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Everyday Cheapskate: Grow Your Own Food -- 1 Square Foot at a Time

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

For years, I tried to grow a decent vegetable garden. It was the high cost of fresh basil -- $3.50 for a few measly, wilted fresh basil leaves, ditto for a pound of somewhat reddish tomatoes and mostly pink strawberries, that prompted me to try.

I started with tomatoes, basil and peppers -- a salsa garden! In no time, I added zucchini and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Make Sure You're Paying the Least Amount Possible for Gasoline

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I have heard arguments for why anything less than $3 per gallon for gasoline is a downright bargain.

Here's one: Three bucks is nothing compared with the cost of petrol in the UK or Europe. And another: Allowing for inflation, we're paying less for gas now than we did 25 years ago. To all of that, I say phooey. To me, gasoline is darned ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Cheapskate Gardener

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The only difference between gardeners and cheapskate gardeners is the amount of money they spend to achieve the same results. The truth is, like no other hobby, gardening is actually more productive when the cheapest -- even free! -- supplies are used.

CONTROL WEEDS

Newspaper. It's cheap, and it works beautifully. Cover the area with 10 layers...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Build a Great Credit Score

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you are a legal adult U.S. resident, somewhere there is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 with your name on it. Your credit score measures your creditworthiness, which is the likelihood that you will pay your bills.

Establishing good credit has never been as important to your life as it is today.

You need a good score to get decent ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Pay Down, or Pay Ahead? It Can Be Confusing

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Years ago, I learned a lesson I won't have to learn again. It was that poignant. It was during a time when mortgage interest rates took a nosedive and we benefited by refinancing our high-rate mortgage.

The transaction closed in late August with the first payment due in October. Rather than take a month off from making a mortgage payment, we ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Use Wool Dryer Balls and Why You Should

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A previous column on fabric softener products struck a chord with thousands of readers. I know because you send me messages and letters, which I love -- even some of you who are not 100% satisfied making the switch from problematic laundry softeners to what I find are amazing wool dryer balls. But first, let's review the problem.

The medical ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 3 Best Ways to Unclog a Toilet -- Quick and Easy!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

No one likes to talk about it, but truth be told, it happens. Toilets malfunction. They get clogged. Sure, it's inconvenient, but more than that, embarrassing if you're somewhere other than the privacy of your own home.

That's why you need this cheat sheet, so you'll know ahead of time how to deal with the situation. You're welcome.

STOP IT ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Prevent Cheese From Turning Green and Moldy

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Call me picky, but I prefer my greens to be those of the garden variety, not those growing on my cheese.

Don't you just hate when that happens? You buy a block of cheese and before you can use it up, it turns into something that looks more like a science fair project than a tasty dairy product.

I'll admit it. Back in my carefree spendthrift ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Solutions for 3 Common Laundry Problems

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

What do stinky, yellowed and crayon-stained laundry items have in common? They're the reason lots of people write to me. Fortunately, each of these problems has a unique remedy -- a way to reverse the stains and get them back to looking good as new.

STINKY TOWELS

No matter how many times you wash them, you just cannot get rid of the disgusting...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 10 Brilliant Ways to Use Washing Soda That Will Make Your Life Easier

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It looks and feels for all the world like laundry detergent. White. Coarse. Powdery.

A mineral mined from vegetation in dry lake bottoms in the Middle East, kelp from Scotland and seaweed from Spain, it's used to make glass, bricks, paper, rayon and toothpaste. It cleans silver and softens water.

Its real name is sodium carbonate, but this ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Clean Glass Fireplace Doors Plus 6 More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I had a serious deja vu moment when I pulled today's first reader tip from my inbox. Roseanne's tip brought back a memory of my grandfather doing this very thing on the big, black cast-iron wood range that sat in my grandparents' tiny kitchen in Potlatch, Idaho.

The stove had a door with a glass window to observe the fire burning inside. When ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: An Important Update on Best Inexpensive Bed Sheets

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

For some time, I'd been toying with whether or not to write this post on bed sheets. For months, I'd been researching, testing and assessing sheets with the goal of identifying what I could offer you as the Best Inexpensive ones.

You may recall that about two years ago, I did achieve my goal. And then, some things changed. One of our Best ...Read more

Surprising Ways Epsom Salt Can Improve Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I can recall vividly and count on one hand the migraine headaches I've had in my life, all of them before age 10. Once I turned double digits, I outgrew them -- until about two years ago.

With no warning at all, there I was back to my 8-year-old self, flat on my back with a raging migraine. Why then, after all these years?

In reading up on the...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 5 Things You'll Be Happy to Know About Lestoil

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Ever wondered where you've been all your life? That's my reaction to a simple heavy-duty cleaning product, Lestoil.

Apparently, it's been manufactured right here in the USA for decades and loved by many. Curiously, I'd never even heard of it, let alone used it like a rabid fan, until only a few years ago.

On the off chance you, too, are not ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Buy Carpet: What You Need to Know to Make the Perfect Decision

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's not something you buy every day. But when it's time to buy carpet, you'll want to know your stuff. Make a bad decision and you'll pay a significant price in dissatisfaction and disappointment.

First, decide the style of carpet and type of fiber you want, determined by where it will be installed and how much money you have to spend.

Visit ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Look at All the Hidden Benefits in Your AAA Membership

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When I pulled out my AAA membership card to get a discount for Universal Hollywood tickets, I locked eyeballs with the words "Years as Member: 43" printed on the card. I nearly passed out.

That seemed absolutely impossible until I did a little calculation. It's true. AAA has been an important part of my life for more than four decades.

If you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Live Your Life Above Your Circumstances

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Her letter was long. Page after page she went on about every aspect of her miserable life.

In between the accounts of her husband's unemployment and her high blood pressure, this woman managed to weave each and every detail of their broken-down cars, leaking roof, busted faucets, ungrateful children, delinquent taxes, nosy neighbors, empty ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Chicken Labeling at the Supermarket: Prepare to Be Surprised

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you've ever stood in the supermarket wondering if paying more for chicken that is free-range, antibiotic-free, no hormones added, farm-raised, natural and organic is going to make you healthier, wealthier, wise -- or just a better person -- you're not alone.

Recently, as I was doubting myself on my chicken choices, I decided to get to the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Clean a Shark Vacuum and its Filters

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You know by now just how much I love my Shark vacuum cleaner. And given my readers' letters and comments, I know that many of you have Sharkies, too.

I love your messages. They make me smile because I understand the range of emotions that come from using a Shark vacuum for the first time -- from amazement to flat-out embarrassment.

Where on ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 9 Cooking Mistakes We All Make and How to Fix Them

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Just the other night, I suffered a kitchen disaster. I hate when that happens. I ruined an entire pot of pasta because I got busy and was not paying attention. By the time I realized, the pasta had cooked way beyond al dente, all the way to total mush.

It killed me to dump the whole thing, but there was no way to undo that disaster.

Thankfully...Read more

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