Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: Winter Is Coming ... and We Need a Furnace!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Cheapskate: We need a new furnace before next winter. We have saved some money but not enough to pay for it in full. The companies we've spoken to offer financing at outrageous interest rates of 17.99% and up. We could borrow from our credit union, borrow against my 401(k) at 2% above prime or put it on a credit card (16.99%). We don't have...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Secrets of Stress-Free Vacations with Kids

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Family vacations can be either delightful or disastrous -- it depends greatly on your attitude and the care you devote to research and planning.

But first, a few basic guidelines ...

ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE. Here is the first rule of family vacations: Parents on vacation really aren't. If you can unload personal expectations that you will be ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Beat Inflation at the Supermarket

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Could you handle a big announcement that overnight food costs in the United States have miraculously dropped by 20%? That you will see this miracle in your local grocery or supermarket on your next visit? You can if you pay attention and then heed what you're about to read. Know this: There's not one single way to reduce your family's food costs...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Erase the Miles with a Birthday Cake Kit, Plus More Great Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love to celebrate, and it is always fun to come up with new ways to mark special occasions. Everyone should have a birthday cake on their birthday, but for that faraway friend or family member, sometimes a homemade cake just isn't in the cards -- until now!

BIRTHDAY CAKE KIT. Just because you are not geographically close doesn't mean you can'...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Caught in the Credit Card Debt Trap

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Cheapskate: I have three credit cards with interest rates upwards of 30%, the result of late payments in the past. With my limited budget, I can only manage the minimum monthly payment on each, which is more than $200 per account.

Despite paying on time for many months now, huge finance (interest) charges have pushed me over the limit on ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Put Some Sparkle in Your Spring Cleaning

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If the arrival of spring has you energized you the way it has me, I say let's take advantage and do a bit of spring cleaning!

Earl Proulx's wonderful book "Yankee Home Hints" is bursting with tips for cheap, easy, quick home cleaning. I could sit for hours reading this classic tome. Instead, I've plucked a few of Earl's spring-cleaning tips on ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Burning Mail Is Never a Good Thing

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's been years since I read the news story about a U.S. Postal Service worker in Louisiana who, after getting caught, pleaded guilty to destroying mail -- a federal crime. Turns out that for at least 18 months, instead of delivering the mail to his postal customers, this guy took it home and burned it. He estimated he burned 20 tubs of mail. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Excess of Consumption

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The dreaded disease we know as tuberculosis was at one time known as consumption.

A highly contagious illness, consumption got its name from the way it takes a person's life slowly from within -- first with a bloody cough, then fever, pallor and the long, relentless wasting away.

What irony that consumption, as we know it today, has an eerily ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Grumpy Unhappy Cheapskates

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Cheapskate: I have cheapskates in my life. My father is one. My boss, my boss's mom and my boyfriend's mom. All these individuals have the following in common: They are unhappy. They avoid birthday parties, anniversaries or any type of holidays that require gift-giving, such as Christmas, at all costs.

They often choose to be by themselves...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Like my garden, my mailbox is showing definite signs of spring. Just this week two beautifully addressed, thick envelopes showed up, both of them announcing graduation ceremonies -- one from high school, the other from college. However, neither even hinted at an invitation for me to give the commencement address. But had I been asked, I do have ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Life and Times of Leftovers

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Cheapskate: How long should leftovers be kept in the fridge? I have been debating this with co-workers, as one left her beef stew in the refrigerator for over a week and thought it was OK to eat. -- Angela N., New Brunswick, Canada

Dear Angela: There's no debate here -- you win by at least three days. The shelf life of any food will depend...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Faith in the Face of Darkness

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Have you ever felt like you're supposed to be learning a lesson but don't know what it is? I know that feeling in a way that I hope I will never forget.

Not once but twice in a single month, the power went out at our home. The first time, a drunken, inexperienced 17-year-old driver plowed into a major utility pole in our neighborhood, turning ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Don't Let Mistakes Set You Back

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love to watch home remodeling television shows. They give me confidence that I really could remodel a kitchen, build a shed or even install new windows all by myself. Usually, the feeling passes quickly, but I find myself feeling comfortable around power tools, and I do enjoy a good home improvement store.

Recently, the host of one of the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: When You Should Opt Out of a Credit-Card Interest Rate Increase

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Wouldn't it be great if low interest rates never changed? Sadly, the saying "All good things must come to an end" applies to credit cards too. Credit card companies are known for raising interest rates unexpectedly. They only need to give you a 45-day notice before increasing your rate, which can feel sudden.1

Have you heard from your credit ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Tough Love for Financially Irresponsible Parents of Adult Children

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Cheapskate: I read stories about parents with grown children who constantly need bailouts. What do you do when it's your 62-year-old mother who has the money problem? My mom has a job and makes enough money to support herself. In 2003, she bought a house for $95,000. She had little debt at the time. Since then, she's refinanced her home ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Clever Ways to Build a Cash Stash

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

While a lot of us believe we're saving money when we buy things on sale, it's not true unless we actually save the difference between the regular price and the sale price. That could be stopping at the bank on the way home from the store and actually depositing the amount of money we didn't spend in a savings account -- or some other equally ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Mark Your Territory With Citrus

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Do neighborhood cats insist that your property (porch, door, flower beds) is their territory? Well, my dear reader, break out the lemons and oranges, and shout hallelujah! You're about to discover a very pleasant, harmless way to direct them away, plus much more!

CAT SCRAM. I place lemon and orange slices and rinds around my front door and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: You Need a Kitchen Assistant

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Professional chefs have sous chefs to do all the hard work and to see that meals get to the table in a timely manner. While I wouldn't characterize myself as a chef, I do have a home kitchen assistant, and quite frankly I just don't know what I'd do without her.

Three or four mornings a week, I hastily give her my plans for dinner and head to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Know Your Cheapskate Etiquette

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Face it. Living below your means and staying out of debt, especially in the inflationary times in which America finds itself, requires a good bit of creativity. We have to get pretty clever to stretch a buck.

But just how far can we go in matters of being cheap before we cross the line between good etiquette and outright rudeness? When in doubt...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: It Starts With Knowing How to Manage a Paycheck

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Millennials, born between 1981 and '96, represent the largest, most educated and culturally diverse generation in American history. This demographic cohort holds significant sway over the future trajectory of the U.S. economy through their financial choices, which are being made within a progressively intricate financial environment. That's the ...Read more



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