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Everyday Cheapskate: A Simple 3-Step Budget That Can Change Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Budgets are like training wheels: They help you get moving and offer you confidence as you learn how to balance.

I wish I could come up with a better word than "budget" for managing money. While I've made peace with the word, it still conjures up synonyms like whip, drudgery and cruel master. Personally, I prefer the more elegant term "spending...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: When 'FREE' Comes With a Price Tag

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I couldn't pass it up, and I mean that quite literally. Someone dumped it right in the middle of my shortcut through the back of a neighborhood center. I had two choices: hit it head-on or stop to investigate.

Closer examination revealed a unique piece of furniture -- a child-size, solid wood combination five-drawer dresser wardrobe. I dragged ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Till Debt Do Us Part

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It is difficult to imagine: Our wedding cost a whopping $200. I borrowed my dress and veil; I made the bridesmaid's dresses; a friend made and gifted the cake; we had one bouquet for the church; and our fathers (both ministers) performed the ceremony. We opted for the photographer's monthly special ($100 for eight 8x10s) and paid cash for ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Debt Consolidation -- Good Solution or Terrible Mistake?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

To the person drowning in debt, a debt-consolidation loan looks like a lifesaver. But reaching for it without knowing exactly what it's made of could be a severe mistake.

The way it's supposed to work: You pay off all your small high-interest consumer debts with the proceeds of a new low-interest loan whose payment is less than the total of the...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Paying Too Much for Cellphone Service? Here's 5 Ways To Save Money

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If soaring costs are getting you down, finding realistic ways to reduce expenses will keep your head above water and your spirits high. In this column, I will share five ways to save money on your cellphone bill. By applying one or more of these tips, you may be able to cut your monthly bill in half.


Verizon and AT&T's ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Would You Put a Teenager in Charge of the Family Vacation Budget?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

One of the most memorable letters I've received in my writing career came from a mother, reporting on how she and her husband took a big financial leap of faith with their daughter -- a move that paid off big.

Dear Mary: I wanted to tell you the secret of sticking to a budget on our family vacation -- something we've had a hard time achieving ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Secrets To Make Clothes Look Better and Last Longer

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You should see the big wad of lint I just plucked from the trap of my clothes dryer. Ack! Where does all of that come from? I know I emptied all pockets, and I'm certain I did not wash a bag of pillow stuffing.

I'll tell you what it is, and I am not happy about this: It's visual proof the dryer is wearing out our clothes. Those fibers were ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Deep-clean a Coffee Maker

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Performing a deep clean on a coffee maker is important to extend its useful life and ensure you're brewing the best-tasting coffee possible.

A buildup of hard water scale and rancid coffee oils in a coffee maker is to be expected. Allowing that buildup to remain (and multiply) can be very hard on the machine and make the coffee that comes from ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 8 Surprising Ways Lemons Can Make Your Life Easier

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Several years ago, my son gave me the bounty from the two fruit trees that pretty much rule his backyard. My Mother's Day gift of Meyer lemons weighed in at 124 pounds. I know, lucky me!

I had to figure out ways to use, share and preserve lemons in a big hurry. I juiced, cooked and baked all kinds of lemon things. And I learned so many ways to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Why You Should Never Be Late Paying Your Rent

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Some days, my email inbox fills me with joy. And then there are the days that a message nearly breaks my heart. That was the case when I opened this letter from one of my dear readers who lives in Missouri.

Dear Mary: In one of your columns ("What To Do When You Can't Pay Your Bills?", you recommend paying your ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Zero-Interest Balance Transfer Has Its Reward but Is Riddled with Risk

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Paying off credit card debt is an uphill battle. If the majority of your minimum monthly payment is going toward interest, that makes the climb even more difficult.

Getting out from under double-digit interest rates with a zero-interest balance transfer can make a big difference, provided you understand the risks.

Dear Mary: May I ask your ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: You Need an Insurance Checkup

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

From regular oil changes to changing furnace filters and annual trips to the dentist, smart consumers know that preventive maintenance can avoid costly repairs down the road. Insurance is another item that needs to go on your routine maintenance list.

Here's the challenge: No one wants to think about insurance unless forced to. But at least ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: This Summer, Vacation at Home

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A cash shortage need not eliminate the idea of a family vacation. Clever and creative parents can turn several days off work into an amazing vacation experience without leaving home. Call it a stay-at-home adventure -- a staycation!

There are many reasons why you might want to take a staycation, including wanting to save money, not having ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Mortgage Lender Calling Every Hour All Day Long!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: We are one month behind on our mortgage payments and plan to catch up this month. We have told our credit union we will pay half on the 1st and the second half on the 13th. This will bring us current. Still, they call all day, every hour. When we answer they say they have to call us constantly until the amount due is paid. That is ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 4 Breakthrough Secrets to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half Now

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

News flash: Food is expensive! Food prices were up 10.8% for the year ended April 2022, the largest 12-month increase since November 1980. The average family now spends about 10% of their household income buying groceries -- nearly $7,000 a year!

And even while the price of food keeps going up, average wages are not keeping up. Even the thought...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Where To Get the Most Cash for Your Unwanted (But Awesome) Stuff

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you're looking for ways to get cash for stuff you no longer need or want, there are a number of options both online and locally where you could earn top dollar. You just need to know where to look. Here are reliable places to get rid of your old stuff for the best price. Just keep in mind that the amount of money buyers are willing to pay may...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 11 Ways to Use Aluminum Foil Around the House to Make Life Easier

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Using aluminum foil to line cookie sheets or to keep a steak hot while you finish getting everything ready to eat are nothing new when it comes to useful household tips. But there are many other ways to use aluminum foil you haven't heard of -- ways that can save you time, money and effort.


Line a bucket or bowl with aluminum foil...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Favorite Household Cleaners You Can Make Yourself for Just Pennies

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

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

Everyday Cheapskate: The Ultimate Restaurant Menu Cheat Sheet

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

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

Everyday Cheapskate: A Simple Tip to Get Better Gas Mileage

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

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



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