From the Editor’s Desk

Gary Foreman

 

Finding Ways to Reduce Spending and Get the Most for Your Dollars

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

Last year at this time we were beginning a shutdown of the economy and our usual lifestyle. We expected it to be a short term deal to ‘slow the pandemic’ and not overload the hospitals. It’s been a year and many parts of the country are still shutdown.

The economic and emotional fallout has been very different for people. For some it was a matter of working at home and drawing their usual paycheck. But for others it meant losing their jobs and falling into a financial crisis.

Whether you just survived the last year financially or you’re doing reasonably well, it’s always a good idea to find ways to reduce spending and get the most for your dollars.

With that in mind, the biggest items in most family’s budgets are housing and transportation. So we’ll want to take a look at those areas.

Let’s start with housing. Generally between 30 and 40% of your monthly expenses. If you own your home, there’s a good chance that your mortgage is your biggest payment each month. Managing that mortgage is critical to your financial health. Managing Your Mortgage to Build Wealth will show you the way.

As we head into the summer months, air conditioning becomes a large part of our electric bills. Now is the time to Perform Your Own Annual Air Conditioner Inspection. Don’t be intimidated. In just a few minutes anyone can do it!

Transportation is the next biggest bill. Often around 15 to 20% of your total spending. Keeping your car in good running order is the best way to reduce this expense. DIY Auto Maintenance for the Frugal Car Owner will help you get the most from your current ride.

Auto insurance is also a big expense. 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Auto Insurance Bills is a must read.

At some point you’ll need to decide if you’re throwing good money after bad by repairing an older car. 13 Questions To Determine If Your Car Is Worth Repairing can help you find the answer to that question.

Whether you’re looking to cut expenses or just making sure that your finances are on track, it’s a good strategy to start with the big ticket items first. Hopefully one or more of these articles will help you do just that!

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!
Gary

A Big ‘Thank You’ To Our Readers On Our 25th Anniversary

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

You’ll have to forgive me if I brag a bit. You see, this is the 25th anniversary of our first newsletter (April 8, 1996). In the world of the internet, 25 years is an eternity!

Back when I started, I really didn’t know where The Dollar Stretcher would go. I just knew that I wanted to share frugal living and sound financial advice with anyone who had an interest. I figured that if people had the information, they could put it to use to make their lives better.

I want to thank you our loyal readers. Many of our ideas have come from you. Your input has been invaluable! There was even a time (before blogs) when we shared complete articles called “My Story” where our readers shared what they learned about frugal living. Our Dollar Stretcher Tips have always come from you.

Over the years we added various newsletters (Dollar Stretcher Tips, Dollar Stretcher for Parents, After 50 Finances, Financial Independence) and even a new website (After50Finances.com). We also participated in Facebook and Twitter.

So again I want to thank you for being part of the TDS family. It’s always nice knowing that we’re not alone on our frugal journey!

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!
Gary

A Few Financial Topics for Financial Literacy Month

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

Did you know that April is Financial Literacy Month? According to NationalDayCalendar.com “April is National Financial Literacy Month. It’s an excellent opportunity to review and upgrade your financial smarts.”

There’s even a non-profit website dedicated to teaching our children about personal finance – JumpStart.org. Their homepage explains it well. “Raising awareness about the importance of financial literacy and the need for effective financial education.”

Of course, here at TDS, every month is financial literacy month! We’ve been working on financial education for years.

If you want to participate, you might want to begin with Reevaluating You Personal Finance Habits. For most of us, 2020 was vastly different from 2019. And that’s changed the way we live. If you haven’t already, it’s time to review how that’s affected your finances.

Next on the list might be 5 Simple Habits That Make a Financial Difference. Often it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference in our lives. Just as a change in direction of 1 or 2 degrees can send a plane or boat wildly off course. A small financial change might change your destination, too.

Speaking of small changes, how about 5 Simple Budget Cuts That Can Save $200 a Month?

And, if you’re dealing with debt, I’d be lax if I didn’t recommend our Conquer Debt ebook bundle.

Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. That’s an idea that I can wholeheartedly support in all areas!

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!
Gary

About the Author

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. Gary is available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

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