Readers' Tips

Side Gigs Well Suited for Retirement

One of my friends who retired early helps an elderly member of our congregation for a few hours a week and is paid for her time. She drives her places, takes her out to lunch, and sometimes takes her to worship. It's a great deal for both of them.

Other possible side gigs depend on your skills. You may write a freelance column for the local paper, dog walk, babysit, work retail, mow lawns, or practically anything else you can think of that can be done on a part-time basis.

The key is to find something you enjoy doing, like my 78-year-old neighbor who works part time fixing golf carts in our resort community.

editor's note: Visit here for more side gigs well suited for retirement.

Power of Attorney Warning

Just because you have a power of attorney doesn't mean that your end-of-life planning is complete. Generally, a power of attorney is only good while you are still alive. After you die, it cannot be used to access any of your accounts. Therefore, you need to make sure that your executor or personal representative has a copy of your will, proving he/she can act for you. This can be critical for paying final expenses. If the will is stuck in a bank safe box, your executor will need to get legal approval for the bank to allow them to access the box. This is true even if your personal representative has a key.

Additional TDS Resource: Here are several common estate planning mistakes and how to avoid them

6 Month Financial Review

My wife and I do a quarterly financial review. We list all of our assets and debts to figure out how much we actually own. Hopefully, that number increases every three months. If it doesn't increase, we look to see why. Sometimes we need to watch our spending or take other corrective action. Twice a year, we take a look at our legal papers to make sure everything is up to date. Usually we don't have to do anything, but it doesn't cost anything to check. Plus, it gives us peace of mind to know that we have our finances under control.

Additional TDS Resource: How to calculate net worth and why you should do it

Turkey Time

Many people take advantage of cheap turkeys in November and December, but I take it a step further. I have my butcher cut them in half. Then I freeze them. I've found that half a turkey is just about the same size as most roasting chickens. It is perfect for my family of four! With the after-holiday sales, I always get a great deal!

Woman vs. Debt

If you are having trouble keeping spending under control, you should stay out of stores unless you NEED something and cut back on TV because more ads mean more temptation. Make saving money and paying off debt a game of you against debt. Set up a budget, read, and study to learn how to win and be debt free.
Sue via Facebook

Additional TDS Resource: 6 easy ways to get out of debt

The Subscriber Club Tango

I joined one of those monthly razor clubs. Getting deliveries every other month, I still had too many. Once I had a good back stock of razors, I cancelled my subscription. I figure I can always subscribe again when I run low. I also use cheap conditioner instead of shaving cream.
Kelly via Facebook

Drastic Cost Cutting

My boyfriend and I can't find a place to live within our budget. Rents in the Frisco area are crazy high. Since I work from home online and he's a mechanic, we're looking at lower cost places to live. We figure we can live anywhere we like! There are places in Missouri or Illinois where $1,000 a month rents a whole house. Here it gets us a studio! If we stay here, our credit card balances are going to keep going up. Therefore, we're getting out while we can still scrape up first, last, and a deposit.

Shorter Daylight Hours

I just read your latest issue with the section on the unexpected ways the shorter daylight hours can affect your budget. You addressed ways to help alleviate SAD. I would like to suggest getting a light therapy box. You just set it up where it can shine on your face (at an angle and not directly into your eyes) and sit there for 15 minutes to start. It is not a tanning light. I set mine up near my computer, so when I am going through email and social media, I am getting the light therapy I need. They cost $25-$60, depending on size and features. I got one for about $40 two years ago, and it has helped me tremendously. Be sure to read customer reviews to find one that suits your budget and situation.

editor's note: C. is responding to the article "5 Surprising Ways Shorter Days Affect Your Budget"

The Cost of a Dishwasher Load

I've read that it costs about 50 cents to run a dishwasher, and I've noticed that many things that get placed in the dishwasher really aren't that dirty. For instance, the spoon I used to stir the soup or the plastic cutting board that I used when chopping onions is not overly dirty. I filled a spray bottle with a mixture of dish soap and water. I take lightly used dishes and spray-wash them while I'm cooking. There's a dish rack sitting next to the sink. By the time we finish eating dinner, anything in the rack is dry and ready to be put away. I've found that I'm saving three or four loads each week. It's not a huge savings, but every dollar and gallon of water counts!

Additional TDS Resource: Monthly dishwasher maintenance

Neighborly Gift Cards

I have a deal with my sister. We're both familiar with each other's grocery lists and what size clothes our kids wear. We watch for specials that the other would like. If I find something good for her, I send her a text. If she likes it, I buy it for her, using a debit card she gave me. When the balance gets low, she recharges it. I gave her one that she uses when she buys for me. It's been working so well that I think I'm going to ask a good friend at work if she wants to do the same thing too!

Additional TDS Resource: Simple habits that make a financial difference

Ghostly Make-Up

If you want that strange skin color for your Halloween costume, try this. Add a couple of drops of green food coloring to a light shade of base make-up and mix them together. Apply it to any exposed skin. You'll make a realistic witch, vampire, or alien!

Additional TDS Resource: More suggestions for frugal Halloween parties

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