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Everyday Cheapskate: Best Robot Vacuum, Ant Killer and Malfunctioning Oven

Mary Hunt on

It's time, once again, to reach into my virtual mailbag to read what a handful of my Dear Readers have written.

Dear Mary: I need a new robot vacuum. Which one do you recommend? -- Hilda

Dear Hilda: My pick for Best Inexpensive robot vacuum goes to the Eufy Anker BoostIQ RoboVac 11S. It is super thin, which means it is not so prone to getting stuck under furniture. It is quiet, has great suction power and works beautifully on wood, other hard floors and medium-pile carpet. Hope that helps!

Dear Mary: In response to "11 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Rid of Pesky Ants," I find the best way to kill ants is with an artificial sweetener such as Sweet 'n Low. I suppose you can't print that, but it is most effective. Just sprinkle a little on an anthill, and soon, all little creatures are gone. -- Mary D.

Dear Mary D: I can print this, and look, I just did! And if that works as you say, it's a great tip that I'll bet other readers will enjoy knowing. Just keep in mind that Sweet n' Low is not particularly inexpensive.

Dear Mary: A year ago, we moved into a condo with all electric appliances. All of them are good except the range. The oven is awful. It's not only slow to preheat but also dries out the cookies before they bake completely. My famous cinnamon rolls never get baked in the middle of the pan. Brownies and cakes do not bake enough in the middle to do anything but sink.


I love to bake, and I am more than disappointed. Can you help me? -- Hopefully, Nancy

Dear Nancy: I feel your pain. If your oven temperature is too low or too high, it can adversely affect the outcome of almost everything you bake. My first guess is that your oven needs to be recalibrated. To do this, purchase a basic, inexpensive oven thermometer, either online or at a local grocery or hardware store.

Steps for recalibrating your electric oven:

Set the oven thermometer on a rack in the center of the oven at 350 F. Once it preheats, run the oven for at least 30 minutes. Check the oven thermometer to see if it reads 350 F. If not, make a note of what the thermometer reads.


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