New York Cheesecake made in Instant Pot

Instant Pot New York Cheesecake—Fast, Easy, Perfect!

You could have knocked me over with a feather as I was searching for ways to use my Instant Pot and locked eyeballs with—New York Cheesecake. What?! I can bake in this thing? Every day, it seems, I learn something new that I can do with this multi-cooker. But cheesecake? I had visions of throwing cheesecake ingredients into a pot of boiling water and expecting some kind of miracle.

Well, I’m excited (and relieved) to report that I was way off base with the boiling water scene, but a miracle? Spot on! We’re talking silky smooth New York-style cheesecake that doesn’t come out dry or cracked—with a delightfully firm and crunchy crust—exactly the way it should be. Fast and so easy, too.

New York Cheesecake made in Instant Pot

One time in my life, I’d attempted to make cheesecake long before I knew anything about pressure cooking. The results were less than stellar. I turned out a dry, rough-textured specimen with a big crack down the middle. It was quite awful. But that was then, and this is now!

There aren’t enough words to describe just how great this Instant Pot New York Cheesecake recipe is. Instead, I’m going to show you. Prepare to be amazed.

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Death by Clothes Dryer, One Load at a Time

You should see the big wad of lint I just plucked from the trap of my clothes dryer. Ack! Where does all of that come from? I know I emptied all pockets and I’m certain I did not wash a bag of pillow stuffing.

Young couple peering into clothes dryer with worry

I’ll tell you what it is, and I am not happy about this: It’s visual proof the dryer is killing my clothes. Those fibers were neatly woven into these clothes, towels, and sheets only 30 minutes ago. For all the convenience a clothes dryer offers, it may come at the price of having to replace clothes much too often.

Drying clothes in a machine can cause the fabric to wear out prematurely. Worse, it causes items to shrink and not only the first time they’re washed. Sleeves and pant legs continually get shorter and shorter when machine-dried to death.

There are tactics to counteract the abuse suffered by a clothes dryer without having to revert back to the days of sheets and towels frozen stiff on the clothesline (does anyone else remember that?) and still end up with comfy jeans and fluffy, soft towels. Read more

family jumping for joy in celebration

6 Reasons You Need to Celebrate Soon—and Often!

Celebrate? With all that’s going on in the nation—the world? Add to that the challenges in your life and you may be thinking that’s the last thing you’ll be doing now, or anytime soon. Let me encourage you to think again. Now, of all times, we need to celebrate wherever and whenever possible.

family jumping for joy in celebration

In their book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, authors Stephen Post and Julie Neimark tell us that celebration is one of the most important ways that we express gratitude. Celebration is gratitude in action, and celebration—like rest, seat belts, and green leafy vegetables—is good for us!

Celebration creates joy

Feeling down in the dumps? Celebrate someone or something—anything! The gratitude you feel as a result of celebrating others, or creation in general, will help you to be less materialistic and therefore more easily satisfied with what life brings your way. It’s a fact that gratitude actually creates joy within our souls.  Read more

How to Make a Perfect Baked Potato in the Oven

If you’ve ever wondered how some restaurants turn out such perfectly baked potatoes with salty, crispy skin—potatoes that are super fluffy inside and so delicious, you’re about to discover the secrets. And don’t be surprised when once you have the technique down, your family will be all in when you announce that potatoes are what’s for dinner!

Baked potatoes prepared with oil and salt sitting on baking tray having just been baked perfectly and split open ready to

Baked potatoes on a baking tray split open and ready to eat!

Potatoes—they’re nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive. And as they come from the oven, they’re gluten-free, low-fat, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan, too.

What is the best type of potato for baking?

Russet potatoes, also referred to as Idaho potatoes in the U.S, are best for baking. A russet’s skin or “jacket” is thicker than other types of potatoes, so it holds together well during baking. The inside of a russet is starchy, sweet, and makes for a fluffy texture once baked. Russets are available from medium to large, making them perfectly sized for a side dish—or one large russet per person makes a meal on its own.

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Homemade English Muffin Bread

Here’s an easy way to cut your grocery bill this week—make your own bread. Wait! Hear me out. I want to show you how to make homemade bread that is so easy, so simple, and so foolproof it’s going to make you feel like a genius. This homemade English Muffin Bread is simply amazing.

If you’ve read my book, 7 Money Rules for Life, you know that Rule #1 is so simple it would be easy to overlook it as being too elementary. Here it is: Spend less than you earn.

Now think about it … “spend less than you earn” is not the same as “don’t spend more than you earn.” That implies it would be okay to spend all that you earn, but no. The operative word is “less.” You need a gap between what you earn and how much of it you spend. That is the fundamental secret to living below your means.

It’s in that gap that you can repay debt, build an emergency fund, and financial freedom can grow. You really need to read the rest of the book, but for now, let’s just say that growing the gap is the challenge.

Making your own homemade bread is an easy way to increase your gap this week even if only by a few dollars. It all adds up! Let me show you how to make homemade bread that is so amazing, so simple, and so foolproof it’s going to make you feel like a genius.

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January is the Best Time to Buy Linens

January is the Best Time to Score a Deal on These 13 Things

Worried you missed out on all the After Christmas sales? Well, dry your tears because some of the best sales of the year are going live this month in retail and online stores everywhere.

January is the ideal time of the year to go bargain hunting for these 13 things:

January is the Best Time to Buy Linens

1. Bedding and Towels

White sales traditionally show up in January. Expect big discounts on most bedding, bath, and home essentials. Stores can often offer from up to 50% off to up to 75% off select bedding, bath, and other items during a white sale. Here are the types of items you’ll likely see at white sales:

  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Bedspreads
  • Duvets
  • Towels
  • Home decor
  • Furniture

2. Calendars

Most everyone starts a New Year with resolutions and intentions to get his or her life in order, but if you can stay organized until mid-January without a calendar, expect to save over 50% on most calendars and planners.

3. Spaghetti

Jan. 4, is National Spaghetti Day.  So why would that matter when it comes to bargain hunting? In the past, nationally known restaurants have offered super deals (sometimes it’s been on the house!) on a plate of spaghetti—a good indication of what we can expect this year, too:

  • Spaghetti Warehouse
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill
  • Fazoli’s
  • Luby’s
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy

4. Televisions

You can be sure that the end of football season ushers in the kickoff for great television deals as retailers gear up for the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 2020. Based on past years’ performances, you should expect retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Costco, and others to offer rock bottom prices towards the end of January—an excellent time to score a bargain.


The 10 Most Popular Everyday Cheapskate Posts of 2019The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2019

I can’t believe it’s 2020—a brand New Year, and, new decade, too (with apologies to those who see 2020 as the last year of the last decade)! The year 2019 has been an absolute whirlwind here at EC Central—a year filled with growth, joy, and bright new horizons.

Believing that it’s always a good thing to look back to see where we’ve been and to count the blessings—here is a roundup of the 10 most popular Everyday Cheapskate posts in 2019.  What was your favorite?

Here we go …


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The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2019

I can’t believe it’s 2020—a brand New Year, and new decade, too! The year 2019 has been an absolute whirlwind here at EC Central—a year filled with growth, joy, and bright new horizons.

Believing that it’s always a good thing to look back to see where we’ve been and to count the blessings—here is a roundup of the 1o most popular Everyday Cheapskate posts in 2019.

Here we go!

25 Items Under $25 to Help Organize Your Life

Woman buried under piles of disorganized clothes shoes and bags

Getting organized isn’t easy. But staying organized can be even harder. A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s the mark of an organized home …

Read it here …

The Best Inexpensive Skin Care Products Recommended by My Doctor

Lady taking care of her skin

High-quality and effective skincare should not be considered a luxury available only to the wealthy. You can find high quality, reasonably priced skincare products that are equal, if not superior to their department store cousins—right in your drugstore or discount department store …

Read it here …

Forget the Dry Cleaner: How to Wash a Down Comforter

A row of industrial washing machines in a public laundromat.

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s okay to wash your down comforter instead of taking it to the dry cleaner, the answer is yes. You can absolutely wash a down comforter without spending upwards of $60 (depending on the size, where you live, and how dirty it is) to have it dry cleaned professionally …

Read it here …

How to Use Wool Dryer Balls and Why You Should

White wool dryer balls save time and money every day

These things look like overgrown tennis balls, made of 100% wool yarn, that over time becomes “felted,” making them especially durable and not at all prone to unraveling. One set of wool dryer balls will last what seems like forever, softening thousands of loads of laundry—no batteries, refills, repairs or reconditioning required. It’s one [purchase] and done …

Read it here …

Three Generic Cleaners Same as Brand Names but Way Cheaper

Cheaper than brand names

Most people are well familiar with the term “generic” when it comes to medications, a term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without all the fancy packaging and advertising.

Today I want to offer you cheap generic alternatives for these three popular cleaning products—Bar Keepers Friend, Super Washing Soda, and OxiClean …

Read it here …

How to Clean a Shark Vacuum and Its Filters

Taking a Shark Vac Apart to Clean

1. Shark Navigator Pro LiftAway. 2. Remove dirt canister. 3. Remove foam filter. 4. Remove felt filter.

With all of the miles I’ve put on my numerous Shark vacs over the years, I’ve never had one fail. And while the manufacturer boasts that Sharks never lose suction, that is predicated on regularly cleaning Sharkie’s canister, filters, and rotating brush.

It’s right there in the owner manual, which most of us don’t think to read until we have a problem. You need to clean your Shark every three months to keep it working at top efficiency—more often with heavy use. It’s easy …

Read it here …

How to Make Ugly Soap Scum, Mildew, and Water Marks Disappear Like Magic

Quite possibly one of the best tips to ever land my mailbox came from a guy who is a professional property manager. He handles rental apartments and lots of them. As an apartment is vacated, his job is to see that it is thoroughly cleaned and made ready for the next occupants. 

This reader told me that the biggest challenge is always the bathroom, specifically the tub and shower. He kindly left specific details to my imagination but let me know that “gross” is not strong enough to describe what he often finds.

And that’s when he gave me his super magical potion—the only product he uses to return showers, tubs, tile, enclosures, faucets, and doors to their sparkling clean and sanitized selves …

Read it here …

The 3 Vacuums I Use Every Day and Absolutely Swear By

the-3-vacuums-I-cannot-live-without-Shark-Deik-Cordless-Stick-Vac-DustBuster

If you have hard flooring, carpet or flat surfaces in your home, which just about covers every possibility—there are three specific vacuum cleaners that deserve your attention: an upright, a cordless stick vac and a cordless handheld. These are the worker bees, the Best Inexpensive vacs that I own, love, and do not want to live without …

Read it here …

Worst and Best Ways to Clean Your Eyeglasses

Mother and daughter with eyeglasses

You just paid a small fortune for new eyeglasses. On top of the cost for prescription lenses and fashionable frames, you opted for Anti-Reflective, Anti-Scratch and UV Coatings too. After all, eyesight is a precious thing and it’s only wise to do all you can to protect it, right? Absolutely! But here’s the deal: You may be destroying your investment one cleaning at a time …

Read it here …

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

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.
First I will give you the ingredients, followed by two Weed Killer recipes using them …
Read it here …

I want to know – what was YOUR favorite Everyday Cheapskate post this year?

Thank you for helping to make 2019 such a fabulous year in this little corner of the Internet; wishing you the best that 2020 has to offer!

Re

It’s All About the Sauce—Chinese Brown Sauce!

Some of my earliest childhood memories center around Asian food. But not just any Asian food. I’m talking about the food at the Golden Dragon restaurant in Boise Ida., city of my birth and the home of tiny pork ribs swimming in the most beautiful and delicious brown sauce with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

To my 7-year-old sense of fine cuisine, that dish was to die for. My favorite thing in the whole, wide world!

For me, it was all about the sauce. Brown sauce. Yummy, amazing make-my-mouth-water kind of sauce. I poured it on my noodles; would eat it with a spoon like soup.

I recall exactly what it tasted like, too. It was definitely brown, kinda’ sweet but a little tangy and shiny—not clear like broth but not dense like gravy, either. And smooth. No chunks or chewy bits. No onions, peppers or pineapple pieces. None of that. Just glorious, shimmery, fabulous sauce over tiny ribs and sticky white rice on the side. I would all but lick the plate clean. Wait, maybe I did that.

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Young woman with a laptop computer indicating 1 percent solution

The 1-Percent Savings Solution

Want a simple, pain-free plan to increase your savings in 2020? CPA, author, and blogger Mike Piper says to save 1 percent more. “Increase your savings contributions by 1 percent of your gross income,” suggests Piper.

young woman holding up one finger indicating 1 percent solution

Just 1 percent—a good get-started savings plan!

It might be difficult to imagine how such a small change could make any difference at all, but according to Piper, this strategy can work wonders, especially if you are young. It’s so simple: get a savings plan.

Anything you can do to become a consistent saver is going to come back to bless you in the future. A personal program of consistent savings does more than increasing your bank account. It changes your attitude. It quiets your insatiable desires and moves you away from the financial edge where it is easy to worry and panic.

Money in the bank changes everything. Read more

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