I am not one to spend coins. I prefer to save them. In fact, I go out of my way to make sure I get plenty of change. But I hate to carry loose change, so my husband and I routinely dump the day's accumulation into a container to save for a trip or to buy something special. One year we saved $1,100 in coins. But I have to admit the logistics can ...Read more
Our kids are fortunate to be growing up in the most progressive and exciting time in history. Sadly, 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. You deserve it. Get it now, and you can pay for it later...Read more
In the wake of America's big economic wake-up call back in 2008, dollar stores and thrift stores saw a big resurgence. And now another kind of retail quasi-lender is commanding all kinds of attention from sellers and buyers: pawnshops.
I admit to having grown up with a weird bias against pawnshops. To me, pawnshops were just one level above ...Read more
I wish I had a quarter for every stupid purchase I've made in my life. I'd have some major dough. Regrettably, my financial faux pas have been remarkable in both quantity and quality. I've made some real doozies.
Take the above-ground swimming pool. Its a la carte price was bad enough. Adding everything required but not included took it from ...Read more
As you know, and only because I do mention it from time to time, I get a lot of emails. If I were to respond to each and every message, that would be all I'd ever do, and I still wouldn't get through the piles that replenish daily.
So, I use the subject line method of quick elimination to winnow the pile to something I can deal with. Negative ...Read more
Over the years, I've had many wonderful opportunities to address audiences large and small at all kinds of events, from retreats to conventions, college chapels and conferences throughout the U.S and abroad.
It's one of the best things I get to do, and I am always honored to be invited. The part I enjoy most happens when I've finished and it's ...Read more
It was a weird request. My friend, Mary Ann, asked if she could borrow some pickle juice. Huh? Who keeps pickle juice?
The purpose of pickle juice is to keep the pickles fresh and flavorful; so, when the pickles are gone, out goes the juice, right? That's a practice that makes Mary Ann go ballistic.
Mary Ann is famous for her potato salad. She...Read more
If you have hard flooring, carpet or flat surfaces in your home (which just about covers every possibility), there are three specific vacuum cleaners that deserve your attention: an upright, a cordless stick and a cordless handheld. These are the worker bees that I own, love and don't want to live without.
Once you familiarize yourself with ...Read more
Let's say that tomorrow morning, you wake up to discover that overnight -- gulp! -- your car was destroyed beyond repair. You're not covered, and you're devastated.
You must have a vehicle, but because you don't have any money saved, you have no choice but to buy a brand-new car with nothing down. Realistically, what car payment can you afford ...Read more
A restaurant menu is no big deal, right? It's just a list of the food items that a restaurant offers its customers. Sure it is. Plus a whole lot more.
Before menus ever make it to the printer, restaurant owners hire menu engineers and consultants to bury super sneaky psychological tricks into the pretty pictures and mouth-watering descriptions ...Read more
Got debt? I could be wrong, but if you're revolving a big credit card balance, I'm guessing at least some of it is holiday related.
Sadly, holiday debt can hang on long after the gifts are forgotten.
So, what's the problem here? Procrastination. When it comes to Christmas, the longer you wait to shop, the more you'll spend. The more you spend,...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 car?
Most of us will never accomplish such an overwhelming task. Instead, we pack it, stack it ...Read more
Eggs. They're nutritious, delicious and cheap. Cooking eggs properly is quite simple, provided you know a few secrets.
A perfectly boiled egg has a yolk that is set all the way to the center and it is clean, beautiful yellow color with no hint of ugly green where the yolk and white meet. A perfectly boiled egg slides smoothly away from the ...Read more
It pretty much kills me to spend money for things I know I can make myself for less than their pricey commercial cousins.
Take cleaning products for example. Knowing how to make things for pennies that cost dollars at the store just makes me happy. It's a no-brainer.
Here are three handy recipes to help you get started saving all that money ...Read more
Some time ago, I wrote about simple things you can do to get better gas mileage, which means less time and money spent at the gas pump.
One of those tips was to make sure your car's tires are always properly inflated because underinflated tires cause the engine to work harder than necessary, which wastes fuel, while overinflation causes tires ...Read more
Over the years, I've received thousands of money-saving tips from readers -- many of which I've shared in books, newsletters and this column. And there are plenty that I've not shared for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they don't work.
Some work so poorly, they actually end up costing time and money, not saving anything. One of those ...Read more
I once flew in a chartered jet, not exactly like a rock star, but I did feel quite pampered. The flight was awesome, but I have to admit to momentarily freaking out when the pilot unbuckled his seatbelt, stood up, left the pilot seat and came back to chat with his three passengers over snacks and sodas.
While he sat with us for more than an ...Read more
The longer I live, the more convinced I am that there are at least two ways to deal with every household problem, one that involves calling out the professionals, and a do-it-yourself option that's cheaper, better and maybe even faster!
HOW TO CLEAN FINE CRYSTAL
Dear Mary: I have a beautiful crystal vase that, over the years, has acquired a ...Read more
A plugged-up sink, shower or tub drain sends most people running for either a bottle of caustic drain cleaner or a plumber's phone number. But wait. This could be a job you can do yourself successfully without chemicals or a big bill.
ASSESS THE SITUATION
Turn on other taps to allow water down other drains in the house. If everything else is ...Read more
This week, my mailbox reminded me how paying off credit card debt is an uphill battle. And when that minimum monthly payment is mostly going to toward the interest, the climb is even more difficult.
Dear Mary: May I ask your advice? I have a credit card balance of $4,500 at 18 percent interest. My FICO score is 700. I've been paying the minimum...Read more