Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: You'll Want To Make a Batch of This Effective DIY Upholstery Cleaner

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

This DIY recipe for upholstery cleaner is easy to make, super effective and (you know what's coming) cheap!


a cheese grater

an eggbeater or whisk

a medium mixing bowl

6 tablespoons grated Fels Naptha laundry bar soap*

2 tablespoons borax*

2 cups boiling water

*available in most supermarkets in the laundry aisle, or online ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 8 Strategies to Graduate College Debt-free

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There was a time when I didn't have much opinion on paying for college with student loans. That was before the advent of email and thousands of messages, all with a similar subject line: "Help! I'm drowning in student loan debt!"

That was before I learned that about 85% of college graduates do not end up working in their major. That was before ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How To Clean Your Keurig Machine and How Often You Should

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

While drinking coffee has health benefits, using your Keurig machine daily without routine cleaning and maintenance can lead to awful consequences.

It's essential to clean a Keurig because it can be a health hazard if not cleaned properly. Like any coffee maker (or espresso machine), Keurigs can grow mold if not properly drained, descaled and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How To Clean Hardwood Floors With Hydrogen Peroxide

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The finish on hardwood flooring is neither fragile nor indestructible. Hardwood floors must be cleaned properly using the correct solvent level to protect their beauty and fine finish. Some of us (ahem) have had to learn this truth the hard way.

Even though you can't damage hardwood floors by walking on them, all wood is susceptible to stains. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Vangie Is Her Name, And Travel Is Her Game

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

To say that the global pandemic rocked the world in horrific ways would be to put it mildly. We may never know the full extent of grief, anger and loss, but for certain, we've been forever changed for having experienced and come through this season of our lives. This is my story.

"Wake up!" That's exactly what the ugly, life-disrupting monster ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 7 Budget-friendly Ways To Keep the House Cool When It's Hot

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Have you figured out ways to keep things cool indoors this summer without sending your utility bills through the stratosphere? If you could use some help in that regard, here are some tips, tricks and great ideas that will help you stay cool without burning a hole in the budget.


Use ceiling fans liberally. It costs less than $5 a ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How I Got My Kids To Stop Whining in Only 3 Days

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

For this mother of two young, world-class whiners, the techniques described in the booklet seemed way too simple to be effective, the promised results too good to be true. In desperation, however, I decided to give the anti-whining program -- guaranteed to be appropriate for toddlers and up -- my best shot by following the simple daily ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A Simple 3-Step Budget That Can Change Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Budgets are like training wheels: They help you get moving and offer you confidence as you learn how to balance.

I wish I could come up with a better word than "budget" for managing money. While I've made peace with the word, it still conjures up synonyms like whip, drudgery and cruel master. Personally, I prefer the more elegant term "spending...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: When 'FREE' Comes With a Price Tag

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I couldn't pass it up, and I mean that quite literally. Someone dumped it right in the middle of my shortcut through the back of a neighborhood center. I had two choices: hit it head-on or stop to investigate.

Closer examination revealed a unique piece of furniture -- a child-size, solid wood combination five-drawer dresser wardrobe. I dragged ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Till Debt Do Us Part

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It is difficult to imagine: Our wedding cost a whopping $200. I borrowed my dress and veil; I made the bridesmaid's dresses; a friend made and gifted the cake; we had one bouquet for the church; and our fathers (both ministers) performed the ceremony. We opted for the photographer's monthly special ($100 for eight 8x10s) and paid cash for ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Debt Consolidation -- Good Solution or Terrible Mistake?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

To the person drowning in debt, a debt-consolidation loan looks like a lifesaver. But reaching for it without knowing exactly what it's made of could be a severe mistake.

The way it's supposed to work: You pay off all your small high-interest consumer debts with the proceeds of a new low-interest loan whose payment is less than the total of the...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Paying Too Much for Cellphone Service? Here's 5 Ways To Save Money

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If soaring costs are getting you down, finding realistic ways to reduce expenses will keep your head above water and your spirits high. In this column, I will share five ways to save money on your cellphone bill. By applying one or more of these tips, you may be able to cut your monthly bill in half.


Verizon and AT&T's ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Would You Put a Teenager in Charge of the Family Vacation Budget?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

One of the most memorable letters I've received in my writing career came from a mother, reporting on how she and her husband took a big financial leap of faith with their daughter -- a move that paid off big.

Dear Mary: I wanted to tell you the secret of sticking to a budget on our family vacation -- something we've had a hard time achieving ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Secrets To Make Clothes Look Better and Last Longer

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You should see the big wad of lint I just plucked from the trap of my clothes dryer. Ack! Where does all of that come from? I know I emptied all pockets, and I'm certain I did not wash a bag of pillow stuffing.

I'll tell you what it is, and I am not happy about this: It's visual proof the dryer is wearing out our clothes. Those fibers were ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Deep-clean a Coffee Maker

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Performing a deep clean on a coffee maker is important to extend its useful life and ensure you're brewing the best-tasting coffee possible.

A buildup of hard water scale and rancid coffee oils in a coffee maker is to be expected. Allowing that buildup to remain (and multiply) can be very hard on the machine and make the coffee that comes from ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 8 Surprising Ways Lemons Can Make Your Life Easier

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Several years ago, my son gave me the bounty from the two fruit trees that pretty much rule his backyard. My Mother's Day gift of Meyer lemons weighed in at 124 pounds. I know, lucky me!

I had to figure out ways to use, share and preserve lemons in a big hurry. I juiced, cooked and baked all kinds of lemon things. And I learned so many ways to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Why You Should Never Be Late Paying Your Rent

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Some days, my email inbox fills me with joy. And then there are the days that a message nearly breaks my heart. That was the case when I opened this letter from one of my dear readers who lives in Missouri.

Dear Mary: In one of your columns ("What To Do When You Can't Pay Your Bills?", you recommend paying your ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Zero-Interest Balance Transfer Has Its Reward but Is Riddled with Risk

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Paying off credit card debt is an uphill battle. If the majority of your minimum monthly payment is going toward interest, that makes the climb even more difficult.

Getting out from under double-digit interest rates with a zero-interest balance transfer can make a big difference, provided you understand the risks.

Dear Mary: May I ask your ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: You Need an Insurance Checkup

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

From regular oil changes to changing furnace filters and annual trips to the dentist, smart consumers know that preventive maintenance can avoid costly repairs down the road. Insurance is another item that needs to go on your routine maintenance list.

Here's the challenge: No one wants to think about insurance unless forced to. But at least ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: This Summer, Vacation at Home

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A cash shortage need not eliminate the idea of a family vacation. Clever and creative parents can turn several days off work into an amazing vacation experience without leaving home. Call it a stay-at-home adventure -- a staycation!

There are many reasons why you might want to take a staycation, including wanting to save money, not having ...Read more



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