Reader asks for a column on money-saving tips to combat inflation

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have read this column since we moved to Mechanic Falls in 1986 and I always find interesting items in the letters published. My favorite question was when Ms. Sun Spots asked for money-saving ideas. The column was full of all kinds of ideas and it became a regular separate feature in the paper for quite a few months. With the rising inflation we are now experiencing, it might be something to consider bringing back!

Thank you, Ms. Sun Spots, for sharing my coffee with me throughout the years. — Nancy, Mechanic Falls

ANSWER: You and I have been having the same thoughts, Nancy, and I love sharing coffee with you, too! If readers want to send me their favorite money-saving tips for these challenging times, I would love it. I’ll start this off with a few of the many things I do to stay within my budget.

At least once a week I prepare a pot of homemade soup, making enough for at least a few lunches or dinners. Over the years I’ve collected recipes that are made with inexpensive, nutritious ingredients, can be stowed into Mason jars for the fridge and freezer, and can be reheated quickly. Knowing I have soup on hand is like having money in the bank and has stopped me from grabbing takeout food on many occasions.

Another habit I’ve developed is to “shop” in my closets when the urge to go shopping for something new pulls at me. Many times I find items I forgot I had or have looked at them in a whole new way and have repurposed them. Keeping closets and other storage places organized really helps you spend less because you can see what you have.

My last piece of advice is to be open to sharing with neighbors, friends and family. Organizing a group where the members are willing to swap anything from home-improvement tools to small kitchen appliances to clothing keeps the good vibes flowing. Even if it’s just you and your sister sharing the giant potato salad bowl or the special occasion designer purse, every little bit helps.

I’ll be looking forward to all your tips. It will be a great way to end the year.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Regarding favorite Christmas movies (Nov. 22 Sun Spots), among those not so well known are “The Christmas Card,” which is special to me because Ed Asner looks and acts just like my favorite uncle. I also like “The Preacher’s Wife,” a remake of “The Bishop’s Wife.” Other favorites are “The Muppet Christmas Carol, along with the original “The Muppet Movie” and “The Christmas Shoes,” “The Polar Express,” and “Narnia.”

It’s difficult to choose from so many, but these are among my favorites. I agree with the Sun Spots reader though. After Thanksgiving I like watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas books. I love Richard Paul Evans’ Christmas stories, and the Amish series stories warm my heart also. — No name, Lewiston

ANSWER: I really like “The Christmas Card” and watch it every year. “The Christmas Box” and “The Locket,” both written by Evans, were made into movies and are also on my yearly must-watch-over-the-holidays list.

Readers, please share your favorites, and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].

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