Dear Mary: I just received my income tax refund. At first, I thought of paying off a credit card bill that I have. My daughter feels I should put it into my savings account; she said it is easier to pay bills than to save. What do you think? -- Iris
Dear Iris: Well, that all depends. If you have little or nothing in savings now, I agree with ...Read more
Dear Mary: How can I get the hard water marks off my glass shower doors? I've tried vinegar, and that helped some, but the marks remain. Thanks! -- Julie
Dear Julie: There's a chance the glass has become permanently "etched" due to hard water sitting on it over many years. But I'd give it one last try with the mother of all hard-water mark ...Read more
Dear Mary: Can you clarify expiration dates on food products? When it says "sell by 4/01/21," does that mean it has to be used or just sold by that date? Others show a date of, say, "2/01/23" on canned or packaged goods. Does that mean you need to use it by this date, or what? Some canned or packaged products don't seem to have any date that I ...Read more
Dear Mary: I like the idea of shopping online. The problem I have is that I am digging my way out of debt. I am in credit counseling and have no credit cards. Do you know of any websites that will give us "non-credit card customers" the chance to enjoy shopping online? I'm anxious to find out how to do this. -- Richard
Dear Richard: Sorry, but ...Read more
Have you ever wondered how retailers can possibly afford to offer the no-interest, no-payments, no-money down kind of deals you see advertised? That was the subject of a question I received recently.
Dear Mary: There are several appliance, electronics and furniture stores in our area that run television commercials offering nothing down -- no ...Read more
From time to time, I reach into the proverbial "Everyday Cheapskate" mailbag and pull out a few of your questions to answer here. My goal is to select questions that will have wide appeal. But when the question arrives with a photo showing me the problem, that gets my attention in spades.
Dear Mary: My husband wears white undershirts, and no ...Read more
Dear Mary: How can a person finance her education without taking out loans? I need to get a master's degree, as I have hit a ceiling, but I don't have $40,000 and don't want to take out loans. Will schools offering graduate programs allow me to move slowly and pay as I go? I just don't feel like there is a choice, and it's stopping me from ...Read more
My adult children are big on borrowing stuff from their parents. And, from time to time, they may fail (you know who you are, son) to mention having borrowed something like a Milwaukee Sawzall reciprocating saw in its big, bright red case, prompting that son's father to assume said tool had been stolen after searching the garage high and low for...Read more
This week, my supermarket has brand-name cake mixes on sale for $1 each, so I've stocked up. And just in the nick of time, here's a clever tip from a reader for how I can make my cake mixes taste for all the world like I made them from scratch.
To make a boxed cake even better, my friend Ida taught me to add three things: 1/4 cup ...Read more
Dear Mary: My wife and I are having a disagreement. I want to lease a new car now, because ours is old and paying for repairs is like flushing money down the drain. She wants to keep it until we can afford to buy a better car. I hate car trouble and think peace of mind is something to be considered. I'm sure we can afford the payment, but she's ...Read more
If the paper monster has you buried under an avalanche of receipts, bank statements, ATM slips, investment records, paycheck stubs and bills, then read on. The good news is you can probably throw most of it away without worry. But before you fire up the shredder, you need to know what to toss and what to keep -- and for how long.
STEP NO. 1: ...Read more
If you've ever asked yourself, "Is there one more thing I could possibly do with baking soda," or, "How will I ever get this candle wax out of the carpet?" today is your lucky day! Read on for some great reader tips.
Instead of buying new dress shoes once the heels start to wear out, take them to a shoe repair place, and have a new heel put on ...Read more
Hydrogen peroxide is as harmless as it is powerful, and it's so much more than just a household cleaner. It is nontoxic, safe, really cheap and available in any grocery or drug store in a 3% dilution. It's a wonderful cleaning product, first-aid product and sanitizer.
There's one thing you need to keep in mind to avoid disappointment: Hydrogen ...Read more
If you have an outdoor barbecue grill with a cover, you can turn it into an outdoor oven. Why would you want to do that? To preclude the need to heat up your kitchen to bake pizza, cookies, cakes, bread and casseroles. And to expand your camping-out cooking repertoire.
You can bake nearly anything with a covered grill. If your grill ...Read more
It's not something you buy every day. But when it's time to buy carpet, you need to know your stuff. Make a bad decision and you'll pay dearly for a long time, and I am not just talking about the money. You'll pay a significant price in dissatisfaction and disappointment.
STYLE OF CARPET
Plush: Usually one solid color with even, smooth pile ...Read more
Sometimes, the very thing you need to solve an ordinary household problem is sitting right in the pantry. Take salt, for example. It's amazing stuff! And it's cheap, too.
I have a favorite little book: "Solve It With Salt" by Patty Moosbrugger. Just look at all the things Patty says we can do with ordinary, inexpensive table salt to make our ...Read more
Closing a credit card account is not for the faint of heart. So, why bother? Oh, let me count the ways:
No. 1: Excessive lines of credit -- even those with a $0 balance -- can wreak havoc on your credit rating.
No. 2: Many open lines of credit are difficult to manage.
No. 3: Let's not forget that temptation factor.
Truth be told, all you ...Read more
Tonight, take a tour through your house with all the lights out. See all those digital clocks and glowing red and green "eyes" staring back at you? That's proof positive your household appliances are sucking energy and spending your money, even when you're asleep.
Transformers that continuously recharge your cellphone, power your computer ...Read more
Vacuuming sucks. Literally. One year, my idea of giving our adult sons robot vacuums for Christmas was intended to help them with that odious chore.
What a disappointment. I learned much later that both guys used their robots for only a few months. They were ridiculously noisy, needed constant supervision and did a lousy job. They were more ...Read more
I'm crazy about gadgets -- everything from quirky can openers to smartphones. Hand me a Swiss Army knife and I'm in heaven -- the more blades and utensils the better. And when that gadget is a true money-saver? Oh, be still my heart!
Today, I want to tell you about four gadgets that are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in a short period...Read more