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Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Kitchen Towels, Home Chef, Chromebook, Floor Cleaner

Mary Hunt on

It doesn't happen often, but now and then I'll get a message from someone who must be having a particularly bad day, like the fellow who wrote this past week accusing me of making up letters, messages and questions on the days I invite you to ask me anything. Oh, my. If only I could show him my inbox!

Dear Mary: Why doesn't anyone make a dish towel that actually dries dishes? I've bought all kinds over the years -- 100 percent cotton, a flour sack, a waffle weave, whatever. What's your recommendation? -- Jeri

Dear Jeri: Oh, I hear you. I asked that same question myself for a long time. Then I discovered bar mops, which are inexpensive, small-ish highly absorbent terry cloth towels used in restaurants and bars. I buy them by the dozen and use them like many people use paper towels in the kitchen -- for everything. I keep a small hamper next to the trash can in which I toss them to be laundered. I have at least 12 dozen in rotation at any given time. I use liquid bleach when I wash them to keep them stain-free. They don't last forever, but they last for a long time! And when they get worn out or permanently stained, into the rag bag they go, destined for use in the garage and for housecleaning. Utopia Kitchen Bar Mop Cleaning Towels are the best quality (about $22 for two dozen). Costco sells 100 percent cotton towels in a 52-pack in the automotive aisle for about $12. Be sure to wash and dry them before the first use (they'll arrive flat and stiff), and never use any kind of softening products on towels -- kitchen, bath or otherwise -- because it makes them non-absorbent. -- Mary

Dera Mary: We gave Home Chef ( a try. It was delivered fine and fresh. We ordered steak au poivre, and it was a delicious meal! But then we looked at the nutrition section. There were 1253 milligrams of sodium and 794 calories per serving. Aren't both measurements unreasonably high? -- Arlen and Diane

Dear Arlen and Diane: I am not a nutritionist or a physician, so I can't really advise you specifically. However, what I love about Home Chef is I am the cook. The meal kit comes complete with everything needed except for cooking oil, salt and pepper. The recipe may call for 1/2 teaspoon of salt, but it's up to me how much I use. I can put more or less than the recipe specifies, or leave it out altogether. Each week, Home Chef subscribers get an email with meal choices, complete with nutritional information. I suggest you study this carefully before you place an order. There are always meals that come in under 500 calories with lower sodium, fat, carbs and so forth, so study your choices. Home Chef is amazing. Harold and I enjoy at least two HC meals every week (and we can skip or put the whole thing on hold anytime, too, which we do when we travel). Here's a $30 coupon for anyone who would like to give Home Chef a test drive. -- Mary

Dear Mary: What is the best inexpensive Chromebook laptop? -- Vicki

Dear Vicki: Chromebook continues to be a mind-blowing option when it comes to laptop computers! My choice as of today (things change so quickly in the world of computers) is the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02, which comes with an Intel Celeron processor, 4 GB RAM, 16 GB flash storage and up to 10 hours of battery life! While this sweet thing is designed to be rugged enough for student and classroom use, it's ideal for home use as well. And it's so compact it's easily portable in a handbag or backpack. For the money, about $200, this is hard to beat.

For links to this Chromebook and other items mentioned in this column, please visit


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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