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Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Best Vacuum, Best Blowtorch, Best Meat Thermometer

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

My mail doesn't arrive one message at a time. It comes in piles. Think: avalanche. But I have big plans and high hopes.

I must have the most patient readers on Earth -- understanding, too, because while I read every single message, I am unable to reply personally. That's why I look forward to Ask Me Anything day.

Today I reached in and pulled ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Strategies to Cut the Cost of Food for Every Lifestyle

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Ever wonder why you never have enough money to save? I'm talking about consistent, regular deposits out of every paycheck that go straight into a savings account. Maybe it's time to consider that you're handing your savings over to local restaurants, drive-thrus, diners and coffee shops. Think about it.

No matter your lifestyle, I am confident ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Have You Checked the HVAC Filter Lately?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Everyone knows that we should change the filter in our home heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, or HVAC system. Actually, doing that may be something else altogether. It's all about the where, when and how of doing it that leads us to procrastination and selective amnesia.

It's not difficult. The problem is in making it a priority...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Even an Elderly Dishwasher Perform Like New

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are many things in my life that I enjoy but would not be completely devastated about if I were required to give them up. My dishwasher is not one of them.

During our recent kitchen remodel, we donated old appliances to Habitat for Humanity, all except for my stripped-down 14-year-old Whirlpool dishwasher.

Even though it has been replaced...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Best Home Printer, Stain Recipe and Insurance Claims

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I have a friend who chides me from time to time for asking too many questions (you know who you are, Duane). I'm sure it's true, but only because I am the inquisitive type. I have that the need-to-know gene.

But do you know what I love more than asking questions? Answering them! And that's a good thing because I do get a lot of questions from ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Great Tips From Great Readers

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I can't think of a better day than today to reach into the mailbag and pull out a few great tips submitted by -- you guessed it -- my great (loyal, faithful, awesome) readers!


As the owner of two cats, I finally found a wonderful bedspread with fabric durable enough to withstand the constant removal of fur and chafing of...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Worst and Best Ways to Grill Chicken

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

In a recent column on secrets for grilling cheap cuts of meat, I asked readers to share their worst barbecue/grilling experiences that could have been spared if they'd had a decent instant-read thermometer.

I loved reading your comments, some of which were so funny you had me laughing out loud. But more than that, I learned that most of our ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Guide for How to Be a Gracious Houseguest

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It was shocking, if not surreal. The email was from a woman I'd never met and whose name I recognized only because a few months earlier, she'd mailed me a book she'd written.

The message announced that she and her family were planning a cross-country road trip to Disneyland and would just love to stay with us since (at the time) we lived nearby...Read more

Ask Me Anything: Help! My White Laundry Is Coming out Dingy and Gray, and Which Size Instant Pot?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: How can I whiten my whites? I have well water, and I use homemade laundry detergent. But my whites -- especially my white uniforms -- are graying. I use white vinegar in the rinse. I can't soak them in bleach or use the Cascade formula every time I wash. Any ideas? -- Dotti

Dear Dotti: Dingy-gray coloring is usually a sign that too ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Essential Gear for College Dorm Room

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's been a number of years since I moved into a college dorm room. My memories of college life are both vivid and precious.

For years, I'd been dreaming about how I would grow up and leave my childhood home and sheltered life to attend college in Los Angeles. I lived in the same dorm room from my first day as a freshman until I graduated four ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Ways to Wage War Against Mosquitoes -- and Win!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Mosquitoes are nasty creatures. They bite; they transmit terrible diseases to people and pets; and from what I read, they have no redeeming value in the ecosystem.

Malaria infected some 212 million people worldwide in 2016, and killed an estimated 429,000. Mosquitoes spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: What Do You Need to Be Happy?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When a University of Michigan survey asked people what they believe would improve their quality of life and make them happy, the answer given most often was "more money."

In the book "The Day America Told the Truth," James Patterson and Peter Kim asked, "If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?" The No. 1 response, at 64 ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 15 Minutes to Financial Freedom

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The email contained a single-word subject: "Help!" The sender, I'll call her "Emily," had been asked by her community group leader to give a 15-minute presentation on how to achieve financial freedom. She was honored to have been asked, excited to do it, but also panicked by the thought. She asked if I would help.

My first thought was that I ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Fabulous and Super-Cheap Homemade Cleaner Recipes for Eyeglasses, Windshields, Counters and Floors

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I pretty much hate to buy things I know I can make for less money and in a fraction of the time it takes to find them in a store. Take cleaning products, for example. Knowing I can make specific cleaners for pennies that cost dollars in a store just makes me happy. It's a no-brainer.

Here are my top five handy recipes to help you get started ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything - Toys R Us Gift Card, Percale Sheets and Best Upright Vacuum

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: The sad news that Toys R Us is closing all of its U.S. stores has us not only nostalgic for childhood memories but also wondering: What should we do with our Toys R Us gift cards? -- Michael

Dear Michael: Like you, my adult kids and grandsons are going through a kind of grief as thoughts of Toys R Us flood them with wonderful ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Values are More Often Caught Than Taught

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Bents, characteristics, abilities and tendencies are the conduits through which you can pass your values to your kids. But how exactly do you make the pass? It's though your life, the way you live.

Kids learn most effectively through observation and imitation. It's the witness of our lives -- more than anything we say -- that is taken in slowly...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Worst and Best Ways to Clean Your Eyeglasses

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You just paid a small fortune for new eyeglasses. On top of the cost for prescription lenses and fashionable frames, you opted for anti-reflective, anti-scratch and UV-protection coatings. After all, eyesight is a precious thing, and it's only wise to do all you can to protect it, right? Absolutely! But here's the deal: You may be destroying ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Secrets for Grilling Cheap Cuts of Meat

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Getting our outdoor grill cleaned, polished and ready for summer got me thinking about how much fun it would be to celebrate. After all, summer is just a few months a year, so why not do things up right with an amazing menu and a few good friends?

What happened next I can only attribute to a momentary lapse of good judgment. I visited the Lobel...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Unshrink a Sweater, Paying Taxes and More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love it when I open my email to find a question that makes me go "Oh, boy. Do I know about that feeling! That's exactly what happened to me. Been there, done that!"

Today's first great reader question is a perfect example. Yep, I've gone to get rid of shrunken clothing because I didn't know there was a possible remedy. But now I do, and you'...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Let's Hear It for These Three Companies and Their Great Customer Service

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There's a part of me that cannot believe we're going to do this again. Six years ago, my husband remodeled our kitchen in California. It turned out so well and improved the value of our home, and we then decided to sell it and relocate to Colorado.

A year ago, we got the bug to do it again. It's not that our kitchen is awful; it's that it's ...Read more


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