide into the effected area. Apply a stain stick to the area and then spread some petroleum jelly. Throw the jeans in the wash and wash them as you normally would.

Blood

When trying to get a blood stain out of jeans what you use depends on how old the stain is. If the blood on your jeans is fresh use cold water to soak your jeans. Use your knuckles to scrub the blood out of the fabric. Rinse the jeans and wash them as you normally would.

For a dried blood stain, try using a solution of one tablespoon of liquid dish soap and two cups of cold water. Apply the solution to your jeans by soaking a clean cloth in it and pressing the cloth to the stain for fifteen minutes. Next use a toothbrush to gently scrub the stained area of the jeans. Blot the stain with a clean cloth and repeat the process until the stain is gone.

What stain removal methods have you found to work best?


Eating a Balanced and Healthy Diet on a Budget

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

balance

When you are tired and on a budget it seams like the only food available to you and your family is unhealthy, but that just isn’t true. Even on a budget there are ways to eat a balanced and healthy diet.

Buying Fresh Produce

Fruit with a heavy skin or a thick rind is a good buy when you are trying to have fresh fruit on a budget. Items like oranges or pomegranates will last a bit longer than grapes or berries. The same applies to vegetables like zucchini  and squash. The second best way to get fresher produce into your diet is to use frozen produce. It’s better to lean more on vegetables when using frozen produce. Frozen fruit has a tendency to be more expensive.

Learn To Make Your Own Bread

In fact, learn to make all the baked goods you can. Recipes are free online and many of them have become fast and easy. There are easy recipes for machine made bread as well as oven cooked bread. Buy wheat flour instead of bleached flour. This will make your bread heavier and more filling. It will also make it healthier for your family to eat. You can also use wheat flour in pancakes, cookies, and pizza crust. Also look for easy vegan recipes. They usually require fewer ingredients.

Block Cheese

Buy cheese blocks instead of cheese slices. A block of cheese is less expensive than grated cheese and grate into more product than buying a pre-shredded cheese would yield.  It will also last longer than pre-sliced cheese because it’s not immediately available without work. It’s easier to keep a variety of cheese on hand and to create your own cheese blends. Just keep your unused cheese  in a sealed plastic sandwich bag to keep it from going bad.

Milk

Buy lactose free milk or almond milk or soy milk. Lactose free milk can come in skim or 2% milk. Soy and almond can come in flavors or unsweetened. Not only do these 3 milk options last significantly longer until expiration than regular milk, for those that don’t really use that much milk, buy half gallons to ensure you can finish the smaller amount.

Protein

Eliminate animals from your diet. In our home we are eliminating pigs and cows. Poultry and fish are our main meat staples. This reduces the amount of money we spend on meat as well as reduces the amount of red meat we eat. It’s healthier for our kids and us. We also like to use canned meat packed in water. Often it is precooked, so we don’t need to worry too much about cook times or various bacteria being a part of our meal. It also limits the amount of meat we eat because we stick to one can. We also buy chunky stews and soups as well as chili. All of these items are pretty inexpensive and keep our meat bill low.

It is also good to buy lentils, peas, and beans by the bag. While it’s true that they need to be soaked before cooking, it takes little time to dump them in a bowl with some water and let them saturate at room temperature. When you get home dump them and some water in a pot and mix them occasionally while they simmer. You’ll have homemade refried beans or split pea soup in no time.

 


Saving Money With Kids Without Feeling Mean

Posted on October 24th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

saving money with kids without feeling mean

We all want to be able to give our children some of the things that they want, but often it seems we find ourselves saying no instead. Here are a few ways to say yes that won’t break the bank.

Limit Media

Children that watch a lot of television end up watching a lot of commercials. They watch commercials for cereal, toys, theme parks, and movies. For the most part children don’t know they are being manipulated to bug mom and dad to buy these items for them. They only know that the toys, theme parks, and movies entertain them. They want the sugary goodness that comes with that brand name marshmallow cereal.

The funny thing is without the advertisements the product loses its power over your children. You could take them down the cereal section of the grocery store and buy generic healthy cereal and your children won’t even blink. Get a Netflix account. It costs less than ten dollars a month. You also determine what television programs your children watch. Which shows have more merchandise on store shelves? Which are educational programs?  What franchises are you willing to invest in? These things are in your control. The more you take that control the less you will have to say no to your children about purchases without giving in to something that is overly expensive or inappropriate.

Make it at Home

There a many craft supplies and toys that can be made at home. For example, I have found recipes online for silly putty, sculpting clay, finger paint, and play dough. Keep a file of these recipes and when your child asks for one of those products tell them yes. Let them know that you are able to make the item at home and will do so. Make sure you follow through with your commitment to your child. Without following through you child will learn it’s just easier to buy the item than wait for it to be made as promised. Invite your child to help make the item. This saves money for you and teaches your child not to buy something they can make themselves at a lower cost.

Delayed Gratification and Choice

Teaching a child delayed gratification works especially well with a choice attached to it. For example, let’s say the family may be planning an outing. Choose a definite day that this outing will be happening in the future and let the family decide together on where you will be going. Treat delayed gratification as something to look forward to rather than something to wait for.

 

 


Avoid Losing Money Online

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Discount Debbie

avoid losing money online

There are many ways to lose money and with modern technology now there are more than ever before. Here are a few money sinkholes and how to combat them.

Internet Hypochondria

No joke. Don’t go on the internet when you are ill. You will end up going to your doctor over nothing. What makes us go running to our doctor when we try to diagnose ourselves based on website information? It’s the fact that there are a thousand things that share the same symptoms. The most popular symptom sharers right now are the flu and ebola. One means two days in bed and plenty of fluids. The other means medical isolation. While your internet hypochondria may not be so severe, there are many diseases that share the same symptoms and our minds naturally gravitate towards the worse case scenario.

Instead:

Keep your family doctor’s number or your ask a nurse number handy. They can tell you what sickness is running through your community, if you need to go to a doctor, and what steps you can take at home when a doctor isn’t needed. They can also tell you a time frame that the symptoms you are experiencing should subside and what to do if they don’t.

Social Games

Goodness knows how much money has been wasted on social games. There is a sense of obligation to play when your friends are playing. Then there is the desire to build up your city, farm, or cafe. Next you are running out of time for a certain quest, a quest item won’t drop for you, or you have to have that new bunny. And every last one costs money. So you spend money on your non existent establishment.

Instead:

Limit your time playing social games. Just limiting your time can reduce the chances of you spending money and getting caught up in keeping up with the Jones’ imaginary farm. That being said, social games can become a time wasting addiction. It’s because it’s social interaction that is passive and on everyone’s schedule eventually. Be more socially aggressive. Make a phone call. Write a Facebook comment. Have a party. You’ll feel more socially fulfilled. I promise.

Trying To Make Money

We have all seen the get rich quick schemes that the internet has to offer. They start out with the word free and end with a credit card number request. Some of us have tried them. There are web hosting sites that turn out to be useless to us. There are sites that promise to help us make money, but end up only being a platform to sell us other people’s merchandise. Some of these sites gum up your computer in the process of trying to use them.

Instead:

Check each site, product, or company with the Better Business Bureau. If the BBB won’t approve it, don’t use its services. Check to see how long your company or service has been in business. Usually the longer a service or business has been around the better the chances are that it’s legitimate. Last, ask around. Ask friends or look for reviews of the company or service on the web. If a service is shady people are more than happy to let the world know.

 


Use This, Not That

Posted on October 21st, 2014 by Discount Debbie

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There are many ways to cut corners when it comes to household costs. My favorites are finding a use for something that I already have. I don’t need to buy an extra item and I get more use out of the items I have. It reduces clutter and increases the room in my shopping cart.

The Fridge Instead of Dry Erase Boards

If you have a standard white fridge don’t buy a dry erase board. Dry erase crayon and marker comes off of your standard white fridge just fine. It’s also a high traffic area so it’s very likely that if you leave a message for a family member on it, they will get the message. For our shorter family members it’s a treat to be able to write on the fridge and only takes a wet cloth to wipe away. You can draw a calendar on your freezer door or write down emergency numbers for the babysitter. It’s a great way to get more use out of your fridge.

The Cleaning Sponge Instead of Wash Cloths and Loofahs

Sponges were made for cleaning and that includes your body. They absorb more than enough soap and water to get your skin clean. If you want to exfoliate use the ones (lightly and gently) that have a the green scrubbing pad on one side. They come in a variety of colors so that you can tell each family member’s sponge from another. If the color system doesn’t appeal to you, you could just get a six pack of sponges and cut them into different shapes for a useful kids crafts. They will love their custom sponge and you will love using the leftovers as cleaning supplies.

Cook Wear Instead of Mixing Bowls

This is a great tip for those with limited cupboard space in their kitchen. Don’t get mixing bowls. Instead use pots to mix up your cookie dough, or mix ingredients for your latest casserole recipe. Your cookware will work just as well as mixing bowls and using them saves both money and space.

 


The Frugal Prepper Part Two

Posted on October 20th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

frugal prepper

There is more to preparation than having food, water, and climate control (we covered that in Frugal Prepper – Part 1). There is the problem of where to put it all once you have it. What will you do for laundry or cooking without electricity? What good is a  generator without fuel? For apartment dwellers these issues are compounded with our lack of room for storage. Luckily there are ways around all of these issues if you want to be a prepper.

Storage

I know of people who build sheds in their backyard to keep all their preparation supplies. This doesn’t fit into the budget for everyone. Also some of us are apartment dwellers and as a result have no backyard. For those of us that are in the latter living situation, there are still places we can store our supplies. Canned goods can be stored in entertainment centers, under beds and sofas, and in closets. You could also go vertical by putting your canned goods on book shelves bought cheap at thrift stores. Just make sure you distribute it across your home in a manner that the weight of your storage won’t cause it to crash through your downstairs neighbors ceiling.

If you’re crafty, you can also create bean bag chairs that will hold your packages of beans, peas, lentils, rice, or other bagged dry goods. These can be anywhere in your home and serve a purpose other than storage.

Check Out Youtube

Youtube is a great resource when it comes to frugal preparation. So far our family has found videos showing how to make a homemade swamp cooler inexpensively that we could run on our homemade generator that requires exercise instead of fuel. The generator can also be made inexpensively and be used to charge a 12 volt car battery which our camp stove can run off. You can even learn how to make a camp toilet, which will be very much needed should the worst happen to your plumbing.

Electricity Free Items

I have already mentioned the camp stove that runs off a car battery. It costs about thirty dollars on Amazon last time I checked. Another thirty dollar purchase is a hand cranked washer for laundry. If you add a few drying racks you have a laundry system that didn’t cost too much and doesn’t rely on electricity. It can also save you money during non emergency life if you are looking for ways to keep more money in your wallet. It may cost a bit under one hundred dollars for these items, but that’s much less than a generator and the fuel required to run it.

Buy In Bulk

Get a card for Costco or Sam’s Club and buy your canned and dry goods in bulk. It will cost less and give you a good jump on having an actual surplus. Make sure you buy food that your family will actually eat. Your toddler still won’t like canned asparagus in a crisis. Don’t forget things like toilet paper. As your gain your surplus, use what you have and replace it regularly so that it doesn’t go bad.


It Costs More To Be Without These Items

Posted on October 17th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

costs more

Most of the time to save money means to not spend it on frivolous items and getting rid of clutter. Other times it means to invest in very useful items and keeping things on file. Here are a few helpful tips in line with the latter school of thought.

Detectors

Fire and smoke detectors don’t cost very much, but are often over looked when it comes to being prepared. They not only can save lives, they can save money. The more your family is prepared the less likely your insurance will deny your claim should the worst happen. Make sure your detector is functioning properly and has batteries. Also consider getting a carbon monoxide detector. Check on Amazon. There are various CO detectors for any budget. They can save your family’s life and save on medical expenses.

Last but not least, if it’s in your budget, consider getting a security system. The sign in your yard by itself has been known to deter those who would break in. For those extra bold individuals who would break into your home it notifies your security company who will in turn notify the police. It will cost less than replacing things in your home that have been broken or stolen.

Numbers

Phone numbers are the first numbers that come to mind when it comes to saving money. Calling a store or company with a question is far more cost effective than making a trip across town to do the same thing. Even if you end up needing to go to their location, your time will be saved because the details of your visit have been taken care of over the phone. Also keep medical numbers, roadside assistance numbers, and family numbers on hand. These will save you money in emergency situations.

Confirmation numbers are the second numbers to keep around. When you pay a bill over the phone always write down your confirmation number of that payment on the bill and then file it. If you ever need to prove you have already paid a bill, your bill and confirmation number will be at your fingertips. You could also use your bank statements in a pinch if you need to. Without proof of payment, however, you may end up paying the same bill more than once.

Contracts of Service

Another item you need to keep on file are service agreements. Did you agree to a data limit on your internet? Are you stuck in the contract for a specified amount of time? Are you entitled to free maintenance? All these questions can be answered in your service contract. The same goes with your lease. Will you be fined for hanging things off your balcony? Your lease should be able to tell you.

 

 

 


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