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Everyday Cheapskate: Readers Need to Know - Pay Down Debt or Invest? and Help! Horrible Odor in Leather Couch

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love it when readers send me their questions. Today I pulled the following letters from the EC mailbag.

Dear Mary: We are better off than most. We have no credit card debt. We have several hundred dollars in cash stashed away in a safe in our house. And we have about $5,000 in savings. Our 401(k) accounts and Roth IRAs have a total value of ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Crash Course for College Freshmen

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

All across this great country, college campuses have welcomed a new class of freshman. These young people arrived with a lot of things, but financial literacy was likely not one of them.

If I could spend a little time with these awesome students, this is what I would attempt to cram into their heads and then pray that it penetrates their hearts...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Best Sweet Corn Tricks Ever Plus More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Last week's mail certainly proved my theory that we have the best expert community going on here at Everyday Cheapskate. Even better, we're willing to share.


Dear Mary: I wish to share a sweet corn trick with you and your readers that allows you to cook fresh corn in the husk in the microwave. Cut through the husk ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 3 Money Savers That Will Pay for Themselves Over and Again

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I have to admit to being a bit of a gadget freak. I'm drawn to tools and devices that do cool things. And when I discover that cool includes being a money saver, that turns a purchase into an investment with a guaranteed rate of return.

Here are several items I've found that can save a lot of money and whose cost you can generally recoup in ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Do We Need a Will? And More Great Reader Questions

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: My husband and I just had our first child, and now that we have a new little life depending on us, we want to make sure she is always taken care of. Neither one of us has a will, but I think it's important to set one up just in case. Problem is, we haven't ever thought about a will, much less have any idea of what we need to include. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 3 Rs To Put Personal Finances Back on Track

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's true that financial trouble is a major contributor to the breakup of the American family. It is also true that gaining control over one's finances can repair marriages, restore families and change the future. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Let me assure you right up front that it is possible for you to gain control of your financial ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Stop Making These Dishwasher Mistakes

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /


Scrape off all the chunks of food from the dishes, but don't pre-rinse. It's not necessary and only wastes time and water. Unless you have particles of food on your dishes, pre-rinsing could actually hinder your dishwasher's performance. Dishwasher detergent needs the acidity of food to activate its cleaning power...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 10 Minutes to Financial Freedom

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Recently, I got a message from Natalie, who explained that as part of a financial preparedness event, she will have 10 minutes to speak about financial freedom. Her question to me was, "What would you talk about if you only had 10 minutes?"

Only 10 minutes? I find it difficult to introduce myself in that little time, but I'm up to the challenge...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Surprising Reason to Use Fresh Ginger in Homemade Marinade

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The nicest thing happened to me one day as I rifled through the mail. I got a letter from Dr. C. Eugene Allen, a professor and food scientist at the University of Minnesota who just happened to be a fan of this column. He was responding to a teriyaki marinade recipe for venison I'd offered to a reader who asked about how to prepare that ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: October Is the Best Time to Buy These Things

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

And just like that, autumn has arrived! Oh, how I love this time of year!

Cooler weather, sweaters, scarves, pumpkin pie and beautiful fall colors make this, for me, the very best time of year. And there's more -- bargains galore await as we head in. Here's a quick rundown of bargains we're sure to find during October:


Everyday Cheapskate: What to Do When You Have Too Many of These Things

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Before we get going here, and in the interest of full disclosure, I have an inner hoarder who puts up quite a fuss from time to time. I've managed to tame her, but now and again, she gets out. Before I know it, I have 48 boxes of borax on my storage shelves or 9,082 skeins of yarn in my stash. Just kidding -- sort of. Just justification is ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Cleverly Delicious Ways to Use Up Leftovers

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If your refrigerator is at all like mine, it harbors an odd assortment of leftovers and "almost gones." After all, it's hard to throw out what appears to be perfectly good food, but what can you do with a little of this and not very much of that? Here are some suggestions that may get your creative juices flowing to come up with your own ideas ...Read more

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



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