It’s not something you buy every day. But when it’s time to buy carpet, you want to know your stuff. Make a bad decision and you’ll pay dearly for a long time, and I am not talking just about the money. You’ll pay a significant price in dissatisfaction and disappointment.
First, decide the style of carpet and type of fiber you want, determined by where it will be installed and how much money you have to spend. Visit several retail carpet stores that will let you take carpet samples home for a few days. Walk on them, view them in different light. Set a heavy piece of furniture on them to see if the fibers will “rebound” once removed.
No matter how much pressure the sales staff pours on, remember you are not obligated to purchase from any store even if you checked out samples from them.
Plush. Usually one solid color with even, smooth pile height. Varies from light weight (apartment-grade) with fewer tufts per square inch to heavier weights that are very dense. Comes in a vast range of colors. Shows footprints and vacuum marks.
Textured Plush. Two shades mixed with varying pile heights that reduces vacuum marks and footprints. About the same price as plush.
Frieze. Very tightly twisted tufts of yarn. More expensive than plush but wears much longer—15 years is not unusual. Durable, holds up to heavy use without matting or showing traffic patterns. Rebounds well.
Sculptured. Has two types of tufts—loops and cut pile in varying heights. Often called high-low. Doesn’t show much dirt. Often used in apartments.
I have a quirk, a kind of brain glitch that annoys me to no end. I cannot easily distinguish left from right. My brain locks up and gives me that infamous “404 Page Cannot Be Displayed” message.
Of course, I blame this on Mrs. Sailor. It goes back to that day in First Grade when she called on me to answer a simple “left or right?” question. I froze. I did not know the answer.
This was not good for a child who feared punishment for even the slightest infraction. Worse, I didn’t know how I would ever figure it out. No one else in the class had a problem with left and right.
My six-year-old reasoning concluded that the class had learned left from right on a day I was home sick. She forgot to get me caught up when I returned. I would go thirty-five years attributing my problem to a missed lesson. Imagine my relief the day I learned the whys and wherefores of my personal struggle. I have directional dyslexia type of learning disability that can be treated quite successfully with a series of simple exercises.
If I’d only had the courage to say I didn’t understand and to ask for help back then, I might have spared myself a lot of grief.
Perhaps you feel this way when it comes to managing your money. It can’t be that difficult because everyone around you seems to handle their money just fine. It’s as if you were out sick the day everyone else learned the rules of personal finance.
Graduation parties, rehearsal dinners, family reunions—it’s the season for large gatherings. If feeding lots of people has you in a panic, relax. I’ve got you covered with great big recipes for enough fabulous food to feed a crowd that won’t bust the budget.
Crockpot Chicken BBQ
- 4 pounds chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons vinegar (any type)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 28 ounces (3 1/2 cups) bottled
- barbecue sauce
- Place chicken, water, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and cumin in slow cooker set on “Low.” Cook for 6 hours. Drain juices. Shred chicken right in the slow cooker using two forks to pull it all apart. Pour in barbecue sauce, stir to combine. Cook on “Low” for an additional hour. Serve on buns with coleslaw. Serves 16.
Dear Mary: What is a safe disinfectant for colored clothes, such as underwear and bath towels? I can’t use chlorine bleach, and since I usually wash my colored clothes in cold water, I do not feel like I am getting them sanitized enough. Thanks. Sherri
Photo Credit: Kasia
Dear Sherri: Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tested conventional household disinfectants, hospital disinfectants and natural alternatives to measure each product’s ability to kill specific hazardous microbes. Their results show that white vinegar killed 90 percent of germs without regard to the temperature of the water.
Sounds pretty good until you realize that leaves a 10 percent chance for Salmonella, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus viruses, Influenza A2 virus and Herpes Simplex Type 1 to live on. A product like Lysol disinfectant, on the other hand, kills 99.9 percent of those germs.
For fabrics that cannot be washed with bleach, add a liquid disinfectant according to product instructions, such as Lysol, NokOut (coupon code DPL for 10% off) or Mr. Clean Antibacterial to the wash.
Just a reminder that water at 120 F degrees water (hot) plus laundry detergent is sufficient to kill ordinary household germs without the need for an added disinfectant.
CLOG-FREE PET WASH. When giving your dog or cat a bath in the sink, cut a circle the size of your drain out of a green scrubbie pad. Place the pad in the drain to keep it from clogging with animal hair. Mary
Photo Credit: Qwen Wan
BOOK BARGAINS. Look in the For Sale section of your local library for inexpensive books. We find books for adults and kids for $2 or less. I always look there for a book I am interested in before spending a lot at a bookstore, and sometimes I get lucky. Sommer
ONLINE THRIFTING. Goodwill is no longer just a chain of walk-in thrift stores. They now have a website, Shopgoodwill.com, an Internet auction site operated by a nonprofit organization. It’s a great place to browse high quality donation items from across the country. You can find designer items like purses or shoes that are in great condition for a fraction of the retail price. Brenda
NOT JUST FOR TEETH. To remove pen or magic marker from nearly any hard surface—stained wood, plastic, baby doll faces, walls, flooring—use toothpaste! It works better than anything I’ve ever tried. Just don’t use whitening varieties on colored surfaces. Jennifer
Statistically speaking, chances are slim-to-none that you consistently avail yourself of the most fundamental of all financial principles—to get what you pay for.
According to Donna McCrohan, author of Get What You Pay For or Don’t Pay at All, only 4 percent of dissatisfied customers let a business know when they are unhappy with a product or service and then follow up effectively until they are satisfied.
One can only conclude that the rest of us throw good money down the drain for clothing that doesn’t fit right and appliances that don’t live up to their promises. We prefer to cram the stuff into closets and cupboards rather than take the time and effort to request a refund or satisfactory replacement.
When the dry cleaner ruins a favorite shirt we gripe to a friend instead of the dry cleaner’s owner. Or when the coffee grinder doesn’t grind, we mumble under our breath and don’t even look for the customer service 800 number, which might well be printed right there on the infuriating little monster.
I can only conclude from all of this that 96 percent of us complain about shoddy workmanship or inferior service but never get around to requesting the work be redone or negotiating a fair and reasonable adjustment. We give up too soon—or more likely, don’t even get started.
If it was easy to get out of debt, no one would have credit-card balances, student debt or personal loans. No one would be in debt.
It’s not easy to get out of debt. But it is possible. And if you are using the correct method, possible becomes highly probable.
Granted, there are several methods for getting out of debt but only one that offers you hope of lasting success.
I’ve gone down every road that promises a way out of debt and have discovered that most come to a dead end. Others are filled with impossible twists and turns. But there is a way out. I found it. My husband and I are now completely debt-free including the mortgage. Done. Free at last. And that is what makes me uniquely qualified to tell you the best way to get out of debt.
But first let’s identify the roads you should avoid and the reasons why.
FAST AND AGGRESSIVE. This way out of debt is very inviting because it promises a quick and easy shortcut. It goes like this:
What it is. First you make sure you have $1,000 in the bank to cover emergencies. But that’s all you need, so stop saving. Take every dollar you can squeeze out of your life and send it to your debt. Hurry! Fast! And if you pass Go and collect $200, send that in, too.
The rebate check you got in the mail? Off it goes. Tax refund? Birthday check? You know the routine—apply it to your debt.
It seemed like such a great idea several weeks ago when you invited the entire clan to your place for Easter Brunch. And now as the time draws near, you feel yourself beginning to panic.
How on earth will you ever come up with a menu you can easily fit within your spending plan that will feed an extra dozen or so hungry guests? Easy.
Follow this menu that is curiously meat-free and depends on eggs, which are priced cheap around Easter—plus bread, potatoes, cheese and a few other fairly ordinary pantry items.
Add a big green salad, a plate of fresh fruit pizza (start with a slice of watermelon, top with a variety of fresh fruit bits and Feta cheese), and a basket of crusty bread to your gorgeous spread and you’re good to go.
If you feel you need dessert, delegate that to the first person who asks if they can bring something.