As retirees, my husband and I are always looking for creative ways to maintain our lifestyle while staying within our budget

Retirement is for the rest of our lives and we hope creative budgeting will make that time enjoyable and worry free.

Whether it's taking advantage of online coupons or cutting coupons from the Sunday newspapers, canceling magazine subscriptions, buying in bulk, growing your own fruits and vegetables, buying clothes at consignment or thrift stores, or conserving energy costs, there are still many more ways to stretch your dollar.

Here are five new ways I would like to share with you.  Some of these I have tried and some I will be trying soon. 

Shop at Dollar Stores. 

According to AARP, Dollar Tree merchandisers work with food suppliers to help them develop products at a cost low enough to allow the company to make some profit.  Sometimes a manufacturer has excess inventory that it's willing to unload at a discount.  That closeout merchandise provides some of the brand names that Dollar Tree carries.  In other cases, manufacturers may make special sizes that Dollar Tree can sell for a buck. The stores have a "freshness guaranteed" policy and pledge to sell no items past their expiration dates.

Trading.  

In the November 17, 2008 "Your Money" section of the New York Daily News, Jean Chatsky and Arielle McGowen wrote and article entitled "Hard Times Call for Creativity".  They make the case for trading, renting, borrowing and taking that which you need but can't afford.  They cite a number of websites such as Book Mooch and Swaptree.  If you have books that have already been read or DVDS that you no longer have use for, you can go to either of these two sites and trade them for other books or DVDS you might like to own.  It is estimated that Swaptree users received approximately $30,000 worth of free media every day by trading.  All is required is the cost of shipping.  Sending items via media mail is the most affordable.

Renting. 

Another unusual idea is renting an ensemble for a special occasion.  Avelle and From Bags to Riches rent out designer handbags.  Borrowed Bling rents out jewelry.  This is designed for a one-time event and not for an item you will be wearing more than once. 

Borrowing. 

"Neighborhood and Lending Circle" are two sites where you can borrow items online.  This network is comprised of individuals in your city who prefer to lend/borrow items instead of purchasing them outright.

Taking. 

Taking unwanted items is another way to stretch your dollar.  This has become the most popular method as evidenced by the website "Freecycle". Whether you need furniture, appliances, toys, coupons or anything else you can't afford, this site enables members to post anything they want to give away.  You can log on to see if there is anything you want and, if so, you can make arrangements to pick the item.  There is no fee required.  Three other websites you might check are:

Freesharing,

Sharing is Giving

Freeuse.

One thing to be aware of.  If you find websites offering to give away items but they ask a fee for it - they are scams.  Also, be sure not to give away any financial information.  Just ensure the website has an email address, telephone number and  address. 

If you try any of these new, creative ways to stretch your dollar, let me know. 

I think those of you living in metropolitan areas may have more success than those of us in rural settings.  These websites give new meaning to "Shop Till You Drop"!

 

Kimberly Johns, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading Provider of Debt Relief, CareOne Services, Inc.  Kimberly Johns

Kimberly is enrolled on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, Kim shares how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income in their home state of Illinois. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income. Kimberly generously shares smart and tested tips in her A Straight Talk on Debt blogs! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.