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Everyday Cheapskate: Credit Card Tips and Tricks

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There's no doubt that credit cards are convenient. They're compact, easy to carry and work just about anywhere. And that's the problem. What seems like no big deal on a daily basis can add up to one whopping surprise at the end of the month.

In the event you have fallen into a mind-numbing "coma" that has you swiping the plastic with abandon, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Buckle Down and Save Up for Home Improvements

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Today is a good day to reach into my virtual mailbag and pull out letters from two of my dear readers.

Dear Mary: We are homeowners with about $175,000 in equity, which we will need to buy a bigger house in the future. Our home needs some expensive improvements (new windows, updated kitchen, siding), none of which are urgent, but which will be ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Home Equity Scams

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Homeowners beware. These days, home loan scam artists are lurking around every corner. They're hungry, they're determined and they're coming after your equity.

Unscrupulous loan peddlers are known as predatory lenders because of their uncanny resemblance to vultures. These loans encourage people to consolidate their debts and suggest this will ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Dreamwash Your Mind to Reach Your Goals

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

In today's offering of tips from your fellow readers, you're going to get a bonus: a new vocabulary word. Read on.

My dream is to own a second home in Sweden, and to be able to purchase it without a long-term mortgage. I found a picture of the home I dream of and hung it where I will see it often during the day. This has "dreamwashed" my mind, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Readers Share Creative Solutions for Chains, Stains, Sprains and More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I call it my mailbag, but in truth its my email inbox and lately, it's been loading up with creative tips from you, my clever readers!


My teenage grandchildren don't want "stuff" anymore -- they want cash! And I understand; being a teenager can be expensive. But I don't want to just hand them money. For Christmas last year I ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 13 New Uses for an Old Credit Card

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Before you cut up an expired credit card -- or toss that silly fake one you got as junk mail -- consider all the great things you can do with it!

1. Bookmark. It'll keep your place and act as a handy straightedge for underlining or highlighting.

2. Glass scraper. A credit card is just the right size to scrape ice from your car's windows and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Sticky Situations: Bankrupt Mortgage Lender and a $10,000 Engagement Ring

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I just read that that the company that holds my home mortgage is under investigation by the feds and has a net worth of negative $63 million. This company holds title to my house. If it goes into bankruptcy, am I at risk of losing my home, even though I've never been late on my payments? I don't want to refinance with another company,...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Today's batch of great reader tips cover everything from cutting the cost of cat care to turning "goofs" into gorgeous, and lots more. Enjoy!


Here are two tips we cat breeders rely on:

No. 1: Plastic cat box liners are a waste of money. Cats tear them to shreds. We use paper grocery bags (still available in many areas) because they...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Let's Make Every Day Thanksgiving!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love Thanksgiving so much it vies for first place in my favorite holiday lineup. I love and adore a classic Turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I love the fall weather that always accompanies the day. I love that Thanksgiving ushers in the winter holidays, offering me a front-row seat at the best time of the year.

I love all of those things...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Chair

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When I tell you that I am a born-messy, for whom the years have magnified that trait, it is not with joy. Embarrassment would be more like it. Join me as I step into the confessional.

Faithful readers of this column know that I write often on the power of organization to defeat clutter, which has been proven to be a source of both physical and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Get Yellow-Stained Bed Pillows White Again

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Our favorite bed pillows get a lot of use every night. We keep clean pillowcases on them and don't think much about the pillow inside until it's time to change the bed linens. Have you looked recently?

Yikes! The pristine white pillows have turned blotchy with disgusting yellowish-to-brownish stains. What on Earth? The most common response is ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Stain Treatment Worth Its Salt and More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It was a lovely meal. The conversation was engaging, the entree delightful. A good time was had by all. The guests are long gone, and now you are stuck with an ugly red wine stain on your prized tablecloth. Is this linen destined for the ragbag? Not if you know this super simple solution.

RED WINE STAINS. If you get red wine on a washable ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Sometimes You Gotta Bite the Bullet

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

In a recent poll at my Everyday Cheapskate website, I asked: What would you do with an unexpected windfall of $10,000?

Responses ranged from saving every penny to giving all of it away to using it to get caught up on bills. This got me thinking: What fascinating answer would I get if I changed the word "windfall" to "expense," as in, "How will ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: With Many Thanks to Clarence

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I thought it would be just loads of fun to focus our attention today on frequently asked questions about frozen foods. But first, a little history.

Although the practice of preserving food by freezing can be traced back to 1626, it wasn't exactly practical. Frozen foods looked bad, tasted worse and were more apt than not to make people deathly ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Fine Print - Deal With It!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Just recently, U.S. consumer debt (that's everything except mortgages) hit $16 trillion. Of course, that fact is often buried in the fine print, where most of us don't pay attention. Or, if we do, we have no idea what that means.

So what is a trillion? It's a million million, a thousand billion or 1,000,000,000,000.

A billion is a thousand ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The 80% Solution

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Provided that your basic life needs for shelter, food and clothing are being met, more money is not going to make you happier. I know, that's hard to believe, but it's a proven fact. What will make you happier is learning how to manage well the money you have already.

Today, I want to give you a simple formula you can use to manage your money. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Frugal Frittata

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's been a hectic day. The family's hungry, the fridge offers little more than eggs and leftovers and you're fresh out of answers for the question everyone's asking: What's for dinner? The solution may be found in a single word: frittata.

A frittata is like an omelet but without the fancy pan work. It's similar to a quiche without the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Big Belching House Guest

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Our house is not haunted, but just try to tell that to our guests. "Our water heater makes funny noises," I warn. First-timers respond with a smile and nod -- and forget.

"What was that noise?" is the predictable next-morning question. Some say it sounds like a big clumsy man on the roof. Children trend more toward a "monster in the wall" ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Useful Tips from Readers

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Once again my very clever readers have reminded me that it's the little ways we avoid spending money that add up. I hope you enjoy today's tips as much as I have. Would you like to see your tip published in an upcoming column? Send it to me ( and I'll see what I can do!


I use the Clorox Ready Mop. The ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Soften New Denim, Make Homemade Eyeglass Cleaner and More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I used to buy a packet of "blue jeans softener" in a store that has since gone out of business. Added to the first washing, it would make a pair of new jeans feel like they had been stone-washed. I can no longer find anything like this. Do you have a suggestion for softening new denim? I've tried extra fabric softener in the last ...Read more



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