Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: 15 Facts and Uses for the 1-Cent Piece Are Worth Every Penny

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

For some people, pennies are so annoying they don't even bother picking them up on sidewalks and streets. Then there are those who are nearly fanatical about the copper coin, living up to the old phrase "A penny saved is a penny earned."

Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few facts and practical uses for the coin of lowest ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Vacuums and Home Chef Packaging Material

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

In elementary school, I was one of the kids who would go nuts raising my hand and jumping up and down when the teacher asked a question and I was sure I knew the answer. Me, me, me! Pick me!

That may or may not be what I did when both of today's questions landed in my inbox on the same day, one right after the other. For links to everything ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Got a Big Harvest? Can It!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

So you planted a garden, lucked out when you bought a property that had fruit trees, stumbled upon a produce sale or joined a Community Supported Agriculture program. Good for you!

Now what? What will you do with all that bounty?

Your choices are: quickly consume your harvest before it spoils, give it away or preserve it to enjoy in the future...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Robot Mops, Sunblock, Tile Grout, Cigarette Smoke Stink

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

From cars that reek of stale cigarette smoke to tile grout to robot floor mops, I get questions of every kind from my awesome readers. I love the challenge! So, please, keep those cards and letters coming!

Dear Mary: I love my Eufy Robovac II. With an entire house of wood plank tile, it has changed my life! It has recently come to my attention ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Turn Your Dishwasher Into a Workhorse, Plus More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The dishwasher in my house is a workhorse. It does a great job of doing all sorts of things. It cleans dishes, of course, but it also cleans baseball caps and wastebaskets, and it de-crystalizes honey* (yes, you read that right). Now I can add "cleaning refrigerator shelves" to the list.

SPARKLING CLEAN SHELVES. When I clean my refrigerator, I ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: They'll Think It's Filet Mignon

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

From time to time, my supermarket runs a special on a cut of beef it labels "London Broil." It's a lean piece of meat, about 1 1/2 inches thick and tough as shoe leather.

You may wonder why I load up my freezer when it goes on sale for $3.97 a pound. That's because I have a secret weapon that turns flank steak or any other tough cut of beef ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Conquer Burned-on Oven Crud

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I don't know how else to describe what happens to beautiful sheet pans once they take up residence in my kitchen. All I can say is that in no time, they begin to get this nasty buildup of what I call oven crud -- a burned on incrustation of oven filth.

It's not that I don't wash and scrub those pans. I do. But apparently not well enough. I'm ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Reheating Pizza, Dinner in a Box, Feel-Good Vacations, Robot Vacuum

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I take every message that shows up in my inbox or on my desk, regardless of its contents, as proof someone out there is reading what I write. That's good, because I'm not fond of talking to myself.

Today, I am glad to share a selection of those letters in the hopes that one day soon I'll hear from you, too. For links to the columns mentioned, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Fix It or Nix It?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You're worried that the washing machine may be on its last spin cycle. It makes a horrible screeching sound and needs a lot of coaxing to make it all the way through a full cycle. It's not like it's still under warranty -- you've had it for a long time, and it wasn't new when you got it.

You get an estimate for repair and discover it will cost ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Unitaskers That Are Worth It

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I've recently added two new gadgets to my kitchen that famed television chef Alton Brown would not be happy about if he knew. He'd call them "unitaskers," single-use kitchen gadgets; objects whose only real purpose is to create clutter.

I'd argue that while his theory that every tool in the kitchen should be able to perform multiple tasks is ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Going on Vacation? Make Your Own Plant Nanny, Plus More Great Reader Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

PLANT NANNY. When I go on vacation, I fill bottles and push them into my houseplants and outdoor plants upside down. The water keeps the plants moist for days! -- Sophia

LONG-LASTING CELERY. I don't use celery a lot, except during the holidays. So, come November, when I purchase a stalk of celery, I use what I need and wrap the rest tightly...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Pet Hair, Almond Milk, Stick Vac

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I have a friend who lives alone and considers himself single. But nothing could be further from the truth. He has four cats, or as I call them, The Four Shedders. Max solved his cat hair problem by replacing all of the carpet in his house with laminate flooring and a robot vacuum. Fortunately for today's first questioner, who has her own kind of...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Clever Ways to Use This for That

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dealing with a child in pain can be a difficult experience for everyone regardless the child's age. That's why, as a parent and a grandparent, I so appreciate the hints and tips my readers send to me that help me to be even more resourceful.

ORAJEL NOT JUST FOR BABIES. Our teenage daughter badly stubbed her toe, and we needed to clip the nail. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Best Inexpensive Bed Sheets

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

For some time, I've been toying with whether or not to write this column. You can see I've made my decision. Here's a little backstory to explain my conflict:

When it comes to bedding, I am particular about the way the sheets feel. They have to be smooth and wrinkle-free. They can't be slick, slippery, crunchy or noisy. The weave has to be ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Put Yourself on An Allowance

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It used to be that when I felt broke, I chased away the horrible feeling by leaning on my bevy of credit cards. As long as I could spend money, it felt like I had money. And the more I used my credit cards to prove to myself that I wasn't really broke, the more debt I accumulated. Finally, I couldn't fake it any longer.

It took me 13 years to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It was a silly bedtime rhyme we said when we were kids -- a line that meant nothing to me other than it was funny: "Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite!"

It would be many years before I came to understand that there are bedbugs and they are no laughing matter. Bedbugs are parasites of the cimicidae family that feed exclusively ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Chromebooks, Oven Grates, Best Inexpensive Curling Iron, Fluffy Soft Towels

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I don't know where I first heard it, but I sure do believe it: "Teaching teaches the teacher!" I love your questions because they keep me on my toes and always learning.

Would I be able to use QuickBooks on the Asus Chromebook laptop computer you recommend as your best inexpensive pick?

Answer: If you use QuickBooks Online, you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Appliance Maintenance You Can Do Yourself

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It was Christmas Eve. Company would be arriving in a matter of hours. I opened the refrigerator only to discover everything inside had reached a balmy 70 degrees F. This could not have happened at a worse time.

Away to my computer I flew like a flash -- straight to the RepairClinic website, where I entered the make and model of our refrigerator...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Irregular Income, Erasing Credit Card Debt and a Fiance Who Digs Into Overdraft

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Every week, I get at least a couple of letters from readers whose situations prompt them to start out saying something like "I'm so embarrassed to ask, but ..." Then they pour their hearts out, often lamenting what they believe to be their own stupidity and ignorance. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The only stupid questions are those ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 5 Very Useful Websites to Simplify Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

SEASONAL PRODUCE GUIDE. One of the best tips I know for cutting the cost of healthy, fresh food is to only buy a fruit or vegetable during its peak season. Items at their peak are far more plentiful, which typically causes the prices to drop. But how can you know for certain if, say, cherries, are at their peak?

The Sustainable Table food ...Read more


Social Connections


Wizard of Id Strange Brew Rugrats The Pajama Diaries Shoe Free Range