Recently, I heard from Mimi K. in Mississippi, who wanted to know of a way to teach her children about the principle of compounding interest. Her question reminded me of a story I learned from my colleague Alvin Danenberg that takes a nebulous financial theory and turns it into an easily understood principle:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus ...Read more
Dear Mary: I offered to do flower arrangements for a very small family wedding. The bride donated $100 for the flowers. I offered to pay for any additional floral costs as my wedding gift to the couple. Unfortunately, I underestimated the additional cost for the flowers, and it looks as if I will be going way over my budget for this gift. Do you...Read more
OK, I'll say a word and you respond with the first thing that pops into your head.
You: White sales!
Excellent response -- the very one I was hoping for to set the tone for this column. It's important to note that times have changed with these monthly sale guides. In recent years, some of the best sales often take place ...Read more
In the modern-day supermarket, an apple is something that never disappears. No matter what time of year it is, there will be apples. But does that mean there is still a season for apples? You bet there is, and that would be from about September until the start of spring.
Apple season isn't that difficult to spot. I mean, have you been to the ...Read more
In an article titled "What Do You Need to Be Happy?" I reported that, even though most people believe that greater wealth would make their lives happier, studies indicate that once our basic needs are met, more money will not make us any happier.
In that column, I asked readers to weigh in on this subject. In your heart, do you believe that ...Read more
Dear Mary: My father has been the victim of elder abuse. His sister, who was his caregiver, has charged $21,000 on his credit cards. We are trying to determine what accounts he has open and take action to close all of the accounts. What should we do? Thank you for all that you teach us. You help us in hundreds of ways. -- Veronica E., email
Imagine ordinary food items, available in any supermarket, that are powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and even put you in a better mood. You'd surely stock up on a lifetime supply and see to it that you add at least one super ingredient to every meal.
Well, imagine no more. Foods ...Read more
Dear Mary: I read your column all the time and can't thank you enough for all the helpful money-saving hints you print. My mom bought 20-year term life insurance policies for my two sons in the 1970s when they were young. I know she finished paying on them, and I know she didn't cash them out. When my kids were in their late 20s, Mom told me she...Read more
Dear Mary: You have a great column! I learn something new from it every day. My problem is finding a source to determine the value of furniture, books, jewelry and collectibles. My 95-year-old mother is quickly reaching a point where she will need to enter a care facility. Her house is packed full of both nonsense and what I suspect are some ...Read more
My life changed radically about 28 years ago when I came clean about my relationship with money. I broke my self-imposed gag order and told the whole world about my struggle with a debilitating spending problem. At the time, I had no idea this would be one of the smartest things I could ever do. By telling my story and owning up to my problem, I...Read more
Planning to hit the road for some fun family times this fall? Travel has been severely curtailed over the past months, but as things open up now and in the future, make sure you pack these tips to help save time, money and maybe even a few frazzled nerves.
PHOTOCOPIES JUST IN CASE
Before you leave, make two photocopies of everything in your ...Read more
CHEAPER INSURANCE FOR TEEN DRIVER?
Dear Mary: My son will be getting his driver's license this year, and I've heard that the cost of insuring a teenage driver is out of this world. My wife and I live paycheck to paycheck and really aren't looking forward to this added expense. And I don't think my son's part-time job is going to be able to pay ...Read more
Today, I have a bunch of tips for you. These are quick, wonderful ways to save time and money every day. I'm crazy about tips. Actually, I collect them, test them, sort them, categorize them, file them and then turn around and share them with friends like you.
You might find yourself asking, "But, Mary, will any one of these ideas really save ...Read more
Call me picky, but I prefer my greens to be those of the garden variety, not something growing on my cheese.
Don't you just hate when that happens? You buy a block of cheese, and before you can use it up, it turns into something that looks more like a science fair project than a tasty dairy product.
I'll admit it. Back in my carefree ...Read more
Dear Mary: I've heard that if you regularly blow-dry your hair with an ordinary hair dryer set on high, you'll never have head lice, because lice and their eggs cannot tolerate heat. Is that true? I hope so because that special lice-killing shampoo is very expensive. -- Jill
Dear Jill: You just might be on to something here! The National Center...Read more
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