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Everyday Cheapskate: Feeling Rich and Living It Up

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: My husband and I have been out of debt for approximately five years. It's great. The problem is we now seem to spend a lot of money needlessly just because we can. We have so much money over and above our living expenses that it is easy to be reckless.

We keep just enough in savings ($2,000 or so) for emergencies but never get beyond...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How Much and What Kind of Life Insurance is Best?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: My question is about life insurance. My wife believes that I need life insurance because I am the sole breadwinner in the family and we have a baby daughter.

I am not sure it is important right now, as we just bought our first house. Our financial situation is very tight, and we will be having a lot of minor improvements on the house...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Strategies to Improve Your Credit Score

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A credit score is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 generated by a mathematical algorithm (a mostly secret formula) based on information in your credit report, compared to information on tens of millions of other people. Like it or not, the resulting number is said to be a highly accurate prediction of how likely you are to pay your bills...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Stop Paying for Things You Don't Need

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A big coordinated garage sale in my neighborhood gave me a surprising wake-up call. It's one thing to see a family's stuff spread out in the front yard, but quite another to see a whole neighborhood's castoffs at one time. All I could think as I walked from one yard to the next was all the money wasters that led to this colossal display of stuff...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Take it Slow and Easy!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

That slow cooker you keep on reserve for the cold months of winter is a perfect solution for summer, too -- especially during these days when you just cannot look another takeout meal in the face. Think about it: A slow cooker creates very little heat and costs only pennies a day to operate. And with energy costs skyrocketing, slow cooking is ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Homemade Dry Shampoo

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Do you ever notice how your hair hurts when you haven't washed it in a few days? Hey, washing and styling can be so time-consuming! It's not just you; greasy hair pain is a thing.

There's a legit reason for this, having to do with oils that your scalp produces naturally accumulating around the hair shaft. A great dry shampoo can stem the tide. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Wash White Laundry to Keep It Looking Brilliant

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

In the same way there are rules in life for things like how to drive a car, how to cook a meal or how to manage your money, there are a few simple rules for how to wash white clothes to keep them looking brilliant and clean. And if they happen to get a bit dull, gray or yellowed, there are rules for how to restore the brightness of washable ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 4 Good Reasons to Kick the Credit Card Habit

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are many reasons not to carry credit card debt. The most obvious is that it's really expensive. And here's a reason often overlooked: It seems so much harder to work for money you've already spent.

But what if you do not carry any credit card debt at all? There are some who would say it is perfectly reasonable to use credit to pay for ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Take the Sure Thing, or Straighten Up and Fly Right

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: We live in Nevada and own a second home in Arizona. My husband wants to sell the Arizona property and then use the proceeds to pay off our credit debt, auto loan and home equity loan on the Nevada property -- about $165,000 total.

I disagree. I think we should rent the Arizona property to generate income and benefit from its future ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Broke? Can't Save? Oh, Yes You CAN!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

How's your health? Not your physical fitness, but your financial well-being. For most of us, how much we earn tells us how we're "feeling" financially. But your income is only one part of the equation. How much of your income do you actually keep?

Not very much, I'll bet. Your income is low, you say; you've got bills to pay. Rents are sky-high;...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Yesterday, I Turned Back Time

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I reset my lawn sprinkler timer, which was more than an hour off due to the spring ritual known as daylight saving time. Rather than move it one hour ahead, I decided to let it run backward. It was mesmerizing to see time back up -- so much so that when I reached the desired time, I didn't stop. I let it go back another 24 hours and then another...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Everything I know About Negotiation I Learned in Order to Survive

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Driven to save myself and my family from financial ruin, I jumped into the deep end of the industrial real estate industry. I knew nothing about negotiating. All I knew was that I had to close deals -- bringing interested parties together, getting them to agree and seeing that everyone walks away a winner.

I no longer sell real estate, but I ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: And the Winner Is ...

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's official. My readers are the best, and not bad-looking, either. Not only are you loyal, but you've also made mail time the high point of my days. Your letters and tips are great, and when you send in advertisements, credit offers and consumer rip-offs, it tells me you're paying attention. It appears you are getting very good at it, too.

...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Freeze Eggs, Dairy Products and More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I'm sure my supermarket is not the only grocery store with an area in the back I call "My Bargain Bin." It's refrigerated and features some dandy bargains, especially on perishable items approaching that "sell by" date. There are no limits on the number of items I can load into my cart -- all of them with ridiculously low, rock-bottom prices.

...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Who Needs Balance?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: What does it mean to "balance" my bank account? How do I do that? Why should I? I really appreciate you answering my question. I'm sure I should know this, but honestly, I don't. -- Josey

Dear Josey: This is a great question, and I'm sure you'd be surprised to know just how many of your fellow readers want to know the same thing!

To...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Before You Jump Into HEL, Consider Your Options Very Carefully

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: We have decided to pay off a bunch of bills and do some much-needed repairs on our house. Can you tell me the difference between a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit? Which would be better? -- Scott

Dear Scott: With a home equity loan, or a HEL, you walk away with a check for the full amount of the loan and a second ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How To Spring-Clean Your Car

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When you think of spring-cleaning, you probably think of your home. But what about your car? It's served you well all winter long. It's been through the mud -- and snow, sleet, sand and salt. It needs a good cleaning, too!

You could take your car to a professional car detailer and spend $150 or more to get it cleaned up for spring. Or you can ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: What Is a Grace Period, and How Does It Work?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: Is there a law that says how long the grace period must be? (And if you don't mind, exactly what IS a grace period?) -- Justin

Dear Justin: In the world of lending and borrowing, the "grace period" is the number of days between the time you make a credit card purchase and when you will begin to pay interest on that short-term loan.

...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Financial Harmony Is More About Trust Than Money

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: My wife and I have been married for three years. She has memorized my credit card information.

This is my personal account, and she is not listed as an authorized user. However, she charges to it without my knowledge, and it's getting out of hand. About a year ago, I took a loan from my 401(k) and paid off the balance, only to have ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Homemade Ice Melt for Steps, Walkways and Driveways

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Got ice and snow on top of super cold temperatures this winter? "Everyday Cheapskate" reader Jennifer does, and she wrote, "Do you have a solution for melting ice and snow on walkways, driveways, steps and windshields?"

I do, and at least one of these homemade recipes is sure to come to Jennifer's rescue, and quite possibly yours, too

All of ...Read more

 

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