Home & Leisure

How to Use Wool Dryer Balls and Why You Should

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A recent column, "Fabric Softener Products Are the Problem, Not the Solution," struck a chord with thousands of readers. I know because you sent me messages and letters, which I love -- even those of you who are not 100 percent satisfied making the switch from problematic laundry softeners to what I find are amazing wool dryer balls. But first, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Clean Hands Effect

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Knowing that we're in the cold and flu season, I picked up a recent issue of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter to get up to speed on how we can prevent illness in our homes and offices this winter.

In that issue, a reader asked, "What's the single most important way to prevent illness?" The answer: Wash your hands often, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Burn Down the House? I'll P.A.S.S.

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's been a few years since that day I turned a stove burner on High and didn't realize greasy chicken stock had boiled over earlier in the day, filling the catch pan under the cooktop. I turned my back for a few seconds to find a utensil. When I turned back around, small flames were shooting from the burner. My quick thinking told me to smother...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Credit Cards and Credit Scores: It's Complicated

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Opening a credit card account these days is ridiculously simple. And quick. But that's not so with closing an account. For sure, the bank doesn't want to lose a good customer. But it's more than that. Closing accounts can mess with your FICO score big time if you're carrying a pile of debt and if it's not done strategically.

Dear Mary: I am ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 5 Killer Make-Your-Own Cleaning Products

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are so many good reasons to make your own household cleaners. It's cheaper and healthier and greener. These five homemade household cleaners do not contain chemicals. That means you can always count on them to be nontoxic.

The ingredients in each of these cleaners are specific. Follow the recipes carefully and make no substitutions.

...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Why a Pressure Cooker May Be Better Than a Slow Cooker

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I'm still slightly stunned by the response to a recent column in which I touched briefly on the subject of the Instant Pot.

As gifts go, the Instant Pot is one you will never regret giving. And should you be on the receiving end of one, for a brief moment or two, you may be able to identify with Taylor.

Dear Mary: I recently received an ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Best Time to Bag a Bargain

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Extreme bargain hunters have something in common: timing. They've got it down to a science, and I'm talking about specific days, or even the exact time of day, to get great bargains.

AIR TRAVEL. The magic hour to shop for cheap airfare is 3 p.m. EST on a Tuesday. Historically, major airlines announce sales on Monday night. This triggers other ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 4 Ways to Neutralize the Glamour of Easy Credit With Kids

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There is no reasonable way to shield your children from the glitz and glamour of credit. It's everywhere with all its seduction and allure. So if you cannot shield, neutralize!

Years ago, I watched an effective television documentary in which juvenile delinquents went into prisons, drug-treatment centers and the like to observe the dark side of...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: It's Only a Mistake If You Can't Fix it

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

My fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Migaki, ingrained a life principle in my mind that remains to this day. He said something is only a mistake if you can't fix it. Sometimes we got do-overs. He would let us retake our tests to learn from and fix our mistakes. He'd grade our papers with a red pen, and if the do-over fixed the original mistake (he never,...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: My Shopping Addiction Rehab Program

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Shopping is my thing. I love the thrill of the hunt, the feeling of discovery and the joy of a bargain. I find it satisfying in ways I can't fully describe. I want to experience the feeling as often as possible. The shopper's high is no joke. It's real; it's palpable; and it's addictive.

Shopping got me into a lot of trouble. In just 12 years, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 3 Simple Ways to Beat Retailers at Their Own Games

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Retailers work hard to get our money. They offer special promotions and put other tactics into play, even hiring human behavior specialists to figure out our shopping habits and how to get us to spend more. By having a few tricks of your own, you can be a smart consumer who foils those plans and saves big.


Everyday Cheapskate: Your Best Money Year Ever

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

For years and years, I lived under a dark cloud of worry that I would end up financially destitute, a bag lady.

A study conducted by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America reveals that I'm not the only one. In fact, most of us have felt that way, not because we're broke but because we don't have confidence that we know how to hang on ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: To Shred, or Not to Shred?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Can someone legally dig through your trash looking for credit card receipts, account numbers or even your Social Security number? In the decision of California v. Greenwood, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that the "expectation of privacy in trash left for collection in an area accessible to the public" is unreasonable.

In other words, when you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Places to Look for Free Money

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Recently, I read about a guy who has a hobby of looking for money in gutters, parking lots and other public places and keeps a running tab. He routinely finds over $100 in a year. Not bad! Just imagine if he knew about other places that harbor free money for the taking.

VENDING MACHINES. Start paying attention to vending machine coin-return ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Get the Maximum Burning Hours from Candles, Plus Other Great Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Am I the only one who didn't know that there's a definite protocol for burning jar candles and pillar candles? I've made an ugly mess of so many candles in my life, only to toss them out long before their time. But no more. I've learned the secret to keeping large candles looking good and functional right down to the last bit.

HOUR-PER-INCH ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 5 Reasons to Give Kids an Allowance

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

At the foundation of your children's financial intelligence should be this undeniable truth: It is not the amount of money you have but what you do with it that matters. This is true for a child managing a $5 weekly allowance and a corporate executive with a $5,000 weekly salary.

For many years of my life, I didn't know this truth. On the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Strike a Fiscal Balance With Your Grown Children

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It is difficult for parents to balance giving financial help to their adult children and allowing them independence, even if independence means hardship. I do not have all the answers. I struggle because I'm a mother and my mom heart wants to protect my children from every possible bump in the road of life.

My head, on the other hand, says that...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Best Inexpensive Instant Pot and Smart TV, and Recipe for Vinyl Siding Cleaner, Too

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I have always valued your comments about various products and can honestly say that I have never been disappointed in anything I bought after reading your recommendations. Have you done any research on the Instant Pot multifunctional pressure cookers? I was thinking one might be a good gift. Thank you so much. -- Conni

Dear Conni: ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Homemade Gift You'd Actually Love to Receive

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

With the biggest gifting season of the year behind us, you may be breathing a big sigh of relief, and rightly so. It feels great to know you have eleven months to get ready for the next go-around, right? Not so fast! Your gifting breather may be short-lived, as the spring gifting season is just around the corner!

I'm talking about holidays like...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Frugal Food Shopping 101

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

As food costs continue to soar, it's a good time to revisit the basics of frugal food shopping. Follow these tips and, provided you don't end up buying twice as much, you really will see your food costs plummet.

GO WITH CASH ONLY. Shopping with cash and only cash is one of the best ways to make a severe grocery budget work. If you have the ...Read more


Social Connections


Dustin Wee Pals Wizard of Id Cul de Sac Bizarro Mike Lester