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The Wonders of Hydrogen Peroxide

A few days ago I got a message, which reminded me about wonders of an ordinary product most people have somewhere in the house.

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I had a cut on my hand that opened up while I was putting my expensive duvet cover (recent wedding gift!) on my comforter, now I have blood stains where I touched it. Is there any hope to getting these stains out completely? I tried using a carpet cleaning solution and washing it but, those stains remain. I’m worried these stains will be there permanently. Thanks so much for your help! Georgia

I responded immediately, directing Georgia to soak the stains with full-strength hydrogen peroxide, In hopes that she’d not set those stains forever. I heard back quickly. The hydrogen peroxide lightened the stains almost immediately, and within hours they disappeared completely. See what I mean? The stuff is downright wonderful.

Hydrogen peroxide is as harmless as it is powerful both as a household cleaner and all around remedy. It is non-toxic, safe, really cheap and available in any grocery or drug store in a food grade 3% dilution. It’s a wonderful cleaning product and reliable sanitizer. 

Finding the Confidence to Make Household Repairs Yourself

Figuring out how to install a new tile floor in her family room paid off big for my friend, Mary Brock, who lives in South Carolina. A close-out sale of 25-cents each for twelve-inch ceramic tile, basic installation tools and a simple how-to-book gave her the confidence she needed to give it a try.

“I got a serious physical workout, great results and still enjoy the bragging rights of a do-it-yourselfer. Plus, with the money I didn’t spend on materials, we got new furniture for the room.”

Great Ways to Save at Restaurants

If the high cost of restaurant meals is eating up your cash, here are some great ways to keep your tab lean!

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DISCOUNTS. Many restaurants offer a reduced-price menu for seniors and children. If you or someone in your party qualifies be sure to inquire if this doesn’t show up on the regular menu. Typically these discounted menus offer smaller portions at significantly reduced prices.

SKIP THE SODAS. Skip the pricey drinks and dubious “free refills” altogether and you’ll save at least $2 a person. Lisa B. rewards herself whenever she opts for water by stuffing two bucks into her savings account.

SHARE. Splitting a meal these days is socially acceptable and economically savvy. While some restaurants charge a minimal charge for splitting, most are very accommodating. Even if you have to pay a buck or two to split, it’s still better than paying for two meals you cannot eat completely. If you’re embarrassed about sharing, don’t be. If you must explain, say you are a light eater or that you’re doing your duty to the earth by not over-consuming. Many restaurants are so accommodating they’ll split the meal in the kitchen rather than handing you an extra plate.

Scary Tricks Just Waiting to Be Played on You

Blood-curdling stories, tricks and treats are all part of Halloween fun. But the last thing we expect are spooky tales from our friendly lenders, bankers, and credit card companies.

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PAYDAY LOANS. You’re broke but payday is still two weeks away. You request to borrow $100 from the Payday Loan Company. They make you write a personal check to them for $115. The loan shark makes you sign a contract with all kinds of find print and agrees to hold the check until your next payday. In two weeks the shark deposits the check or you can get your check handed back to your VOID stamped on it by paying $115 in cash. But you’re as broke now as you were then, so for only an additional $15 cash you can extend the loan for another two weeks. In other words, the cost of the initial loan is a $15 finance charge—or 391 percent APR! Then you have to pay another $15 to start over. Soon you owe more than you borrowed in the first place. Payday loan companies are in the business of bleeding people for as much money as possible and then forcing them into bankruptcy. Now that’s freaky.

Still the Most Perfect Homemade Holiday Gift

To me, homemade Christmas gifts are the best gifts—both to give and receive. In the past I’d begin to scramble about this time of year to come up new and unique ideas for my long list of friends, neighbors and colleagues.

The purpose of these gifts is to deliver my love and best wishes for the Holiday Season. And if I can weave into these messengers a small Wow! factor, well that’s a bonus.

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What always made this so challenging was my list of criteria. My homemade gifts had to be easily mass produced. They need to be consumable, attractive and appeal to a wide range of tastes. And above all, homemade gifts must be affordable.

Several years ago, I came up with a gift idea that just nailed it. That was the year I made homemade Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract. This was such a hit it has turned into an annual tradition. No more scrambling for me.

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Each year about this time you can be sure the top cabinets in my kitchen are filling up with big glass canning jars that must be shaken every few days.

While in the past my extract-making has been limited to just one type (vanilla), this year I’m branching out to include lemon, almond, coffee and chocolate extracts. I was surprised to discover that the basic instructions for making pure extracts are about the same, regardless the flavor.

Any pure extract is a “tincture” where alcohol meant for human consumption extracts the flavor from the beans, fruits or nuts. Whether making an extract for baking, health purposes or for flavoring a beverage, it’s simply a matter of combining the food item with alcohol then giving it time to “extract” in a dark environment.

What makes an extract pure is that it has nothing added but the food item to be extracted—no corn syrup, fillers, sodium benzoate, colorings or other mystery ingredients found in most commercial flavorings and extracts—even those labeled “pure.” 

What are Those Grimy Black Lines Around the Edges of My Carpet?

Dark, shadowy, dirty lines on the carpet along baseboards, under doors, beneath draperies and along the edges and in the crevices of carpeted stairs are visible signs of an aggravating—downright gross—problem called filtration soiling.

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Filtration soil comes from airborne pollutants passing through the carpet as the air is drawn through the crack between the carpet and the baseboard, around the drapes or under a closed door.

Filtration soil is an accumulation of soot from dirty ducts, smoke from candles and the fireplace; tobacco, kitchen grease from the oven and cooktop; smog, auto emissions and pollutants from outdoors.

A home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system is designed to filter out airborne soil, trapping it in the HVAC filter. But once the filter is full, the system will send the air pollutants back into the house through the ducts where all of that icky mess gets lodged into corners and crevices.

7 Ways to Cut the High Cost of Prescription Drugs

 LADIES! If you live in the Philadelphia/Baltimore areas, let’s meet up at Sandy Cove Ministries on the Chesapeake Bay, Oct 13-14 for “Girls Night Out and a Day Off!” Click HERE for details including cost and overnight accommodation options. I would love to meet you (your daughters, mothers and friends, too) at this faith-based event, where I will be speaking at all four sessions. Check it out. I hope to see you there! 

These days the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is enough to give you a heart attack. If medication drug costs have got you down, cheer up! Then check out these seven ways you can save money on prescription medications—plus where to get some medicines (antibiotics!) for free.

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GOODRX.COM. What a fantastic website—no sign-up or credit card required. Just type in the drug name plus your zip code—or download the mobile app for IOS and Android—to compare prices at different pharmacies in the area AND get coupons to cut the cost even further. Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies and GoodRx finds you the lowest prices plus discounts on top of the published price. Here’s an example* in Los Angeles for 90 capsules of 300mg Gabapentin (generic Neurontin): Kmart: $12.92. Rite Aid $55.49. Safeway: $13.17. Target $16.38; Walgreens $29.29. Within just a few miles the price for that particular medication is all over the place. GoodRx.com makes sure you get the lowest price available. Here’s another example:  30 tablets 20mg Lipitor (generic). The estimated cash price is $80.10. With GoodRx Coupon: $10.63. That’s a savings of 87%.

THE DOC TALK. Usually doctors don’t keep up with the retail price of medications they prescribe—they’re thinking in terms of successful treatment not dollar signs. A pharmacy tech told me recently that routinely she recommend  patients call ther doctor for a cheaper option once she shows them what the medication prescribed will cost. Don’t be afraid to make that call. More than likely there is a less expensive option that will be just as effective. 

It’s Only Too Late to Save for Retirement if You Don’t Start Now!

Does the dreaded question, “How much money will I need in retirement” tie your stomach in knots? Millions of your peers are in the same boat having saved precious little, if anything at all, to supplement their Social Security benefits during retirement.

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Waiting until age 50 or 60 to start saving for retirement is not ideal. It’s late but not too late. Anything you do now can improve your future.

DIVE IN. You don’t have the luxury to gently ease into retirement savings waters. Forget about the mistakes you’ve made in the past and dive in. Focus your full attention on the years ahead that you have to save.

KEEP WORKING. Every situation is unique but generally as long as you are healthy, you need to keep working. You may be tempted to hang it up on the first day you can draw Social Security benefits, but do you really want to join the 10 million American retires who are currently struggling to live on Social Security alone? Enough said.