Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Mats for Vinyl, Programmable Thermostats, Work From Home

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Just this past weekend, while selecting grout for my new laundry room floor, I did a double take in the flooring aisle at Home Depot. The beautiful "hardwood" flooring didn't seem to match the sign that clearly read "Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring." What?! Really? Truth.

But even the most luxurious vinyl comes with its own challenge, as evidenced ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 5 Fabulous Homemade Household Cleaners That Use the Power of Rubbing Alcohol

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, is extremely useful around the house because it acts as both a solvent and a disinfectant. And it's cheap! All of this makes rubbing alcohol a nearly magical ingredient in so many useful homemade solutions.

Rubbing alcohol comes in varying strengths, from 70 percent all the way to 99 percent...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simplify Your Life to Ease Stress and Save Money

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When our lives get chaotic, we pay dearly in terms of time, money and stress. There are hundreds of things you can do to simplify your life. Here are seven to help you get started ... one a day for the next week.

1. Carry only the keys you use every day. Take everything else off your key ring. If you don't recognize what a key is for, toss it. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: My Journey Into the Web of Darkness

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I know exactly what day it was because I got up very early to be among the first to know Punxsutawney Phil's prediction for how many weeks of winter were still ahead. As I was waiting for the live coverage to begin, I got an email that made my heart race. It was from LifeLock, the identity protection service I've used for many years. The subject...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: It's a Smelly World Out There

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Nok-Out and I met quite by accident. In searching for ways my readers could deal with offensive odors, we found each other online. I've used it continuously in my home since then, and recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues. Not everything in life can be doused in bleach. But Nok-Out? No problem! (It was ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Out of the Red: How to Keep Your Finances and Attitude in the Black

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

When I am not writing about personal finance and consumer debt, I knit. Something about the gentle rhythm of yarn and needle calms my spirit and unwinds my brain.

I have managed to finish a few projects, not because I'm a great knitter but because I "tink" ("knit" spelled backward) almost as well as I knit.

Because all knitters make mistakes, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: No Truth to the Rumor That Metal Knives Make Lettuce Turn Brown

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Quite possibly one of my favorite aspects of writing this column is the mountain of reader feedback it produces. I have the best readers in the universe, too. Nearly every letter turns into a love fest, which of course charges my batteries, making me love my readers all the more!

Do you recall the letter from Pat, who complained of her lettuce ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything, Toilet Paper Pricing, Rust on Linens, Rusty Lettuce

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are few things as confusing to the price-conscious shopper as standing there in the toilet tissue aisle attempting to ascertain the best value. I can't think of a better time than today to review the simple math needed to come up with the best answer -- every time.

Dear Mary: Is there any way to reasonably comparison shop for toilet paper...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: All You Need to Know to Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Whenever I write about the benefits of using wool dryer balls in place of laundry softeners, I get a few responses gently raking me over the coals for suggesting we should spend money for commercially manufactured wool dryer balls when it's so easy to make them ourselves.

Yes, I could do that, and so could you. But unless you have a super cheap...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Clean out Clutter to Improve the Quality of Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

What would you do if you actually had to use everything you own, including all that stuff in the drawers, cupboards, closets, shelves and boxes in your kitchen, bedrooms, living room, basement, attic, garage, rafters, driveway, patio, side yard and cars?

Most of us will never accomplish such an overwhelming task. Instead, we pack it, stack it ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Trucs in the Kitchen

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Fast-food runs, deli detours and grocery carts loaded with prepared food can drain a food budget faster than a houseful of hungry teenagers. The secret for slashing your family's food bill is to cook at home. And the way to become confident in the kitchen is to learn a few strategic trucs of the trade.

"Truc" (rhymes with "fluke") is a French ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Everything You Need to Know About HELs

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Thinking of dipping into your home's equity? There was a time, and not so long ago, that a home equity loan, or HEL, was tough to get. It was generally considered a risk no prudent homeowner should consider.

Whereas mortgage lenders used to adhere to strict guidelines that kept homeowners from getting in over their heads, the financial services...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Prevent Pilling on Flannel Sheets

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are a few things as comforting as slipping between super soft, comfy flannel sheets on a cold winter night.

But not all flannel is created equal. The problem with flannel and other raised fiber fabrics like fleece and knits is the heartbreak of "pills" -- those little raised balls that develop, creating a lumpy surface.

The solution to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 8 Secrets of a Successful Garage Sale

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Whether your goal is to purge your home of stuff you no longer need or raise some cash -- or both -- you have options.

You can sell your items on an auction website like eBay, list them in classifieds on Craigslist or give the stuff away. Or, you can create a killer garage sale that turns your castoffs into cold, hard cash.

PLAN AHEAD. Give ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Solving Bedsheet Pet Peeve, Plus How to Soften Hard Water for Laundry

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It may not show up in the Top 10 Biggest Pet Peeves (yes, there is such a thing floating around the internet), but getting the corners right when putting on a fitted bed sheet ranks high in my mailbox.

Here's the funny thing: Because it doesn't bother me, I had no idea that quickly figuring out which corner goes where when putting on a fitted ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Great Ways to Use This for That!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

One of the best ways to recycle responsibly -- and save a few bucks at the same time -- is to find a second life for something you might otherwise toss in the trash.

Some ideas are pretty well-known, like reusing plastic grocery bags for trash can liners, or using the lid from a liquid detergent container for a cookie cutter. So, when a reader ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Organize Old Family Photos Without Losing Your Mind

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Let's see by a show of hands how many of you have at least one box crammed full of old family photographs out in the garage, up in the attic or down in the basement.

Look at that! Hands going up all over the room.

I'm guessing that anyone over the age of 20 knows what I'm talking about. Old family photos. We sure can't get rid of them. But we'...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Turn Leftovers Into Thursday-Night Soup

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Soup is a great frugal, potentially delicious meal that can successfully be made from leftovers. It's a great way to "waste not, want not" because, potentially, you can get a free meal for your efforts.

But I'm not talking about just dumping stuff in a pot willy-nilly. There's a method here to making really great soup from ingredients that you'...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Stains

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Faithful readers will recall a tip from Julie in which she shared her simple homemade carpet shampoo made of hydrogen peroxide, hot water and a tiny bit of liquid laundry soap.

That tip set off a semi-avalanche of responses requesting specific details, many of which cautioned -- wisely -- that hydrogen peroxide can bleach some types of fabrics ...Read more

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


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