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Everyday Cheapskate: How to Stop Making Bad Decisions

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I saw the funniest sign, but it wasn't funny for long because I started to think about it. Suddenly, the humor melted away. The sign read: "Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions."

Ouch! Those 15 words hit hard because I've made more than my share of bad money decisions in my life.

I've ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Should You Lend Money to Family and Friends? Read This First

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Over the years, I've heard from dozens of readers who have lent money to friends and family members, only to have become outraged when the deal goes sour. The problem is they write to me after they've made the loan. By now, they've been waiting months, even years, for repayment, without success, hoping I can wave a magic wand to get their money ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Clean a Washing Machine

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you assume the inside of your washer is the cleanest place in your home because you put detergent through it with every load of laundry, join the club. Most people think that -- and that's a really bad assumption.

Have you ever wondered why there's dirty residue on the agitator? Why do washed clothes sometimes come out with stains they didn'...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 8 Little Words That Can Change Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You hear it all the time, but do you know what it means to live below your means? Have you figured out how to do that?

To live below your means is to choose a lifestyle you can pay for with the money you have and still have some left over.

Living below your means that in this high-pressure, credit-based, gotta-have-it-all-right-now culture is ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Giving Is Good for You!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Fundraisers and requests from charities used to bother me. So did the collection plate at church. I felt guilty because no matter how much money we made, there was never enough to give any of it away. And with all the debt we had (It was plenty!), how could I be expected to help others when I couldn't even help myself?

Then our financial house ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 14 Ways to Use Coffee Filters That Don't Involve Coffee

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It was a dumb mistake. I grabbed the biggest package of coffee filters -- a pack of 1,000 -- only to discover much later that I'd picked up the wrong size for my coffeemaker.

Coffee filters are not expensive, which is probably the reason I didn't bother returning them to the store. I suppose I should have tried, but I didn't. Instead, I began ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Best Inexpensive Toaster, Eufy Customer Service, Stainless Steel Cleaner

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are times when the old adage "you get what you pay for" doesn't hold up. Sometimes the less expensive option turns out to be best.

Best Inexpensive Toaster

Dear Mary: Does anyone make a decent, simple, reliable pop-up toaster? I don't need it to do anything but make evenly toasted toast! -- Bev

Dear Bev: I was wondering the same thing. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Secondhand Clothes, First-Class Style

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

While most retail stores are hanging on by a thread due to COVID-19's assault on the U.S. economy, thrift stores, specifically consignment stores, are having the opposite problem; business is booming! According to, a major secondhand shopping site, the resale apparel market will grow from $28 billion to $64 billion in the next five ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 4 Rules to Get Out of Debt

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you're in debt, you have to get out. The best way to do that is to put together a plan -- but remember a plan is only as good as your ability to stick with it. Just like diets, all of them work; the true test is sticking with one. No matter how effective the plan is in theory, if the regimen is outlandish and impractical, you will not stick ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Readers Share Their Favorite Time- and Money-Saving Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Just when I think I've heard every possible way to save time and money, here comes the mail to teach me something new. "Everyday Cheapskate" readers just have to be the smartest and most clever on the planet -- good-looking, too. Enjoy!

If you have more apples than you can reasonably use in the short-term, they'll last up to six months if you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Cake That's Worth the Wait

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

What do Pat Benatar, George Foreman and I, your humble columnist, have in common? We were all born on the same day: Jan. 10! I only know this because someone gave me a 768-page book simply titled "The Portable Book of Birthdays." Good thing, too, or I'd never have known that, according to the book's authors, Pat, George and I have socially savvy...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Appliance Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It was Christmas Eve several years ago. Everything was ready. Our overnight company would be arriving in a matter of hours. I opened the refrigerator to discover the inside had reached a balmy 70 F. This could not have happened at a worse time. Away to my computer I flew like a flash, straight to, where I entered the make and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Yes! You Can Put Silver in the Dishwasher

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Contrary to popular belief, you can put silver in the dishwasher without causing harm, provided you are careful to follow a simple set of rules.

I grew up being fearful of the oddest things. I wasn't bold enough to question why, so I just did as I was told. Here's one: Never, ever put silver in the dishwasher. Ever!

I didn't know what would ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Get $1,000 Into Your Emergency Fund Painlessly

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The most important thing you can do to make your personal economy strong is to have an umbrella, an emergency fund with enough money in it to pay all of your bills for six months. And it needs to be safe and secure in a bank account.

You read that right: half a year's income! Wait. You can't even imagine being able to save $50? No worries. The ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Remove Rust Stains from Just About Anything

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If there's one subject that shows up in my inbox more often than any other, it has to be rust. Ugly, orange-ish stains on tubs, showers, toilets, washing machines, sinks and even stainless steel.

One reader (who shall remain nameless, as I have hopelessly misplaced your message) wrote that tiny rust marks have appeared on his new stainless ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Please, Can't Someone Make a Decent Steam Iron?!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I just asked Siri, "How do most people relax?" She rattled off a list of activities including "Nosh on chocolate," "Rub your feet over a golf ball," "Count backward," "Meditate" and "Drip cold water on your wrists."

Siri completely missed my favorite way to relax. I iron (not to be confused with "I pump iron," which I do not). No, really. There...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: An Efficient Way to Slash Home Heating Bills

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Just as I was knee-deep in researching, testing and learning all I could about electric space heaters, this letter popped up in my inbox.

Dear Mary: I need your help to figure out how we can reduce our home heating bills. It's killing us to pay so much to keep our house warm in the winter. We have a gas furnace, and where we live, the cost of ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Greed Is Never Good

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When Gordon Gekko, the main antagonist in the 1987 film "Wall Street," declared in no uncertain terms that "Greed is good!" people flocked to the theaters. And cheered.

Please don't base your belief system on a movie line that might have been memorable and entertaining but is dead wrong.

Greed is like cancer that, when left untreated, can ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Car Dealer Spills the Beans on Treating Leather Interiors

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Do you know what I love? Learning insider secrets. I'm not talking tabloid headlines or conspiracy theories, which I work hard to avoid, but solid, authentic and reliable insider secrets.

I've got one for you today, prompted by a question sent in by a faithful reader.

Dear Mary: I recently purchased a late-model previously owned vehicle. The ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Get Washed Salad Greens Perfectly Without a Spinner

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I was way off base when I guessed "egg-gathering basket." Leslie Hindman, host of the TV show "Appraisal Fair," held up this round cage contraption with folding sides and asked us to guess, "What the Heck Is It?" Salad spinner was the right choice, but who knew people were wasting their money on needless pieces of kitchen equipment back in the ...Read more



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