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Brenda Nixon, M.A.

As the former Kansas City FOX TV4 parenting expert, Brenda is the award-winning author of The Birth to Five Book and host of The Parent's Plate radio show. Quoted in Parenting and Good Housekeeping magazines, WebMD, and appearing on Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey, she is often tapped as a reso...

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03/14/2011 09:07am
Why Pay Twice?

By Brenda Nixon, parenting author, speaker, radio host

When you're stretching dollars, it's annoying to pay twice, or feel like you are, for the same product. Here are four money-saving tips to get the full value out of your purchases.

We own a miniature dachshund, Newman. Like most dogs, he loves to chew and sleep on a cozy bed. When I go to pet stores, I'm appalled at the high price of pet toys. What do I do? I recycle my daughter's old teething toys. Why pay twice? After the toys have outlived their usefulness with my girls, I give them to the dog. Often I look for good quality chew toys at garage sales. Most garage sales offer a box of 10 cents items. I nose through the box to see if I can find stuffed animals or somebody else's baby teething toys. Newman's favorite is a squeaky toy. When I bring it home, he chews, runs, and tosses "his" new toy around the room. Usually by the end of the following week, he's ripped open the plaything and pulled out the squeaker. Then he loses interest. But for a dime, I can afford short-term doggie entertainment.

Another way to stretch my doggie dollars is to make my own dog biscuits. Many of the store-bought treats are expensive and unhealthy. They can contain added sugars and unnecessary fats for a dog's diet. I've found healthy recipes using ingredients already in my kitchen. Why pay twice? If the ingredients are already there for my family, I can use them for pet treats as well. I go to recipegoldmine and find a gold mine for homemade pet foods.

Dogs were originally cave dwellers. Today, most dogs still like a familiar personal "space" to sleep. Since Newman was a puppy, we've given him a kennel for nighttime sleep. The confines of his kennel give him security and often he'll go inside just for a nap. I want to make sure it's inviting and cozy. But why pay twice for a "dog bed" from the store when I've something at home? I've found that an old chair cushion thrown into Newman's kennel is perfect. I utilize my own that have outlived their service or recycle somebody else's at garage sales. The familiar smell of his "pack" is appealing to a dog. And the over-stuffed cushion provides just the right padding to snuggle down in. Newman likes to dig. After several months, he has worn away the material and "gutted" his kennel cushion. Then I toss in another old one or throw in a used pillow. Pillows have far too many uses to be thrown away when they're no longer needed in our homes.

I love the fragrance of candles. My home is filled with the lingering scent of high quality candles. I buy expensive candles that give longer burn time and are highly perfumed. My favorites are the soy candles because they don't pollute my home with toxic fumes from petroleum based candles nor leave soot on the surrounding jar. But whichever I burn, I've found that many candles burn down through the middle leaving a tunnel of unused, valuable wax. Why throw it away and pay again for another candle? To get the most out of my purchase, I melt the remaining wax to continue the enjoyment. There are two ways to get the last drop of candle wax.

First, you can place the unused portion in a clean coffee can and set the can in a pan with an inch or two of water. Simmer this on the stove. Soon the heated water melts the wax and it smells just as good as when you originally burned the candle. Soy candles have a quicker response time than paraffin, but either wax will release its aroma for many more hours. The second way to get the most out of your burned candle is to place remaining pieces of it into a heat-proof jar. Set the jar on a coffee cup warmer. This provides enough heat to melt the wax pieces and scent your home. I've found old warmers and small hot plates at garage sales for pennies. When I bring them home, I clean and plug them in and I have a waiting warm spot to give life to my used elegant candles.

With a little ingenuity you can think of ways to save money through recycling. After all, why pay twice?


saving, cutting expenses, stretching dollars, money-saving tips, recycling
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