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Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Garbage Disposer Splash Guard, Oyster Sauce, Replacement Toner, New Refrigerator

Mary Hunt on

I wish you could see the giant stack of mail I have from readers who have taken me up on my offer to answer anything! Honestly, I couldn't be any happier about that. Enjoy this batch of answered questions, and then keep 'em coming!

Dear Mary: How do you remove the splash guard on your mechanical garbage disposer, where odors hide, for regular cleaning? -- Sheila

Dear Sheila: The easiest way to clean in that odor hideaway is to not remove that rubber splash guard at all. Once a week or so, dip a sturdy brush, such as a toothbrush, in antibacterial grease-cutting kitchen cleaner. (Clorox antibacterial degreaser is a good choice; other antibacterial products will work, too.) Then lift up one flap of the splash guard. Scrub off the crud, and rinse with cold water. Repeat with each flap until that area underneath is totally clean. It takes only a couple of minutes but can make all the difference in the world when it comes to stickiness.

Q: I grew up in Hawaii, and your recipe for Asian stir-fry sauce (thank you, Nagi) is very similar to what I like to put in stir-fry. However, we have an additional wrinkle. Many of us cannot eat MSG, a main flavor ingredient in every oyster sauce I have ever seen. Do you know of one that does not have MSG (monosodium glutamate) in the list of ingredients?

A: Kikkoman green-label oyster sauce has no added MSG. Look for it in your local supermarket. If it's not available locally, you can get it on

Dear Mary: Now that I bought my new black-and-white computer printer, I need to know where the best (cheapest) place is to buy replacement toner. -- Cate

Dear Cate: Warehouse clubs have perhaps the best prices out there on computer printer replacement cartridges and toner. Costco also refills toner cartridges -- which cuts down on the price, as well. Next time you're there, check with the service counter to see whether someone will refill your particular cartridges. If you are not a warehouse club member, my next best suggestion would be to look into Amazon Dash service, with which you could select exactly the type of toner your printer uses and then, whenever you are low, just push one button to instantly order it. It's a pretty amazing service.

Q: Thanks so much for your columns in my email every morning! I need a new refrigerator/freezer with a drawer for the freezer. Your thoughts on the best inexpensive one?

A: It's difficult to give you a specific make and model, but I can help steer you to finding the right refrigerator for you. First, decide exactly the features you want and those you do not want. Identify several models and brands that fit your requirements. Then start watching for sales. Stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's run sales on major appliances very frequently. As for brands, I would run, not walk, away from any Samsung appliance because of the brand's terrible reputation among appliance repair professionals. This is my personal opinion based on the fact that many highly rated repair companies won't even touch a Samsung appliance, which makes it nearly impossible to get that brand of refrigerator serviced. The two brands of refrigerator I am most fond of for their reputation and service, as well as price points, are Whirlpool and General Electric. If you stick to those suggestions and then exercise patience in waiting for the model you want to come on sale, you'll be nicely rewarded. Hope that helps!


Mary invites questions, comments and tips at or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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