Hi there! Nice to meet you!
I’m Mary, the voice, writer, and occasional photographer behind Everyday Cheapskate. I live in beautiful Colorado where the Front Range of the Rocky Mountain meet the High Plains. And boy do I have a story for you …
It was a really bad day. Possibly the worst day of my life. So I did what I suppose any woman who’d ruined her husband’s life and managed to throw their home into foreclosure would do: I had a meltdown.
It’s not like I meant to do anything wrong. In fact, for 12 years I did what I was invited to do: I use credit cards to bridge the gap between my husband’s salary and the lifestyle we deserved.
I’d always assumed that my husband would handle the money while I took care of the home and family. And when my house of cards crashed, I had to admit just how financially ignorant I was.
Hitting rock bottom was the jolt I needed that prompted me to make a u-turn on the financially destructive path I’d chosen. One step at a time I began to care about our money and to learn how to manage it. What I didn’t realize was that with each new thing I learned and money-saving tactic I tried, I became more financially fit. I taught myself to how to be frugal, how to spend less than we earned; how to save, how to give to others and how to find joy and peace in living below our means.
Here’s an example: My very first step was to make a vow that I would only buy groceries that I could pay for with cash (no checkbook, no plastic allowed). Wow, that was like throwing a bucket of cold water in my face. I had a new awareness of what things really cost. I had to keep track of what I was putting in my grocery card. The next step came quickly: I had to find a way to spend less to buy what we needed so I could walk out with cash in my pocket.
Finding ways to do that put a big smile on my face and gave me the confidence and the desire to take another step. And another and another.
It took 13 years to pay back a whopping credit-card debt of more than $100,000, but we did it—one cost-cutting hack, tip, and track at a time.
I hold a B.A. in Biblical Studies and Music from The Master’s College (1970).
Upon graduation, I went to work for Mattel Toys, Inc. in Hawthorne, Calif., (1970-1972).
Left to take a GS-6 civil service position with the U.S. Air Force in El Segundo, Calif.
I worked from 1974 to 1995 as a real estate broker and property manager in Los Angeles Calif., first as an employee with two local companies, and from 1985 to present as CEO of Hunt Industrial Properties, Inc. a real estate and management company co-founded with my husband.
I am an award-winning* and bestselling author, syndicated columnist with Creators, freelance writer, and motivational speaker. My passion is to help men and women battle the epidemic impact of consumer debt by leading them out of debt and into the joy of living debt-free.
I am the owner and founder of DPL Press, Inc., and Debt-Proof Living, a highly regarded organization, established in 1992.
Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill With a Credit Card? (DPL Press, Inc., 2009 )
The Financially Confident Woman (revised and expanded; DPL Press, Inc., 2008)
How to Debt-Proof Your Marriage (mass market edition; Revell Publishing, 2008)
Debt-Proof The Holidays (DPL Press, Inc., 2007)
Tiptionary 2 (DPL Press, Inc., 2007)
Debt-Proof Your Kids (revised and expanded; DPL Press, Inc., 2007)
Live Your Life For Half The Price (DPL Press, Inc., 2005)
Debt-Proof Living (revised and expanded; DPL Press, Inc., 2005)
Everyday Cheapskate’s Greatest Tips (Running Press, 2005)
Debt-Proof Your Marriage (Revell Publishing, 2003)
The Complete Cheapskate (re-release; St. Martin’s Press, 2003)
Cheapskate Gourmet (renamed and updated; Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001)
Tiptionary Journal for the New Bride (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000)
Tiptionary Journal for the New Mom (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000)
*Debt-Proof Living (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999) Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Debt-Proof Your Kids (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998)
Tiptionary (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997)
Debt-Proof Your Holidays (St. Martin’s Press, 1997, and Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998)
The Complete Cheapskate (Focus on the Family, 1997, and Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1998)
Cheapskate in the Kitchen (St. Martin’s Press, 1997)
*The Financially Confident Woman (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996) Gold Medallion Award in Christian Living (1996)
The Cheapskate Monthly Money Makeover (St. Martin’s Press, 1995)
*The Best of Cheapskate Monthly: Simple Tips for Living Lean In The ‘90s (St. Martin’s Press, 1993;) New York Times Bestseller
Everyday Cheapskate, weekday consumer column syndicated nationally by Creators Syndicate (October 2007 to Present): appears in approximately 350 print publications and numerous online sites.
Everyday Cheapskate, weekday consumer column syndicated nationally by United Media (October 2002-September 2007)
Woman’s Day magazine (January 2006-2016; under contract for 10 columns per year)
Woman’s Day Online Talk Radio Show (September 2008-2010)
Dr. Phil Show
CBS Evening News
The Oprah Winfrey Show
Good Morning America
The O’Reilly Factor
Fox and Friends
The Hour of Power
CBS Early Show
ABC World News Tonight
Gordon McDonald Show, ITV United Kingdom
Point of View
Focus on the Family
Women in Touch
Janet Parshall’s America
National Speaking and Book Tours
Debt-Proof Living LIVE! (1999 to Present)
Debt-Proof Your Marriage (National book and speaking tour; 2003)
Debt-Proof Living (National book tour; 1999)
Debt-Proof Your Kids (National book tour; 1998)
Aspiring Women Conference (1998 and 1999 conference tours)
Tiptionary (National book tour; 1996)
Corporate Spokesperson Campaigns
Microsoft Bing (2009)
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (2009)
iVillage: Stretch Your Dollar Challenge (2009)
Sears Buyer Protection Plan (2009)
InterContinental Hotels Group (2008-2009)
Procter and Gamble Prilosec OTC (2007-2008)
Ollies Bargain Outlet (2007)
Microsoft Money (2000 and 2001)
Quaker Oats Bagged Cereal (1998)
MCI Friends and Family Free (1996)
Corporate Board Positions
Currently serving as a member of the Board of Advisory, Electus Global Educational Co., Inc
American Industrial Real Estate Association (now AIR CRE)
Christian Credit Counselors
Backhaus Dance Company
50 Random Things About Me
- I was born in Boise, Idaho.
- I’m a preacher’s kid.
- I drink hot coffee with a straw.
- I don’t like goat cheese.
- Or anything hazelnut.
- I got into really bad credit-card debt. Maxed out at more than $100,000 when my world fell apart.
- Took 13 years to pay off the credit-card debt—every dime of interest, fees and principal wit no concessions. Yay.
- In 2014 we paid off the mortgage too —100% debt-free.
- My husband’s name is Harold. You wouldn’t believe how many people call him Howard.
- I’ve been married to the same awesome man for 50 years.
- I have two sons.
- And two grandsons.
- I can’t swim.
- I do not want to learn.
- One time, with my two little boys in the back seat, I inadvertently drove the car into the living room.
- I have 26 published books.
- And have led thousands of people out of debt.
- Cheapskate Monthly newsletter debuted in Jan. 1992.
- To date, I’ve logged 1.4 million miles on American Airlines.
- I love to iron.
- And knit.
- As the only passenger in an NYC taxi, my driver T-boned a limousine, threw the cab into reverse, and then fled the scene.
- With me in the back seat.
- I play the piano.
- My Steinway M-model grand piano was built in 1929.
- I am its 2nd owner.
- I didn’t intend to, but I singlehandedly fixed a major plumbing issue while a guest in a historic old San Francisco hotel.
- Back in the 1970s, I figured out how to make men’s ties.
- My husband wore them to work. The word got out and I ended up selling thousands before I burned out.
- I love textiles. I fight becoming unreasonably obsessed with both fabric and yarn. Now and then I lose the battle. See # 21.
- Our son Jeremy won an Emmy Award.
- My favorite flavor is salted caramel.
- I am not a fan of chocolate.
- But I love a good fruitcake
- Upon meeting me in person, someone who’d heard me on the radio told me I’m a lot shorter than I sound.
- For me, overeating and overspending have some kind of correlation. As the debt grew, so did I.
- As the debt shrunk, eventually so did I. By 115 pounds. Really.
- My favorite color is lime green.
- I was commissioned to select the final winner in the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet contest to crown the Cheapest Person in America.
- Our son Josh met our daughter-in-law Wendy on eHarmony. Match made in heaven. Refer to #11.
- I am a coffee roaster.
- I import raw green coffee beans from Costa Rica, 200 lbs. at a time
- When I was a guest on the Leeza Gibbons Show, she called me Mary Hart on air. Three times.
- I am the first woman to have served on the Board of Directors of the American Industrial Real Estate Association (now AIR CRE), Los Angeles, Calif.
- I am a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
- I love the great hymns. My favorite is Great is Thy Faithfulness.
- I live in northern Colorado where the Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains.
- In 2002 I was a contestant on the TV game show revival, To Tell the Truth with John O’Hurley. I was the only one telling the truth, but the panelists all voted for my two imposters. We won the whole enchilada.
- I love Christmas for all it means to me—and because my kids come home for the holidays.
- My dream is to one day visit Israel.