Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: Knowing Your Cleaning Products Is Good for Your Health and Wealth

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Two women. Different locations. Same accident. Both were using an ordinary commercial toilet bowl cleaner containing ammonia and were not satisfied with the way it was removing stains. Each added household chlorine bleach to that commercial product and stirred with a brush. One died quickly; the other spent a long time in the hospital.

Here's ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything - Christmas Clubs, Bank Sale and Credit Counseling

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: Whatever happened to bank-sponsored Christmas clubs? -- Ted

Dear Ted: They all but disappeared when credit cards became so popular. The new attitude was, "Why worry about it? I'll just use my credit cards and pay for it later." Bad idea.

Good news: Christmas clubs are making a comeback (so are layaway plans). They may have a ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: With Meal Planning, Think Cost Per Serving, Not Price Per Pound

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Pop quiz: Which is the better buy? Pork tenderloin for $2.97 per pound or boneless pork chops at $3.47 per pound -- taken from my local supermarket's weekly ad? If you answered the tenderloin, you're in good company. Most of us would, but we'd be wrong. Price per pound can be misleading because not all cuts of meat and poultry yield the same ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Widen the Gap with Homemade Bread

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you've read my book, "7 Money Rules for Life," you know that rule number one is so simple it would be easy to overlook it as being too elementary. Here it is: Spend less than you earn.

Now, let's think about this. "Spend less than you earn" is not the same as "Don't spend more than you earn." That implies it would be OK to spend all that you...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Flavored Vinegars Make Elegant Holiday Gifts

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Just as I was wondering what on earth I would do with all of the basil, oregano and chives in my garden, here came a note from Ginny M. of Minnesota: "I love using flavored vinegars. How can I make my own?"

Her note reminded me that herb vinegars are so easy to make, but also that the holidays are not many months away. Flavor-infused vinegars ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 4 Ways to Avoid Impulse Buying at the Grocery Store

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Perhaps you've noticed that it's not easy to get out of the typical American supermarket with exactly what you went in to purchase. Believe it or not, a lot of behavioral science goes into the way that store is designed and laid out with a single purpose in mind -- to get you to buy more than you came for. The store's layout may be costing you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 6 Ways to Give Yourself a Tax-Free Raise

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

These days, with the cost of just about everything going up, who isn't looking for ways to increase their income? If you're hoping the boss will come through with a healthy raise, your unemployment benefits will be extended or Uncle Sam approves a healthy cost-of-living increase on your benefit check, I wouldn't get too excited. Even if such an ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Regrow Scallions and Other Vegetables from Scraps

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

At our house, we're getting much better with storing and using up produce. In fact, we've all but completely stopped throwing rotten produce into the garbage. Now, I'm taking it further by actually regrowing vegetables from scraps -- in the kitchen window! It's like my inner gardener has come out to play, and not a moment too soon as grocery ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Guide for How to Be a Gracious Houseguest

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It was shocking, if not surreal. The email was from a woman I'd never met and whose name I recognized only because a few months earlier, she'd mailed me a book she'd written.

The message announced that she and her family were planning a cross-country road trip to Disneyland and would just love to stay with us since (at the time) we lived nearby...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything - Help! My White Laundry Is Coming out Dingy and Gray, and Which Size Instant Pot?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: How can I whiten my whites? I have well water, and I use homemade laundry detergent. But my whites -- especially my white uniforms -- are graying. I use white vinegar in the rinse. I can't soak them in bleach or use the Cascade formula every time I wash. Any ideas? -- Dotti

Dear Dotti: Dingy-gray coloring is usually a sign that too ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Essential Gear for a College Dorm Room

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's been a number of years since I moved into a college dorm room. My memories of college life are both vivid and precious.

For years, I'd been dreaming about how I would grow up and leave my childhood home and sheltered life to attend college in Los Angeles. I lived in the same dorm room from my first day as a freshman until I graduated four ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Ways to Wage War Against Mosquitoes -- and Win!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Mosquitoes are nasty creatures. They bite; they transmit terrible diseases to people and pets; and from what I read, they have no redeeming value in the ecosystem.

Malaria infected some 212 million people worldwide in 2016, and killed an estimated 429,000. Mosquitoes spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Frozen Assets, Stand-Up Chicken and More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I am always entertained and often educated by the tips readers mail in. Today is no exception. I'm pretty sure you will agree with me.

SAFELY FROZEN: I am on a waiting list to get a safe deposit box at my bank. While I wait, I am keeping my important papers in a heavy freezer bag in the deep freeze. I hear that, in a fire, the inside of the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Whether your goal is to purge your home of stuff you no longer need, or you want to raise some cash -- or both -- you have options.

You can sell your items on an auction website like, list them in the classified in a local newspaper or on You can unload unwanted clutter on social platforms like Nextdoor and Facebook ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How Clearing Out Clutter Can Improve Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Getting organized is like dieting. Everyone knows how to do it, but the problem is getting around to it -- to clearing out clutter, cleverly organizing what remains and then maintaining the results.

When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, I emptied every cupboard and drawer, carefully labeling every box and bin with its contents. That ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Do I Need to Drink Filtered Water or Is the Tap OK?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

These days, a trip to the grocery store requires nerves of steel. The cost of everything, it seems, is soaring. Why? Can we blame the pandemic? Will prices return to pre-pandemic levels once this thing settles down? Will it ever go away? Who knows? One thing is for sure: It's time to hunker down and find reasonable ways to cut food costs every ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Cleaning Tips and Tricks That Promise to Cut Costs and Save Time

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Cleaning is the one chore that most of us dread, but we all know it has to be done. And while none of these cheapskate cleaning methods pretend to make it fun, they do promise to cut costs and save time. Also, most of these tips can be implemented with everyday items you probably already have.


Salt and ice together are great for ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Meet Your Own Personal Loan Shark

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Imagine paying outrageous amounts of interest to a greedy finance company and loving every minute of it. Or how about making off-the-record, back-alley deals with a loan shark so you can skip all the credit checks and paperwork?

Impossible? Not if that loan shark is you. You'll be borrowing from yourself, making payments to yourself and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 3 Ways to Clean a Bathtub That Are Easy on the Back and Knees

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Cleaning the bathtub is one of those housekeeping chores that's more pain than pleasure for those with health issues that make bending and kneeling difficult. So hard on the back and knees that it just doesn't get cleaned well. Here to the rescue are three very effective and efficient ways to keep any bathtub sparkling clean -- even a tub that ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: QA - Laundering Big Items, Where to Sell Books, When to Cancel Term Life Insurance and More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: It's summertime and I would like to wash the large blankets and comforters on the beds, but they're too big for my standard size washing machine. A large machine at a laundromat is at least $5 a load! Yikes! What's a better and/or cheaper way to get them washed and hang them out on the clothesline at home to air-dry and freshen? ...Read more



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