Looking for ways to save money?

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

How to save money? Surprisingly, a lot of people really don't know. From reusing a glass jar that jelly came in, to shopping at Goodwill, to the "I hate five" challenge, I will find a way to save a dime to a dollar.

Goodwill is one of my "go-to" stores. Unfortunately, they only have one store in the entire city of Chicago. Why? I don't know. I've been meaning to write to ask them how they could avoid a city with millions of people in it. There must be a reason. There used to be a plethora of Goodwill stores in the city. Now I only find them in the suburbs with the exception of the one on Washington and Racine.

Shopping at Goodwill is a hit-or-miss experience. Certain stores get better merchandise than others. Recently I was looking for a plant stand to go outside. It took me a while, but I finally found it at Goodwill for six bucks. Just my price range. 

When it comes to saving money for things around the house, I can recommend a variety of choices. HOBO's used to be one of my favorites, but they've gone out of business. I hope one of the owners of the franchises finds a way to reopen under a different name. There's always a need for buying "close out" and limited amount of items to do home repair and improvement. In the meantime, I can recommend a number of other places. 

Habitat for Humanity has a store. They take donated items and resell them. A lot of times, the donated items are brand new. Vendors come in to do a show at McCormick Place as an example, and they don't want to take their setup back. So they give it away. The habitat store in Chicago is located at Peterson and Pulaski. There are also stores all over the Chicago suburbs. When I was repairing my broken glass block window, I went there and, lo and behold, they had exactly what I needed. Individual glass blocks for $1 each. Just my price range. 

I can also highly recommend the online sites: Craigslist, Offerup, letgo, and Facebook Marketplace. The best part about shopping online is that you don't have to leave the comfort of your home to search for what you may want. But oftentimes the sellers are in the suburbs and you will need a car to get to them. Sometimes I just sit and browse those sites to discover things I didn't know I needed.

Now when it comes to saving actual money, the 'I Hate $5' challenge was a winner for me. What is it? Simple. Whenever you get a $5 bill, you hate it so much that you don't spend it. Instead, you save it. I've been doing it for the past six months, and I have about $400 that I'll be able to use for Christmas gifts. And it didn't hurt, although the time I went to cash station and got $80 out and it gave me eighty dollars in five dollar bills wasn't a thrill. But living up to that challenge, I spent the $15 that I needed to spend, and saved the rest. 

Can't wait to see what happens in 2019 when I do it for an entire year.

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