From the Editor’s Desk

Gary Foreman


Now’s the Time to Prepare for Winter’s Chill

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

Now that it’s getting cooler, it’s time to prepare for the really cold months of winter. Here at TDS we’re ready to help you!

You’ll want to start with some home winterization. It’s much easier to check the caulking around windows before the snow flies! You might want to start with Minimize the Costs of Winter’s Chill With These Home Prep Steps.

Or, if you’re relatively new to home ownership, 12 Frugal Home Winterization Tips could be a good place to start.

No surprise, but your attic can be a major source of heat loss. How to Insulate an Attic for Lower Energy Bills will show you how to tell if you have enough insulation and, if not, what you can do about it before all that heat you’re paying for ends up leaving your comfy abode.

Finally, if your home is a little older, you might be wondering if your furnace is up to the job. Or if it’s energy efficient. The last thing you want is for your furnace to die in the middle of a cold snap! Is It Time to Replace Your Furnace? will help you answer that question and avoid a frosty wait for a new furnace to be installed in January or February!

One final thought. I know that none of these jobs are required right now. It’ll be tempting to leave them for another day. Or skip them altogether. But if you want to stay comfortable this winter and save some money at the same time, then now is the time to do a little preparation for those cold days to come. You’ll pat yourself on the back next January when you’re warm inside and it’s not costing you a fortune to heat your home!

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!

Record Number of Adult Children Still Living at Home

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

For various reasons it seems to be harder for young adults to get their feet under themselves financially. The number of them living with their parents has been trending upward for years.

It appears that the COVID virus has added some to that trend. “In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February.” (source: Pew Research Center)

This isn’t a totally new thing. Back a few generations ago it was fairly common for adult children to live with their parents. The reasons for this are the same now as they were back then. One larger household is less expensive than two smaller ones. It’s more economical.

Multi-generational households also are better able to take care of each other’s needs. Whether it’s Grandma taking care of toddlers (thus avoiding childcare expenses) or a baby boomer caring for an elderly parent.

So a multi-generational home doesn’t necessarily mean that parents haven’t taught their children how to be financially independent. But often it can be a sign that adult children aren’t money mature.

Have You Grown Up Financially? is a self-test to tell how mature you are financially. Good for dollar stretchers of all ages!

What can you do if your adult children haven’t become financially independent and often want you to ‘help them just this time’? Bailing Out Your Adult Kids Financially will give you some ideas on how to handle the situation.

It’s not uncommon for an adult child to ask for a loan. After all Mom and Dad have money saved for retirement. So there is money available. Loaning Money to Adult Children can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that can come with one of those loans.

Finally, if you’re contemplating (or already living) in a multi-generational home, you might want to read 5 Tips for Coping With Boomerang Kids. A CFP shares some tools that will help make it work.

Parents have a responsibility to train up their children to be fully functional adults. That includes money matters. Sometimes multi-generational housing makes sense for everyone involved. Sometimes it’s forced on us. But, in either case, having the right information can make things better for everyone in the family.

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!

Being Prepared for Surprises

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that the unexpected can (and does) happen. Sometimes it happens quickly. Sometimes more slowly. But one thing is for sure. It’s much easier to handle the surprises when you’re prepared.

Here in Florida we’re used to being prepared during hurricane season. Some food staples and water. Gasoline for a generator, etc.

Now, more than any other time I can think of, you need to be prepared for disruptions. Whether from nature or man made disturbances. We’re living in turbulent times. Therefore I urge you to be prepared for the unexpected.

Our grandmothers knew the importance of a food pantry. And, if we’re smart, we do, too. A pantry is a money saver. See How a Full Pantry Saves You Money. And if the grocery store is unavailable, a stock of food at home can be a lifesaver, too. Emphasize things that store easily and have a long shelf life.

Here in Florida we also know to store some water for drinking and cooking. In an emergency situation, water supplies can be polluted. If electricity is interrupted, pumping stations may not work. And water is even more essential than food. Did you know that you can go about 3 weeks without eating? But only 3 or 4 days without drinking water. It doesn’t need to be expensive bottled water. You can rinse out and reuse 2 liter soda bottles, thermos jugs, etc. with water from your faucet.

You’d also be wise to have a few 5 gallon containers of gasoline available. Either for your car or for a generator. Remember that if there’s no electricity, you can’t pump gas. And don’t forget charcoal or propane for your grill.

We’ve always encouraged dollar stretchers to have money available in an emergency fund. If you have a hard time accumulating one, this article will be helpful.

Normally you’d want that emergency fund in a bank or money market fund. But now is probably a time when you want some of that money to be readily available at home. Having money available in your bank is fine if the bank is open and you can get there to withdraw it. That might not be the case in all circumstances.

I imagine that some of you are probably saying that I’m an alarmist. But if you watch the news (whatever your favorite channel is), I think that you’d have to agree that we’re in uncertain times. While we might not know the future we can be prepared for various situations. That’s what smart people do.

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!

About the Author

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar 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, and 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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