Plastic Not for Kids


Dear Mary: I would like to know your opinion on the American Express Pass reloadable card for teens. Debbie, California


Dear Debbie: I am opposed to any kind of plastic for kids of any age. Honestly, age 18 is about the right time to introduce credit and debit cards. Just keep in mind that plastic is a privilege for financially mature adults.

Plastic will confuse and abuse your children’s thinking processes. It will open the door to ugly attitudes of entitlement. Cash, on the other hand, works like a dream. Teach your kids how to earn, save, give and manage cash. They’ll love it and so will you.

I have written extensively about this in my book, Raising Financially Confident Kids, which also includes a fool-proof step-by-step plan that will help you to produce financially confident adults. I hope you will read it soon, before you hand your child an American Express card.  Continue reading

Posted on by Mary Hunt in Dear Mary 5 Comments

DIY Cleaning Products Tips and Tricks


Have you checked the list of ingredients on those bottles of cleaning products under the sink? Can you even pronounce them? Yikes! I can tell you that a product name containing “petro” belongs at the gas station, not used to clean your home.

Girl Cleaning Lady sponge spray cleaner vinegar

Today I want to share with you a list of squeaky-clean, toxin-free cleaning tips using the three items very likely found in your kitchen at this moment—baking soda, white vinegar and lemons.

Clean up the coffee maker. Get your coffee maker back into new condition by running a cycle using white vinegar in place of water. The vinegar will break up mineral build-up and deodorize the machine at the same time. Be sure to rinse out every trace of vinegar before brewing up your next pot, by running plain water through it a few times. Continue reading

Posted on by Mary Hunt in Tips 9 Comments

Stop the Flu Virus Dead in Its Tracks


In the past couple of months, three acquaintances of mine have come down with the H1N1 virus, also known as Swine Flu, landing all three of them in the hospital in critical condition. I don’t know if any had gotten a flu shot, or if in their particular situations that would have prevented their life-threatening illnesses. But I took it as a wake up call to learn all I could.


I was shocked to learn that even with the availability of vaccines, the dreaded flu virus is taking the U.S. by storm. This year’s strain already has left 20 children dead according to new numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than that, anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die every year from flu-related illnesses.

For many, the flu is little more than a cough and a fever. But health officials want the public to know that in many cases it can also be deadly. Continue reading

Posted on by Mary Hunt in Home & Family 21 Comments

4 Ways to Stop Wasting Money


Want to keep more of the money you earn? Stop wasting money on goods and services that you don’t really care about. Start paying attention where your money goes and you just might see the equivalent of working a second job in your wallet—not leaking out of your life undetected.


1. Stop buying from TV ads. Infomercial products are overpriced and hardly ever turn out to be as wonderful as depicted. And those risk-free trial periods? Don’t believe it. You’ll have to pay the return shipping costs plus a restocking fee, if you ever get around to it. Whenever tempted by an infomercial product, take a second to look up the item on eBay. You’ll be shocked to find dozens at a fraction of the price because that’s where they unload all the “as seen on TV” products that get returned. Ask yourself, why so many returns? By then the infomercial should be over and you can get on with your day. Continue reading

Posted on by Mary Hunt in Mary's Perspective 2 Comments

New Life for Leftover Rice


Instead of pitching the last few cups of cooked rice from tonight’s dinner, try using it in different ways in your next meal. Just don’t make the fatal mistake of calling it “leftovers.”

Some rights reserved by Lablascovegmenu

Some rights reserved by Lablascovegmenu

Provided you think of it as an ingredient in a future meal, you’re home free and all your picky eaters will be none the wiser.

Make sure you handle cooked rice safely:

  • Refrigerate the rice as soon as possible after cooking and consuming, ideally within 1-2 hours.
  • When reheating, make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through and avoid reheating more than once.
  • Keep leftover rice in the refrigerator for no longer than 24 hours before re-using.

Fried rice. Toss some garlic, chopped onions, soy sauce and sesame oil in your frying pan. Stir in two or three beaten eggs, stirring until lightly scrambled. Add the leftover rice (white or brown) and whatever veggies and chicken, beef or pork you have on hand. Voila! You have a new meal of Chinese Fried Rice.  Continue reading

Posted on by Mary Hunt in Food & Recipes 6 Comments