Teaching Readers ‘How to Fish’ and Get Rid of Pet Odors, Too

Dear Readers: Yesterday I opened my mailbox to find 1) a letter from Jenn, asking me to send her my new an improved recipe for homemade laundry detergent (she’d clipped it from her newspaper, but now she couldn’t find it,  2) a message from Chuck asking me to send him the coupon code to get 10% off Nok-Out odor eliminator, and a frantic request from Beverly who is battling ants in her kitchen and kicking herself around the block that she didn’t save the column on non-toxic ways to get rid of household pests.


Every day I get requests to repeat tips, resources and information from past posts and columns.  And I don’t give these people the answers they’re looking for. Instead, I direct them to EverydayCheapskate.comthe repository for my columns and posts where all of the information they need is available including links to all of the resources, information and websites using the easy-to-use search function. There’s also a contact form that lets anyone send a message straight to my inbox.

 The site is free. And while it’s not required, if you subscribe, you’ll hear from me from time to time. I send out bonuses, updated information and follow-ups to folks who have subscribed at EverydayCheapskate.com.  

Beat Cost of Satellite Radio, Unlock Keurig 2.0 Brewer, and Trap Japanese Beetles

When my boys were really young, I had them convinced that I knew everything. More than that, I could read their minds and had eyes in the back of my head, too. That didn’t last for long, but I sure had fun with it while it did. And now I am having the time of my life with you, my dear readers. Your letters and tips help to keep me on top of technological advances plus everyday stuff I want to know, but cannot possible keep up with on my own. I appreciate and depend on you more than you will ever know!


RADIO FREE. We bought a new car, which came with a trial offer of SiriusXM satellite radio service. It’s my wife’s car and she loves the satellite radio feature; but we do not like the cost.

Our cell phone service provider, T-Mobile, allows us to stream from select music services without affecting our data usage. These music apps have both free and subscription services available, depending on whether we want to pay to eliminate the commercials.

Voila! We can stream the music from our smart phones to the car stereo because of the features built into the car stereo (using USB, Bluetooth or headphone output jack) and it’s just like having the satellite radio for free. We can make a coast-to-coast drive without much loss of our favorite music at a savings of at least $10 a month. Dave

When It Comes to Storing Bananas, Don’t Believe Old Wives’ Tale

For years, I believed an old wives’ tale that bananas will turn black and spoil almost instantly if you put them in the refrigerator. In fact, I even passed this notion on to you. Whoops! Hearing from reader Lin made me reconsider, test and now I must recant. Lin is right. I was wrong!

photo credit: Wikihow

photo credit: Wikihow

BANANAS IN THE FRIDGE. I read in your column a while back about how to keep fruit fresher longer. You said do not put bananas in the refrigerator. I beg to differ. We put fresh bananas in the fridge and they may turn back and ugly on the outside but inside even after seven days or longer, they are as fresh and firm as new. Try it. Lin

After testing and researching further, I have discovered that if I put the bananas in a plastic bag and tie or seal it tightly, then place this in the crisper drawer, the bananas retain their yellow color. There’s something about black bananas—even if the are totally fine inside—I find to be somewhat off-putting -mh

BABY BATHTUB. If your baby is too big for the infant tub but too small for your bathroom tub, buy a 10-gallon plastic storage tub and a rubber bath mat with tiny suction cups. For about $5 your baby won’t slip and fall, but will be able to splash and play and have a great time. This size “tub” should last a few years and when baby has outgrown it you have an instant storage bin. Just remember to stash the lid in a place you’ll not forget! Beth

And please, never ever leave a child alone in any amount of water for any length of time. -mh

What to Do While You Wait for Things to Return to Normal

Life on earth has never been perfect, but you’d have a hard time convincing some people of that. It’s not that they are ignorant. They have selective memories.


Perhaps you can identify if you long for the way things used to be—when jobs were plentiful, mortgages were simple, retirement accounts moved in only one direction (up) and students could carry their 100-percent-financed college degrees straight into six-figure jobs.

Now that it appears things are no longer quite so perfect, you’ve put your life on hold. You’re anxiously pacing the floor trying to hold on until the stock market rebounds, real estate sales bounce back, your loan modification comes through or some TV advertiser offers a debt-settlement scheme that returns your life to the “perfect” way it was.

Can we talk?

Stop looking back. “Normal” may be a setting on your clothes dryer, but it is not an economic condition. Every moment that you mourn the passing of the way things were, is a moment lost in the present. Concentrate on where you are and plan for how you will face the future.

We’ve Become a Nation of Softies

Compared to my grandmother, I’m a lazy bum. Instead of hiring others to do domestic services for them, she and my grandfather focused more on how much money they could sock away for emergencies and for their “old age.”


Both lived to be nearly 100. They never applied for Medicaid or government assistance* or needed a handout or financial aid. They lived in their own home (purchased with cash) until they died. They never had a car loan, but always drove a nice car.

Grandma dressed like a million bucks. She could knit and quilt, cook, bake, clean, decorate and entertain. She could as easily sew a winter coat as a new throw pillow for the sofa.

She was an elegant, wonderful lady with an eye for beauty. She single-handedly landscaped their backyard in Spokane, Wash., planting trees, digging flower beds, installing borders and flowers that turned a gravel pit into a botanical garden. She never owned a pair of pants, doing everything in what she called a “house dress,” complete with stockings and jewelry. What a lady.

Hands Down the Best Way to Kill Weeds and It’s Not Roundup

In 1970, John Franz, a chemist for Monsanto, discovered that the chemical glyphosate is a potent herbicide that kills just about every kind of plant material imaginable. In no time, the company gave its miracle weed killer the brand name Roundup.

Farmers, especially, went wild for Roundup. Just one problem: It was nearly impossible to kill the weeds without also killing their crops. So Monsanto sent its chemists back to work to develop glyphosate-resistant, or “Roundup ready crops” that have had their DNA altered (genetically modified or GMO) to allow them to be immune to glyphosate. Now farmers could spray with abandon and not worry about their crops.

photo credit: CreativeGreenLiving.com

photo credit: CreativeGreenLiving.com

To say that glyphosate, Roundup and GMO foods have become a bit controversial would be to put it mildly. There are some who say that glyphosate causes cancer in animals, and most likely humans, too. They insist that the side effects of long-term GMO food consumption is producing serious health risks for all living things. Despite all of this controversy and outcry about issues surrounding Roundup and GMO crops, so far the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found no convincing evidence to force Roundup off the market. It’s a hot button issue, that’s for sure.

There is one provable and very compelling reason to not buy Roundup: It’s too expensive! Even if it were proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Roundup is safe as water, I still wouldn’t shell out the high price for the stuff. I kill weeds like crazy with kitchen pantry items that are really cheap and non toxic: white vinegar, ordinary table salt and dishwashing liquid.

Residential Rehab for the Birds

If you’re planning a home rehab—or in the throes of that right now—just imagine how wonderful it would be if all it took to make the place like new was a spritz or two of our favorite odor-eliminating, disinfecting and cleaning spray. That’s all it took for some very lucky birds!


photo credit: MyGardenDelights.blogspot.com

FRESH HOME. I have another use for Nok-Out. I have a gourd birdhouse and I thought it was getting too full of nesting material so I cleaned it out thinking the birds would start over the next spring building a nest in it. I was wrong. I went two years and still no bird nested. I decided to spray it with Nok-Out because maybe a bird could smell the prior resident, so to speak. I sprayed it; let it dry in the sun, hung it back up and now I have a new resident. Love your column. Kathy

Nok-Out is an amazing product, and proven safe for all things aviary! Something else amazing? EC readers get 10% off when they use code: DPL at checkout -mh

CAST IRON RESTORE. Just read your article on cast iron pans. These are better than any non-stick cookware on the market. An easier way to get rid of rust on an old cast iron pan is to fill the pan or pot with Coca-Cola and boil it. This will take the pan down to bare metal and ready to be properly seasoned. Jim

Remove Clay Stains from Baseball Uniforms Plus Six More Useful Tips

If you’ve got kids, chances are pretty good you know how difficult it can be to remove grass stains, red clay stains and any manner of other stains from pristine, white uniforms. While Soilove will take care of the grass stains, today’s first reader tip has a solution for that red clay!


photo credit: Southlake News

RED CLAY STAINS. You can get red clay out of white pants by adding 1/2 cup Cascade automatic dishwasher powder with your regular laundry detergent. I have three daughters who play softball and I got this tip from the guy who washes the Miami Marlins’ uniforms. It works great and even works on old stains you thought would never come clean. Ellen

ROLLING LAUNDRY. Living in a high-rise apartment, I get tired of carrying my regular laundry basket down to the laundry room in the basement. I purchased one of those large plastic outdoor trash cans with wheels and it works perfectly. It was cheaper than a conventional basket, holds a lot more, came with a lid and most importantly it has wheels! Kenny

LAST MINUTE REPAIRS. A few months before your car warranty expires, take it to a reputable mechanic for a thorough inspection and request a written report. If anything on that list is covered under your about-to-expire warranty, now is the time to get all of those items fixed while they are still covered. The small fee you may have to pay for that inspection is cheap insurance against discovering a problem after the warranty expires. Melvin

BATTERY SHOP. Before you buy a new battery from a car dealership, call around. Your best bet may be a battery shop. Most are more than willing to quote a price over the phone. The same goes for just about every other automobile part and service. It pays to shop around. Randy