If getting physically fit is on your to-do list for the New Year, you may be contemplating a gym membership. Good for you, but please be cautious. This is fitness gyms' biggest season for signing up new members. While you're polishing off that last plate of holiday fudge, the sales force is gearing up to drain you dry when you sign an ironclad ...Read more
Here's some good news: You don't need to break the bank to keep your home sparkling clean and disinfected. We can get away with spending pennies, not dollars, to get all the house cleaning jobs done. How? In a word: Vinegar. Plain white vinegar is one of the most versatile and budget-friendly cleaners that can handle almost any mess in your home...Read more
Kids of elementary school age are becoming aware of the real world around them. They are eager to learn and still believe everything adults tell them. And they want their own money.
For all of those reasons, I suggest that now is the perfect time to start a simple allowance system. This will create wonderful opportunities for you to pass on ...Read more
I love houseplants, and boy, do I have some beauties! The truth is I don't have a green thumb; I just know a few secret tricks and tips that I will gladly share with you.
KNOW YOUR VARIETIES
Only consider plants in what I call the "thrivus neglectus" family, which comes from the Latin root meaning "really cheap" and thrives even under the ...Read more
Now here's a question I'll bet you ask yourself from time to time: Can I really save money by shopping at a discount warehouse club? You can find great deals there, but you can also get into a lot of trouble if you have, shall we say, an impulsive propensity. You can really stretch your dollars if you are willing to stick to a few basic rules:
Have I told you lately how much I love my readers? Especially those who send me messages, questions, and tips. EC is crazy for great reader tips. Some I receive are startling and send me running to verify; others bring on gales of laughter. But mostly, they leave me wondering, "Wow, really? Why didn't I think of that?!" Now, before we get going,...Read more
Dear Cheapskate: Help! I dripped latex paint on my new carpeting and discovered it too late. It dried hard and I'm afraid the carpet is ruined. -- Ruby R., California
Dear Ruby: Relax. Even if it's been there for a long time, you can get latex paint out of carpet or any type of fabric with lacquer thinner (not paint thinner!) available at ...Read more
My readers have no doubt that I am a big fan of finding every possible way to save time and money. And when they take time to send me their latest ideas and efforts, it pretty much makes my day! Check these out:
TEACH THE KIDS
In an ongoing effort to educate my 12-year-old I have started a new tracking system. On a large white board I have a ...Read more
Money is an excellent tool to teach kids how the world operates. You can use financial principles to teach them about social issues, too. That's because money is about values, relationships, choices and self-worth.
One important lesson you need to teach your kids before they leave home is about how to build and maintain good credit. Let's title...Read more
When our lives get chaotic, we pay dearly in terms of stress and money. There are hundreds of things you can do to simplify your life. Here are seven to help you get started ... one a day for the next week.
1. Carry only the keys you use every day. Clean everything else off your key ring. If you don't recognize what a key is for, toss it. If ...Read more
Have you ever noticed that no matter the size of your apartment, condominium, house, garage, drawers, closets, hard drive, handbag or briefcase -- it mysteriously fills to capacity?
Our first apartment was 300 square feet. We were newlyweds and still in that "cozy stage," so it wasn't a problem. Three years later, we were packed to the gills ...Read more
I can't tell you how many times I've heard from readers who are stuck in a mindset that says in order to be frugal in the grocery store, one must live on a diet of high-carb, low-quality and basically unhealthy junk food. And conversely, sticking to a healthy diet is expensive and generally out of reach for most families.
Today, I would like to...Read more
Dear Cheapskate: I just love your column, it has certainly helped me. My question has to do with wedding gifts. Recently I've been swamped with invitations. I was wondering if you had some good ideas for affordable gifts. I'm tempted to give money or gift certificates, even though they say that is rude. -- Avid C., Texas
Dear Avid: If the ...Read more
No sooner had I read the latest statistics on consumer debt in the U.S. (also known as household debt, credit card and other unsecured debt) than a message washed up on my desk echoing the same matter, but on a much smaller level. This reader's debt situation pales in the face of total U.S. consumer debt that has now climbed to $17,300,000,000,...Read more
Dear Cheapskate: I'm tired of paying $9 for mascara that gets all dried out and clumpy after just a few weeks! Is there anything we can do to increase the useful life of our mascara? -- Ellen, Pennsylvania
Dear Ellen: I hear you, sister! Try these solutions. Don't "pump" the mascara wand when you use it because that forces air into the tube, ...Read more
I have a quirk, a kind of brain glitch that annoys me to no end. I cannot easily distinguish left from right. My brain locks up and gives me that infamous "404 Page Cannot Be Displayed" message.
Of course, I blame this on Mrs. Sailor. It goes back to that day in first grade when she called on me to answer a simple "left or right?" question. I ...Read more
The secret to starting a serious savings program is to look for small, painless ways to save, and then repeat them consistently over and over again. Look for hidden savings every place that you spend. It all adds up quickly when you are consistent -- even the nickels and dimes.
SAVE THE CHANGE
Here's a challenge: Get a big jar and set it ...Read more
Losing a job can be as traumatic as losing someone you love. In fact, studies show the loss of a job is one of life's five most stressful events. But as devastating as it is to be suddenly unemployed, many survivors say it was a gift in disguise. As with most of life's challenges, losing a job can be a blessing or a curse. It all depends on your...Read more
If you were to dive into my inbox, you might assume you'd find lots of questions on laundry, copycat recipes or what the best inexpensive fill-in-the-blank is. I do get lots of those. But it's questions about credit cards and consumer debt that come out the winner in that contest.
You, like I, may find that curious because I am not a financial ...Read more
Loving and caring for a furry four-legged friend means more than a life of snuggles and chew toys. Dog ownership comes with a level of responsibility that is reasonable and will inevitably keep veterinarian and hospital bills at the bare minimum. That includes guarding what your four-legged friend eats.
Most dog owners have at least a vague ...Read more