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Everyday Cheapskate: What the Big Print Giveth the Small Print Taketh Away

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Have you ever wondered how retailers can possibly afford to offer the no-interest, no-payments, no-money down kind of deals you see advertised? That was the subject of a question I received recently.

Dear Mary: There are several appliance, electronics and furniture stores in our area that run television commercials offering nothing down -- no ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Solutions for Stains on Shirts and Windows

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

From time to time, I reach into the proverbial "Everyday Cheapskate" mailbag and pull out a few of your questions to answer here. My goal is to select questions that will have wide appeal. But when the question arrives with a photo showing me the problem, that gets my attention in spades.

Dear Mary: My husband wears white undershirts, and no ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Pay-As-You-Go Route to Higher Education

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: How can a person finance her education without taking out loans? I need to get a master's degree, as I have hit a ceiling, but I don't have $40,000 and don't want to take out loans. Will schools offering graduate programs allow me to move slowly and pay as I go? I just don't feel like there is a choice, and it's stopping me from ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Public Library Services You May Not Know About That Can Save You Money

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

My adult children are big on borrowing stuff from their parents. And, from time to time, they may fail (you know who you are, son) to mention having borrowed something like a Milwaukee Sawzall reciprocating saw in its big, bright red case, prompting that son's father to assume said tool had been stolen after searching the garage high and low for...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How To Make a Cake From (Almost) Scratch and More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

This week, my supermarket has brand-name cake mixes on sale for $1 each, so I've stocked up. And just in the nick of time, here's a clever tip from a reader for how I can make my cake mixes taste for all the world like I made them from scratch.


To make a boxed cake even better, my friend Ida taught me to add three things: 1/4 cup ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Car Leases and Laundry Detergents

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: My wife and I are having a disagreement. I want to lease a new car now, because ours is old and paying for repairs is like flushing money down the drain. She wants to keep it until we can afford to buy a better car. I hate car trouble and think peace of mind is something to be considered. I'm sure we can afford the payment, but she's ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Record-Keeping

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, then read on. The good news is you can probably throw most of it away without worry. But before you fire up the shredder, you need to know what to toss and what to keep -- and for how long.

STEP NO. 1: ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Another Batch of Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you've ever asked yourself, "Is there one more thing I could possibly do with baking soda," or, "How will I ever get this candle wax out of the carpet?" today is your lucky day! Read on for some great reader tips.

Instead of buying new dress shoes once the heels start to wear out, take them to a shoe repair place, and have a new heel put on ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: More Ways Hydrogen Peroxide Can Make Your Life Easier

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Hydrogen peroxide is as harmless as it is powerful, and it's so much more than just a household cleaner. It is nontoxic, safe, really cheap and available in any grocery or drug store in a 3% dilution. It's a wonderful cleaning product, first-aid product and sanitizer.

There's one thing you need to keep in mind to avoid disappointment: Hydrogen ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Turn Your Barbecue Grill Into a Baking Oven

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you have an outdoor barbecue grill with a cover, you can turn it into an outdoor oven. Why would you want to do that? To preclude the need to heat up your kitchen to bake pizza, cookies, cakes, bread and casseroles. And to expand your camping-out cooking repertoire.


You can bake nearly anything with a covered grill. If your grill ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: What You Need to Know About Buying Carpet

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's not something you buy every day. But when it's time to buy carpet, you need to know your stuff. Make a bad decision and you'll pay dearly for a long time, and I am not just talking about the money. You'll pay a significant price in dissatisfaction and disappointment.


Plush: Usually one solid color with even, smooth pile ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 11 Ways To Solve It With Salt

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Sometimes, the very thing you need to solve an ordinary household problem is sitting right in the pantry. Take salt, for example. It's amazing stuff! And it's cheap, too.

I have a favorite little book: "Solve It With Salt" by Patty Moosbrugger. Just look at all the things Patty says we can do with ordinary, inexpensive table salt to make our ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Closing a credit card account is not for the faint of heart. So, why bother? Oh, let me count the ways:

No. 1: Excessive lines of credit -- even those with a $0 balance -- can wreak havoc on your credit rating.

No. 2: Many open lines of credit are difficult to manage.

No. 3: Let's not forget that temptation factor.

Truth be told, all you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Watt's Up?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Tonight, take a tour through your house with all the lights out. See all those digital clocks and glowing red and green "eyes" staring back at you? That's proof positive your household appliances are sucking energy and spending your money, even when you're asleep.

Transformers that continuously recharge your cellphone, power your computer ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Robot Vacuum That Really Works -- and It's Inexpensive!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Vacuuming sucks. Literally. One year, my idea of giving our adult sons robot vacuums for Christmas was intended to help them with that odious chore.

What a disappointment. I learned much later that both guys used their robots for only a few months. They were ridiculously noisy, needed constant supervision and did a lousy job. They were more ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Kitchen Gadgets That Will Pay for Themselves in No Time at All

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I'm crazy about gadgets -- everything from quirky can openers to smartphones. Hand me a Swiss Army knife and I'm in heaven -- the more blades and utensils the better. And when that gadget is a true money-saver? Oh, be still my heart!

Today, I want to tell you about four gadgets that are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in a short period...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: When It Doesn't Pay To Be Cheap

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There is a predictable progression many of us go through as we make a decision to stop living beyond our means. We get cheap. In fact, some even call us cheapskates -- a label that I enjoy because it proves that I'm not the person I used to be (a credit card junkie and a totally whacked-out spendthrift).

It didn't take long for me to adopt a ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Childproof a Forbidden Door, Plus More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you've ever had the need to prevent children from closing a door and unwittingly locking themselves in a pantry or bathroom, you may know the old hand-towel trick: Throw the towel over the top of the door. That's it. No matter how hard a child might try to close it, no can do. I've always loved that handy-dandy tip. But I have to admit I'd ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Art of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A surefire signal that I'm out of town is the big square burn mark in my best stainless skillet. That's the telltale sign my husband has attempted to prepare the one and only item on his repertoire of home cooked meals: a grilled cheese sandwich.

The man doesn't know how to cook.

His grilled cheese sandwiches are burned on the outside, solid ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Clean and Care For a Smoothtop Electric Cooktop

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When it comes to kitchen appliances, nothing says modern and sleek like a beautiful new electric smoothtop.

While a smoothtop beats a coil cooktop in the style department, it requires a different kind of proactive care to keep it looking good while at the same time preventing discoloration and scratching.


With smoothtop ...Read more



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