If you've ever stopped by Costco to pick up milk and walked out with a big-screen TV, you know firsthand the power of temptation.
As weak as we may feel at times, the truth is that it's possible to learn how to face down temptation and win.
IDENTIFY THE WEAKNESS
'Fess up. What are your areas of temptation? Clothes, shoes, collectibles? Movies...Read more
Every day, I open my inbox to find letters from my dear readers -- questions, stories and lots of love, too. I look forward to answering many of these questions in future columns, like today's!
Dear Mary: My husband and I are very close with our next-door neighbors. Our children play together all the time, and we frequently spend holidays ...Read more
How much did you spend on food last month? A survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average consumer unit, defined by a household of one to four individuals, spends up to $500 a month on groceries. That's a pile of dough! And slashing food costs without sacrificing quality is simple: A little bit here, a small adjustment there, and ...Read more
Every day, I open my inbox to find questions from you, my dear readers. Today I found two on the same subject: credit cards.
LEAVE 'EM ALONE, AND THEY'LL GO HOME
Dear Mary: Should I cancel old credit cards that I no longer use? -- Stephanie
Dear Stephanie: No. It seems like the logical thing to do, but if you close old accounts, you may lower...Read more
DIY BANANA TREE
A banana tree is a great invention that prevents bananas from bruising so they will last longer. I saw one in a nice store recently with a big price tag of $19.99. But I didn't buy it. Instead, I headed for the hardware department to find a big cup hook with a screw end. Total cost: 98 cents. I screwed it into the underside of ...Read more
I spent the better part of 2019 reorganizing and decluttering my home, something that forced me to seriously consider what we actually need to be happy and content. I've discovered anew that having less stuff, fewer obligations and more time make room for what's truly important. Simplifying gives more space in my life for the people I love, ...Read more
You've seen the little tubs of spreadable butter in the dairy case of your supermarket. In fact, you may purchase them because they're just so convenient. And if you watch your prices, you know the typical "spreadable" could almost be considered a luxury item.
Most spreadables are part real butter, part canola oil. Others have olive oil or some...Read more
While plastic is used in thousands of products that add comfort, convenience and even safety to our lives, we have become addicted to single-use or disposable plastic --which has detrimental consequences to our environment. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, and up to 5 trillion single-use plastic ...Read more
Dear Mary: While my daughter was on staff at a summer camp, she did not launder her bedding frequently. Even though the bedding has been laundered a number of times since being home, I've noticed that the sheets, pillowcases and comforter appear dingy even though they're fresh from the dryer. Is there anything that will brighten these items? -- ...Read more
In cold weather, it's wise to wait until the car's interior warms up before using the radio or CD player. These units should be warm, especially the CD player, before they are turned on. If you are patient and allow the heater to warm the interior, your expensive sound system will work better for longer. -- Judd
BUBBLE GUM ON ...Read more
Could you use an extra $1,200? That's exactly what you'll have in a year if you can find a way to whack just $25 from your food bill each week. But there's not one single way to reduce food costs. The key is to use a combination of strategies.
EAT THE SALES
Build your grocery list from the sale ads. If it's not on sale, don't buy it -- at ...Read more
Here we are, a week into the new year! Along with taking the tree down and putting the decorations away for another year, there are several things you should do now while the holidays are still fresh in your mind.
1. Gather all your leftover paper goods into one place -- the gift wrap, cards, tags, bows and ribbons, plus all the stuff you ...Read more
CREDIT UNIONS VERSUS BANKS
Dear Mary: What is the difference between a bank and a credit union? -- Justina
Dear Justina: Great question! A bank is a for-profit financial business run by paid board members that's primary purpose is to make profits for the shareholders.
A credit union is a nonprofit financial business that's owned by its ...Read more
It's amazing how saving a little here and a little there can add up to big savings. Each of these great reader tips doesn't really save much on its own. But added up over time? In a way that changes your attitude and keeps you focused? That can really make a difference.
Don't believe me? Think about the amount of cosmetics you've tossed because...Read more
If I didn't know better, I'd swear that boxed cake mixes reproduce in the dark of night on the shelves of my pantry. One day I counted 18 boxes of cake mix!
Here's how that works: Cake mixes go on sale routinely. One week it will be Duncan Hines, and then Pillsbury takes its turn, and so on. The typical sale price for a cake mix is $1. I hold ...Read more
According to a survey conducted by Offers.com, the top two New Year's resolutions in the U.S. for 2019 came in almost tied, with exercise more/lose weight at 38% and save money at 37%. So, how did that work out for you? Is your financial picture better now than it was 12 months ago? Are you more fit and lean?
The reason I love New Year's is it ...Read more
Living below your means does not mean giving up what really matters. Spending less than you earn is the way to have and do the things that will let you live the life you love.
I'll never forget the time I asked one of my young piano students what he wanted for Christmas. It was a generic question, a pleasantry. I wasn't looking for make, model ...Read more
There's no shortage of commercial silver-cleaning products on the market these days. Those that I've tested generally do the job, but they're messy, contain harsh chemicals and, if that's not bad enough -- they're expensive! Good news. I have a simple, homemade silver-cleaner recipe for your lovely silver pieces -- chains, earrings, bracelets, ...Read more
Without a doubt, my least favorite household chore is hand-washing dishes. That makes my dishwasher the one appliance I can't live without. I love it. In fact, I have this motto that if it can't go in the dishwasher, I don't need it.
Despite all my efforts, I still end up having to hand-wash a few things. I learned the hard way there are ...Read more
When it comes to housekeeping, there's nothing quite so lovely as the smell of nothing. That's the way clean is supposed to smell -- like absolutely nothing!
Clean is the absence of odors from animals, people, garbage, rot, mold, mildew, smoke, dirt, grease and grime -- not the presence of spray fragrance on top of odors. Check out these simple...Read more