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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 thredUP.com, a major secondhand shopping site, the resale apparel market will grow from $28 billion to $64 billion in the next five ...Read more
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
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
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
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 RepairClinic.com, where I entered the make and ...Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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