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Everyday Cheapskate: The High Cost of Convenience

Mary Hunt on

Dear Mary: I work out at a gym regularly, and I like to drink a protein shake or smoothie afterward to optimize the benefits of my workout. Shakes and smoothies at the gym can run $4-$6 and more, but they sure are convenient. Do you have any suggestions for making my own when I get home without a lot of muss and fuss? I have a feeling I could save a bundle over the long run. Thanks for your great column and website. -- Bill

Dear Bill: You're right; convenience is expensive. However, it seems to me that you're already a pretty disciplined guy if you're at the gym regularly. I'm sure once you can see what you can save, you'll find the discipline to make your own healthy drinks. Here's a simple recipe: Place in a blender one container peach yogurt, 1 banana, 2 cups orange juice (or frozen concentrate to equal 2 cups reconstituted), 4-6 frozen strawberries and a scoop of soy protein powder. Blend it all up, and enjoy. While the cost of the ingredients will vary, the most expensive is the soy protein powder -- about $1 per 1-ounce scoop. Even if the yogurt and fruit add another $1, you'll save about half, or $2, per effort to make it yourself. Over a year's time, that's a chunk of change! There are many brands of protein soy powder such as GNC and Met-RX. Log on to Amazon, and do some comparison shopping.

Dear Mary: I am so deeply in debt, but not from buying things I didn't need. I am in debt from gambling. I won a large sum -- over $22,000 -- and thought I'd be OK, but I gambled it all away. I have made a promise today, and this is why I am writing to you. I am not going to gamble anymore, but where do I start with my finances? I do have a good job making over $90,000 a year. Is there help for me? -- Susan

Dear Susan: You took a very difficult but important step when you wrote to me to admit your problem and seek help. There are three things I want you to do: 1. Get yourself to the very next meeting of Gamblers Anonymous in your area (or the Gamblers Anonymous website). 2. Get my book, "Debt-Proof Living" (available in libraries, bookstores and on Amazon), and read every word of it. 3. Work on the steps and start to immediately live the plan. You'll understand once you get into the book, which will likely be the easiest book you've ever read. Please stay in touch with me. I want to know that you are getting back on track and making the progress I know you can.

Dear Mary: I've been subscribing to your blog,, for a little over a year now. My husband and I have reduced our $37,000 unsecured debt to $28,000 and at the same time have built our contingency fund for emergencies. Although none of us are certain of what lies ahead, by following your guidelines and continuing to read the tips and advice, we can face whatever obstacles come our way. Thank you, thank you! -- Regina


Dear Regina: This is wonderful news! Wow, you paid down $9,000 in just one year? Excellent! I am so impressed. Just keep going, and don't ever give up!


Would you like more information? Go to for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2020 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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