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Everyday Cheapskate: Dumb Things to Do With a Tax Refund

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Tax time: that interesting time of year when ordinarily smart people begin to make really dumb financial decisions. Isn't it amazing to watch what a little extra cash (well, for some, maybe a lot of extra cash) lining the pockets can do?

Sixty-two percent of taxpayers expect that they'll receive some sort of refund on their 2017 tax return. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Burnt-Cookie Rescue and More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I needed something to hold toothpicks, so I cleaned out a short votive candleholder. It is just the right size, and it looks good, too. -- Tara

Dear Mary: Those metal snap hair clips make great inexpensive bookmarks. You can snap the point of the clip so it points directly to the place on the page where you stopped reading. The clips...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Microfiber Cloths and How to Use Them

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When it comes to cleaning just about any hard surface in or about the house, a microfiber cloth is a dream come true. However, it won't work if it's not used properly. Keep in mind that if you oversaturate a microfiber cloth, it's not going to work very well. Unless your goal is to push dirty water around on a surface, you'll only want to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Readers Want to Know About Air Fryers and Cleaning Dirty Leather

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Today, I am responding to two questions pulled out of my overly stuffed email inbox. I love when my readers write to me, especially when they ask the questions that so many others are asking. I believe that means we can refer to these as FAQs -- frequently asked questions!

Dear Mary: Air fryers are all the rage and, from what everyone tells me,...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Could You Go a Year Without Spending?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A few years back, Eric and Donna Reed shopped for groceries and household products just once for an entire year. How on Earth? I know. That was my reaction, too.

The Reeds got the idea after reading a column in USA Today wherein the writer confessed to his weakness when it came to buying clothes. So driven to buy new sweaters, slacks or shoes ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A New Kitchen Is Her Reward for Getting out of Debt

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Imagine for a moment that you were not in debt and didn't have to send those big payments to credit card companies every month. What would you do with that money instead?

One reader I heard from recently faced that exact and, may I say, awesome, situation. Her reward for getting out of debt was the freedom to start paying herself every month ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Frugal Ways to Use This for That

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love to discover a second use for something most of us have around the house or can easily find. Today's first tip may give you a big surprise, and for sure a good laugh. By the way -- this really works!

POTTY LINER. Line the bottom of baskets and pots with a disposable diaper (yes, clean and unused!) before you put in the potting soil and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Keep Kitties Out of the Sandbox

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Pop quiz: What looks like water, is certainly inexpensive, has a pungent odor but is not toxic (in fact, you can drink it if you like), is biodegradable, serves as a useful disinfectant and will repel kitties from your kids' sandbox? Give up? Read on to learn the answer in today's first great reader tip.

SCAT, CAT! Keep cats out of your kids' ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Readers Share More Clever Ways to Stretch a Buck

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Over the years, I've learned from my clever, awesome readers that there are always more ways to stretch a buck. Today's batch of great reader tips proves positive.

With that, I have only one request: Please keep your great tips, tricks and money-saving ideas coming. We love them!

PUDDING STRETCH. My family loves Jello instant pudding, but the ...Read more

Blue Dawn Shampoo? Ha! Don't Make Me Laugh

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I am a cheapskate. I read your column for hot tips, particularly about Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Recently, I have begun to use Dawn for a hair shampoo. My wife is aghast. She says my hair is going to turn blue and I will smell. She claims that shampoos have an acid-base balance that ensures shiny, luxurious hair. Do you have an ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Forget the Dry Cleaner: How to Wash a Down Comforter

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you've ever wondered if it's OK to wash your down comforter without taking it to the dry cleaners, the answer is yes.

You can absolutely wash your down comforter without spending upwards of $60 (depending on the size, where you live and how dirty it is) to have it dry-cleaned professionally. All you need is a mild detergent, wool dryer balls...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Pocket Some Serious Energy Savings Plus More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical U.S. family spends at least $2,200 a year on home utility bills, almost half of which goes toward heating and cooling.

If your home has a fireplace with a flue that is not adequately weatherstripped, it's like leaving a door or window open. You're losing expensive warm air in the winter ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything - Formica Restore, Silverfish Relief, Party Pressure

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Recently, I reached into the pile known as my mail and pulled out a great question: "How can I restore the finish to an original, classic mid-century modern Formica top table that has some noticeable dull spots?" I have the answer but misplaced the letter. So while I don't know your name, you know who you are, and that's what matters.

Dear ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Get Financially Confident Starting Now

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

For a good deal of my life, I lived under a dark cloud of fear that I would end up financially destitute -- a bag lady. Studies reveal that I'm not the only one. Most of us have felt that way, not because we're broke but because we lack confidence. That makes us timid, worried and financially insecure.

Look, we don't have to accept financial ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Make Your Own Mixes and Save a Bundle

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

They're convenient and tasty, but have you ever considered the high cost of your favorite prepared mixes and spices?

In less time than it takes you to run to the market to pick up a box of Rice-A-Roni or Shake'N Bake, you could make them yourself -- and save a bundle in the process.

With each of these "copycat" recipes, I've indicated the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Cheap Dishwasher Cleaner and Charged-Off Debt

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

From dishwashers to debt, readers of this column ask great questions. And if statistics can be trusted, we know that for each one who asks there are 999 others who have the same question but just haven't gotten around to writing -- yet!

Dear Mary: Do you have any suggestions for cleaning the inside of a dishwasher? I have seen packaged cleaners...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 12 Amazing Ways to Use Cheap White Vinegar Around the House

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It costs hardly anything ($2 a gallon or less on sale); it's available in every grocery store in the universe; and it's so useful around your home you are going to have a hard time believing it. That's the power of vinegar. Yep, plain, cheap, 5 percent acidity white vinegar.

1. Instead of fabric softener or dryer sheets, add 1/2 to 1 cup ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Buying things when they're on sale is a great way to avoid overspending. But unless you are diligent to take the difference between the regular price and the sale price and actually deposit that into a savings account, are you really saving money?

Nope. You're just spending less. And you can spend less right through your entire paycheck.

While...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Make Your Own Tub, Tile and Shower Cleaners

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The only thing better than making things myself is when what I make turns out to be cheaper, better and faster than something I could buy in the store to accomplish the same goal. That makes me so happy!

Dear Mary: I love, love, love the homemade Tub and Shower Soap Scum Remover. It works better than any product I have ever used. Our tubs and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 9 Random Time- and Money-Saving Household Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

From frozen key locks to hazy headlight covers, today I have a handful of completely unrelated household tips to entertain and make your life a little easier. Enjoy!

ORGANIZE HOUSEHOLD SUPPLIES. Use an over-the-door hanging shoe rack with clear vinyl pockets to organize and store cleaning supplies, with one item per pocket. This gets them up ...Read more


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