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Stretching A Buck

Columbus Alive (Magazine) - 7/24/2008 by Staff
Feeling squeezed by rising gas and food prices? Do worries about the housing crisis have you tightening your belt? The Dispatch is helping you make the most of your budget with "Stretching a buck," a month-long series offering thrifty advice for nearly every area of your life. Here are just a few of the money-saving tips offered so far. For more advice, or to offer your own ideas, click to Dispatch.com.

* Shop smart at thrift stores. Check your purchase before you buy, and make sure clothing fits.
* Before you hit the grocery store, make a list and stick to it.
* Rent movies instead of going to the theater, borrow books from the library instead of buying, and cook a nice meal at home rather than eating out.
* If you're planning to visit an amusement park, buy tickets in advance to get discounts, bring your own suntan lotion and water bottles to avoid paying steep park prices, and bring a picnic lunch.
* Go old-school: Barter instead of using cash. Sites like uSwapit.com, PaperBackSwap.com and U-Exchange.com help connect people who want to trade goods and services.
* Save money on utility bills by making your house more energy efficient. Use silicone caulk to seal air leaks around windows and in siding; install a digital thermostat and schedule automatic temperature changes when no one is home; use weather stripping around doors; and lower your water-heater temperature.
* Make the most of your gas mileage. Pump up your tires; drive the speed limit or below; and turn off the car rather than idling, even during brief stops.
* Take some advice from seniors who lived through the Depression: Patch clothes so they last longer; move closer to your job; dry clothes on a clothesline; use rags instead of paper towels; and make food from scratch, rather than prepared mixes.