Nok-Out and I met quite by accident. In searching for ways my readers could deal with offensive odors, we found each other online. I’ve used it continuously in my home since then and have recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues. Not everything in life can be doused in bleach. But in Nok-Out? No problem!
So today I thought I would sum it all up by giving you my top eight reasons that I am hooked on Nok-Out. It’s a smelly world out there and I don’t want to live in it without Nok-Out.
Woman with stinky shoe of her husband – unpleasant smell concept
1. Completely safe
Nok-Out is not toxic, and totally safe around pets, children, and anyone with allergies. Amazingly, the stuff looks like water and has no scent or fumes.
2. Kills COVID-19 and more
Nok-Out’s companion product SNiPER is anti-bacterial and anti-viral which means it kills COVID-19, H1N1, H3N2 as well as a long list of other nasty germs.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/77739421_s-1.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-21 06:02:092020-07-14 14:40:42It’s a Smelly World Out There—Thank Goodness for Nok-Out
There are few things as luxurious as taking a bath in a jetted, Jacuzzi-type, or whirlpool bathtub. The warm water and body massage make for one amazing way to relax. But the last thing you want to see are chunks of mystery debris swirling about—all the gunk and grime that’s built-up inside the jets and connecting hoses since the last time you cleaned it, which would be uh, when?
Follow these steps to get the tub, the air jets plus all of the interior plumbing system squeaky clean and sanitized so you can relax in crystal-clear water without fear of filth.
It’s a long story how Mark and Rosalie lost 5,000 shares of Texaco-Canada stock. But they did. They believed their money was well-invested when they relocated to the U.S.
They were unaware that when the company was sold to Texaco USA, all shares were liquidated and the proceeds returned to their rightful owners.
No doubt, a check was mailed to them, but by then they were long gone and their forwarding information had expired. So what happened to those funds? That’s what I set out to discover. And in the process, I discovered a lot more.
Mark and Rosalie are not alone. From security deposits to expired gift certificates, insurance refunds to old bank accounts, and proceeds from class-action suits, Americans are missing out on billions of dollars simply because they are unaware.
Piles of money
Unclaimed property refund checks are often in the $800 to $1,000 range. Even so each year states return only 4 percent of unclaimed assets to their rightful owners. Most owners don’t know they have money coming and it is simple to find the money that the state or federal governments have for you to claim.
Unclaimed property is generally defined as any financial asset that has had no activity by its owner for a period of five years or more. This includes savings accounts, safety deposit boxes, checking accounts, uncashed dividends, stocks, customer deposits or overpayments, certificates of deposit, credit balances, refunds, matured life insurance policies, and uncashed death benefit checks.
For example, if you have ever moved without getting your utility deposit back or forgotten about an old checking or savings account, you are entitled to those funds. Banks, insurance and utility companies, landlords or brokerage firms cannot keep your money simply because they cannot find you or you fail to pick it up. Federal and state laws require that those funds be held in safekeeping until their rightful owners (you!) claim them or until the property is sold at auction.
Many states offer free online access to property databases and even online claim forms. To find that online do a simple google search, i.e. “unclaimed funds California.”
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, (unclaimed.org) a nonprofit organization affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers, is an excellent source of information on unclaimed property. You can access all states through their website.
Forgot your refund?
The IRS provides specific information on its website on how to obtain a past refund that remains unclaimed. You can also try its toll-free phone number, 800 829-1040.
Search for others
If the unclaimed property is not in your name, you must prove that you are the legal guardian or rightful heir to recoup it. That is not a difficult task.
More than $8 billion worth of matured savings bonds have never been cashed. You can bring your uncashed savings bonds to your local bank, which will cash them in for you. If you think you have lost a savings bond and have a record of the serial number, go to publicdebt.treas.gov to look up its status.
Also, bonds that are lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed can be replaced free of charge as long as the Bureau of the Public Debt can establish that the bonds haven’t been cashed.
Surprise! Look what I found!
While it required an attorney to locate Mark and Rosalie’s stock sale proceeds, I did find $43.54 with their name on it, just waiting to be claimed. It seems the insurance company misspelled their street name so a refund was returned as undeliverable and eventually turned over to the State of California.
But that’s not all. In searching under the names of family members I found $85.90 for my husband’s parents (a refund that was mailed to an old address after forwarding information had expired).
Still more: I searched for myself and found a $125 insurance check that was returned as undeliverable because the sender failed to include our zip code. I have no idea the reason for this refund, but I’m not asking questions. I completed the simple claim form, sent in copies of identifying information, and am looking for a check any day now.
A pile of money—large or small—just might be waiting for you to claim what is rightfully yours! Or to surprise someone you know and love. At the very least, it is rather enjoyable to go on a search.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/searching-for-money.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-19 08:42:502021-01-19 08:52:56Piles of Money Waiting To Be Found
Ever wonder why you never have enough money to consistently save some of it for emergencies? I’m talking about consistent, regular deposits out of every paycheck that go straight into a savings account. Maybe it’s time to consider that you’re handing over your savings to restaurants, drive-thrus, diners, and coffee shops. Think about it.
What if you were strategic in buying basic ingredients and then cooking great meals at home? What if you had all of that money tucked away in a savings account rather than the coffers of local eating joints?
No matter your lifestyle, I am confident that with the right strategies, you really can reduce the amount of money you’re spending on food.
More time than money
If yours is a single-income household struggling to survive in a two-income world, keeping food on the table and the bills paid can be quite a challenge. The good news is that time is on your side. The one not working outside the home has the time—it takes time to carry out the best strategies—to keep the cost at rock bottom without sacrificing quality. Read more
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/restaurant-check-with-cash.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-17 04:39:152020-08-31 12:21:26Highly Effective Food Cost-Cutting Strategies for Every Lifestyle
Without a doubt, my least favorite household chore is hand washing dishes. That makes my dishwasher the one appliance I can’t live without. I love it. In fact, I have this motto that if it can’t go in the dishwasher I don’t need it.
Despite all my efforts, I still end up having to hand wash a few things since having learned the hard way there are certain items that should never go in a dishwasher. They can be ruined or they can ruin your dishwasher. You should hand wash them instead.
You’d be amazed how well I could fit wood cutting boards, wood bowls, and utensils made of wood or with wood handles into my dishwasher. But what was I thinking? I’m careful to not expose my wood floors to standing water because that’s just asking for trouble. But these small items made of wood might somehow be impervious to the brutality of super hot water plus detergent followed by blistering high drying heat? So wrong!
Bottom line is that water causes wood to swell and distort. Detergent strips the natural oils, causing the wood to crack. Wood needs to be hand-washed and dried quickly.
When you need to disinfect, use a mild solution of one gallon of 70 F (cool) water plus one teaspoon of liquid bleach in a spray bottle. Spray the surface, allow to sit for a few minutes then rinse and dry. That does the trick.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/dishwasher.jpeg533800Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-16 07:35:332019-11-23 08:33:2214 Things That Should Never Go in the Dishwasher
Emergencies are a fact of life. When faced with an unexpected event—from a broken bone to a job layoff—it’s good to be prepared. Nothing new there, I’m sure. We know what we should do. It’s actually doing it that eludes so many.
An emergency fund, what we call our Contingency Fund, is a stash of money set aside for protection during the financial storms life throws our way—events that can be stressful and costly.
Meet Mitch and Jenn
Several years ago, Mitch and Jenn had a string of bad luck. Mitch broke his leg in a skiing accident, Jenn’s car broke down requiring major repairs and their home’s aged roof decided to fail right in the middle of a major winter storm.
The timing for all of this wasn’t ideal—four weeks before Christmas. The financial and emotional toll of these events continues to be huge, but nothing like it might have been if they hadn’t been diligently building their Contingency Fund, more commonly known as an emergency fund.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/money-lifesaver-rescue-1.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-15 00:21:012020-09-14 10:33:41You Need an Emergency Fund (How to Get Started!)
Are trips through the closest fast-food joint driving a hole through your food budget? It’s no wonder. Prices on all foods are sky-rocketing, but fast food takes that prize. Yikes!
Unlike supermarkets where every week you can find fabulous sales, you’ll never find sales at Wendy’s, McDonald’s, or Burger King. Or any other fast-food restaurant for that matter. I don’t consider an occasional coupon to be a Sale.
I know what you’re thinking: Chicken. Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Fingers, Chicken Sandwiches—they’re all so tasty from these places, so convenient and so kid-friendly.
Consider this: In less time than it takes you to get into the car and drive to the closest drive-thru, you can make your own fast-food chicken fare—for half the price, or less. In fact, you can make a fabulous coating mix to mimic the best-coated chicken you’ve ever eaten, in five minutes flat.
And if that’s not enough, you’ll get three bonuses for your effort:
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Chicken_Fingers.jpg532800Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-14 00:09:042020-08-31 15:43:06How To Make Family-Friendly Finger Foods Kids Love
Taking care of the floors in your home can be challenging given the everyday conditions of a family and pets. But keeping your home looking good is crucial to maintaining its value. This is how to clean three types of residential flooring: real wood, laminate, and luxury vinyl.
There are two types of hardwood flooring—both made from real wood.
Solid hardwood floors are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber. Hardwood flooring comes both finished and unfinished; sealed and unsealed. While not completely waterproof, solid hardwood flooring can be sanded down and refinished should it become water damaged. Solid hardwood floors are the most expensive option.
Engineered hardwood is man-made from layers of material including HDF (High-Density Fiberboard which is a wood by-product) that have been glued together, with a thin layer of real hardwood on the top. Typically engineered wood comes finished with a clear protective coating or finish.
Engineered hardwood flooring is not waterproof. In the event of water damage, it is not suitable to be sanded down and refinished because the top layer of real wood is quite thin. Engineered hardwood is considerably more affordable than its solid cousin.
Like engineered hardwood, laminate flooring is also manmade, but from all synthetic products. It consists of a core made from HDF (High-Density Fiberboard which is a wood by-product) mixed with resins, then a top layer of plastic photographic material that is made to look like wood plus a clear protective finish.
All of those layers are fused together in a factory using a lamination process. Laminate flooring is not waterproof. A major water spill or a flood of any kind will most likely require the floor to be replaced. That center HDF core acts like a big sponge.
Very similar to laminate flooring, luxury vinyl flooring uses PVC instead of HDF for its core, which makes it 100% waterproof. Luxury vinyl can handle major spills and floods.
Is it finished?
Don’t know what you have exactly? No worries. When it comes to cleaning wood floors (solid, engineered, laminate, or vinyl) the only thing you need to figure out is whether or not your floors have a finish. You don’t really need to know the type of finish. The important fact is whether the floors have been treated in some way to make them resistant to standing water, which is the enemy of all wood and wood-like floors.
To discover if your flooring is finished, drop a single drop of water on the floor. If it beads and just sits there, the flooring has been finished. If the drop of water soaks in and disappears leaving a dark spot, the wood is not finished.
What follows is for finished solid or engineered wood, laminate, and vinyl flooring only. Unfinished hardwood CANNOT be mopped since it will damage the flooring.
CAUTION: If your floor is unfinished, or if it’s an old wood floor and some of the finish has started to wear away, then don’t use any moisture or product on the floor at all. Just dust-mop it with a flat-head mop.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/kitchen-island-wood-floor.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-13 00:52:492020-07-16 14:07:35How to Clean and Care for Hardwood, Laminate, and Vinyl Floors
Isn’t it ironic that the places in our homes that should be the cleanest—the washing machine, kitchen sink, bathroom tub, shower, sinks—are often the most troubled? Harsh chemicals, soap deposits, food stains, rust, hard water minerals, and water spots, when allowed to build up, will eventually not only look bad but can cause permanent and irreversible damage.
The good news is that you can halt—even reverse—much if not all of this kind of damage.
The stubborn white spots on and around the faucets are lime deposits from mineral-rich hard water. They’re easy to remove with good old white vinegar. Soak a paper towel in vinegar, then wrap the towel around the spotted area. Wait 10 minutes or so then remove the paper towel and buff with a dry paper towel or soft clean cloth.
CAUTION: This works well on all types of fixtures except brass or colored fixtures, which may become discolored when treated with vinegar. Again, test first in an inconspicuous place.
There’s nothing like microfiber for cleaning just about any surface in and about the house. If you’ve never used a microfiber cloth, you’re going to be amazed by how fast and efficiently you can clean.
Housecleaning and car washing—they’re chores that most of us love to hate. Who would have thought there could ever be a better way to scrub things clean than using good old soap and water plus an old, ratty cotton cloth?
If you’ve tried the latest microfiber cleaning cloths, you know that technology really can make life easier. Not only are microfiber cloths more hygienic, but they also avoid the need for expensive cleaning products, which are often laden with strong chemicals that for some cause allergic reactions and skin problems.
Microfiber cloths get things looking far cleaner in a lot less time. Especially windows, mirrors, and stainless steel. And drying dishes. It’s not really magic—it’s science.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/microfiber-cleaning-cloths.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-11 01:16:072020-08-09 08:59:57These are the Best Microfiber Cloths (They Work Like Magic!)
I’m not proud to admit it, but there was a time that I would’ve rather shoved toothpicks under my fingernails than be bothered with making my own homemade laundry detergent. Are you kidding me? Why on earth would I do that? I’m happy to live in modern times, not the stone age for goodness’ sake!
Oh my, how arrogant and ignorant I was. And deeply, horribly in debt to prove it.
Long story short, I learned how to cut expenses—to scrimp where it doesn’t matter in order have what matters most. And yes, I most willingly learned to make my own homemade laundry detergent for cheap—less than a nickel a load, giving up spending $ .35 or even $.50 a load for the ready-made options. And I got out of debt—paid off a massive amount of credit card debt, now happily debt-free with more joy than I can possibly express.
Look, I’m not saying that making laundry detergent is going to get you out of debt. That one move on its own will, at best, make a small dent in your weekly grocery tab. But add that to hundreds of other changes (hang around me with and I’ll teach you), and your life will change in dramatic ways. Just think about it.
In the meantime let me show you how quick and easy it is to do this:
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/laundry-room-detergent-1.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-10 00:30:232020-09-09 14:44:02How to Make the Best Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
Life is uncertain. We know that. What we don’t want to admit is how quickly uncertainty can morph into fear, worry, and all-out panic.
Waking this morning to the reality of national unrest on top of a global pandemic brings even more new meaning to uncertainty. In all of this, we’re supposed to keep calm? Carry on? Nice words, but how?
Fear is the enemy
Fear leads to stress. And stress leads to the breakdown of mental and physical health.
Fear skews our common sense, clouding our decision-making. Unfounded fears lead us to do and believe really dumb things.
Fear can so easily lead to depression as we rehearse over and over in our minds every possible thing that could happen. Fear and greed are very close cousins. Together they can lead to panic, and that leads to no good!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/fearful_woman-v3.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-09 00:40:392020-03-25 13:20:15How to Keep Calm and Carry On
Loyal readers know that I love to cook. And I prefer to make things from scratch. But given my crazy schedule, many days I have zero time to get a meal on the table—not even 30 minutes (sorry, Rachael Ray). I’m always on the lookout for the fastest food.
I need quick and easy meals that are also delicious. If something is fast and tastes good, it’s so much better than eating out. And way cheaper, too. The five recipes that follow (presented as recipe cards so you can easily print them) are my family’s favorite homemade soups!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/102017image.jpg376565Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-08 04:13:562021-01-11 10:39:475 Quick and Easy Homemade Soup Recipes to Soothe the Soul and Budget
Maintenance and home repair are a never-ending reality for just about everyone—homeowners and renters alike. But it doesn’t have to be painful or necessarily expensive. The secret to making it easy is to fix stuff as it happens—right away, not next month or sometime in the future when you decide to sell.
The best way to ensure you’ll actually perform quick home repairs is to make sure you have top-notch repair products on hand—in a handy place you will remember.
Check out my collection of favorite home repair products, some of which you may have already. And if you have favorites not listed below, please let us know in the comments area!
Miller Scratch Fix pens are the absolute best for hiding scratches on furniture, floors, cabinets, doors, and moldings—even antiques. Makes scratches, stains, and imperfections invisible. Dries in seconds making multiple coats, if necessary, super simple.
These pens (available in a variety of colors) contain waterproof wood stain instead of ink, which means that once dry, even wax and polish won’t smudge it. Follow the directions exactly for the best result. Keep a set of these stain markers in the house to touch up nicks and scratches on all your wood surfaces to keep maintenance easy and manageable.
Weldbond Adhesive Glue is amazing for most applications. It’s super adhesive, while at the same time cleans up with water, is non-toxic, nearly odorless, and dries clear while remaining flexible.
This is the glue you want if your repair will remain visible. It works equally well on porous and non-porous surfaces, however, it’s at its best when you scuff the materials to be glued with something like a nail file or sandpaper.
Weldbond is great on most plastics, wood, metal, tile, porcelain, fabric—items all of us have around our homes that need to be repaired from time to time. Cures fully in only 24 hours.
As always, test any product new to you in an inconspicuous place first. You want to know exactly this is going to work and appear once you use it to make a home repair.
Original Gorilla Glue
Gorilla Glue comes in a number of varieties, many of which I can live without. It’s the Original Gorilla Glue that has saved my bacon more than a few times and occupies a permanent location in my repair products cupboard. It will stick anything together and hold it there for dear life and quite possibly through all eternity. However, the repair most likely will remain visible so plan your strategy carefully.
I love Original Gorilla Glue because it takes a while to dry (read the instructions carefully), which means I have time to reposition and get things just right. Original Gorilla Glue is perfect for situations where you just don’t have a clear, clean break with two like surfaces to join together.
Example: The wireframe on one of my lampshades broke leaving the thing hanging cockeyed. There was no apparent way that I could reattach it because, well, you’d have to see it to understand. But that was not an impossible challenge for Original Gorilla Glue.
It worked beautifully to attach the severed wireframe—delicately—to the lampshade fabric on the inside where it is not readily visible! That repair is now the strongest point on the entire lampshade. Yep, good forever.
Now you can understand why I don’t want to live without my trusty bottle of Original Gorilla Glue. Read more
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/afro-woman-repairing-furniture-at-home-Z9UQKUU-scaled-e1610038549807.jpg8741310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-07 00:20:192021-01-07 08:50:509 Extremely Useful Home Repair Products to Fix Just About Anything
You might think your coffee maker is a one-trick pony—does anything smell more wonderful than a fresh-brewed pot of coffee? But let’s think about this for a moment.
That appliance heats water to about 200 F. and comes equipped with a hot plate to keep it at about 165 F. Whether you’re traveling, living in a dorm room, or just like the idea of a kitchen tool doing more than one thing, you’re going to love knowing all the things your coffee maker can do besides brew coffee.
Instant soup, especially those packets of ramen, is perfect for preparing with a coffee maker. Break up the noodles then pour the entire contents including seasoning mix into the coffee carafe.
Now pour water through the machine as if you were making coffee. Let it set on the hot plate for a few minutes and you’re good to go.
Thin pasta like linguini, fettuccini, and spaghetti can be cooked to perfection in your coffee maker. Prepare the coffeemaker to make a full pot of coffee, but leave out the filter and the coffee. Break the dry pasta (for a single serving) as needed so it fits into the empty carafe and place it on the hotplate. Turn the coffeemaker on and all the carafe to fill. Leave in place on the hotplate until the pasta is cooked to al dente. Drain in a colander and enjoy! in the colander!
You’re going to think I’m nuts but stick with me here. You really can make mini-pancakes on a coffee maker’s hot plate.
First, line the burner with foil (optional, but foil will keep it clean), and let it heat up. Now pour a small amount of batter right onto the foil. Flip it over when the edges begin to turn brown and the surface develops small bubbles.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/coffee-maker-on-white-background-copy.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-06 00:33:092020-09-10 12:25:5713 Surprising Ways to Use Your Coffee Maker
If throwing out perfectly delicious leftover green salad were a crime, I’d be serving a life sentence. It kills me to do it, but until fairly recently, I hadn’t considered that leftover green salad could have a second life, dressed or not. Once tossed, passed, and partially consumed, that’s it, right? Wrong.
Mix the leftover salad in a blender with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and some garlic or herb seasonings and you have the dressing for your next salad. I have done this several times now and the results are quite amazing. You have to try it. Just make sure you keep your seasonings handy.
Turn that leftover green salad into hot vegetable soup: Process the leftover salad in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock. Pour into a saucepan, stir in another 1/2 cup stock or the amount needed to create a nice consistency. Heat thoroughly and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs like basil, chives, or parsley.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/eat-2834549_1920-e1609838514526.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-05 00:15:072020-09-14 10:15:52This is What to Do With Leftover Green Salad
It was shocking to read that 47% of Americans would experience significant financial distress in order to handle a $400 emergency. Apparently, nearly half of us just do not know how to save money.
I know how easy it is to think we are saving money by buying things on sale, turning down the heat, making our own cleaning products, and other ways we can think of to spend less. Heck, we even congratulate ourselves on doing that, right? But hear me on this:
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/116474786_s-1.jpg565847Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-04 00:58:152020-09-02 05:49:42Simple Ways to REALLY Save Money This Year
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.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/chinese-brown-sauce-1.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-03 00:01:382021-01-03 16:21:31How to Make Homemade Chinese Brown Sauce
In the modern-day supermarket, apples are something that never disappears. No matter what time of year it is, there will be apples. But does that mean there is still a season for apples when they’re at their cheapest? There is, and that would be from about August until spring.
Apple season isn’t that difficult to spot. Have you been to the market lately? Apples happen to be a great bargain right now. And variety? For snacking you’ve got your Gala, Fuji and Pink Lady, your Red and Green Delicious to name a few. And don’t forget the more tart Rome and Granny Smith, which are ideal for baking.
When you load up on apples starting around October, which is National Apple Month, you are going to save some dough, and you’re going to save something else, too. Calories! Researchers have compelling proof that three apples a day will get rid of fat. And apple nutrition facts bear that out.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/082616image.png342565Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-02 05:00:072021-01-02 12:03:53Three Apples a Day to Get Rid of Fat
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Female-climber-top-of-Mt.-Evans-Colorado.jpg6671000Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2021-01-01 08:00:492021-01-07 08:58:57How to Guarantee You’ll Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution
No doubt about it, we can now say with confidence that hindsight is 2020. There it goes, washing away—the year never to be forgotten.
Despite all the challenges, it’s been a good year here at EC Central—a year filled with growth, surprises, worries, and wonder. And now we look toward the bright new horizons of 2021.
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 2020 starting with number 10 and working our way to the number-one most popular.
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 …
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 …
In this world there is carrot cake and then there is scrumptious absolutely to-die-for carrot cake—the kind of cake you’ve only experienced with a $200-per-person meal at a fancy hotel (you do that all the time, right?). This is the cake that’s going to make your friends and family think you’re a genius …
It’s not the most elegant question I get, but certainly one of the most common. “I’ve tried everything I can think of, but that stubborn, ugly toilet bowl ring won’t go away!” Or “It goes away, but just keeps coming back!”
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 …
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 …
And now I want to know—what was YOUR favorite Everyday Cheapskate post this year?
Thank you for helping to make 2020 such a fabulous year in this little corner of the Internet; wishing you the best that 2021 has to offer. Let’s make it a good one!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/2020-washing-away-in-the-surf.jpg8641534Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-31 06:32:132020-12-31 13:52:24The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2020
Even the mention of words like frugality, thrift, and living below your means send some people over the edge because, for them, those words conjure up thoughts of poverty and deprivation. They assume that cutting costs is tantamount to diving into dumpsters to find their next meal. No wonder so many people prefer a life of debilitating debt to one of frugality. Let me set the record straight. Please.
There is nothing undignified about spending less than you earn. That’s called living below your means, and it’s a fabulous way to live. It means there is a gap between what you earn and what you spend. You have money set aside in a safe place that you are growing regularly.
That’s what happens when you don’t spend all that you have. You become less fearful, more confident. Stress dissipates. Your perspective changes.
When you spend less than you earn, you are not dependent on credit to get by. You’re not always white-knuckling it until next payday. It is a very good thing.
So, you may be wondering, how can you move from overspending to living below your means without giving up your quality of life? It starts with prioritizing everything according to how important it is to your life. Then only spend on things at the top of the list. You ruthlessly cut out spending on the things that don’t matter.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/money-chained-upv2.jpg7351310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-30 06:31:092020-09-10 10:55:00The Truth About Joy and Living Well, Below Your Means
If you’ve ever suffered the annoyance of outdoor and feral cats ruining your yard and garden, help is on the way. Neighborhood felines instinctively seek out bare soil to use as their toilet space and that’s what makes your garden a perfect outdoor litter box. Consider these ways to repel cats naturally that will make your property so unattractive to cats that they’ll find some other place to hang out and do their business.
Keen sense of smell
Cats have a highly developed sense of smell that is about 40 times more sensitive than ours. Many scents that we find enjoyable actually repel cats naturally. The goal is to identify those that are so intense for cats, they become effective repellants to drive them away.
Spent coffee grounds
Cats hate the smell of coffee, which has strong natural scents that only get stronger after being ground up and exposed to hot water. Take advantage of this and use the spent coffee grounds after you brew that pot of coffee in the garden to repel cats from using it as their personal outdoor litter box.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/cat-2539225_1920-e1610424978949.jpg8281310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-29 00:30:442021-01-12 07:54:58Easy Ways to Naturally Repel Cats From Your Yard and Garden
Recently, while brainstorming with a reader who needed to supplement her regular full-time job, I made a quick list of the ways I’ve done that in my life. I wanted to help her discover what she does well that others might pay her to do for them.
I worked as an independent process server for a company that attorneys hire to have subpoenas delivered in their civil cases. Whenever I had a couple of hours to spare, I’d pop into the office, pick up a stack of subpoenas and head out to attempt to “serve” unsuspecting defendants in civil lawsuits.
My mission was to locate the defendant then address the said person by name (Laura … Laura Smith?). By law, I was required to make sure I had eye contact, wait for that look of “knowing” and then hand off the document. Even if the person refused it, turning to walk (run) away, I could legally assert that I had completed the mission.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/woman-knocking-on-wooden-door-e1610416526230.jpg8311310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-28 00:01:352020-05-17 15:34:05Weird Ways to Earn Money on the Side
If recent world events have given you one big fat wake-up call, you are not alone. The message is clear—every household needs to have some amount of food in storage. Natural disasters like blizzards, hurricanes, and floods often come with little or no warning.
Stocking up now on the right non-perishable foods with long shelf lives will help you weather any storm (or global pandemic) with less stress. The type and amount of food to store is an individual decision that depends on your financial resources and storage area.
Ideally, your long term goal is to have stockpiled enough to feed your family for six months. But start with shorter goals, like enough food for one week, then two weeks, and then a month.
This kind of incremental plan won’t bust the budget or throw you into panic buying that can easily lead to burnout and buyer’s remorse.
Long shelf life
Following is a list of foods that won’t spoil quickly, making them good choices to stock should you want to quarantine now during the coronavirus pandemic, or to be prepared for future unknowns.
1. Beef jerky
Shelf life: 1 to 2 years
Dried pieces of meat known as “jerky” are a delicious snack item in a non-perishable food stockpile. It’s lean, dry, and salted—a combination of qualities that contribute to its longevity if it’s kept in an unopened package.
2. Canned vegetables
Shelf life: 1 to 2 years past “best by” date
Generally, commercially canned foods are good for two to five years from the date they were packed. High acid food like tomato sauce will not keep as long as a can of beans, for example. Canned varieties can provide you with essential nutrients, making these a great hurricane food or natural disaster option.
If not subjected to extreme heat, canned fruits and vegetables stay good for at least one year and possibly two years past the “best by” date on the can. Cans with swollen tops or sides should be discarded, however, as this may indicate the presence of bacteria.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/stockpile-foods-for-emergency.jpg8731310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-27 00:34:092020-08-28 13:18:5520 Foods with Long Shelf Lives to Stockpile for an Emergency
Everyone agrees that we should change the filter in our home heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Actually doing that is something else altogether. It’s all about the where, when, and how of performing that simple household chore that results in procrastination and selective amnesia.
We tell ourselves it’s not a difficult maintenance chore. The problem is in making it a priority. Besides, it can’t be that big of a deal, right? If the thing still turns on and cools and/or heats the place, who cares?
Consider these three unintended consequences, which should help push this simple home maintenance task up to a respectable place in your list of things that are important.
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He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village where he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty. Then for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He did not go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born.
He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While he was dying his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone and today he remains the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s’ progress.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned put together, have not affected the life of man on this planet so much as that one solitary life.
— James Allan Francis, 1864-1928
Merry Christmas from all of us at Everyday Cheapskate!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Depositphotos_56305667_xl-2015-scaled-e1608909875233.jpg8741310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-25 07:25:372020-12-26 08:03:38Let Heaven and Nature Sing!
Faithful readers will recall that my husband and I tested and now continue to enjoy the most popular meal kit delivery service.
Since first writing about that I’ve gotten the most interesting feedback. But first, a quick review:
From the meal kit delivery services available at that time, I selected Home Chef because our zip code is in its delivery area—and now nearly 98% of the country is
It is the cheapest meal kit option.
I predicted it would be the most family-friendly. Turns out I nailed it.
Home Chef beats take-out, curbside pick-out, DoorDash, and all other contactless, home delivery of food
No tax or tip added to the bill
Home Chef meals are absolutely delicious and use normal, fresh food—not exotic fare or ingredients we’ve never heard of and can’t pronounce.
Users select meals and menus based on preference and dietary needs including classic, calorie-conscious, carb-conscious, less-than-30 minutes, and vegetarian.
A Home Chef meal kit includes all of the fresh ingredients and instructions needed to cook restaurant-quality meals for 2, 4, or 6 people in the comfort of your own kitchen, eliminating recipe searches and food shopping by sending everything required for that meal—perfectly portioned and ready to go.
Seriously, Home Chef is like having your own personal shopper and sous chef. The meals are wonderful, so easy to prepare—and versatile. And here’s the best thing: Everything I need to make that meal is included all portioned out and ready to go except for oil, salt, and pepper. And I can leave out or reduce items to taste, like the red pepper flakes; or salt. Read more
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/homechef_1310x833.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-24 00:02:182020-05-17 06:54:29How We Use Meal Kits to Cut Food Costs During Quarantine
The idea of emergency preparedness is good. But just having an idea is not good enough. Every person—every family—needs a plan in the event of a disaster that could disrupt the normal course of life. But where to start? That’s where most of us get stuck for lack of useful, specific direction.
Hopefully, these quick tips will do the trick to get you unstuck and on your way to being disaster ready.
You don’t have to live in hurricane country to get hurricane prepared. Disasters can hit anywhere. This means water could be in short supply. For true emergency preparedness, store bottled drinking water in your home for your immediate needs.
For flushing toilets and showers, line 30-45 gallon garbage cans with those large contractor plastic bags available at home improvement stores. Then, fill the garbage cans with water and apply their tight-fitting lids. Most people forget that three weeks without electricity means three weeks of no water if their water utility provider has not attached a generator to pump water to houses.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/emergency-check-list.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-23 06:48:232020-04-09 12:26:147 Things You Need to Do Now to Plan Ahead for Disaster
It is a social custom in this country to give cash gifts, known as tips or gratuities, during the holiday season. How this custom came to be I have no idea. Thankfully, there are no rules and no tipping police.
We see a plethora of tipping guidelines in newspapers and magazines during the holidays, but they are editorial suggestions.
Some I’ve read are mind-boggling and include the garbage man, newspaper delivery person, mail carrier, the nanny, driver, and doorman; the housekeeper, butler, and maid (don’t we all have one of those?), which for me begs the question:
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/cash-tip-christmas.jpg8731310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-22 08:27:162020-12-22 09:14:37A Mostly Complete Guide to Tipping During the Holiday Season
I love to bake, however, baking has not always been fond of me. We’ve had our moments. It wasn’t until I surrendered to the following recipes exactly that our relationship made the turn.
I had to come to the point that I was willing to measure the ingredients, follow directions and believe that little things like “folding in” does not mean beating it to death, “one-cup of flour” doesn’t mean, that looks about right, and “butter softened,” does not mean boiling like a witch’s cauldron.
Even if you aren’t one, chances are pretty good you know someone who is a bonafide coffee snob. That’s because unmitigated devotion to coffee has reached epic proportions.
For these folks, nothing says “I care” more than a gift that affirms said snobbery and love for truly great coffee. I can pretty much guarantee that any one of these coffee-related gifts will rack up some major love and respect in return.
With Amazon Prime on our side, there’s still time to get those last-minute gifts before Christmas.
Not a Prime Member?
You can start your 30-day free trial today, reap all the benefits and cancel once the trial is over. Easy, ethical, and totally legit.
By way of full disclosure, I will admit to being a home roaster, which does earn me a certain level of coffee snobbery. I purchase green coffee beans directly from the La Minita Plantation in Costa Rica and roast those beans one pound at a time.
Take a look under the sink where you keep your cleaning products. See a bottle of Blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid? Well, say “Hello” to a very versatile and surprisingly multi-purpose household product.
Original Blue Dawn
Original Blue Dawn, a product of Procter & Gamble was introduced in 1972. Since then it has gone through several tweaks, changes, and upgrades so that today we see a number of varieties including Dawn Ultra and Dawn Platinum, to name just a few. According to the International Bird Rescue Research Center, Blue Dawn is biodegradable and contains no phosphates.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/blue-dawn-with-duck.jpg8331310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-19 00:09:232020-08-27 10:45:3223 Remarkable Ways to Use Blue Dawn Outside the Kitchen
Have you ever wondered if chicken soup really does have medicinal effects against colds and flu? Me, too. I decided to find out.
Here’s what I learned: There is some scientific evidence to suggest that homemade chicken soup contains several ingredients that affect the body’s immune system.
Dr. Stephen Rennard, University of Nebraska Medical Center says that chicken soup, while not a cure, has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe sore throats and ease the misery of colds and flu—and even COVID-19. It helps us feel better so we can get better and that’s good enough for me.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/homemade-chicken-noodle-soup-S4SQRZZ-scaled-e1608304596285.jpg8741310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-18 08:45:532020-12-21 08:06:28This is What You Need to Know About the Healing Power in Chicken Soup
So your rig is secure, you’re ready to hit the bike trails or hike another fourteener*. Where to you keep your valuables? You can’t carry everything with you and most RVs are not super secure against break-ins. This trailer hitch vault is the answer—a good place for your extra set of keys, cards, cash, and other valuables.
This secure key vault inconspicuously allows you to keep your valuables secure at all times during outdoor activities where that might usually be a hassle.
The hitch receiver is constructed from high-impact aluminum and is a vault that combined with the HitchSafe provides the most secure location on your vehicle to store spare keys and other personal items.
No tools required! The HitchSafe easily installs and uninstalls in seconds with no tools required.
If there’s one thing that’s is annoying to the point of ruining a trip or adventure in an RV, it’s this: No service when you need to upload files, connect with colleagues, or make a call.
No one wants to travel only in cities and populated areas to ensure connectivity. So what’s the solution? This mobile hotspot, power bank, and camera, which combines fast, secure 4G LTE WiFi, all without a Sim card or contracts. Works with up to 10 connected devices. 16+ hours of battery life. You can be your own reliable network.
Make four separate, delicious waffles in minutes with this 8” diameter nonstick machine. The cooking surface heats evenly and quickly, resulting in perfectly cooked waffles. Experiment with different recipes and make hash browns or homemade paninis using the Express Waffle Maker. Simply plug in your appliance and you’re ready to cook! Perfect for small spaces and people on the go! Choice of 3 colors.
This is not a doormat—it’s big at 8′ x 11′ and large enough to define a beautiful outdoor area for chairs, table, grill, and so forth. Lightweight and compact. Easy to fold or roll for easy storage. Includes a carrying bag.
Living off the grid means paying careful attention to your battery power. The last thing you want is an energy hog when it comes to anything that plugs into your rig’s power. With this monitor, you can find out what appliances are best for your travel. Simply connect these appliances to the Kill A Watt EZ, and it will assess how efficient they really are. I’ll let you read about all the additional benefits and uses for this great little monitor.
This is one thing you really need but hope to never have occasion to use. It’s an emergency escape tool that is many tools in one. It has a seatbelt cutter on one end, a window breaker too with the hardened sharp and heavy carbon steel points on the other. Comes in 2-pack so you can keep one in the tow vehicle or RV glove compartment, another in a door pocket or armrest.
This travel coffee maker brews coffee or tea on the go so you can drink from the same container when it’s ready. Now you can enjoy your morning cup of Joe wherever you are! It’s well-insulated to keep that coffee hot for hours.
Quick and easy. Simply add coarsely ground coffee, hot water and seal the lid for a delicious, freshly pressed cup in minutes. Comes with complete instructions.
Fast gourmet popcorn in the microwave! This beautiful, durable, temperature-safe borosilicate glass device makes for better popping experiences. No oil or butter required, no chemicals involved. We received this as a gift from friends many years ago and I can promise that it makes the best popcorn ever.
OK these are perfect for RVing. With sturdy soles, comfy plush lining, and slip-off styling, these house shoes/slippers for both men and women with their affordable price and mulitiple choice of colors, they’re right there new perfect. And if you’re not careful, they just might become your full-time vacation footwear!
This super sturdy, lightweight aluminum ladder comes with one-button retraction! And so compact. Safe to Use: No more pinched fingers! The telescoping ladder’s high-quality construction ensures that each section expands and retracts safely. Intelligent locking pins hold the sections in place and prevent sliding, and the ladder will retract smoothly and slowly. Exactly what you need on board to reach every area of your rig with plenty of convenience and ease.
You find the perfect camping spot, back in the rig flawlessly, open up, set up, and sit back to enjoy a beautiful campfire and breathtaking view. And then it hits. Your bonfire starts smoking up the area beyond belief! You rush to close on the windows on your RV and what a mess. Know what I mean?
Well, no more with the Solo Stove Bonfire, the world’s most unique fire pit that pushes the limits of both combustion airflow efficiency with its outdoor design and all-stainless-steel construction. It was painstakingly engineered to provide a backyard or camping fire experience that cannot be duplicated.
Staying organized in an RV or campervan can be incredibly difficult—trust me. Even though you have fewer possessions, you also have very limited storage.
Packing cubes like this Travel Organizer Cubes Set can make it easier for your friendly van-dwellers to keep their tiny space nice and tidy. These cubes can also be used to keep things in order in your suitcase when you travel for work or play. Six colors.
The hammock is made of super-strong 210T parachute nylon material. This soft, breathable, and mildew-resistant nylon cloth will last for a long lifetime. The high-grade nylon triple interlocked stitches maximize hammock strength for your ultimate safety. Five colors to choose from. Comes with carrying bag, too. Super easy to set up and pack up.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Depositphotos_71521383_xl-2015-scaled-e1608216867265.jpg8741310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-17 00:25:342020-12-17 20:11:12Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Gift Ideas RV Owners, VanLifers Will Love!
Need a last-minute gift for a neighbor, friend, a beloved teacher, or anyone else on your gift list? Here are six great ideas that won’t take much time, and certainly won’t break the bank.
Photo Explosion Box
Imagine a small photo album “box,” made from scrapbooking card stock, which folds out to reveal special photos when the lid is removed. What a perfect gift for parents, grandparents, children—anyone who loves photos.
Gather some photos. Print from your phone or device. Take screenshots from Instagram, dig through your phone or find that box of old family photos and “snapshots!” While you’re there, dig out all those scrapbook supplies you’ve been hoarding.
You can make a photo explosion box in just a few hours. In fact, while you’re at it make several. Find a complete tutorial here, or search around. Lots of YouTube videos out there if you need more help.
It was a dumb mistake. I grabbed the biggest package of coffee filters—a pack of 1,000—only to discover much later that I’d picked up the wrong size for my coffeemaker.
Coffee filters are not expensive, which is probably the reason I didn’t bother returning them to the store. I suppose I should have tried, but I’m glad didn’t. I began finding all kinds of ways to use those filters for other things than making coffee.
What I discovered is that the basket-style filters are super useful around the house and the garage, too for so many things that have absolutely nothing to do with coffee!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/112018image.jpg6671000Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-15 00:54:552020-08-27 10:50:4324 Weird but Awesome Ways to Use Coffee Filters
I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I wandered into (actually I was sucked in against my will by the seductive aroma) Popcornopolis in South Deerfield, Mass., (curiously, located inside the Yankee Candle Village Store) and walked out with the most amazing gourmet caramel popcorn.
As an admitted lover of good caramel corn, I have to say a few things about this gourmet popcorn. These people know how to make caramel corn!
With its rich depth of flavor, Popcornopolis Caramel Corn is about as close to perfection as I have ever tasted. But as wonderful as it is, it is also very expensive.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/homemade-golden-caramel-popcorn-PT6HKQS.jpg19651310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-14 05:52:372020-12-14 08:57:24Gift-Worthy Caramel Corn Just in Time for the Holidays
If you could use an injection of fresh ideas for how to make this Holiday Season meaningful for the children in your life, take a lesson from my friend, Connie Copeland.
Connie’s clever creativity allowed her and her husband to give their four kids and now her 13 grandchildren the four things kids really want for Christmas, even when money was tight:
Relaxed and loving time with family
Realistic gift expectations
Evenly paced holiday season
Reliable family traditions
When her kids were little, Connie would spread the excitement of Christmas throughout the month. She did that with little notes—one tiny note per child, per day.
Most days the notes were the same for each child, such as:Read more
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I am enjoying the unique holiday tips and tricks readers have been sending my way, to be shared with you. Over and again, I find myself saying, “Wow! Why didn’t I think that?”
Just this week, I was boiling mad at myself when I opened boxes marked “Christmas” to find supplies of cards, tags, and gift wrap purchased on sale, then promptly forgotten. You can be sure this year I’m going to file all this stuff under “Halloween!” You’ll understand as you read on.
With coronavirus requiring us to make some tough decisions this Christmas, we’re just not doing everything we used to. Even so, we have determined to keep as many traditions as possible. We’re putting up all of the decorations and making all the special foods we love, even though we won’t have many people in this year. Instead, we’ll be doing a lot of facetime and phone calls while looking forward to a brand new year filled with hope. Teri
I use the large Christmas popcorn tins (cleaned and dry) to store my Christmas bows. I use one for red, another for green, and the other two for gold and mixed colors. I can stack them in storage, and my bows stay new looking all year. I reuse these bows for several years. Gwen
When asked to describe the perfect bath towel most people would include the words soft, thick, and thirsty. Cotton Incorporated, a trade association of cotton wholesalers, agrees and goes on to say that the perfect towel is a luxurious towel that can also stand up to constant use and laundering for at least a decade.
The secret to buying the perfect affordable bath towel is in understanding fibers, loops, and dyes because unlike bed sheets, towels don’t come with easy measures like thread counts.
A towel’s main duty is to blot up and absorb water. One hundred percent cotton does the best job because cotton naturally attracts water. Synthetic fibers like polyester repel water, making a cotton-polyester blend less absorbent and to be avoided.
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I’ve never been a school teacher, but I am a parent. I wish I’d known years ago what I know now about what teachers really want for Christmas. I would have skipped the “Teachers Have Class!” coffee mugs and gone more for the classroom supplies.
It’s been a tough year, especially for students and teachers who have been required to move to on-line, remote learning. I cannot even imagine all that teachers in all learning situations this year have had to do to keep going. It brings certainly brings new meaning to the word pivot, something teachers seem to do with ease.
Still, wanting to know how teachers really feel about gifts, I contacted teachers I know, asking them how they really feel about gifts from parents and students—at Christmas and other times of the year, too. Each one of them hesitated. I could tell they didn’t want to come across as ungrateful.
Make no mistake—teachers are very grateful for the thoughts behind all of the stuff they get during the year, but particularly at Christmas.
But the stuff itself? Not so much. In fact, most gifts become a problem for that teacher. What would you do with 27 random coffee mugs or 16 bottles of cologne or aftershave of dubious origin?
This year you can make sure that your gifts for teachers will be exactly what they really want. So listen up on these ideas for teacher gifts. And take notes. There may be a quiz.
From teen boys to grandfathers, from travel to coffee; your brother or your bro, father or hubs—treat him to something special that he’ll use for years to come. Can’t come up with any ideas? Gifts for guys can be challenging. But not to worry! I’ve got you covered with gifts for him that cover a variety of interests. Check back as this list expands and updates often.
I’m going to jump out on a limb and say there could not be a better gift for any male person (OK, I want one, too) on any gift list for any occasion this rechargeable, compact, very bright pocket flashlight. It’s reliable, perfectly engineered and so stinkin’ useful! There are knockoffs trying to be as fabulous, but none can match this Olight S1R II 1000 Lumens High-Performance Magnetic USB Rechargeable Flashlight with Battery. Best. Gift. Ever.
Take his gaming experience up a notch or two with this scratch-off Video Games Bucket List poster! The only thing more epic than the fabulous poster is this poster once he can scratch off all 100! What an accomplishment, right?
The Off-Grid Tools Survival Axe Elite multitool is the only tool he’ll need to survive. With 30 different features, the tool will fully equip him for any situation he may encounter. This incredible, compact multi-tool, is only 11 inches long and weighs just over 1.5 pounds. It’s large enough to do some serious damage if needed but small enough to fit into the glove box of his vehicle or bug out bag.
This is such a great gift for any dad or grandfather—a kind of template in a beautiful book that will prompt him to write his memoir for his kids and grandkids.
The Story of a Lifetime: A Keepsake of Personal Memoirs is a hardback book to be completed—filled in with answers to almost 500 simple to provocative questions such as, “What period of your life have you enjoyed the most?” and “What has been your greatest contribution to life so far?” What a wonderful way to pass along a legacy of wisdom and knowledge that will become a treasured family heirloom now and for generations to come.
This portable wireless speaker for iPhone, Samsung, and more is just fantastic. It has a 24-hour playtime, 66-ft Bluetooth Range (which I test to its limits frequently) plus a built-in mic. And the sound quality is amazing. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got along without a quality affordable wireless speaker like this one.
This portable wireless speaker for iPhone, Samsung, and more is just fantastic. It has a 24-hour playtime, 66-ft Bluetooth Range (which I test to its limits frequently) plus a built-in mic. And the sound quality is amazing. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got along without a quality affordable wireless speaker like this one.
If you knew how many pairs of earphones I’ve had in my life and either lost or couldn’t stand for one more minute—you would be amazed. So am I. Several years ago I purchased what might be my last set ever. My Airpods for iPhone, Macbook, and iPad are wonderful. Finally, earbuds (earphones) that work flawlessly. Got them as a gift for my reluctant husband (“Who needs to spend that much on earbuds?!”). You guessed it, he will never go back! Here’s the best part: I cannot feel them in my ears and these Airpods are super smart. Best thing ever.
It’s not cheap. It’s a luxury item, for sure. But in keeping with our philosophy that it’s good to be cheap with ourselves but generous with others, a beautiful Apple Watch sits here proudly as a gift suggestion for your favorite guy. Includes fitness tracker, voice assistant, GPS and heart rate monitor. Let’s him take calls and reply to your texts from his wrist. Even measures his blood oxygen with an all-new sensor app—and so much more!
It’s just the coolest thing and a really hot item with men who cannot stand to wear traditional metal wedding bands. The silicone ring is not only good looking, it is practical. Your man can wear it while working out (those barbells won’t destroy his ring finger). QALO Men’s Functional Silicone Ring comfortable because it is so lightweight and flexible.
It’s the latest and greatest with a new look (4th Gen, 2020 release)—a hands-free speaker he controls with his voice. Voice control your entertainment.
Stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, SiriusXM, and more. Plus listen to radio stations, podcasts, and Audible audiobooks play music, ask questions, make calls, send and receive messages provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly.
Built with multiple layers of privacy protections and controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the microphones.
Guys want bikes! And this 6KU Aluminum Fixie Urban Track Bike is just the ticket for getting around the neighborhood or on a longer trek with the kiddos. This commuter bike is fixed-gear single-speed and super well-made. Choice of color and size.
This is such a great gift for the first-time dad in your life. Perhaps the most powerful influence in the world is that of a dad on his child. Baseball gloves, dirty diapers, tiny little hands, first days of school, daddy-daughter dances, and learner’s permits… and so much more! This book by John Fuller is just fantastic. He writes First Time Dad: The Stuff You Really Need to Know from the heart using his own experiences and wisdom gleaned from his most important role in life—being a dad.
He needs this Yeti rambler vacuum insulated mug that keeps hot drinks sizzling hot for 12 hours and cold drinks icy cold for 24 hours. And Yeti does not sweat—that’s right, will not accumulate condensation.
the quintessential gadget, is a mere 2-1/4 inches in length when closed, and 2 oz. in weight—pocket size! Its spring-action clip easily attaches to a key ring or backpack or slides easily into a small pocket in a handbag.
With its three screwdrivers, wire cutter, scissors, knife blade, file, tweezers, and bottle opener, you’ll have 9 tools powerful enough to keep you going when things fall apart. And did I say practical?
This little Squirt PS4 requires only one hand to open and to use all the tools, too. Remarkable! The Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multitool is super cool, available in three colors, and comes with a 25-year warranty.
If he loves strong coffee, this will be his favorite gift on Christmas. It’s the world’s strongest coffee—with a strong name to match: Death Wish Ground Coffee. Just check out those reviews! Fair Trade and USDA Certified Organic.
This mini lighter’s flame burns at 600 F., which means you’ll definitely start a fire when you need to. Contains both the replaceable flint and wick in one all-inclusive fire starting kit that fits conveniently in your pocket or on your keychain, ready for any camping, survival, or emergency use.
Lighter fluid is not included, so you need that, too. The built-in o-ring keeps your lighter fluid from evaporating, and also makes the lighter waterproof. Protected by a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.
This sunrise and sunset simulation alarm clock gradually lights up from 0% to 100% in 30 minutes before the alarm rings. Could there be a better gift for a father? My son tells me Sunrise Wake-up Light Alarm Clock is the best gift I’ve ever given him, which makes me go, Huh, really?, but I’ll take it. Light can be changed to different colors, includes 7 natural sounds, dual alarms, FM radio, and optional night light. It is as useful as it is cool to look at.
My father-in-law was the King of Puns. He could come up with them on the fly and he laughed harder than anyone. (How we miss you, George Hunt! You were the punniest, ever.) Whether your husband, dad or granddad shares that same amazing talent or not, Dad Jokes: Terribly Good Dad Jokes will keep him (and you!) in stitches. Hint: Cheaper than the typical greeting card, and so much funnier!
This 22-piece stainless steel barbecue utensils set is professional-grade, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe. Elongated handles will keep his hands safe from the heat. Hanging rings design enables easy storage during the off-use. All grill utensils in the set are stored in a portable, convenient case. If the guy on your list is a grill master, this is a “gift for him” to thrill and delight.
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https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Depositphotos_313956370_xl-2015-scaled-e1608137869997.jpg7941310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-09 06:37:302020-12-09 16:39:20Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Best Gift Ideas for Him
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in 2020, it’s that our health is closely tied to things we touch throughout the day. And what’s the one thing we touch more than a few times a day? Our phones! Or as the Journal of Hospital Infection refers to them, our portable Petri dishes.
Phones fall on bathroom floors. They come into contact with tiny droplets from sneezes and coughs, and encounter every type of germ a person’s hand does. But unlike the hands, phones are impossible to wash with soap and water.
Therefore, cell phones are a potentially dangerous source of viruses including Streptococcus, MRSA, E. coli COVID-19; bacteria, and other pathogens. And according to this study—at least 10 times more germs than a toilet seat. Gross!
It’s not certain how long viruses survive on surfaces, but the World Health Organization reports it may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions such as the type of surface, temperature, or humidity of the environment but just think now how often you touch your phone.
If there’s the slightest possibility that a surface has been infected, err on the side of caution and clean it with simple disinfectant to kill viruses and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. And for goodness’ sake, clean your phone!
What not to do
When it comes to disinfecting your phone and other electronic gear, you want to kill viruses and bacteria without doing harm or voiding your phone or device warranty. That means no dripping antibacterial wipes. Do not use a prohibited cleaner or do not spray anything directly on the device.
Disinfect phone basics
Follow these basic instructions for how to clean your phone, screens, keyboards and other electronic gadgets
Always unplug the phone or device before attempting to clean it.
Prepare a dry, soft cloth or open a packaged alcohol wipe designed for eyeglasses cleaning. Never use paper materials like tissues, napkins, or paper towels. The paper contains wood pulp that can leave scratches and permanent marks.
Cleaning instructions vary from one manufacturer to another. If in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s website.
Allow the disinfectant to air dry on the surface for at least 10 minutes before you wipe down it with a soft, clean towel.
Clean frequently used phones, devices, and keyboards twice a day.
How to disinfect iPhone
Apple has just updated its support page to say that you can clean your iPhone with 70% isopropyl alcohol poured or sprayed onto a clean, soft cloth, alcohol wipes, or Clorox disinfectant wipes. Use only a soft, lint-free cloth. Avoid abrasive cloths, towels, paper towels, or similar items.
Avoid excessive wiping, which might cause damage.
Unplug all external power sources, devices, and cables.
Keep liquids away from the product, unless otherwise noted for specific products.
Don’t get moisture into any openings.
Don’t use aerosol sprays, bleaches, or abrasives.
Don’t spray cleaners directly onto the item.
How to disinfect Android, Pixel
For the Pixel 3a and other Android phones, Google recommends screen disinfecting wipes or eyeglasses cleaner on the screen and ordinary household soap or cleaning wipes, as needed. There are no restrictions on alcohol-based wipes.
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How to disinfect computers, tablets, keyboards, remote controls, mouses
Unplug and remove batteries, if any.
Spray 70% isopropyl alcohol on a cloth, never on the screen, keyboard or device.
If using an alcohol wipe, make sure it is not dripping wet. Wring it out a bit first as necessary, then proceed. You do not want to drip liquid into any openings, especially a keyboard.
Consider a wipeable cover for your laptop keyboard so you can disinfect it without suffering potential harm to the keyboard itself.
These EPA-approved disinfectants are good options for cleaning phones, devices, screens, remote controls, and keyboards.
Look for rubbing alcohol, alcohol wipes, Clorox Wipes, and Lysol Disinfectant Spray in Costco, Sam’s Club, local drugstores, supermarkets; department stores, and dollar stores.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/clean-cellphone.jpg8731310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-08 07:33:262020-08-31 15:17:18How to Disinfect Your Phone
Gifting friends, family, co-workers teachers, and others with a jar of your own signature Luxury Hand and Body Cream will definitely put you on the map. It’s a homemade gift you would actually like to receive! It’s that good. And what better time than this weekend to make Christmas gifts? It’s quick and easy!
Not particularly crafty? No worries. If you can assemble, empty, stir and mix well, you’ve got what it takes to make dozens of these gifts start to finish in a single evening. And the best part? About $3.50 per gift, depending on where you buy the ingredients and containers—all of which are readily available in supermarkets, drugstores or online.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/xmas-gift.jpg9861310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-07 04:00:512020-09-28 16:44:06Homemade Body Lotion You’d Actually Love to Receive
I see lots of delicious-looking things as I spend time cruising the Internet, searching, and researching. But rarely if ever, do I come across something so compelling, appealing, and downright decadent that it stops me in my tracks and sends me flying to the kitchen to give it a try. I mean really, could there be anything more perfect than an Apple Fritter Waffle Donut?
Admittedly, I may be late to the party on this one, but if you have never heard of such a thing—you’re in for the treat of a lifetime.
Yes, I did make Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts. In fact, I’ve made this recipe four times in the past 30 days. I call it research. You know, honing my pastry skills. My family calls them delicious and please make some more!
Before we get going here, if you have hopes of this being low-cal, gluten-free, vegan, low-carb dairy-free, Whole30 (did I miss anything?), let me dash those hope right upfront. This is none of that.
This not health food. AFWDs are a special treat, a Christmas morning breakfast indulgence. A lovely item alongside the best semi-homemade Cinnamon Rolls of all time.
Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts
(Complete printable recipe below)
white granulated sugar
General steps to make AFWDs
1. Make the waffle batter, and use it to make waffles according to your waffle maker manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on your waffle maker, you should come out with about 8 individual waffles.
2. Move waffles to a cooling rack, about 20 minutes.
3. Move waffles to a cooling rack, about 20 minutes.
4. Cut waffles in half, diagonally to make about 16 AFWDs.
5. Once cool, deep fry AFWDs until golden brown.
6. Drain on paper toweling.
7. Dip the hot AFWDs into the glaze.
There you go … decadent, warm Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts — Wonuts!
Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts
Absolutely delicious, bordering on decadent! Yummy served warm with ice cream!
Here we are just a few weeks before Christmas. For many, panic is setting in as time is short, but money is even shorter. I have good news for you: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show those you love how much they mean to you.
Best DIY Gift Ideas
Here are three of my favorite ideas for DIY gifts that are certain to hit the mark for giftees of all ages! Each one will take a bit of time on your part, and less than $5 in supplies.
1. Personalized directional signs
Create a gift set of directional signs pointing to your giftee’s favorite places. It might include a college, amusement park, hometown, beach, or other location, place on his or her bucket list—anywhere in the world to be hung on a wall, planted in a garden, or standing on a porch.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/4230510165_9c986dea54_z-e1349897114342.jpg362545Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-05 08:38:592020-12-06 20:21:57Meaningful DIY Gifts That Cost Less Than $5 to Make
It’s not the most elegant question I get, but certainly one of the most common. “I’ve tried everything I can think of, but that stubborn, ugly toilet bowl ring won’t go away!” Or “It goes away, but just keeps coming back!”
Toilet bowls develop discolorations for many reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the housekeeping. Basically, the toilet ring is the result of hard water conditions together with water standing in a toilet that sees a lot of use.
While there are lots of commercial products out there that promise to remove hard water stains in the toilet, ordinary household pantry items you have already can be just as effective to rid your toilet of the dreaded toilet ring without harsh chemicals.
What are those stains, anyway?
Toilet bowl stains that look like rust are likely due to mineral deposits and hard water. Green, orange or black streaks or rings may be mold. A bacteria called serratia marcescens shows up as pink. Knowing what is causing the ring makes it easier for you to choose the best method for getting rid of it.
Under most conditions, regular weekly cleaning prevents heavy stain buildup and reduces the appearance of any existing stains so the bowl can look pristine and white again.
And when none of that works? Don’t worry, I have the mother of all solutions for that too, in a bit. But let’s start with the easiest.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/20155731_s.jpg565848Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-04 00:20:562020-12-05 20:06:32How Can I Get Rid of This Stubborn Toilet Ring?
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 $80, depending on the size, where you live, and how dirty it is, to have it dry cleaned professionally.
To do this, you’ll need mild detergent (our homemade detergent is ideal, or Woolite), wool dryer balls (or tennis balls work as well), an extra-large front loading washing machine (most home models are too small for this task), and an extra-large dryer. Here are step-by-step instructions:
Step 1: Big machine
Load your down comforter into the largest extra-large front-loading washing machine at your local laundromat. The less crowded the comforter is in the washer and dryer, the better the results.
If you have a full-sized washing machine, it may be possible to wash your comforter at home. But this is tricky. The comforter needs ample room to move about inside the washer, making a front-loading machine most ideal.
If your machine has a center agitator, you need to make sure that the comforter doesn’t get tangled and twisted around the agitator. That could cause the cloth cover to tear. Should the feathers and down were to escape the cotton cover, you’ll have one big fat mess on your hands. Your best bet is to head for the laundromat.
Step 2: Detergent
Add a small amount of mild detergent. Do not use any product with additives like softeners or enzymes. Be careful here as too much detergent will strip the down or feathers of their natural coating that makes down or feathers such a superb thermal insulator.
Step 3: Warm and gentle
You want to wash a down comforter using these settings on the washer: Warm wash, cold rinse; gentle (delicate) agitation and two rinse cycles. The last bit of detergent must be rinsed out.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/downcomforter.jpg9361310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-03 00:01:332020-05-18 14:39:53How to Wash a Down Comforter
If you love your morning cup of Joe, it’s a pretty good bet you’re throwing out spent coffee grounds on a regular basis. Take a look at this list and you just might discover more than a few ways you can recycle and reuse old grounds so you can enjoy them over again!
Not a coffee drinker? These days local coffee shops offer their spent grounds for free. Find one near you, then stop by to pick up a bag or two.
According to the EPA, coffee grounds are a safe and effective way to keep pests away. The smoke from burning used ground coffee is especially effective to send mosquitoes away because they are seriously repelled by the smell, which to humans is quite subtle. Remember this outdoor trick for your next summer barbecue.
Start with completely dry, used coffee grounds. Place the grounds in a bowl, on a plate or other flat surface lined with foil and light them with a match around the edges, the way you would light incense. Watch this video. Add a few fresh bay leaves to amplify your repellant. Set the containers(s) upwind to get the scent moving.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/ground-coffee-collage-800w-e1570509695862.png600600Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-02 00:30:252019-10-09 09:06:3513 Things You Need to Know About How to Reuse Coffee Grounds
Yes, another Holiday Gift Guide, and not so much because I love creating these guides for you (I do!) but due to popular demand. If it wouldn’t have appeared to be overly self-serving, for sure I would have titled this Guide something like “my favorite really awesome kitchen things that foodies, gourmet cooks, and home chefs of all levels are sure to love as much as I do.”
This storage container set from Chef’s Path includes 7 clear plastic containers of varying sizes with lids and 10 reusable chalkboard labels—packaged for gift-giving. Lids lock to create 100% airtightness. And if that’s not enough, these are space-saving containers that are compact to make judicious use of cabinet space. BPA-free.
Sixteen individually labeled containers of different types of sea salt, holding about 1/4 oz each. Each unrefined salt is full of vital minerals and you will enjoy discovering the many nuances of crunch and natural flavor that each sea salt brings to your favorite dishes. The perfect gift for anyone who loves to cook or eat!
Here it is—a complete Sushi making kit that includes, well … everything you need to make Sushi at home! This kit has been so well designed, it kicks the guesswork to the curb. Everyone can make a sushi roll the very first time. Instructions so easy to understand, your giftee (or is that you?) will find success on his, her, or your first try!
With a simple twist of the Cob Corn Stripper by Chef’n, you can effortlessly remove corn from the cob to make your next summer salad or salsa quickly and easily. The stainless steel blades work hard to strip an entire cob in seconds. Simply place the corn cutter on top of the cob; in one twisting/pushing motion, you’ll have fresh corn to add to any meal. This corn stripper is top rack dishwasher safe. Choose smart, easy-to-use kitchen utensils that are built on tasteful design, new technologies, and the trusted reputation of Chef’n.
I take dips seriously. And not only chips and dip … but a side of ketchup, Ranch dressing, teriyaki sauce or queso. Know what I mean? That’s why these dip clips are so awesome. Just take a look at how cute they are and how they clip to the side of a plate!
These dip clips allow us to enjoy our favorite foods without making a big mess.
This luxury gift set contains three of our best selling truffle oils; TruffleHunter Truffle Oil Selection Gift Set including black truffle oil, white truffle oil, and English truffle oil presented beautifully in a gift box. Perfect gift for Foodies.
Keep your kitchen countertop sparkling clean while reducing paper towel usage. The reset wet and dry sweep includes two cleaning tools in one: a squeegee on one side for wiping wet messes into the sink, and nylon bristles on the other side for sweeping up dry messes. The ergonomic design is weighted for balance and it’s super comfortable to hold. What a great, affordable invention!
Don’t judge this book by its cover. This is a special edition commemorating the 25th Anniversary of a one-of-a-kind if not a historical cookbook.
Author Ernest Matthew Mickler received a master’s degree in fine arts from Mills College before embarking on his true mission as a culinary cultural preservationist. Ernie died in 1988, but his classic cookbook, and all the stories enshrined within its pages, live on. Roadkill has never tasted so good 😂!
“This is how real people eat. If you are cooking to entertain your boss, get another cookbook. but if you are cooking to feed your family—especially if you are on a budget—this is the book you will want.
“These recipes, if intelligently used, can be used to plan meals that are nutritious, filling, and tasty. And don’t worry if you can’t get opossum. You can always substitute chicken.” Available as both Spriral-bound and Kindle.
This beautiful cordless electric wine bottle opener removes the cork in seconds. This wine opener features a Stainless Steel housing with a transparent shell surrounding the corkscrew mechanism. No guesswork required. Built-in rechargeable battery, opens up to 30 bottles on a single the secure cordless electric wine bottle opener removes the cork in seconds. Such a great gift!
Tired of pots boiling over and making a mess? Meet the end of burned-on spills from boiled over pasta, rice, soups, milk, and starchy liquids. Use this Kuhn Rikon spill stopper and never worry about pots boiling over again. It works as both a lid, an overspill reservoir, and a splatter guard. Heavy silicone spill stopper traps excess foam and liquid so it doesn’t spill all over your stove. Heat resistant to over 400 F.
Hundreds of cookbooks are published each year. Some are good. Others are exceptional. A few are essential. This one is essential. The fabulous thing about this book—it teaches readers about cooking, how to employ various techniques, and how to grasp that any subtle variations in technique can have significant impacts upon our end results. It is possible to learn how to cook great food.
Talk about a space-saver, this set of measuring “beakers” includes all the likely sizes any cook might ever need—including 1-teaspoon! All of the beakers nest for compact storage, have flat stable bases and easy-to-read markings. OXO Good Grips 7-Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set is dishwasher safe, too.
The simplicity of this uniquely designed timer makes it easy to stay on schedule whether it’s for timing kids with their homework, brushing teeth, or taking a shower, it a fun way to teach them to establish routines. Around the house, it makes a great kitchen timer—perfect as an egg timer, baking timer, frying timer—anything that needs to be tracked in blocks of time.
Loaded with enough tips and tricks to make your meals the talk of the town, it’s an apron that protects both your clothes and your reputation. Decorated with cooking times, preparation guides, and recipes, it’s a gift guaranteed to transform even the most amateur of cooks into a pro. Fed up of flipping through your cookbook with greasy hands? An innovative design by Suck UK, makers of the greatest gifts on earth!
No one wants to wash their dishes with a sponge, scrubbing brush or dish rag that has been sitting in a pool of stale water and no one wants a sink caddy that moves around. Avoid this undesirable kitchen sink circumstance with this clever sling sink caddy!
Tired of trying to drain off the liquid from a can of tuna or any canned product without sending half the contents into the garbage disposal? You can dry your tears because that is never going to happen again once you have this handy can colander in your utensil drawer—right there with the things you use all most often! Such a cool idea.
You know all that little stuff that goes into the dishwasher? The items that land up in the bottom of the machine messing with the mechanicals and filters? Yeah, THAT stuff! Well, fear no more because you do not have to resort to handwashing! This dishwasher “clutch” is so cool. Just open it up, fill ‘er up, close it tightly and into the dishwasher this item goes. Perfect!
Made from beautiful acacia wood, this beautiful salt cellar gives any foodie instant access to any kind of salt. It swivels open conveniently. Closed, it protects contents for freshness. And so charming, Ironwood Gourmet Appalachian Salt Cellar looks great when left out on the stove or counter.
Calling all bread bakers—whether you’re into 5-Minute Artisan Bread or something that takes much more time. This is the knife you want handy when you cut into those beautiful loaves. This Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-inch Wide Bread Knife will not tear fresh bread apart even if it is still warm (who can wait until it has cooled for at least two hours?!)
I was late to this game, but have now conceded. Big time. It’s not a fad, not a come-on for late-night-TV viewers. A spiralizer is a great way to get kids to eat veggies (zoodles are just spiralized zucchini) for starters. But so much more. The Ultimate Spiralizer 7 comes with an extra blade caddy and Recipe Ebooks with so many awesome ideas and directives. This is it, my fellow foodies!
There must be a thousand Instant Pot cookbooks out there. I have not personally reviewed every single one, however. That’s because I’ve gone straight to the best—the number one Instant Pot how-to, step-by-step recipes. With photos. I have followed its author, Jeffrey Eisner for years before this book was published. I credit him with everything I know about using my Instant Pots (yes, I have two—3- and 6-qt) with nearly (!) 100% success.
This beautiful device functions as multiple kitchen appliances. It bakes, fries, roasts, cooks, dehydrates, reheats, toasts, grills, and more! All in one convenient machine. With the digital touch screen control panel, it makes it easier to see the number of minutes, temperature, and other controls or modes designed to cook different types of food.
The hubs and I just bought a teeny tiny … RV! And you’re the first to know. How tiny? Well, I have one drawer in the kitchen, a term I use loosely. Ha! One cabinet with a tiny sink, a tiny built-in fridge, and yep, one tiny drawer. This organizer is so unique and well-designed to hold basic cutlery, that it gives me the equivalent of at least two drawers! Love it.
Ok, so who really needs to spend money on something so frivolous as a hot dog slicing tool? You do—for that person in your life who is a hot dog aficionado! Sure you can cut a hot dog lengthwise and set it flat on the grill, but this is better. This gizmo scores the surface into diamond-shapes and for some reason that lets that dog cook inside with just a hint of char—not burned! Oh my. This is fun. Makes a hot dog look so cool, too!
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https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/GiftGuideFoodies2020-copy.jpg8741310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-12-01 00:06:372020-12-01 06:51:48Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Best Ideas for Cooks, Home Chefs, Foodies
If you have more time than money this Holiday Season—or just prefer to give and receive homemade gifts—here are ten of my best ideas that cost less than ten bucks.
Photo credit: My Crazy Blessed Life
Give all the stressed-out folks on your gift list the gift of relaxation. Make your own bath products and then assemble them in a nice basket.
1 cup Epsom salts, 1 cup sea or rock salt, 20 drops fragrance oil, food coloring. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until fully combined and color is even.
1/2 cup almond oil, 1/2 cup castor oil or aloe vera, the oil from 6-8 Vitamin E capsules, 25-30 drops fragrance oil. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with wooden spoon until combined.
Mix 3 cups clear, mild dishwashing detergent; the oil from 6-8 Vitamin E capsules, 1/4 cup glycerin, 25-30 drops fragrance oil, food coloring.
Mix together Epsom salts and enough almond oil (better) or baby oil (cheaper) to resemble very wet snow. Add essential or aromatherapy oil for fragrance and soap colorant if you desire.
Place your spa products in individual bottles or small jars and decorate with ribbons, labels, and or embellishments. Add other items you can pick up at the drug store such as a washcloth, pumice stone, or loofah.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/GG-10-Gift-Banner.jpg9121310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-30 08:30:102020-11-22 07:23:5710 Best Homemade Gifts Under $10
I can think of only a few things worse than waking up on Dec. 26 with a raging debt hangover—an all-too-common after-Christmas condition.
The only reason you paid for everything with a credit card is that it was convenient. Besides, it’s not safe to shop online with a debit card, so what were your options?
Of course, you promised yourself that you would be paying the balance in full the minute the statement arrives, but who are we kidding here?
You were already carrying a balance on every card in your wallet, so now all of those new purchases will exacerbate the problem by plunging you even deeper into debt. Worse, you don’t even know for sure how much you spent because who keeps track when you pay for everything with a credit card?
Just imagine if you’d kept your promise that this year would be an all-cash Christmas—that you locked those credit cards away where they were safe from you. You’d be heading into the New Year with a much different attitude. No excuses, no hiding the holiday bills; no worries, and no regrets.
I’ve got some good news for you. This year really can be an all-cash Christmas. You can do it and make your cash stretch even further when you take advantage of the lower prices when you shop online. You really can shop with CASH at Amazon, absolutely no credit card or debit card required.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/shopping-online.jpg8741310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-30 05:28:132020-05-24 22:34:46How to Shop with CASH at Amazon
Shortly after I wrote a column on the specific steps to roast a cheap cut of beef so that it turns out like prime rib, I got an email from faithful reader, Mary B. We went back and forth a bit as she prepared this for guests. I thought you would enjoy the feedback.
But first, here’s a quick refresher on how to do that:
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/roast-beef.jpg8731310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-28 00:01:382020-08-31 12:30:11From Chuck Roast to “Prime Rib” in Three Hours Flat
I love to cook. And I enjoy inviting guests for dinner parties or more casual meals. What I hate is the big ugly mess that happens in the kitchen as I’m cooking and concentrating on getting everything on the table. My kitchen is right out there in the open for all to see, which is why I’ve come up with strategies to cook and keep the kitchen clean at the same time.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/clean-kitchen-1.jpg8731310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-25 07:55:172020-11-26 05:49:46How to Cook and Keep the Kitchen Clean at the Same Time
I know what you’re thinking: Make the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes AND gravy ahead of time—several days before the big day? Like serve leftovers for the biggest best meal of the year? You have got to be kidding.
Well yes, that is exactly what I am suggesting and will be doing myself, but let me be clear—this is not leftovers. What you are about to learn is so amazing—and I’m not talking about only the recipes, but also the how-tos and full instructions. This has the potential to completely transform your Thanksgiving dinner prep by moving the two big last-minute tedious kitchen tasks—mashed potatoes and gravy—from the last minute to days ahead.
You gotta’ trust me on this. Once ready to serve, the flavors will have melded in ways you could have not predicted.
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
(Full printable recipe card follows)
You can make these amazing fool-proof mashed potatoes several days before you will be serving them. Don’t worry. No one will ever detect your secret. In fact, fabulous mashed potatoes just might become your signature dish.
5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (see recipe card notes)
2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons onion salt
ground black pepper, to taste
butter, chives, or green onions for optional garnish
Several days ahead …
Peel the potatoes and cut them into large cubes.
Place potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until fork-tender.
Drain. Move potatoes to a large bowl and mash using a potato masher or standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion salt, and pepper. Mix well until everything is well incorporated.
Transfer to a large casserole dish for oven method, or to slow cooker inner removable pot. Cover and refrigerate.
On serving day…
On the day of serving, remove potatoes from the refrigerator and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 F (165 C). Bake covered casserole in the preheated oven for 35-50 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the dish. Garnish as desired. Serve hot.
Slow cooker method
Four to 6 hours before mealtime, move the slow cooker pot holding the mashed potatoes to the slow cooker unit. Set to Low. Cover. Stir every 2 hours or so. Once thoroughly heated through, move the slow cooker to Warm. Garnish as desired. Serve hot.
Adding butter at the last minute right before serving, makes make-ahead mashed potatoes taste freshly mashed.
(Full printable recipe card follows)
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
Turkey (chicken, beef) drippings
Several days ahead…
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over med-high heat.
Whisk in the flour until well incorporated
Cook, whisking frequently until this roux is golden brown or about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and whisk until combined.
Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and ground pepper.
Cool then refrigerate in an airtight container.
On serving day
Transfer refrigerated gravy to saucepan set over low heat.
Pour turkey drippings into a fat separator (or measuring cup and spoon off the fat),
Add the drippings to the gravy.
Stir until well combined and hot.
Pour into a gravy boat and serve.
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Let me be clear—but this is not about serving leftovers. This has the potential to completely transform your Thanksgiving dinner prep by moving the two big last-minute tedious kitchen tasks—mashed potatoes and gravy—from the last minute to days ahead.Once ready to serve, the flavors will have melded in ways you could have not predicted. So good!
5lbsYukon Gold potatoesRusset or red-skin potatoes are also good
ground black pepperto taste
butter, chives, green onionfor optional garnish at time of serving
Several days ahead ...
Peel the potatoes and cut into large cubes.
Place potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain.
Move potatoes to large bowl and mash using a potato masher or standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion salt, and pepper. Mix well until everything is well incorporated.
Transfer to a large casserole dish for oven method, or to slow cooker inner removable pot. Cover and refrigerate.
On serving day: Oven method
On the day of serving, remove potatoes from the refrigerator and allow to stand for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 325 F (165 C). Bake covered casserole in the preheated oven for 35-50 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the dish. Garnish as desired. Serve hot.
On serving day: Slow cooker method
On the day of serving at least 4 hours before mealtime, move the slow cooker pot holding the mashed potatoes to the slow cooker unit. Set to Low. Cover. Stir every 2 hours or so. Once thoroughly heated through, turn the slow cooker to Warm. Garnish as desired. Serve hot.
Feeling adventurous? Substitute some or all of the salt with onion salt!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/questions.jpg8931310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-23 08:50:082020-11-24 05:55:02How to Get Pet Hair Out of Carpet, Ugly Out of Laundry and More
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/gift-for-her.jpg572722Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-22 06:24:142020-11-22 08:11:37Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Best Gift Ideas for Her
Looking for fun stuff for the kids? Well, yes, because it can’t be ALL about socks, underwear, and science experiments. Sadly, we no longer have the Sears & Roebuck Wish Book to find all kinds of a fun stuff! But you can dry those tears because here are some of the best ideas ever for how to add a lot of fun to all the joys of Christmas for kids of all ages. Check back often as I’m updating daily!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/fun-stuff-kids-2020.jpg578722Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-22 00:52:242020-11-30 08:40:44Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Super Fun Stuff for Kids
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It’s still touted as the biggest holiday shopping day of the year. Black Friday—when retailers slash everything to unheard-of rock bottom prices. When customers camp out in store parking lots to make sure they bag a 65-inch TV for $99.
Photo credit: DailyHive.com
Black Friday—the day shoppers boast of getting all of their Christmas shopping done in one big, glorious fell swoop!
In case you’ve been living on another planet (lucky you!), things have changed. This year, holiday shopping is moving from a mall near you into cyberspace. And from the looks of my inbox, Black Friday is not waiting for the day after Thanksgiving. Lots of merchants have already begun rolling out their “best” Black Friday Spectaculars.
Please join me in stepping back to take a deep breath.
The ways that we respond to all of the hype this Holiday Season—especially during this coming week—could make or break it for us for years to come.
Look, I know how easily I could justify buying now and paying (and paying and paying) for it later. Because I think we’re a lot alike, I’ll bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Today, I’m committing to keeping my head on straight, acknowledging what I know to be true, and doing everything in my power to avoid the big ten shopping mistakes that could so easily land me in a big pile of credit-card debt and terrible regret.
Are you with me?
Mistake 1: Not having a spending plan
Know how much you have to spend, and how you will spend it. Write it down. Then keep track of every penny. Ponder before you load up your shopping cart impulsively by referring to your spending plan. Search, read reviews, think hard before you pull the spending trigger.
Yes, you can shop online with cash. It takes a bit more planning and preparation, but you can do this. You can shop with cash at Amazon, Kohl’s, Target, and so many other online sites as well.
It’s a 2-step process: Take your cash to a store like Walgreens, big supermarkets, or drug stores. Purchase Gift Cards for the amount of cash you have for the sites you plan to shop.
You can buy Gift Cards for Target, Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Best Buy, Bed Bath, and Beyond—I could go on and on. Nearly all Gift Cards say right on them that they are good for in-store and online purchases. But don’t take my word for that—read the card before you buy it to make sure.
Caution: Bank-issued Gift Cards (VISA Gift Cards, Mastercard Gift Cards, etc.) are typically associated with activation fees, dormancy fees, non-use fees, and service fees. Avoid them!
Oh, the slogans and promises we’re hearing and seeing already. Tune your eyes and ears to spot the most ridiculous. My “favorite?” The more you spend, the more you’ll save! I heard that at least 12 times in one day last week.
Here’s the truth: The more you spend, the more you’ll spend! There are no savings involved unless you stop at the bank to deposit all that money you saved didn’t spend! Do you get that? Don’t let such blatant lies coerce or entice you to go outside the plan you have created.
Mistake 4: Spending more to get free shipping
We’ve all done it and soon regretted: Placing two well-thought-out items in the shopping cart, only to realize we need to hit the $99 mark to get free shipping! Then packing the cart foolishly with a bunch of other stuff just to hit the mark. Think about it: Spend, say, $37 to save a $5 shipping charge. Doesn’t make sense, does it!
Mistake 5: Buying intending to return
Can’t decide on the right size or color? Want to grab that sale before it disappears? Both are excuses I’ve used in the past for overbuying like that top in 2 sizes because I’m not quite sure—fully intending to return everything I don’t want. I’ll get the refund that zeros out the purchase, and everything will be just dandy, I say. Yeah, right. It’s not that easy to return things (although I must say Amazon comes as close to perfect as possible).
Plans to return can so easily go awry, so don’t make the mistake in the first place. Don’t buy with definite plans to return.
Sometimes things do not show up as we intended they should. Maybe it doesn’t fit, or something is broken. Or it just isn’t what you thought it would be. You’ll be making a big mistake if you do not return it immediately. Follow the merchant’s guidelines and then watch to make sure you get that refund or credit.
Mistake 7: Not checking the price
You think you’ve found a great deal—you’re getting a discount and everything! But before you check out, check around. Search that product. Look high and low on the search results. You might be happily surprised by what you find.
Mistake 8: Not shopping anonymously
You may know that many online shopping sites show you prices and selections based on your shopping location, the time of day, shopping history, and so forth. When you shop anonymously, that site thinks you are a visitor—a potential customer. You can be sure they’ll show you their best deals, their best discounts in an effort to convert you into a paying customer.
Use your browser’s private mode to hide your location and history from that site. Or use a search engine like DuckDuckGo.com to do anonymous searches.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means this site gets a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services I love and have had a positive experience with. Thank you!
Mistake 9: Shopping sleepy or hungry
I make really dumb mistakes when I’m tired and or hungry. How about you? We need clear minds when holiday shopping in cyberspace.
Mistake 10: Leaving money on the table
Many (many!) holiday shopping sites participate in cashback programs. But they don’t say this on their sites, nor do they remind you at check out. The cashback site I use and rely on is Rakuten. Here’s how that works: Join Rakuten. Once a member (it’s free), opt to have the Rakuten extension on your browser. Now, when you visit a Rakuten member site, you’ll get a notice at the top of your screen to activate cash back should you make a purchase. Of course, f you do not want the extension, make sure you sign in at the Rakuten site first, then proceed to Kohl’s or Target, etc.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Christmas-Sales.jpg9941310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-21 08:48:112020-11-21 15:00:08Here Are the Big 10 Holiday Shopping Mistakes to Avoid
The year 2007 was a good one for me for lots of reasons. Here’s one: It’s the year I got good at baking homemade bread thanks to a simple discovery that would go on to revolutionize the world of home baking.
Presented in their book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, authors Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë Franḉois stated that anyone with an oven, flour, yeast, salt, and water could make authentic, artisan bread in just five minutes a day.
Within hours of getting my hands on that book, I was onboard. My first attempt at making homemade bread was ridiculously easy. And so successful I shocked myself and my family!
A more delicious loaf of artisan bread I cannot buy anywhere. And why would I, when I could now make it myself for about $.40 a loaf in just five minutes a day? Read more
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/fresh-yeast-dough14-1.jpg286430Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-20 00:22:042020-04-11 13:04:21Homemade Artisan Bread—Amazingly Easy and So Delicious!
I love Thanksgiving so much it vies for first place in my favorite holiday lineup. I love and adore a classic Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. I love the fall weather, which always accompanies the day. I love the fact that Thanksgiving ushers in the winter holidays, offering me a front-row seat at the very best time of the year.
I love all of those things. In fact, I kinda’ wish that every day were Thanksgiving! Gratitude is too important in our lives to be considered briefly en masse on this, the fourth Thursday of November.
This has been one awful year. The coronavirus has turned our lives upside down. My heart breaks for those of you who have lost a loved one, a friend, a colleague. I know that many of you are struggling with financial stress due to a layoff or reduced hours, or lost clients. We’ve been filled to the max with heartache and challenge.
Even in the face of such heartache, challenge, and uncertainty, I am more convinced than ever that giving thanks and counting our blessings is good for us. It reminds us of the positive things in life. Gratitude turns bad things into good things, takes our eyes off ourselves, and reminds us to thank others.
Just imagine what might happen if our annual single-day tradition of giving thanks were to become a daily routine? Health professionals suggest we would be rewarded with better health, as medical science reveals more about the strong connection between gratitude and good health.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Happy-thanksgiving.jpg7501000Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-20 00:20:232020-11-28 07:48:58Let’s Make Every Day Thanksgiving!
Long on Christmas lists but short on cash this year? What you need are tips, tricks, and Gift Guides to help you save money, right?
“Save money?!” you sneer. “What if we don’t have any money?”
That, my friend, is a reliable signal that it’s time to get creative. Often the most meaningful gifts and the most difficult ones to give are those that cost no money at all.
A gift from the heart is a gift of time and talent. It’s going to require some (all?) of your free time over the next week or so, but it sure beats going into debt to buy a bunch of gifts for others—or missing out altogether because you refuse to show up empty-handed.
No one was more creative than my mother-in-law one Christmas years ago. I’d always admired her beautiful crystal, a wedding gift from her parents in 1942. Imagine how stunned I was when she gave it—all of it—to me. My favorite pieces are the water pitcher and cordials. Her gift, which cost nothing in terms of money, was and continues to be priceless to me.
Are you getting the picture? Great. Consider these idea starters to show someone you care that won’t require spending any cash at all. And please, add your own ideas in the comments!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/IMG_6833-1.jpg7501000Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-20 00:10:032020-11-29 07:08:44Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime
For nearly a decade I’ve been making vanilla extract for Christmas gifts. And every year I find myself scrambling because it’s a process that requires a minimum of three months—six months or even six years is even better! Vanilla extract gets better and better with age. But all that has changed since discovering how to make vanilla extract using my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Instead of months, Instant Pot vanilla extract takes just one week from start-to-gift!
For me (and friends and family on my gift list), vanilla extract is still the perfect homemade holiday gift. The difference in taste is extraordinary. And now that pure vanilla extract has become so expensive (more on that in a bit), it’s like pure gold!
Processing homemade vanilla extract in an electric Instant Pot pressure cooker gives it the intensity of aged high-quality store-bought vanilla in a fraction of the time. Now our perfect homemade gift can be a perfect last-minute gift, too.
Until several years ago, I didn’t know something existed, a heated mattress pad. It makes sense I suppose since I’d lived in Southern California for most of my life, where it is mostly warm all year round.
Relocating to Colorado where the seasons are more pronounced, I had a lot to learn about heating a house without going broke. That first winter our heating bills shot to the moon because we were heating the entire house to a comfortable temperature day and night. Trust me—high heating bills can be shocking.
Lower the temp
We saw a semi-dramatic reduction in the heating bill when we decided to lower the thermostat to 60 F. at night, then using this micathermic space heater in our bedroom. That worked relatively well, but that wasn’t altogether successful. Let’s just say that my husband and I have different internal thermostats. He would be cold while I’d be turning the space heater down a notch or ten.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/heated-mattress-pad.jpg8351310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-18 01:56:302020-11-18 09:13:07A Very Effective Way to Cut Winter Heating Bills
Before you toss that steam clothes iron because it refuses to steam, and the soleplate is now sporting a brown, burned-on, gross mess—you might want to give it a little love with a good clean out and clean-up. It’s not difficult to bring a tired steam iron back to working like a dream!
As always, check the owner manual before proceeding with any cleaning process if you’d just as soon not void am active warranty.
Clean the soleplate
The soleplate is the iron’s flat surface that has the tiny holes where the steam comes out—the part that gets hot. Over time, it can get dirty with a buildup of scorched, ugly brown build-up of various stains from melted-on fabric to spray starch. A dirty steam clothes iron will not press fabric properly and leave streaks of dirt and stain behind on your clothing.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/steam-iron-steaming.jpg10481310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-17 00:37:232020-11-17 07:38:40How to Clean a Steam Iron So It Steams and Looks Like New
Body scrubs are popular because they offer a most effective way to exfoliate your skin. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every 30 days or so to make room for new cells. Sometimes, dead cells don’t shed completely, resulting in dry, flaky patches and clogged pores. Exfoliating can help prevent this, keeping your skin looking vibrant and healthy.
While there are plenty of pricey body scrubs to choose from, for just pennies you can make your own equally effective DIY Body Scrubs using ingredients you already have in your pantry.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/homemade-body-scrub.jpg8001200Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-16 00:28:432020-05-14 10:03:455 DIY Body Scrubs to Keep Your Skin Vibrant and Healthy
According to the USDA, a normal American family of 4, is spending on average, $1,071.40 a month on food at home. That’s a lot of money for groceries, no matter the size of your family.
The list is long for reasons why we should get groceries for our meals instead of eating out or ordering in. While it’s typically less expensive than eating out for every meal, grocery shopping isn’t exactly cheap. But it is downright expensive if you don’t have a strategy.
Good news: You can slash your grocery costs. These tips require effort, but when combined, they can really add up to significant savings and make a big difference in your household finances.
1. Shake it up, baby!
When buying produce, shake off excess water BEFORE you weigh an item—spinach, lettuce, celery, broccoli, etc. Water weight can add about $1 to your grocery tab PER TRIP—costing you at least $50 a year if you buy groceries each week.
2. Weigh bagged produce
Prebagged potatoes, onions, broccoli, apples, lemons have a fixed price—all those bags are the same price. And they must meet the weight stated in that bag, for example, 5 lbs. potatoes. But rarely does that item weigh exactly the state weight. Take the time to weigh a couple of bags, then choose the one that weighs the most. Take the time and bag the savings with a bag marked 5 lbs that weighs in at 5.5 lbs or more. Prepare to be amazed.
Here’s the Golden Rule of Groceries: Eat the sales. Don’t put anything in your basket that is not on sale. If it’s not on sale this week, it will be next or soon enough. If chicken is the loss leader this week, don’t plan meals around beef. And when that happens, try to buy enough chicken to last until the next time it’s on sale. You may need to stop being so brand loyal. Typical supermarkets and grocery stores work on a 12-week rotation. That means everything will be on sale at least once every three months.
All supermarkets and grocery stores have weekly sales. Consider the sales in several stores to reduce your food by taking full advantage of the greatest number of rock bottom prices.
4. Pass up the grocery cart
Walk on by the carts (aka trollies for my dear readers in the UK) when all you need are a few items. Surely you can carry the “few things” you need. Or get one of the hand-held baskets. The point here is that you won’t be buying more than you can carry.
5. Don’t dawdle
This is not the place you want to hang out to soak in all the great sights and smells from the bakery, deli, and rotisserie chickens. If you weren’t hungry when you arrived, you will be soon. Get what you need and get out of there. For every ten minutes, you delay, plan on spending about another $35.
6. Don’t deprive yourself
Work some “flex spend” into your budget. We all want to try new things, and in the Candyland-of-choice known as the grocery store, this can lead to expensive last-minute choices. In my experience, the best way to combat this is not to fight it. Allow yourself a little flexibility—say, a five-dollar allowance or a single impulse item each week. That’s the way to avoid the feeling that you’re drowning in deprivation. You’ll be less likely to go overboard.
7. Make a list
This is almost a given, but making a list is the easiest way to see what you need and estimate how much it should cost. Here’s a pretty clever interactive grocery list template.
8. Pay with cash
The best way to stick to the budget is to go in with a plan and pay with cash. When you go to the store with cash in hand, you know exactly how much you can spend. And when you’ve spent what you came with, that’s it. No room for impulsive unplanned purchases.
9. Avoid impulse buys
Another way to prevent impulse buys is to stay out of the store altogether. Grocery pickup services offered by mainstream retailers like Kroger, Target, and Walmart allow you to order your groceries online and then have them brought out to you while you wait in your vehicle.
Items like dairy, meat, and even some bagged produce come with sell-by dates. Often as that date nears, stores will slap a discounted price tag on them, but not always. If you find items that are close to their sell-by date that are not discounted, speak up. Ask for a discount. As long as you plan to use these items soon, there’s no problem at all. Sell-buy dates allow for that item to be safe and delicious for at least 7 days past the date.
Last chance produce at a discount may be a great find—but only if you use it immediately. Let those avocados or tomatoes sit on the counter for a few days, and they may be so rotten you have no choice but to throw them in the garbage. Buy only if you will consume it right away.
11. Look high and low
Supermarkets and grocery stores regularly place the higher-priced, brand name items at eye level. Have you ever noticed that? That’s no coincidence. Not a fluke! It’s on purpose, and you’re being set up to behave impulsively. Here’s how to beat ’em at their own game: Look high and low. Expect to find generic alternatives, lower-priced brands, and other options. Compare prices. Don’t give in to the manipulation.
12. Shop the cheap stores
Most dollar stores offer random non-perishable food items and even fresh produce at huge discounted prices, so stop there first. You may be able to mark some items off your grocery list. Private label stores like Aldi and Trader Joe’s are notorious for their super lower prices on their food products.
13. Snag manager specials
Most supermarkets’ meat and bakery departments feature “Manager Specials.” Depending on the season and that particular store’s inventory, you’ll often find discounts as much as 50% off on anything from meat to bread, poultry, fish, and seafood. Buy enough to use and or freeze to last until the next time it goes on sale. Of course, you won’t know exactly when that will be, so estimate provided that stocking up doesn’t bust the budget.
Make friends with the meat manager. Ask when they discount items near the sell-by date. Typically it’s about the same time of the day. Now you’ll know when to show up to be first in line for those super savings.
14. Ethnic markets
Even if you’re not into exotic cuisine, Asian, Ethiopian, Latin American food markets are harboring some terrific bargains on items you’re regularly buying at a full price elsewhere. It can’t hurt to check them out! You’re sure to find items like rice, flour, fresh poultry, and produce at regular prices in ethnic markets that beat your supermarket by a mile.
Your phone is a powerful tool, so download this grocery app. It may be easier than clipping coupons.
Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.
Here’s how it works: Before heading to the store, search for items on your grocery shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes, and with that, you’ll get cash back.
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $20 sign-up bonus after redeeming your first 10 bonuses within 14 days.
Question: Given these tips are just a start, what is your favorite way to save money on the food you eat at home? Could you share with us in the comments below?
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/piggy-bank-on-dinner-plate.jpg8731310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-14 07:42:132020-11-14 16:50:3315 Insanely Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries
If there’s one thing we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving, it’s this: Turkey is cheap*! And the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner can relatively inexpensive, too.
The secret to enjoying a traditional feast without overspending is to plan ahead and know a few tricks.
I sat down with two highly respected professionals—a butcher and a personal chef. What I learned from John Smith, professional butcher and personal chef, Liz Tarditi, pretty much blew a hole in everything I thought I knew about buying, thawing, and preparing a turkey.
Get the best turkey
Choosing the best turkey is easier said than done unless you fully understand the difference between a store brand and a name brand bird. Just because a turkey is more expensive does not make it any better, says John. All that means is that it has a lot of advertising built into its price.
What customers don’t know is that one turkey processor will slap many different labels on his crop of birds. The turkeys are all the same, only the labels are different.
“Always go with the cheapest turkey and you’ll never go wrong. I’ve sold tens of thousands of store brand turkeys to very happy customers.” – John Smith, author Confessions of a Butcher
And now for my conversation with John the butcher:
Fresh or frozen?
JS: First, let me define a “fresh” turkey. According to the people who make the laws, turkeys can be called “fresh” even though the moisture in the bird is frozen! If you press very firmly on the bird the meat is not frozen. The turkey processors have it down to a science. They bring the temperature of the “fresh” birds down to the very legal limit before sending them off to the store two weeks before Thanksgiving.
Frozen turkeys, on the other hand, are quick-frozen immediately upon butchering. So the freshest turkey is really a frozen turkey. The freezing process has no noticeable effect on the quality of the bird.
Using inexpensive distilled white vinegar in the laundry is smart because it will whiten, brighten, reduce odor, and soften clothes without harsh chemicals.
Vinegar is safe to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers because it is very mildly acidic.
When buying vinegar to use in the laundry, choose distilled white vinegar with 5% acidity. It contains no natural plant dyes that can stain clothes.
Plain distilled white 5% vinegar runs around 2.5 cents per oz. in the typical supermarket when purchased by the gallon.
Name brand liquid fabric softeners come in at about 8 cents per oz.—nearly three times the cost. As an alternative to liquid softener, dryer sheets are a cheaper way to ruin your clothes and linens, on average about 4 cents per sheet.
Plain white distilled vinegar with 5% acidity is a natural fabric softener. The acid helps remove detergent and soil that is left clinging to fabric fibers, which is what allows clothes and linens to come out feeling soft and clean.
Commercial softeners work just the opposite. They are designed to coat fibers, leaving behind their scented residue, which can build up over time rendering those items non-absorbent, dingy gray, and anything but soft.
A half-cup of white vinegar when added to the final rinse (pour it into the washer reservoir marked for laundry softener), on the other hand, will soften fabrics and leave no residue at all. A light scent can be added, if you want, with a few drops of lavender oil. However, once dry your laundry will not smell like vinegar.
The acetic acid in distilled white vinegar will not harm washable fabrics because it is so mild, while at the same time strong enough to dissolve the alkalis left by soap and detergent.
Adding one-half cup of vinegar to the final rinse will result in brighter, clearer colors. Add the distilled white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser or add the vinegar manually at the beginning of the rinse cycle if your washer gives you that option.
Wet towels left sitting in a hamper or forgotten in the washer can produce a sour, moldy smell. To get rid of that problem and to get those towels smelling nice and fresh, do this:
Fill the washer with hot water, add two cups of distilled white vinegar and run a complete wash cycle with no detergent. Run a second complete cycle with detergent added.
This works well for minor situations and small loads. For more serious situations, you’ll want to use this more aggressive treatment.
Unlike commercial liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, vinegar has no effect on the fire-retardants used in children’s sleepwear.
It releases lint, pet hair
One-half cup of white distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle will help prevent lint and pet hair from clinging to clothes. The vinegar will help the fabric fibers relax and “release” the hair. For the same reason, it helps get rid of the excessive lint if you accidentally washed something dark with something that produces lint, like towels.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/clean-laundry-towels.jpg9001310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-10 06:13:082020-11-10 06:13:086 Reasons You Need To Add Vinegar in Laundry
Recently, my husband and I made a quick getaway to experience autumn in the tiny town of Lititz, Penn. The fall colors were at their peak; the air crisp with just an occasional sprinkling of rain. In a word? Perfect.
We bundled up to take in a street festival, wandered through tiny shops, and cheered the sounds of a local one-man band who brought new meaning to the word ‘talent.’ We ate delicious local fare and drank coffee. Lots of coffee.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/smelling-fresh-pine.jpg8721310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-09 00:01:012020-11-14 08:41:37How to Make Your House Smell Like the Holidays
Here it is mailbag day, when I reach into my virtual mailbag to read and respond to a handful of letters and messages from my wonderful readers. I love to hear from you with your questions, feedback, thoughts, and ideas.
Afterreading about Lestoiland how amazing it is for removing laundry stains and cleaning up all kinds of greasy messes, I’m wanting to know, does Lestoil also removes animal smells like cat and dog pee in carpet? Corinne
Dear Corinne: I can’t confirm that Lestoil will remove that very strong, difficult-to-deal-with odor. I have not tested that, nor have I read anything to suggest Lestoil is that powerful against awful odors.
But I know what will—and with amazing results. You need Nok-Out. It is safe around pets and kids, has no fragrance, fumes, or odor, is not toxic. Provided you use it as directed, will completely neutralize and remove that odor—even if it has soaked all the way through the carpet, pad, and into the flooring below. Nok-Out is available direct from Nokout.com or at Amazon.
Let me direct you to How to Completely Neutralize and Eliminate Pet Odors for specific instructions on how to use Nok-Out effectively. There’s a lot of science involved so you want to follow the protocol carefully. It’s super easy—but must be done right to make sure those odors are completely neutralized and removed. Good luck and let us know how that works for you! xo m
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https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/laptop-computer.jpg8731310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-08 00:07:072020-11-08 14:14:06Ask Me Anything: Pet Odor, Line-Dried Towels, HOT Cold-Brew and MORE!
Some days I sit down to write this column and the words just pour from my mind through my fingers and onto the keyboard. Other times, like right now, all systems go blank—one big expansive, frustrating void.
Just as I was about to run outdoors and bang my head on my new stone wall, I got that little ding letting me know I had mail—this time from Nancy.
Dear Mary:I’m interested in signing up for LifeLock. Do you feel it would be better to take the LifeLock Ultimate Plus (the most expensive) or the LifeLock Advantage plan and why? Thank you for your help. Nancy
That’s when I remembered that I wanted to tell you what happened to me. (Oh, this is so good!)
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/hacked-alert.jpg6981310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-07 00:39:542020-11-07 16:13:13How a Startling Red-Hot Alert Made My Day!
Have you ever had the occasion to wonder, “Where have I been all my life?” That was my reaction to learning about a simple heavy-duty cleaning product, Lestoil.
Apparently, Lestoil has been manufactured right here in the USA for decades and loved by many. Curiously, I’d never even heard of it—let alone used it like a rabid fan—until only a few years ago.
In the off chance you, too, are not familiar with the powerful cleaner of all things hopelessly dirty, greasy or stained, here are 10 things you will be glad you know.
1. Heavy-duty grease and stain remover
Lestoil (pronounced less-toil … get it?) can be used full-strength on stains—especially really difficult stains; the kind of stains you just give up on like ink, toner, grease, oil, scuff marks, blood, lipstick, nail polish, paint, grass stains, coffee stains, crayon and marker stains on every surface you can imagine.
Great for both soft and hard surfaces like laundry, shoes, carpet, garage floors, counters, linoleum, tile, patios and plastic, Even the sticky stuff left behind by stickers and labels.
Apply Lestoil full strength to that stain, rub it in then allow it to sit for a few minutes, hours, or even overnight. Launder as usual or in the case of upholstery or other situations that cannot be laundered, rinse and blot; repeat as necessary (especially if the stain is old and the item has been washed and dryed repeatedly).
2. Really old
Lestoil has been around since 1933. While I have not been around quite that long, this makes me wonder where I have been, since I’ve only learned about Lestoil more recently. Lestoil is a registered trade name of Clorox for a heavy-duty multi-purpose cleanser product, although it contains no chlorine bleach, which we usually associate with “Clorox.”
3. So far 100%
Lestoil has removed every old stain I’d given up on as well as every new stain I’ve acquired since the two of us met—on clothing, carpet, concrete, and all kinds of patio furniture including molded plastic. It removed black stains that accumulated on outdoor furniture covers.
Lestoil made short order of some ugly stains on cultured stone. It removed that gross, sticky residue that shows up on vinyl and plastic, restoring it back to its former glory.
So far, Lestoil has worked on everything I’ve tried, most recently this shirt (with apologies to all of my expert photography readers—I promise to work on my lighting ).
Before After Results of Lestoil Heavy-Duty Stain Treatment
4. It’s soapy
Lestoil contains, among other things, sodium tallate (Tall Oil Acid), which is a type of soap. This means that once the job is done, it must be rinsed out, washed off, or otherwise removed to make sure the item being treated doesn’t retain a residue that will attract a new stain. Complete list of ingredients.
To clean: Use one-quarter cup Lestoil per gallon of water, rinse as needed. For tough jobs, use full strength and rinse immediately. Works on grease, tar, oil, fresh paint, scuff marks, and stains. Brush when necessary. With prolonged use, wear rubber gloves. For laundry, apply Lestoil to soiled areas. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Launder in the hottest water recommended on the garment label. Do not use on wool or silk. Before use, test inconspicuous area of garment for colorfastness.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Image-Lestoil.jpg6281200Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-06 00:01:102020-08-25 09:08:4110 Things You’ll Be Happy to Know About Lestoil
Look up the word ‘impulsive’ in the dictionary and prepare to see my face. In my basement pantry, I have bags of chocolate chips to prove it. They are the ghosts of a Christmas past—left over from one of my Gift-in-a-Jar marathon projects.
And those two containers of candied fruit that must be ten years old by now, which I keep only because they’ve become a novelty. They appear to be the same as the day I bought them and perhaps one of the reasons fruit cake has gotten such a bad rap!
I still have bags of all-purpose flour from last holiday season, which I bought for $.99 each, which I’ve stored in the freezer. Sugar is cheap during the holidays, too. Ditto for other holiday baking ingredients from marshmallows to sweetened condensed milk dates to nuts.
One of my basic rules of grocery shopping is this: When it’s on sale, buy enough to last until the next time it’s on sale. Baking supplies become so cheap this time of year, now is the time to stock up.
Which begs the question: How long will baking supplies last in the event you decide to buy enough to last the year? It all depends on the items and if you have the storage space to keep them at their optimum.
To make the information that follows more useful I put together a handy cheat sheet for you. Below you’ll see a link to download a free printable version that you can attach to the inside of a cabinet or another place to serve as a reminder.
Store in a tightly lidded container; 18 months unopened, six months opened. Stored in the freezer, baking powder is good indefinitely.
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place; good for two years unopened, six months opened. Kept in the freezer, good indefinitely.
Store in freezer and use within six months opened or unopened. If you don’t have freezer space, brown sugar will become hard as a brick, even stored unopened. Another option is to vacuum seal brown sugar in small amounts, like 1 or 2 lbs.
This, amazing little brown sugar keeper will make sure brown sugar is always soft and easy-to-use. I can fill it with hardened brown sugar, follow instructions to soak that little disk in water and place it in the lid, close the container, and in no time the brown sugar is soft and usable. Really cool.
Strange But True
I’ve discovered quite by accident that even if that little terra cotta disk in my brown sugar keeper dries out and falls into the brown sugar, it remains soft and lovely. Is there something magical about terra cotta? Hmm…
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Comes two ways: salted and unsalted. Salt is added for flavor and as a preservative, so it will have a longer shelf life. Salted lasts up to five months refrigerated; unsalted has a short shelf life of about three months in the refrigerator.
If you do not plan to use unsalted butter right away, it is best to freeze it. When properly wrapped so it won’t pick up any odors, butter can be frozen for around six months. It’s best to defrost butter overnight in the refrigerator.
Canned evaporated milk
Store unopened on the pantry shelf for up to six months. Best to check the “use by” date on the product. After this time, it will not turn sour, but it will turn yellow and lose its flavor.
Store in a cupboard at room temperature; 18-24 months unopened, one year if opened. I can attest to the fact that chocolate chips will last what seems like forever in the freezer. They may get a white haze, but this will not affect the taste when used in baking.
Store on pantry shelves at room temperature; good for up to a year; check if still good with the smell test. Oils can become rancid.
Properly stored in the refrigerator, fresh eggs are good for four to five weeks past the “sell by” date.
Expect these to last up to three or four years when kept at room temperature. (See pure vanilla extract below).
Unopened flour lasts for up to a year; opened, six to eight months. Whole wheat flour is good for up to a year unopened but use within six months if opened. If you have room, store flour in the freezer.
Store in a cool, dry place; good for two years unopened; use within six months if opened.
ACH Food Companies, Inc., the conglomerate that owns and markets Karo syrup, says its Karo syrups are safe for consumption for an indefinite period of time whether it has been opened or not. I know, kinda’ creepy, but that’s the fact.
Light corn syrup may turn slightly yellow with age, but this is normal and not harmful. Storage conditions affect product quality.
Before or after opening, Karo syrup may be stored at room temperature. Bottles may be refrigerated after opening; however, the syrup will be thicker and pour more slowly.
Store at room temperature for four months unopened; store in the refrigerator once opened and use within two months.
Keep in an airtight container on the pantry shelf; good for three months.
Store unopened in a cool, dark place for one year; store opened for six months in a cool, dry place or the refrigerator. Make sure the lid is tightly sealed.
Stored in a tightly sealed container, shelled nuts will be good for up to six months in the pantry; 9 months to a year in the freezer.
Store in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator); good for 18 months unopened.
Pure vanilla extract
Store at room temperature; as long as it is pure, it has an indefinite shelf life. In fact, it even gets better with age.
Up to three years stored on the pantry shelf at temperatures up to 80 F. Can be refrigerated.
Store in the pantry at room temperature. Unopened, shortening lasts up to a year; opened, three to four months until it turns rancid.
Store in a cool, dry place for two to three years. Here’s a tip to extend the shelf life: Don’t measure or sprinkle spices over a boiling pot. The steam from the pot will hasten the loss of flavor for what spice remains in the bottle. Measure spices into a bowl beforehand and then add them to the pot. Paprika and cayenne pepper will last longer when refrigerted, but it’s not necessary.
Whole and ground spices don’t spoil, they just lose their strength. Store in a cool, dry place for two to four years.
Sweetened condensed milk
Store in a dry, clean, and cool place; good for one year unopened; invert can every two months. Carnation does not recommend using sweetened condensed milk past its “best before date” for quality reasons.
I am still searching for information on candied fruit. So far I can find no indication that it will ever spoil
Surprise! Here’s an early holiday gift. Click on the image and my 55-page eBook will open. You can either print or save it to your device. Enjoy!
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/36962309_s.jpg8741310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-05 00:59:142020-09-24 16:57:08Find Out the Best Time to Buy Baking Ingredients + Free Printable Cheat Sheet
I’ve been doing some early Christmas shopping, specifically for unique but useful gadgets—stocking stuffers for the adults in my family, some of who can be hard-to-buy-for.
This is a task I usually leave until the last minute, which sends me scrambling. But not this year. I’m way ahead of the game since I found the perfect gifts—these super cool, unique, and useful, pocket-size tools and gadgets.
Leatherman Micro Tool
Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multitool, the quintessential gadget, is a mere 2-1/4 inches in length when closed, and 2 oz. in weight—pocket size! Its spring-action clip easily attaches to a key ring or backpack or slides easily into a small pocket in a handbag.
With its three screwdrivers, wire cutter, scissors, knife blade, file, tweezers and bottle opener, you’ll have 9 tools powerful enough to keep you going when things fall apart. And did I say practical?
This little Squirt PS4 requires only one hand to open and to use all the tools, too. Remarkable! The Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multitool is super cool, available in three colors and comes with 25-year warranty.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/pocket-tools.jpg305596Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-04 00:07:522020-11-04 06:49:349 of the Best Pocket Tools and Gadgets Out There
Recently, while digging out, cleaning up, and reorganizing our storage room I discovered a half-full jug of Windex. I have to admit that for a few moments, it was like Christmas and not because I was itching to clean windows. It’s because I know lots of situations where Windex comes to the rescue to make life easier!
According to SC Johnson, the original formula Windex contains cleaning agents, wetting agents, fragrance, and color. This makes it ideal for more than just cleaning glass and mirrors:
Windex makes for a super effective stain remover on non-silk washable fabrics—especially on difficult red stains like red wine and tomato sauce and ketchup. Spray the stain liberally with Windex, allow to soak in and work for 20 minutes or so, then rinse it out with cold water. Launder as usual. Caution: Stick with the clear colorless version of Windex when using it to remove stains from white or light items.
Hit those ants and other creepy crawlies with a mist of Windex and watch them curl up and die. Many readers have reported this works really well but once cleaned up, it will not prevent the bugs from coming back. To do that, spray the cleaned up area with a light mist of white vinegar to create a more lasting barrier.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/Depositphotos_368330392_l-2015.jpg10661600Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-03 00:45:232020-07-15 06:35:5617 Ways to Use Windex That Will Make You Happy
Laundry stripping—it’s a hot topic around the Internet these days, especially on cloth diapering and laundry forums. So is laundry stripping just a trendy topic or a fabulous laundry technique to solve an age-old problem?
The problem of dingy gray laundry is not foreign to my email inbox. In fact, it’s a subject that shows up a lot. Why do bedsheets, towels, socks, and t-shirts turn dull and gray, feeling stiff, and losing absorbency?
It’s the residue and buildup of detergent, fabric softeners, and minerals from hard water that we’re not removing with regular washing methods. Add to that the accumulation of sweat, body soil, deodorant, lotions, shampoo, conditioners, oils, and more that adhere and get stuck to the fibers of the fabric, and what do we get? Linens and clothes we think are clean but may come out with lingering odors and poor appearance.
https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/dull-gray-laundry.jpg8731310Mary Hunthttps://www.everydaycheapskate.com/wp-content/uploads/EC-Logo-by-Mary-Hunt-Tagline-Trimmed.pngMary Hunt2020-11-02 07:13:242021-01-21 10:20:38Dingy Gray Laundry is the Problem—This is the Solution!