Home & Leisure
Everyday Cheapskate: How to Build a Great Credit Score
If you are a legal adult U.S. resident, somewhere there is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 with your name on it. Your credit score measures your creditworthiness, which is the likelihood that you will pay your bills.
Establishing good credit has never been as important to your life as it is today.
You need a good score to get decent ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Pay Down, or Pay Ahead? It Can Be Confusing
Years ago, I learned a lesson I won't have to learn again. It was that poignant. It was during a time when mortgage interest rates took a nosedive and we benefited by refinancing our high-rate mortgage.
The transaction closed in late August with the first payment due in October. Rather than take a month off from making a mortgage payment, we ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: How to Use Wool Dryer Balls and Why You Should
A previous column on fabric softener products struck a chord with thousands of readers. I know because you send me messages and letters, which I love -- even some of you who are not 100% satisfied making the switch from problematic laundry softeners to what I find are amazing wool dryer balls. But first, let's review the problem.
The medical ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Turn Your Junk to Cash in a Weekend
It's spring and I can't think of a better time to clean out the drawers, closets and disaster areas that your family members are always complaining about. You need to turn that clutter into cash.
The first thing you need to do is choose the dates. Check all kinds of calendars to make sure your sale won't hit the same weekend as a community ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Great Reader Tips: From Luxury Taxes to Quick Scissor-Sharpening
Over the years, I've noticed something. People who live comfortably do not do so because they are particularly wealthy. It's because they are disciplined. They possess financial maturity. They live according to principles and rules they impose upon themselves. I have a feeling that Jane, today's first tipster, is one of those people -- quietly ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Six Common Money Blunders
I could be wrong, but I'm going to guess you've made a money blunder or two in your life. For many of us, it was a nonstop series of blunders that finally brought us to our financial knees.
But I'm not talking about the kind of blunders that got us into trouble. We could list those in our sleep. These are the blunders commonly made while ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Make Your Own Highly Effective Cleaning Products for Pennies to Save Dollars
The next time you need cleaning supplies, take a trip to your pantry, not the store. You already have the ordinary basic household items required to mix up every type of cleaner you need to keep the place sparkling clean and germ-free. Recipes? You need recipes? Well, this must be your lucky day, because I've got recipes!
ALL-PURPOSE LIQUID ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: My Sincere Apologies to Pawnshops Everywhere
In the wake of America's big economic wake-up call back in 2008, dollar stores and thrift stores saw a big resurgence. And now another kind of retail quasi-lender is commanding all kinds of attention from sellers and buyers: pawnshops.
I admit to having grown up with a weird bias against pawnshops. To me, pawnshops were just one level above ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Great Tips From My Great Readers!
With the cost of feeding a family so high, it's no wonder that so many tips readers submit are geared to help us save money and time in the supermarket and kitchen -- with plenty more for all around the house and garage, too.
My tip might seem like a contradiction to "cheapskate" but it has saved our family a fortune. Do not be ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: So You Think Money Is for Spending? We Need To Talk
It took me a dreadfully long time to understand this important truth: Money is not for spending. It is for managing first, and then for spending.
It takes courage to believe it, but when you do, it will profoundly change the way you think about and manage your money.
Imagine this: It's Friday, a day you have come to know and love as Cake Day. ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Lessons From a 2-Year-Old
I gave my son and daughter-in-law lots of gifts when their son, Elijah, was born. But none has come back to bless me more than the gift of Friday. Since he was 6 weeks old, I've closed the door to work on Fridays to care for and learn from my grandson, Eli.
In these two years, Eli and I have explored our neighborhood looking for cats, dogs, ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: When Holiday Debt Lingers Long After the Gifts Are Forgotten
Got debt? I could be wrong, but if you're revolving a big credit card balance, I'm guessing at least some of it is holiday related.
Sadly, holiday debt can hang on long after the gifts are forgotten.
So, what's the problem here? Procrastination. When it comes to Christmas, the longer you wait to shop, the more you'll spend. The more you spend,...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Dear Cheapskate: Oodles of Hotel Toiletries, Lawn Mower Agreement and an IRS Goof-up, Too!
Lots of mail this week, but who's complaining? Not me, that's for sure. I love hearing from my readers, and when I can help out with an opinion, website or other solution to a problem, that makes it even better.
Dear Cheapskate: I have bags and bags of hotel soaps -- you know, stuffed away after trips (guess we traveled more than we realized). ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: A Frugal Solution for the Heartbreak of Melted Ice Cream
Some people are born frugal. They come into the world with a bent to use it up, wear it out and do without. Not me. I arrived with an overly developed spendthrift gene. Frugality is a learned behavior and way of life I have chosen. And I learn something new nearly every day.
Take melted ice cream as an example. For one reason or another (too ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Little Known Ways to Get Free Seeds, Tools, Gardening Supplies
There's nothing like spring and the promise of warmer summer days right around the corner to awaken one's inner gardener.
Whether you're an experienced gardener or a beginner, given these inflationary times, you may need more time to fork out money on gardening supplies and tools. Well, take heart! There are a number of places where you may be ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Shocked at the Pump!
Yesterday I filled up at the gas station and I was shocked. Shocked! Cost to fill up? $87.12! I really haven't been hiding under a rock. It's just that I don't often fill the vehicle I share with my husband, so it wasn't until I handed over $87.12 that the runaway cost of gasoline got personal.
Believe me, as I pulled away, I renewed my resolve...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: Extended Warranty -- Good Deal or Rip-Off?
Recently, I stopped into a popular toy store to get a little something for my grandkid, Sam. Yes, I am one of those grandmothers. We found the cutest ever toy shaving kit, just perfect for bath time. The price was under $10. At checkout, and without missing a beat, the sales clerk inquired if I would like to add an extended warranty for just $4....Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: How to Move from Overspending to Spending Less
Even the mention of words like "frugality" and "thrift" send some people over the edge because for them, those words conjure up thoughts of poverty and deprivation.
They assume that cutting costs is tantamount to diving into dumpsters to find one's next meal. No wonder so many people prefer a life of debilitating debt to one of frugality.
Let ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: How to Set Up an Automatic Payment Plan
Creditors, especially banks and credit card issuers, are unbelievably sensitive to whether you pay your bills on time. So is your credit score. One slip-up could cost you dearly if that means you lose your low- or no-interest rate, or a late payment results in a big late fee.
Late payments when reported to the credit bureaus can mean a serious ...Read more
Everyday Cheapskate: How to Keep Your Iced Coffee Strong to the Last Sip
The arrival of warmer weather marks the reappearance of various things, with my personal favorite being iced coffee season. It's a revitalizing method to kick off the day and a refreshing afternoon energizer when hot coffee doesn't seem appealing.
If you, like I, are a leisurely coffee sipper, you're likely acquainted with how fast melted ice ...Read more