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Everyday Cheapskate: How to Leave a Fragrance, Not an Odor

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I have something very cool to share with you today. But first, a story about my friend Herta. It's been quite a few years since she and Al came to visit.

In their graciously kind manner, they brought gifts. I thought I'd heard of everything, but one of these gifts left me wide-eyed and sputtering to find a good response, which I am not sure I ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Five Homemade Natural Cleaners That Perform Better than Expensive Brands

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Why bother? Why go to the trouble of making your own cleaning products when buying commercial products is so much easier? Making your own natural cleaning products at home has so many advantages, and they include time, money and perhaps even health. Take these four reasons:

--It takes as little as 30 seconds to mix up any number of homemade ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Give Yourself a Raise

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Is money a little tight? Hoping a raise will come through soon? I hate to burst your bubble, but even if the raise is exceptional, it probably won't do much good.

By the time a raise is adjusted for taxes, you'll be lucky to see half of it in your bank account. And if that's not bad enough, nearly everyone who earns more automatically spends ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Answer to Reader Questions on Cheap Tickets and Banks Vs. Credit Unions

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Faithful readers know by now that I love to open my mail to find your thoughtful, interesting questions. And when a question includes the words "cheap tickets" or the question "What is the Best Inexpensive fill-in-the-blank," it makes my heart sing!

Any situation -- like how to find a good financial advisor without getting ripped off -- gets my...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: You: The Next Instant Pot Rock Star

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Everyone, it seems, is talking about Instant Pot -- the revolutionary electric pressure cooker that, for all the hype, promises to turn anyone into an overnight culinary rockstar. Well, bring it on.

That's what you thought, right? And why not? Instant Pot cooks healthy food fast. And take a look at that instrument panel!

The latest model (10-...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Never Trust a Dark Restaurant

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's been years since I learned an important restaurant lesson -- one I will not need to learn again. Let's call this a lesson to last a lifetime.

I should have known better. Of all people, I should not have trusted a menu without prices on it. But for some reason, it just didn't cross my mind that I needed to.

Friends had called asking if we'...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Great Reader Tips to Change Your Day for Good

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Did you catch it? Recently, Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel reunited for a 15th anniversary special tribute to "Wicked," the hit Broadway musical, on NBC. Between that blockbuster performance and so many fabulous tips from my dear readers, I have been changed -- for good!

MICROWAVE MAGIC

Dear Mary: The best way that I've found to clean my ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How Nasty Germs Survive in Your Washer and What To Do About It

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you assume the inside of your washing machine is the cleanest place in your home because you put detergent through it with every load and occasionally wash with hot water, join the club. Most people think that.

So why is there dirty residue on the agitator? Why do washed clothes come out with stains they didn't have before they went in? Why ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Mouse in the House, Sheets on the Beds and Early on the Credit Card Payment

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: It is that time of year when mice invade our homes. I'm a pretty good housekeeper, and we have two cats, but I just cleaned a disgusting mess of mouse tracks out of my pantry. Any suggestions on how to discourage mice for the future? I love your columns and read all of them! -- Lucy

Dear Lucy: Oh, I feel your angst. I hate even the <...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Another Batch of Great Reader Tips!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Sharing their super cool tips and tricks for how to save money on herbs, keep produce fresher longer, make buttermilk last longer, keep toys under control and more, my readers are the best!

Finding your clever ways to save time and money makes opening my mail a treat! Keep 'em coming, you hear?

ALIVE, GROWING AND CHEAPER, TOO!

I went to the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Proper Care and Cleaning of New (or Old) Vinyl Flooring

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you've ever dealt with vinyl flooring -- especially in an older home where the flooring has not been well cared for -- you know the heartbreak of trying to clean it. The problem is tiny grooves and crevices, especially along the baseboards and thresholds where stubborn dirt has built-up over time and is now holding on for dear life.

But ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 10 Incredibly Clever Ways to Use Bread Bags

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

As you know -- and only because I write about it so much -- I may as well be president of the Artisan-in-Five fan club for how the book and method of making bread have rocked my world.

Back when I was first learning to do this (it is so easy), I decided I needed bread bags not only to store partial loaves, but also for presentation. Let's just ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth Money in the Bank

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Today's topic is not pretty, but unless you have $8,000 earmarked for dental care, it could prevent a lot of pain -- both dental and financial.

Periodontal disease is an infection that destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bones that hold the teeth in the jawbone and the jawbone itself.

Bacteria get caught between the teeth and under ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Cost of Ice, DIY Whipped Butter, Elderly Turkey, EC en Espanol

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: My husband says that it costs more to make ice in the freezer than to buy it in bags. I find that hard to believe. Do you know the answer? -- J.M.

Dear J.M.: Let's say a 10-pound bag of ice at the store costs $2. Two dollars' worth of water from your tap would be nearly 350 gallons at the U.S. average price of about 0.0058 cents per ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Repair Your Credit and Improve Your Credit Score

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Your credit score is a three-digit number between 300 and 850, generated by a mathematical algorithm (a mostly secret formula) based on information in your credit report compared with information on tens of millions of other people. The resulting number is said to be a highly accurate prediction of how likely you are to pay your bills.

If it ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Secret for a Debt-Free Holiday Season in a Single Word

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's not exactly a new word to me. But I'm pretty sure I'd never actually used the word "pre-determine" in a sentence until my pastor referred to it recently -- and in a way that turned on a bright light in my noggin.

To pre-determine is to make a decision in advance. That describes perfectly what it means to budget. You get your paycheck, and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Even More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Planting a backyard vegetable garden is a terrific idea, but it can be a pricey -- and time-consuming.

Today's first reader has a great tip: Let the master gardeners foot the bill and do all the work while you have a laid-back summer. Then show up to get in on the harvest. It's all perfectly legal, and quite ethical, too.

CHEAPER THAN A GARDEN...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Parents, Stop Taking out Parent Loans for Your Kids' College

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

As a parent, you are responsible for taking care of your child, but you are also responsible for taking care of yourself. Taking out loans so that your child can enroll in the college of her dreams may sink your dreams of ever retiring.

Contrary to the advice you will get from many financial aid officers, parents should not borrow money to pay ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 6 15-Minute Projects to Get Your Utility Bill to Rock Bottom

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Here's some good news: At least 120 utility companies have lowered electric, gas or water rates due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Utility companies are passing on the tax savings in the form of lower rates for customers.

I hope your utility company is among that 120 and has let you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Get Organized to Put Money in Your Pocket and a Smile on Your Face

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Has this ever happened to you? While searching for the Valentine's Day centerpiece, you stumble across the Christmas wrap you bought at the half-off-after-holiday sale two years ago. You still don't know where the centerpiece is.

Or you discover six partially full peanut butter jars in the pantry while putting away the new one you just bought ...Read more

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