You may recall from a past column on record keeping that you keep copies of your tax returns forever. Did you read that, and if so, did it make your wonder along with so many who wrote to ask? Wonder no more.
Dear Mary: Why do you recommend people keep tax returns forever? The IRS has electronic copies of every return and can only go back seven...Read more
Leftovers and I have a kind of love-hate relationship. I can't bear the thought of tossing perfectly delicious food into the garbage just because I made too much of it. So I pack it, seal it and fill the refrigerator with it. Once leftovers are past prime -- looking more like a science project that tomorrow's dinner -- they're so much easier to ...Read more
As the story goes, the local inventor invited the town pastry makers to observe his latest invention, an automated pastry-making machine. To his dismay, the bakers deemed it unfit because it could not consistently turn out perfect pastries.
Not one to give up easily, the inventor took one of the chefs aside and asked, "What do YOU do when you ...Read more
I love the smell of a campfire mixed with the scent of pine trees on a warm summer night. But stale cigarette smoke odor in a car or the smell of a house fire that happened a long time ago? That's different and not at all pleasant.
Last week, the following message showed up in my inbox.
Dear Mary: Help! I have a chance to go back home -- to ...Read more
It wasn't our fault that a drunk driver plowed into our parked car in the middle of the night while we were on vacation more than 500 miles from home. The car was a total loss, but no one was hurt; it could have been worse.
Our loss was insured, and we got just enough money from the insurance company to pay off the loan. We wanted to replace ...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
Even if springlike weather is still hanging on where you live, without a doubt, things are going to heat up soon. And won't that be wonderful -- provided you've figured out ways to keep things cool indoors this summer without sending your utility bills through the stratosphere.
If you could use some help staying cool without blowing a hole in ...Read more
Becoming a schoolteacher was never on my radar. Sure, I taught private piano lessons for a lot of years, but in my mind, that was altogether different. I was a musician, not a teacher.
During the early years of becoming a writer, author and columnist, I read a quote that changed all of that for me: "Teaching teaches the teacher."
I guess I'd ...Read more
As sleek and sturdy as it is, stainless steel is not immune to picking up unsightly scratches over the course of everyday household activities. They show up on sinks, appliances, cabinet hardware and stainless counters.
There's a good chance you can restore your scratched metal surfaces provided you use the right tools and closely follow these ...Read more
Whether from your garden, the market or someone else as a gift, you can persuade cut flowers to remain beautiful for at least a week -- maybe two, or even longer -- when you follow a few fabulous flower secrets.
The two enemies of cut flowers are bacteria and drought. Defeat both and your flowers will last and last. You will be amazed!
START ...Read more
I cannot begin to tell you all that I've learned over the last few months about kitchen appliances -- both large and small. My husband is remodeling our kitchen. Wouldn't you assume that selecting appliances would be the easy part in the planning process? Oh, what I have learned -- and do intend on sharing with you in the very near future -- is ...Read more
It was a lovely meal. The conversation was engaging, the entree delightful. A good time was had by all. The guests are long gone, and now you are stuck with an ugly red wine stain on your prized tablecloth. Is this linen destined for the ragbag? Not if you know this super simple solution.
RED WINE STAINS. If you get red wine on a washable ...Read more
If the paper monster has you buried under an avalanche of receipts, bank statements, ATM slips, investment records, paycheck stubs and bills, the good news is you can probably throw most of it away without worry when you have a simple record- keeping routine. But before you fire up the shredder, you need to know what to keep, and for how long.
Don't assume your kids are going to learn in school how to manage money well. There is a growing recognition for the need, but few children are lucky enough to learn about money matters in school. If you have kids, teaching them about money rests squarely on your shoulders. So, how are you doing with that? Don't know where to start? Today, I've ...Read more
It's time to reach into the inbox and pull out a few questions from my loyal readers, the answers to which I suspect might be of interest to others. I love receiving your questions, by the way, so keep them coming!
Dear Mary: What is tamari? It is an ingredient in a recipe for Spiced Hazelnuts I would like to make. Where can I find it? -- ...Read more
Some years ago, on my Debt-Proof Living website, I asked: What would you do if faced with an unexpected windfall of $10,000?
Responses ranged from saving every penny, to giving all of it away, to using all of it to get caught up on bills. This got me thinking: What fascinating response would I get if I were to change the word "windfall" to "...Read more
It's reader response day, when I take the opportunity to report just a few of the comments I get from you, my dear readers, every single day of my life. And you wonder why I keep doing this. I guess it's no secret that I thrive on hearing from you and getting your feedback on what you read.
Comment on: "Best Inexpensive Heated Mattress Pad"
Every year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 48 million people become ill from food contamination. To avoid this, many dietitians say washing produce thoroughly with a vinegar solution can help kill bacteria and ensure it is safe for consumption.
Walk into any grocery store these days and it's more than ...Read more
A new leather sofa or leather handbag -- so beautiful. Or perhaps it's the car you've had for a long time, the one with leather upholstery that still looks fantastic because that you've babied and protected it against spills and stains. And then somehow, that beautiful leather gets hit with an ink stain. It shouldn't happen, but life being what ...Read more