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Everyday Cheapskate: Some Spray Bottles Are Designed to Fail

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Many commercial household cleaning products -- glass and window cleaners, for example -- routinely come in a bottle with a handy sprayer. And we love that, as long as they work the way we expect that they should, which they often don't.

First, there's the problem of a bottle design that makes it impossible to spray out every last bit of product...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 3 Make-Your-Own-Mixes You Asked for

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

They're convenient and tasty, but the high cost of your favorite prepared mixes and spice blends can be enough to make you choke right there in the supermarket!

In less time than it takes you to run to the market to pick up a box of Bisquick or a few packets of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix, you can make it yourself and save a bundle in the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Bankrupt Mortgage Lender and a $10,000 Engagement Ring

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I just read that that the company that holds my home mortgage is under investigation by the feds and has a net worth of negative $63 million. This company holds title to my house. If it goes into bankruptcy, am I at risk of losing my home, even though I've never been late on my payments? I don't want to refinance with another company,...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Remove Cloudy Film From Headlight Covers Plus More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Well, you've done it again! You clever readers have come up with another batch of fabulous ways that all of us can save time and money doing stuff like cleaning the annoying cloudy film from your car headlight covers -- and lots more.

AUTO CLEANER. Use plain old baking soda on a damp rag to remove bugs, tar and anything else from your vehicle. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Credit Card Payment Dates and Credit Limits: What Difference Does It Make?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Few things in this world are more confusing than credit cards -- how they work, what they really cost and how to manage them responsibly. And while it's just my opinion, I think issuing banks are just fine with that. They love customers who collect stacks of credit cards, don't read the find print, run up big debt and pay only the minimum ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Case for Keeping Tax Returns Forever

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You may recall from a past column on record keeping that you keep copies of your tax returns forever. Did you read that, and if so, did it make your wonder along with so many who wrote to ask? Wonder no more.

Dear Mary: Why do you recommend people keep tax returns forever? The IRS has electronic copies of every return and can only go back seven...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Get Clever With Leftovers: Coffee, Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Leftovers and I have a kind of love-hate relationship. I can't bear the thought of tossing perfectly delicious food into the garbage just because I made too much of it. So I pack it, seal it and fill the refrigerator with it. Once leftovers are past prime -- looking more like a science project that tomorrow's dinner -- they're so much easier to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: When All Else Fails, Cover It With Chocolate

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

As the story goes, the local inventor invited the town pastry makers to observe his latest invention, an automated pastry-making machine. To his dismay, the bakers deemed it unfit because it could not consistently turn out perfect pastries.

Not one to give up easily, the inventor took one of the chefs aside and asked, "What do YOU do when you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Eliminate Horrible Smoke Odor

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love the smell of a campfire mixed with the scent of pine trees on a warm summer night. But stale cigarette smoke odor in a car or the smell of a house fire that happened a long time ago? That's different and not at all pleasant.

Last week, the following message showed up in my inbox.

Dear Mary: Help! I have a chance to go back home -- to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: My 22-Year Auto Lease Nightmare

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It wasn't our fault that a drunk driver plowed into our parked car in the middle of the night while we were on vacation more than 500 miles from home. The car was a total loss, but no one was hurt; it could have been worse.

Our loss was insured, and we got just enough money from the insurance company to pay off the loan. We wanted to replace ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Best Inexpensive Umbrellas

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I wouldn't even venture a guess for how many umbrellas I've purchased in my life. It's not so much that I lose them; it's that they turn out to be junk.

The frame collapses; the ribs get tweaked, causing it to bend the wrong way; and the ligaments snap apart, all of which renders the thing is so weak it surrenders to the elements by turning ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Help! I Have Issues With Your Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If I were keeping track of the number of responses from my readers that are filled with praise and gratitude, there would be thousands of hash marks next to Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner. And the word used most often to describe it? "Magical"!

But now and then, a response will report problems having to do with allergies and, well, that smell...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Keep the House Cool This Summer Without Blowing the Budget

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Even if springlike weather is still hanging on where you live, without a doubt, things are going to heat up soon. And won't that be wonderful -- provided you've figured out ways to keep things cool indoors this summer without sending your utility bills through the stratosphere.

If you could use some help staying cool without blowing a hole in ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Reader Feedback With Invaluable Household Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Becoming a schoolteacher was never on my radar. Sure, I taught private piano lessons for a lot of years, but in my mind, that was altogether different. I was a musician, not a teacher.

During the early years of becoming a writer, author and columnist, I read a quote that changed all of that for me: "Teaching teaches the teacher."

I guess I'd ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Heal the Heartbreak of Stainless Steel Scratches

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

As sleek and sturdy as it is, stainless steel is not immune to picking up unsightly scratches over the course of everyday household activities. They show up on sinks, appliances, cabinet hardware and stainless counters.

There's a good chance you can restore your scratched metal surfaces provided you use the right tools and closely follow these ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Persuade Cut Flowers to Last Twice as Long

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Whether from your garden, the market or someone else as a gift, you can persuade cut flowers to remain beautiful for at least a week -- maybe two, or even longer -- when you follow a few fabulous flower secrets.

The two enemies of cut flowers are bacteria and drought. Defeat both and your flowers will last and last. You will be amazed!

START ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Best Inexpensive Toasters and Countertop Oven

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I cannot begin to tell you all that I've learned over the last few months about kitchen appliances -- both large and small. My husband is remodeling our kitchen. Wouldn't you assume that selecting appliances would be the easy part in the planning process? Oh, what I have learned -- and do intend on sharing with you in the very near future -- is ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Stain Treatment Worth Its Salt and More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It was a lovely meal. The conversation was engaging, the entree delightful. A good time was had by all. The guests are long gone, and now you are stuck with an ugly red wine stain on your prized tablecloth. Is this linen destined for the ragbag? Not if you know this super simple solution.

RED WINE STAINS. If you get red wine on a washable ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Record Keeping to Tame the Paper Monster

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If the paper monster has you buried under an avalanche of receipts, bank statements, ATM slips, investment records, paycheck stubs and bills, the good news is you can probably throw most of it away without worry when you have a simple record- keeping routine. But before you fire up the shredder, you need to know what to keep, and for how long.

...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Valuable Money Lesson for the Kids

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Don't assume your kids are going to learn in school how to manage money well. There is a growing recognition for the need, but few children are lucky enough to learn about money matters in school. If you have kids, teaching them about money rests squarely on your shoulders. So, how are you doing with that? Don't know where to start? Today, I've ...Read more

 
 

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