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Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Easy Ways to Slash the Cost of Clothing

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Clothing is not optional, but spending a lot of money on it is, says author Gregory Karp in his book "Living Rich by Spending Smart: How to Get More of What You Really Want."

So, just off the top of your head, how much would you say that your family spends on clothing in a year? According to the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey 2018, a "...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Dollar-Store Lightbulbs, Free Windshield Repair and More Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Not all companies are starving for business these days. In fact, some are setting records for growth. Any kind of repair business is probably doing great during these economically turbulent times.

That makes sense. After all, it doesn't require a Mensa membership to know that most often, it is cheaper to repair than to replace. And how about ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How About We Just Make Every Day Thanksgiving?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love Thanksgiving so much it still vies for first place in my favorite holiday lineup. I love a classic turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I love the fall weather that always accompanies the day. I love the fact that Thanksgiving ushers in the winter holidays, offering me a front-row seat to the very best time of the year.

I love all of ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Get Pet Hair and Fragrance Buildup Out Of the Laundry

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dogs and cats shed. A lot. That pet hair can get all over the house -- on rugs, on bedsheets and on clothes. It sticks to fabrics and won't go away. How maddening to find it on the clean clothes from the dryer. What's a person to do?

Dear Mary: I am one of your millions of fans. Your insight, tips, products and recipes are terrific. Thank you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Secrets for How to Clean Leather Boots, Cast Iron and More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Every day, I learn something new from my clever readers. Take fine leather, for example. I think it's safe to say we're all aware that Italy is where one would find the best leather products. I'd just never thought about the fact that Italians have superior knowledge for how to care for and clean said leather. I love today's first great reader ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Keep the Dryer From Hurting Your Clothes

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you routinely pluck big wads of lint from the trap of your clothes dryer, you should be wondering, "What is that, and where does all of it come from?" You emptied all pockets, and you're certain you did not wash a bag of pillow stuffing.

I'll tell you what it is, because I face the same thing, and I am not happy about it: It's visual proof ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Ways to Unclog a Drain Without Toxic Chemicals

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A plugged-up sink, shower or tub drain sends most people running for either a bottle of caustic drain cleaner or a plumber's phone number. But wait: Unclogging a drain might be a job you could successfully do yourself without chemicals or a big bill.


Turn on taps to allow water down other drains in the house. If everything...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: What Can I Substitute for Blue Dawn?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I love all the tips you give for making your own cleaning solutions. Sadly, over the past year, my youngest daughter has developed a severe fragrance allergy. This means I can no longer use blue Dawn in any of my cleaning solutions. Do you know of any substitutes for Dawn that would work as well in the homemade liquid laundry ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Use of Dryer Sheets Around the House

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Apparently, I'm a slow learner. I can't think of another reason it took so many years to associate my sons' and husband's itchy skin problems with the dryer sheets I used. All the skin problems disappeared once I stopped using fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

One would expect that such a life-impacting revelation would have banned those pesky...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Readers Share Creative Holiday Tips and Tricks

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I am enjoying the unique holiday tips and tricks readers are sending my way to be shared with you. Over and again I find myself saying, "Wow! Why didn't I think of that?"


Once Christmas is over for another year, I scrapbook all the photos and handmade cards we receive. It's great to look back at all of our friends and relatives ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Is It Legit, or Is It a Scam?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Every day, millions of people get sucked into internet scams and tricks that end up costing them dearly. I was reminded of this when I got a letter from a reader asking this simple question: How can I tell if something on the internet is legit or some kind of scam?

Great question. I posed it to my colleague and cyberspace expert, Doug Alton. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Afford the Big Stuff

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You don't need me to tell you that we're living in uncertain economic times.

One day, stocks are plummeting and home foreclosures are skyrocketing; the next day, things seem to be looking up.

But whether the economy is good or bad, expenses keep rising. There's the mortgage and the car payments to deal with and all of your other necessary ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Money Rules to Live By

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

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 Not Found" 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 froze. I ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Your Own Laundry Softener

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Fabric softeners -- liquid added to the final rinse in the washing machine or softening sheets that go with the clothes into the dryer -- are designed to reduce the amount of static in synthetic fibers. Clothes and linens come out feeling soft and smelling great. So why would anyone opt to go through the time and trouble of making homemade ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Perfect Cold-Brew Iced Coffee

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The idea left me, well, cold. Coffee is supposed to be hot. Very, very hot.

And then, I made a serious mistake. I accepted a sample of iced coffee in a popular coffee shop. It was strong, sweet, creamy and icy, icy cold. Wow.

I needed to figure out how to make this myself -- it was that good -- because as much as I might want iced coffee again...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Miracle of Compounding Interest

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Recently, I heard from Mimi K. in Mississippi, who wanted to know of a way to teach her children about the principle of compounding interest. Her question reminded me of a story I learned from my colleague Alvin Danenberg that takes a nebulous financial theory and turns it into an easily understood principle:

In 1492, Christopher Columbus ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Case of the Frugal Florist

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I offered to do flower arrangements for a very small family wedding. The bride donated $100 for the flowers. I offered to pay for any additional floral costs as my wedding gift to the couple. Unfortunately, I underestimated the additional cost for the flowers, and it looks as if I will be going way over my budget for this gift. Do you...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Bargains by the Month

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

OK, I'll say a word and you respond with the first thing that pops into your head.

Me: January.

You: White sales!

Excellent response -- the very one I was hoping for to set the tone for this column. It's important to note that times have changed with these monthly sale guides. In recent years, some of the best sales often take place ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ready to Take the 3-Apple Challenge?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

In the modern-day supermarket, an apple is something that never disappears. No matter what time of year it is, there will be apples. But does that mean there is still a season for apples? You bet there is, and that would be from about September until the start of spring.

Apple season isn't that difficult to spot. I mean, have you been to the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: What Makes Us Happy

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

In an article titled "What Do You Need to Be Happy?" I reported that, even though most people believe that greater wealth would make their lives happier, studies indicate that once our basic needs are met, more money will not make us any happier.

In that column, I asked readers to weigh in on this subject. In your heart, do you believe that ...Read more



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