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This week: Things hotels don't charge for, feeding Fido for less, paying for car repairs when you're broke, how millennials are hurting the housing market and what to do with $5,000.

1. 14 Things a Hotel Will Give You for Free

[Credit.com] “Plenty of hotels — most, in fact — provide a lot of products for free, and it’s not just the soap and shampoo you always find in your room. Some hotels even go beyond the essentials, offering some pretty sweet perks to guests. But if you aren’t staying at one of those hotels, rest assured you can still get some freebies.

We just did a story about how to avoid obnoxious hotel fees. This article takes the other side of that coin and offers cool things that (some) hotels don’t charge for. They include toothbrushes and toothpaste (on request), extra pillows and blankets, shampoo and conditioner, soap, shoe-shine kits and more.

2. Saving on Dog Food

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Just recently I began to wonder how I could cut back on our dog food budget. Seriously, our family has a budget for everything, including dog food, but I love learning new ways to give us extra wiggle room so we can invest money into a different area that could use a little bit of padding.”

We did a story several years back called “Does Your Dog Need Expensive Pet Food?” (Answer: No, but super-cheap food may not be good either.) This post offers ideas to lower your dog food costs, like making your own, buying online and buying in bulk. Got some hungry mouths to feed? Check it out.

3. How to Pay for Car Repairs If You Don’t Have an Emergency Fund

[Credit Sesame] “Expensive calamities don’t wait. When your car breaks down, it’s not helpful to hear that you should have anticipated the expense months ago. Fortunately, you have options to pay for car repairs even if you don’t have savings.”

There’s some good advice in this article. For example, if your car breaks down on the side of the road, it’s possible one of your credit cards offers free roadside assistance. When it comes to repairs, you might get a lower price from a vocational/technical school. When it comes to paying, you might be able to work out a payment plan with the shop. That’s just some of the tips: See the post for more.

4. Millennials: The Generation That Can Do No Good and the Housing Market

[Debt.com] “We millennials are often categorized as the flighty, entitled generation who want things on our own terms and expect to live with mom and dad forever. However, a real estate brokerage company has taken a stand to say those unfair stereotypes simply aren’t the case.”

This short article, penned by a millennial, refers to a press release from a real estate company suggesting the shortage of affordable housing is due in part to the housing habits of millennials. The author seems to feel that their generation is getting picked on when the problems they confront aren’t their fault. Proving that the more things change the more they stay the same. Members of my generation, the baby boomers, were also blamed for everything and likewise blamed our elders.

5. What You Can Buy With $5,000

[Wise Bread] “While it may be fun to imagine what you would spend a cool mill on, it’s a lot more realistic to imagine that you may find yourself with $5K to dispose of as you wish. Maybe you got a big tax refund this year, or an unknown uncle left you a little something. Whatever the back story, here are 11 fun and/or responsible things you could do with $5,000.”

We’ve done stories before on what to do with a windfall, and that’s what this article is also about. Ideas include paying down debt, starting a business, saving for retirement, donating to charity and my favorite: adopting one rare $5,000 cat or 50 common ones. See the post for more.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and reactions in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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