My husband and I have been saving for the past year to take a long-overdue romantic getaway, and we’ve narrowed our dream destination down to Aruba. Since staying there can be pricey, our travel agent suggested we consider one of those “all-inclusive” resorts. She said we’ll save money on drinks and meals, and won’t have to worry about having cash or credit cards on hand since everything will be paid in advance. But I’ve heard that you actually lose money with these “deals” because they pad the price of everything in order to make a profit. Now we don’t know what to think. Bonnie, New Jersey
I don’t know that ‘padding the price’ would be the best way to put it, but for sure in an all-inclusive plan you’ll pay for lots of things you’ll probably never use. You can be sure they’ve built in generous gratuities, many meals and a big bar allowance. Continue reading
I love getting feedback from readers about past columns. Whether it’s an email to me at Mary[at]EverydayCheapskate.com or a comment posted on my blog at www.EverydayCheapskate.com, I thoroughly enjoy reading the follow-up responses and tips. For example, Carol sent me this great idea for my lemon bounty.
GOT LEMONS? MAKE LIMONCELLO. I loved reading the Everyday Cheapskate column on Mary’s lemon bounty. I wanted to suggest for anyone who has an excess of lemons—make Limoncello. This is an Italian lemon liqueur that also uses the lemon’s peels, and it is delicious. I made it last year for Christmas gifts, and had the most fun shopping swap meets and yard sales to find really beautiful and unusual bottles. I even researched recipes using limoncello and attached them to the bottles. It takes a few weeks to make, but it’s easy and the end result is beautiful. With all the juicing, peeling and cooking, there’s not a smidgen of waste. Carol, email Continue reading
If things are so hectic in your household that you can’t remember the last time you took time out for some family fun, you need to reacquaint yourself with an important verb: Schedule. Time is like money. If you wait until you have some left over, you may wait for a very long time.
Once something is on the calendar you will find yourself scheduling around that, not crossing it out. If you don’t have one, make up a family calendar that covers at least the next three months. Post it in a visible place so all family members can see it, even the little people. Make it colorful and exciting.
Carve at least three blocks of time from those 90 days and mark them in big bright letters: Family Fun! Now that it’s on the calendar, you need to make some plans. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to create wonderful times together. Continue reading
If we sang it once, we sang it a thousand times. “Sixteen Tons” was No. 1 on my elementary school’s hit parade, holding the record as the most-requested song in fourth grade music class. To be perfectly candid, I hadn’t thought much about the old miner and his doleful lament. A couple of years ago, I was dining with friends when the subject of the “company store” came up. I knew I’d heard that phrase somewhere. In a flash I was back in class belting out that old familiar chorus:
“You haul 16 tons, whadaya get? Another day older and a-deeper in debt. Saint Peter don’t cha’ call me cause I can’t go—I owe my soul to the company store.”
Some rights reserved by Tim
What was this company store and, more importantly, why did this guy owe his soul to it? Must be serious if his debt could forestall his death. As I’ve always said, if you need an answer find a teacher. Continue reading
As I write, part of me is in mourning while the other part is about to burst with joy. This week I lost my temporary sink. It was a great big, deep utility-type sink that allowed me to keep my sanity through this long and drawn-out remodel.
Big Sink had to go to make way for New Sink.