Over the years, I've received thousands of money-saving tips from readers -- many of which I've shared in books, newsletters and this column. And there are plenty that I've not shared for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they don't work.
Some work so poorly, they actually end up costing time and money, not saving anything. One of those ...Read more
Shopping is my thing. I love the thrill of the hunt, that feeling of discovery and the joy of a bargain. I find it satisfying in ways I cannot fully describe. I want to experience the feeling as often as possible. Shopper's high is no joke. It's real; it's palpable; and it's addictive.
Shopping got me into a lot of trouble. In just 12 years, I ...Read more
I love a beautiful yard, but I hate spending a lot of money to get it that way, which explains why I am always looking for do-it-yourself, cheap ways to kill weeds, grow flowers and feed lawns.
I have come across some very clever tips and tricks, not the least of which is to reclassify the dandelion as a low-maintenance, hearty ground cover. ...Read more
So you're getting ready to sell your house. Just thinking about it can be an overwhelming experience.
Should you hire a real estate agent? Should you do a FSBO (for sale by owner) to keep from paying that big commission? Should you spend a lot of money to paint and re-carpet -- at least the front rooms?
Where do you start, and what can you do ...Read more
A quick Instagram search for #suntea turns up more than 36,000 results confirming that the summer months are prime time for this classic tea beverage. Add in the untold number of sun tea worshippers out there who aren't into hashtags and social media and the results are clear: There's a lot of love for sun tea.
But what is sun tea, exactly, and...Read more
Dear Mary: What is a safe disinfectant for colored clothes, such as underwear and bath towels? I can't use chlorine bleach, and since I usually wash my colored clothes in cold water, I do not feel like I am getting them sanitized enough. Thanks. -- Sherri
Dear Sherri: Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tested ...Read more
Weeds are everywhere -- lawns, parks, roadsides, driveways, my garden, even busting their way through asphalt and cracks in sidewalks. Weeds thrive without fertilizer, love arid conditions and require no care or attention. If you don't want weeds to take over your garden, yard or neighborhood, you need a reliable and inexpensive way to take them...Read more
Current headlines and world events serve as a grim reminder of how quickly one's personal economy can change. If the rain of an economic downturn were to fall on you tomorrow, would you know how to find shelter from the storm?
Troubles come and troubles go. Economic recovery is sure, eventually. In the meantime, knowing how to survive will help...Read more
MELTED-ON CRAYON STAINS
With so many restaurants giving kids crayons to keep them occupied while waiting for the meal to arrive, we have had to learn how to remove crayons from clothes that have inadvertently made their way through both the washer and dryer. Melted-on crayon can be removed by first applying WD-40 to the area, working it into ...Read more
Discouragement plagues all of us from time to time. If you're discouraged about your situation -- be it financial, family, job or just basic uncertainty about the future -- there are some things you can do to counter those feelings and attitudes. The most important is to know this will not last forever.
Let's say your neighbor just got a ...Read more
You should see my email inbox. Yikes! It's overflowing with questions, tips, stories, feedback, rebuttals and all kinds of love from you, my dear readers. Today, I'm making a tiny dent in the pile with these responses to a handful of your questions on auto leasing, homemade laundry detergent and more.
Dear Cheapskate: My wife and I are ...Read more
There are a number of ways to buy prescription eyeglasses, including from local opticians, independent optometrists, optical departments in big-box retailers and online-only vendors. Regardless of the option you choose, the good news is that prescription eyeglasses do not have to cost hundreds of dollars.
There are two ways you can purchase ...Read more
You bought the biggest house they said you could qualify for, taking advantage of low rates and creative financing. Who knew you could afford such a great home?
But now, several years later, your low-interest rate has disappeared and the adjustable-rate mortgage that seemed like a good idea keeps pushing your payments higher. Or perhaps you ...Read more
Life on earth has never been perfect, but you'd have a hard time convincing some people of that. It's not that they are ignorant. They have selective memories.
Perhaps you can identify if you long for the way things used to be -- when jobs were plentiful, mortgages were simple, retirement accounts moved in only one direction (up) and students ...Read more
Dear Mrs. Mary Hunt: My name is Abby. I am 13 years old. So, my mom got your book, "Raising Financially Confident Kids." She is on Chapter 9, and she wants to do that -- give your kids money and make them buy their clothes, shoes, etc., each month.
Well, I didn't really like the idea. I actually thought it was stupid. But I didn't say anything....Read more
I wouldn't even venture a guess for how many umbrellas I've purchased in my life. It's not so much that I lose them; it's that they turn out to be junk.
The frame collapses; the ribs get tweaked, causing it to bend the wrong way; and the ligaments snap apart, all of which renders the thing is so weak it surrenders to the elements by turning ...Read more
If I were keeping track of the number of responses from my readers that are filled with praise and gratitude, there would be thousands of hash marks next to Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner. And the word used most often to describe it? "Magical"!
But now and then, a response will report problems having to do with allergies and, well, that smell...Read more
Longtime readers of this column may remember the reader who wanted to know where she could donate her fabric scraps. I offered details on a small organization in Texas that turns new fabric scraps into quilts for shelters, churches and other charities.
Apparently, reader G.W. was not the only reader with fabric scraps too good to throw away. "...Read more
Would you be willing to accept a reduction in pay if you could work fewer hours to spend more time with your family? It is a lovely thought, but how realistic is it? Working less usually means earning less -- hardly an option for most people.
But that doesn't mean we cannot take small steps to simplify our complicated lives. A little bit here ...Read more
Growing up in Boise, Idaho (shoutout to all my Gem State readers), my parents had a percolator. I can still hear that coffee pot perking away in the mornings. My mom used something called Dip-It powder to keep the thing clean. That's a memory that sent me into research mode, prompted by today's first reader inquiry.
Dear Mary: I purchased a ...Read more