Does the dreaded question "How much money will I need for retirement?" tie your stomach in knots? Millions of your peers are in the same boat, having saved little, if anything at all, to supplement their Social Security benefits during retirement.
Waiting until age 50 or 60 to start saving for retirement is not ideal. It's late -- but not too ...Read more
It's been at least 20 years since my husband and I sat in an attorney's office for hours, slogging through dozens of questions and giving answers regarding our minor children, the title on our home, where we wanted to be buried. Some of this we found humorous because we were young. But we did it and months later became the proud owners of a ...Read more
The only thing better than figuring out for myself how to do things cheaper, better and faster is teaching readers about my tips and tricks. Helping Mike was the best! His response just made my day.
Dear Mary: I can't thank you enough for telling us about your magic shower and tub cleaner. I live in an older home in moldy ol' Florida, and I ...Read more
If your kitchen is anything close to typical, it is likely furnished with a few mismatched pots and lids; a stack of pans that may or may not be the right size for the task at hand; a drawer crammed with utensils in a variety of conditions and configurations (some of which you don't know how to use, though some day you might learn); and several ...Read more
I have no one to blame but myself for the fact that our boys grew up favoring Halloween over all other holidays, with the possible exception of Christmas.
From the time they could walk, I poured my heart and soul into making sure they had the best costumes. One year they were Popeye's-a-Pair (two tiny boys dressed identically as the sailor). ...Read more
A very strange phenomenon exists in the average American household, wherein items that are no longer needed, such as clothes, shoes, toys, games, seasonal decor, sports equipment, electronics, appliances and kitchen utensils, seem to accumulate in the dark of night, filling cupboards, closets, attics and basements to the brim and beyond. I call ...Read more
Have I been sleeping in a cave for 100 years? It sure feels like it.
I just read that Americans are expected to spend $75.8 billion getting their kids outfitted to go back to school this year. And by outfitted I mean set up with electronic gear, shoes with all the bells and whistles (I like those sneakers with little wheels embedded in the ...Read more
Something weird is going on in Washington, D.C., and I'm not talking about politics. It's the big white marble dome of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The caretakers of the beautiful structure are flummoxed by the moldlike gunk that has begun collecting on it, turning it from white to a dingy, dirty mess!
So far, experts have managed to give the...Read more
Flaherty's CrossingKaylin McFarren
Successful yet emotionally stifled artist Kate Flaherty stands at the deathbed of her estranged father, conflicted by his morphine-induced confession exposing his part in her mother's death. While racing home, Kate's car mishap leads her to a soul-searching discussion ...
While it's true that life is uncertain, there's at least one thing I am very sure of: I will never be held hostage for refusing to iron.
A woman in Villa Rica, Georgia, was held at gunpoint for six hours by her son because she refused to iron his clothes (as reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Unlike her, I love to iron. I'm not ...Read more
I have what could be characterized as a dark financial past. I didn't set out to ruin my life. In fact, I truly believed I was improving things for myself and my family. I used all the bank credit I could get my hands on to create a lifestyle I so richly deserved.
I tried to stop using credit cards in order to not spend money we didn't have. I ...Read more
It's not new. The blue-and-yellow can is about as familiar as anything I remember from my childhood. Because it was banished to a shelf in the garage, I assumed WD-40 was for cars. Boy, was I wrong! WD-40 is amazing -- and cheap. A 12-oz. can costs less than five bucks when purchased online or at Home Depot or Wal-Mart.
Here's the WD-40 rule: ...Read more
Dear Mary: The copper post tops on my deck are becoming tarnished. Do you know of a natural (cheap) way that I can clean them without damaging the copper? I'm enclosing a photo, too. -- Patti
Dear Patti: I really like this beautiful treatment on your deck. Thanks for sending the photo (that's always a good idea, by the way). Yes, I do have a ...Read more
I just asked Siri,* "How do most people relax?" She rattled off a list of activities, including "nosh on chocolate," "rub your feet over a golf ball," "count backward," "meditate," and "drip cold water on your wrists."
Siri completely missed my favorite way to relax. When I want to relax, I iron (not to be confused with "I pump iron," which I ...Read more
Your kids are fortunate to be growing up in this most progressive and exciting time in history. That's the good news. The bad news is the very culture that offers them the world is also perpetrating this lie: You are entitled to have everything you want, even if you don't have the money to pay for it. It's not a problem -- just charge it!
Perhaps you've seen a list of uses for dryer sheets floating around the internet. Who knows where that list came from. What we do know is that not all of the alternative uses can be verified as true. For example, we have no confidence that Bounce or any other brand of dryer sheet will repel mosquitoes. But can they repel spiders and flies and ...Read more
On those superbusy days when you don't have time to cook at home but it's too expensive to eat out, semi-fast food, combining quick-service food with home cooking, is a great way to get the best of both worlds.
The takeout pizza store in my neighborhood sells premade pizza dough. I can buy a large ball of dough for $2.50, which makes a ...Read more
The best part of my job as your humble columnist is the mail I get from my loyal readers. I had to laugh today when the first two letters I pulled from my inbox requested help with ants and sharks.
Dear Mary: Once again, this summer I am dealing with an invasion of ants in my kitchen. Please advise. Exterminators are terribly expensive. -- Lola...Read more
Mosquitoes are nasty creatures. They bite, transmit terrible diseases, and from what I've read have no unique or redeeming value in the ecosystem. And if that's not reason enough to hate them, during mosquito season they can turn a beautiful backyard, deck or patio into a nightmarish area for humans. But it doesn't have to be that way provided ...Read more
So you're getting ready to sell your house. Just thinking about it can be an overwhelming experience.
Should you hire a Realtor? Do a FSBO (for sale by owner) to keep from paying that big commission? Should you spend a lot of money to paint and put in new carpet --at least in the front rooms? Where do you start, and what can you do to make sure...Read more
Dear Mary: Thank you for your column, I really enjoy it! We went with your recommendation and purchased your "best inexpensive stroller," hoping it would stand up against the cobblestones of Rome, Italy. Well, after three months of living in Rome with our 2-year-old little girl, I can tell you the stroller has done fantastically! It has held up ...Read more