I know exactly what day it was because I got up very early to be among the first to know Punxsutawney Phil's prediction for how many weeks of winter were still ahead. As I was waiting for the live coverage to begin, I got an email that made my heart race. It was from LifeLock, the identity protection service I've used for many years. The subject...Read more
Nok-Out and I met quite by accident. In searching for ways my readers could deal with offensive odors, we found each other online. I've used it continuously in my home since then, and recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues. Not everything in life can be doused in bleach. But Nok-Out? No problem! (It was ...Read more
When I am not writing about personal finance and consumer debt, I knit. Something about the gentle rhythm of yarn and needle calms my spirit and unwinds my brain.
I have managed to finish a few projects, not because I'm a great knitter but because I "tink" ("knit" spelled backward) almost as well as I knit.
Because all knitters make mistakes, ...Read more
Quite possibly one of my favorite aspects of writing this column is the mountain of reader feedback it produces. I have the best readers in the universe, too. Nearly every letter turns into a love fest, which of course charges my batteries, making me love my readers all the more!
Do you recall the letter from Pat, who complained of her lettuce ...Read more
There are few things as confusing to the price-conscious shopper as standing there in the toilet tissue aisle attempting to ascertain the best value. I can't think of a better time than today to review the simple math needed to come up with the best answer -- every time.
Dear Mary: Is there any way to reasonably comparison shop for toilet paper...Read more
Whenever I write about the benefits of using wool dryer balls in place of laundry softeners, I get a few responses gently raking me over the coals for suggesting we should spend money for commercially manufactured wool dryer balls when it's so easy to make them ourselves.
Yes, I could do that, and so could you. But unless you have a super cheap...Read more
What would you do if you actually had to use everything you own, including all that stuff in the drawers, cupboards, closets, shelves and boxes in your kitchen, bedrooms, living room, basement, attic, garage, rafters, driveway, patio, side yard and cars?
Most of us will never accomplish such an overwhelming task. Instead, we pack it, stack it ...Read more
Fast-food runs, deli detours and grocery carts loaded with prepared food can drain a food budget faster than a houseful of hungry teenagers. The secret for slashing your family's food bill is to cook at home. And the way to become confident in the kitchen is to learn a few strategic trucs of the trade.
"Truc" (rhymes with "fluke") is a French ...Read more
Errabundis [Kindle Edition]Carol Budinger
This epic fantasy of love and transformation tells of The Lorilex, poised to destroy the world. But in the far off, dusty caravan town of Errabundis a powerful force for good is cloaked within an ordinary life. A life that must be awoken to itself if the world is to ...
Thinking of dipping into your home's equity? There was a time, and not so long ago, that a home equity loan, or HEL, was tough to get. It was generally considered a risk no prudent homeowner should consider.
Whereas mortgage lenders used to adhere to strict guidelines that kept homeowners from getting in over their heads, the financial services...Read more
There are a few things as comforting as slipping between super soft, comfy flannel sheets on a cold winter night.
But not all flannel is created equal. The problem with flannel and other raised fiber fabrics like fleece and knits is the heartbreak of "pills" -- those little raised balls that develop, creating a lumpy surface.
The solution to ...Read more
Whether your goal is to purge your home of stuff you no longer need or raise some cash -- or both -- you have options.
You can sell your items on an auction website like eBay, list them in classifieds on Craigslist or give the stuff away. Or, you can create a killer garage sale that turns your castoffs into cold, hard cash.
PLAN AHEAD. Give ...Read more
It may not show up in the Top 10 Biggest Pet Peeves (yes, there is such a thing floating around the internet), but getting the corners right when putting on a fitted bed sheet ranks high in my mailbox.
Here's the funny thing: Because it doesn't bother me, I had no idea that quickly figuring out which corner goes where when putting on a fitted ...Read more
One of the best ways to recycle responsibly -- and save a few bucks at the same time -- is to find a second life for something you might otherwise toss in the trash.
Some ideas are pretty well-known, like reusing plastic grocery bags for trash can liners, or using the lid from a liquid detergent container for a cookie cutter. So, when a reader ...Read more
Let's see by a show of hands how many of you have at least one box crammed full of old family photographs out in the garage, up in the attic or down in the basement.
Look at that! Hands going up all over the room.
I'm guessing that anyone over the age of 20 knows what I'm talking about. Old family photos. We sure can't get rid of them. But we'...Read more
Soup is a great frugal, potentially delicious meal that can successfully be made from leftovers. It's a great way to "waste not, want not" because, potentially, you can get a free meal for your efforts.
But I'm not talking about just dumping stuff in a pot willy-nilly. There's a method here to making really great soup from ingredients that you'...Read more
Faithful readers will recall a tip from Julie in which she shared her simple homemade carpet shampoo made of hydrogen peroxide, hot water and a tiny bit of liquid laundry soap.
That tip set off a semi-avalanche of responses requesting specific details, many of which cautioned -- wisely -- that hydrogen peroxide can bleach some types of fabrics ...Read more
Tax time: that interesting time of year when ordinarily smart people begin to make really dumb financial decisions. Isn't it amazing to watch what a little extra cash (well, for some, maybe a lot of extra cash) lining the pockets can do?
Sixty-two percent of taxpayers expect that they'll receive some sort of refund on their 2017 tax return. ...Read more
Dear Mary: I needed something to hold toothpicks, so I cleaned out a short votive candleholder. It is just the right size, and it looks good, too. -- Tara
Dear Mary: Those metal snap hair clips make great inexpensive bookmarks. You can snap the point of the clip so it points directly to the place on the page where you stopped reading. The clips...Read more
When it comes to cleaning just about any hard surface in or about the house, a microfiber cloth is a dream come true. However, it won't work if it's not used properly. Keep in mind that if you oversaturate a microfiber cloth, it's not going to work very well. Unless your goal is to push dirty water around on a surface, you'll only want to ...Read more
Today, I am responding to two questions pulled out of my overly stuffed email inbox. I love when my readers write to me, especially when they ask the questions that so many others are asking. I believe that means we can refer to these as FAQs -- frequently asked questions!
Dear Mary: Air fryers are all the rage and, from what everyone tells me,...Read more