Entries by Mary Hunt

How to Get Clever with Leftovers: Mashed Potatoes, Coffee, Meatloaf,

Leftovers and I have a kind of love-hate relationship. I can’t bear the thought of tossing perfectly delicious food into the garbage because I made too much of it. So I pack it, seal it and fill the refrigerator with it. Once a leftover is past prime—looking more like a science project than tomorrow’s dinner—it’s […]

6 Things a Compulsive Shopper Can Do To Curb the Urge to Splurge

When it came to compulsive tendencies, there’s no question I received more than the standard allotment. I can sit down fully intending to watch the news and end up owning a pasta machine. I jump online just to look around and come out with three outfits I’ll never wear, a gift I’ll never give, and several things for the house. I can glance at a mail order catalog, and in the time it takes to pull up its website, Adirondack chairs and matching windsocks are winging their way to my front door. Why? I see what I like, and WHAM! Something goes off in my head, insisting I need it right now. I’m entitled to it and pity the poor soul who tries to prevent me from having it.

As a compulsive shopper, those tendencies will forever be part of my personality. Thankfully, I have found ways to quiet those loud voices and make them my allies.

Official EC Puzzles Rules of Play

Everyone is welcome to play EC Puzzles. Only active EC Daily Email subscribers with a U.S. mailing address are eligible to win prizes. Sign Up. This puzzle season at Everyday Cheapskate runs from October 1 to December 31, 2022, with a new puzzle every Saturday. Clues and answers for all crossword puzzles come directly from […]

How to Remove Scratches on Stainless Steel Appliances, Sinks, Counters

As sleek and sturdy as it is, stainless steel is not immune to picking up unsightly scratches in the course of everyday household activities. They show up on sinks, appliances, cabinet hardware, and stainless counters, too. There’s a good chance you can remove scratches on stainless steel surfaces, provided you use the right tools and closely follow these tips.

Everyday Cheapskate Puzzle #1

All clues for Crossword Puzzle #1 come from  EC Daily emails Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, 2022. If you are not a daily newsletter subscriber, sign up. It’s simple, and don’t worry—we won’t share, sell, or rent your information. By continuing to play, you certify that you have read, understand, and fully comply with the Official […]

Recipes for Tastes of Autumn and Slow Cookers Go Together

There’s just something about the bountiful tastes of autumn and slow cookers that go together. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of testing in my kitchen. While some results have been less than palatable (let me make all the mistakes so you won’t have to), other attempts have turned out even better than I could […]

Creamy Baked Potato Soup

You know what they say—everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it! That always makes me laugh, but it is so true. And that’s because we can’t do anything about it, right? Who wasn’t reminded of this during a past year’s epic blast of extreme weather visited upon North America? I […]

Best Deals at Amazon Right Now

Team EC is adamant about sharing deals we believe are good value. EC gets paid small commissions from some links to companies offering authentic deals, which help us pay the bills and keep this site alive and healthy! Compensation in no way affects our choices, recommendations, and honest opinions for the best deals at Amazon. […]

The One Quick and Easy Way to Slash the High Cost of Groceries

The news is not good: Grocery prices in August 2022 rose 13.5%, the highest increase since March 1979. Translated to our everyday lives? Americans can still expect to pay up on their next trip to the grocery store.  The cost of food is soaring in ways that are downright shocking. Inflation What we’re experiencing is inflation—the […]

3 Sneaky Ways to Hack a Cake Mix So No One Has a Clue

When cake mixes are on sale, I load up. And that’s a good deal provided you like the taste of a boring cake from a cake mix.

A better idea is to use that mix as an ingredient in a fabulous homemade cake or cookie recipe.

Because no one my family is fond of plain, boring cake made from a box mix, my challenge has been to find better ways to use a cake mix than to simply follow the instructions on the box. Today, I’m sharing my favorite boxed cake mix hacks! See you there …Love, xo m

How to Bake Gluten-Free High-Rising Beautiful Soft Sandwich Bread

If you bake gluten-free for yourself or others, you have likely attempted to bake soft, airy, sandwich-worthy bread. And your hopes evaporated quickly when all you got was a flat, hard, soggy mess. So what’s a gluten-free sandwich-lover to do? Learn the secrets of making beautiful, soft, high-rising white sandwich bread! You can do this …

11 Ways to Use Super Washing Soda to Make Your Life Easier

Washing soda and I go way back. I’ve been using it as a laundry detergent booster for decades. For years, I had no idea I could use it so many other ways around the house! And garage. The more I learn, test, and put it into use, the more it becomes a must-have item in my cleaning arsenal. Think it’s hard to find? Not when you know where to look …

Best Kids’ Learning Toys for 2022

Spending hours and hours creating Gift Guides for you, My Dear Readers, is the way I control my urge to splurge. Apparently my shopping gene doesn’t include actually owning the things I shop for—it’s the thrill of the hunt (no pun intended). And so, I let myself go nuts … for you! See how that works?

10 Easy Ways to Do Halloween on a Budget This Year

There’s no denying that we love Halloween. What other night do we get to eat, drink, and be scary? The problem is we’ve come to love it a little too much. Sadly, most of that spending will translate to new credit-card debt—what a terrible way to start out the new year.

I know we can do so much better than that this year if we’ll simply stop, think, and then find ways to do it cheaper!

I’ve got lots of great ideas, and hope you will add yours in the comments! See you there … Love, xo m 🎃

19 Surprising Ways Epsom Salts Can Improve Your Life

I can recall vividly—and count on one hand—the migraine headaches I’ve had in my life, all of them before age ten. Once I turned double digits, I outgrew them. Until recently. With no warning at all, there I was back to my 8-year-old self, flat on my back with a raging migraine. Why then, after all these years? In reading up on the latest findings on what might cause my migraine headaches, I discovered the importance of magnesium to overall health—and some surprising other uses, too!

4 Reasons to Start Planning Your DIY Christmas Now

Brisk mornings, fall colors, pumpkin pie, and apple cider. Autumn is just the best time of year, right? And our minds are leaning toward Halloween and Thanksgiving, consider this a strong nudge to put Christmas high on the list. Start planning now and you’ll benefit in so many ways come December.

September is The Best Month of the Year to Shop These 13 Things

And just like THAT … it’s September! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ready for 2020 to be over, so the speed with which it seems September has hit is welcomed, indeed!

Two days ago, here in northern Colorado, we were still enjoying 96F days. And them BAM! … 46F low yesterday. And … get this, it snowed last night in the mountains. See what I mean? Rollercoaster weather, which I absolutely love❣️

September brings with it predictable bargains—some that could be considered extreme!

So buckle up as we head into my favorite time of the year, and not only for sweater-weather, pumpkin pie, and apple cider but for bargains, too!

See you there. Love xo m 🍁 🍂 🍎 🥮 ❣️

DIY Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

With great patience comes great reward. That’s what Starbucks aficionados count on—waiting, patience, more waiting each year for Starbucks to announce the start of its short Pumpkin Spice Latte season. If that’s you, good news! You can quickly learn to make PSLs at home, any time of the year and whenever you want! The ingredients […]

Worried About Global Food Shortages? Don’t Be Scared Be Prepared

Who cares about all of this talk of food shortage, really? And why should we, as consumers, even concern ourselves? The system seems to be working really well, so why the fuss? The best thing we can do to protect ourselves and our families is to prepare. The more food you have in storage, the less dependent you are on a system that some theorize has only a 3-day supply in its distribution chain.

Travels With Vangie: Best Camping Gear Including Resources

It’s been two years now since my husband and I decided to stop dreaming and start doing. We bought a van. We named her Vangie. We hired a van conversion company to transform her from an empty cargo van to a cozy, useful, comfortable, tiny RV.  While I wrote about the specific van build-out specs […]

19 Absolutely Brilliant Ways to Clean With Denture Tablets

Not many households keep a supply of denture tablets. But every household should because there are so many cleaning jobs that effervescent denture tablets can do from making coffee stains disappear to cleaning fine jewelry and clearing a clogged drain, too.

Denture cleaning tablets are great little workhorses for all kinds of jobs around the house, some you’ve never heard of…

How to Eliminate Odor of Gasoline Spilled Inside Family Vehicle

A message showed up in my inbox that made my heart sink. I couldn’t help imagine what it would be like to lend my car to someone, only to have it come back to me with a little something I’d not counted on—that noxious odor of gasoline! Worse, what if that condition were permanent?!

Thankfully, I have good news for at least one desperate reader …

How to Make Awesome Stir Fry Like a Rockstar—So Quick and Easy!

I can’t think of a more perfect food than stir-fry. It makes good use of leftovers; it’s healthy and, when prepared well, tastes fantastic! You can make stir-fry, start to finish in less than 30 minutes. The secret is to get all of your ingredients ready and within easy reach, before you start and your skillet as hot as possible.

DIY Mold and Mildew Treatment That is Non-Toxic, Safe, and 100% Effective

If you’ve ever called in a professional service to rid your home of mold, you know the meaning of shock and awe—so expensive it brings tears to your eyes. This is a job you can do yourself if you have the right mold-killer (that is non-toxic and 100% effective to kill the spores and odors too), equipment and instructions … cheaper, better, and faster than the pros.

Things You’d Be Smart to Buy (and Avoid) at a Dollar Store

A dollar store is the place I go when I need something to last just until the end of the party—or through the next holiday. Dollar stores are where I match quality with need. If I don’t need it for long (think: disposable), I sure don’t want to pay a lot for it.

Today, my list of things you’d be smart to buy at a dollar store—and some to avoid!

Do you shop at dollar-type stores? Click through to the post, then tell us in the comments!

Enjoy this beautiful day …

Love, Mary ☀️

How to Use an Instant Pot—It’s Safe and Simple!

Maybe you have an Instant Pot and are afraid or just plain clueless what to do with it. Even if you’ve never heard of a pressure cooker let alone how or why you need to—today’s the day. It’s time to put away all preconceived notions, rumors, and failures and start over on the right foot.

Three Easy Ways to Curb the Disease to Please

I could never be a medical transcriptionist. It’s not the typing or the doctors’ handwriting that would deter me. My problem would be reading the symptoms and medical conditions. I’d have all of them. To say that I am easily influenced is like saying the Titanic sprung a leak. Knowing this about myself, I wasn’t all […]

5 Home Buying Mistakes That Will Make You House Poor

Buying a home is likely the largest purchase you will ever make. This is not the time to make mistakes that could quickly plunge you into a financial situation you cannot afford. Avoid these five home-buying mistakes, and you will avoid getting in over your heads with a house you cannot afford—and save yourself many thousands of dollars and heartaches in the process.

Ask Me Anything: Vinyl Flooring Care, Healthy 5-Min Bread, Stubborn Water Spots

If you’ve ever dealt with vinyl flooring—especially in an older home where the flooring has not been well-cared for, you know the heartbreak of trying to clean it. The problem is tiny grooves and crevices, especially along the baseboards and thresholds where stubborn dirt has built-up over time and is now holding on for dear life.

But, truth be told, vinyl flooring is still alive and well—highly improved, and quite lovely. In fact, some brands of vinyl flooring have now entered the luxury lines of flooring.

If you have new vinyl, old vinyl, grimy vinyl, or shiny vinyl, it’s good to know how to care for it—what to do and what not to do.

All that plus lots more in today’s post.

See you there! Love, xo m

6 Awesome Gifts of Summer to Make Now for Christmas

Even if you didn’t have an abundant garden this year, don’t worry. You can still make these beautiful gifts of summer to hold onto for Christmas. You can find everything you need at a local farmer’s market. Won’t it be wonderful to welcome the Holiday Season knowing you have gifts ready to go? Strawberry Freezer Jam Mix […]

Everything I Know About Negotiating I Learned as a Matter of Survival

Think you are not a negotiator? Think again! Every day you negotiate with kids, a spouse, bosses, co-workers, employees, creditors, vendors, banks, friends, clerks, and salespeople. You negotiate with telemarketers and repair people, teachers, and neighbors. You negotiate with your words, tone, body language, and even your silence.

What Are the Best Headphones for Kids, Adults, and Every Budget?

Many readers have recently asked about the best inexpensive headphones and earbuds for themselves and their kiddos. Today seems like a great day to respond. After considerable research and testing, what follows answers the question, “What are the best headphones?” based on value, price, and styles of headphones—for all ages, toddlers through adults. Best Inexpensive […]

Best All-Purpose Cleaners For Every Place in Your Home

All-purpose cleaners are designed to clean everything from dust bunnies to toilet rings and grease spills. We evaluated many commercial products for effectiveness, ease of use, versatility, price, and overall value. These are our picks for the seven best all-purpose cleaning products for keeping your house clean.

The Super EZ Way to Clean Messy Burnt Pots, Pans, Casseroles

There are multiple ways to deal with burned on mess challenges in pans and casseroles—most of which will work to some degree, eventually. But as far as I am concerned, there is only one method that is totally amazing because it’s pretty much automatic and works all by itself in an hour—more or less—depending on the severity of the situation.

DIY Wasp Trap That Really Works and Other Great Reader Tips

Are you aware that your health insurance may cover the cost of gym membership? Or everything you need to trap wasps is as close as your trash can and food pantry. Your fellow readers know all of that and lots more—and they’re ready to share. Wasp trap We have a lot of wasps in the […]

You Need an Emergency Fund (How to Get Started!)

Emergencies are a fact of life. When faced with an unexpected event that has dollar signs written all over it, 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. Look, an emergency fund is not a luxury—it’s a must-have! Here how to get started …

How to Stop Ruining Your Clothes and Household Linens

See all that lint in your clothes dryer trap? Yikes! It’s proof-positive your clothes and linens are wearing out prematurely with every trip through the laundry. But you can counterattack and still achieve soft, lovely results . There are tactics to counteract the abuse suffered by a clothes dryer and you don’t have to go back to the days of sheets frozen stiff on the clothesline. You don’t have to machine dry your clothes to death in order to end up with comfy jeans and fluffy soft towels.

Great $1 Gift Idea for People of All Ages—Kids Teens Adults

Does this sound at all familiar to you? It’s the week before Christmas, and you thought you were done shopping. But then you remembered the little kids across the street. And the guys at the office. Oh, the kids’ teachers and the nice ladies at the library. And your children want to give little gifts to all their friends. Yikes! Your list is expanding right before your eyes. 

Killer Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

Just in time for your weekend plans, the most decadent, intensely chocolatey, take-a-sliver-every-time-you-pass-it chocolate cake. Moist and rich, the secret ingredient is (wait for it) … yogurt! That’s what makes this cake so moist and yummy. I dare you not to love it at first bite.

Best Inexpensive Cast Iron Skillet and How to Love It

I must have been all of 10-years old the day I decided to surprise my mother by cleaning her old black cast iron skillet. It embarrassed me that over the years it had become so gross. Naively, I assumed that she’d burned too many Sunday roasts in it and that’s why it was never shiny with a copper bottom—like the rest of our pots and pans.

I started with household cleanser and steel wool. I scrubbed on a single spot for what seemed like hours. I couldn’t break through that burned-on “crust” to save my soul. Finally, I just gave up.

What I wouldn’t realize until years later was that I was working on a fine piece of cast iron—a skillet I’m sure I managed to un-do years of coveted “seasoning” that makes a cast iron skillet virtually nonstick.

Cast iron skillets never buckle, cast iron is virtually indestructible, lasting for generations—even at the hand of a 10-year-old wielding cleanser, steel wool, and sharp scraping implements. A cast iron skillet can be restored, and in most cases quite easily.

Food cooked in cast iron is fortified with iron—up to 20 times more iron than when cooked in a steel or aluminum vessel. When you cook in well-seasoned cast iron you use less oil. Cast iron is a chemical-free alternative to nonstick pans … and, as you are about to discover, super affordable …

Back to School, Ready or Not!

Just when we’re getting used to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, the compelling ads tell us it’s time to unload our wallets at back-to-school sales. But we don’t have to follow their rules. These useful cost-cutting tips and ideas will help get the kids outfitted without going into debt, without breaking the bank!

Random, Useful, Fun Travel Tips

Whether you’ll be traveling in the next few weeks or have plans for a trip over the Holidays, it’s always a good time for travel tips. Start thinking because you’ll have an opportunity to share your favorite travel tips. No Room for Air Sure, you can find cheap plane tickets, but you’ll pay many extra […]

8 Easy Ways to Slash the High Cost of Prescription Drugs in 2022

If you haven’t heard, you’d better sit down for this: The cost of prescription drugs is increasing at more than double the rate of inflation. Can you even believe it?

Our little grandson was prescribed Tamiflu (he’s fine now—recovered quickly from Type B flu) and the price the pharmacy quoted was nearly $120. It really is enough to give young parents (well, anyone!) a heart attack.

If medication drug costs have gotten you down, cheer up! Then check out the easy and very doable ways anyone can save a lot of money on prescription medications—plus where to get some medicines (antibiotics!) for free.

Super Summer Slow Cooker Recipes—Dessert, Entrees, Sandwiches, Too!

In keeping with one of my favorite philosophies of food, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first!”, today’s first super summer recipe is the easiest dessert ever—and most likely the best peach cobbler you and your family will have ever tasted, I mean devoured. My advice is that we should plan to make this every weekend […]

8 Strategies to Graduate College Debt-Free

There was a time when I didn’t have much opinion on paying for college with student loans. That was before the advent of e-mail and thousands of messages, all with a similar subject line: Help! I’m drowning in student loan debt!  That was before I learned that about 85% of college graduates do not end […]

14 Things That Should Never Go in the Dishwasher

I have 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. Consider this list of 14 things that should never see the inside of your dishwasher.

11 Back-to-School College Dorm Essentials and Gear for 2022

It’s been years since I moved into a college dorm room. My memories of college life are both vivid and precious. For years, I’d been dreaming about how I would grow up and leave my childhood home and sheltered life to attend college in Los Angeles. I lived in the same dorm room from my first day as […]

How to Sell a House for the Highest Price Possible

If you’ve ever sold a home you’ve lived in, you already know a little something about stress! If you haven’t but soon will be getting it ready to go to market, I hope today’s post will get you started with a tidy list of the things you need to do to get the house ready to sell for the highest price possible.

It’s been said that you only get one chance to make a good impression. Never were truer words spoken than when you’re getting ready to sell your house.

See you there! Love, xo m

How to Hack a 59-Cent Mix to Make the Best Homemade Cornbread Ever

As a Northerner, born and bred in the Pacific Northwest, it wasn’t until I was well into my adult years that I learned that when it comes to cornbread, there are two camps. Those who put sugar in their recipe and those who do not. I belong to the former, with apologies to my Southerner readers who believe that sugar has no place in cornbread and the addition of it is sacrilege!

Vangie is Her Name and Travel is Her Game

To say that the global pandemic rocked the world in horrific ways would be, to put it mildly. We may never know the full extent of grief, anger, and loss. One thing is for sure: We’ve been forever changed for having experienced and come through this season of our lives. This is my story. “Wake-Up!” […]

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker and How Often You Should

Performing a deep-clean on a coffee maker is important to extend its useful life and ensure you’re brewing the best-tasting coffee possible.   A build-up of hard water scale and rancid coffee oils in a coffee maker is to be expected. Allowing that build-up to remain (and multiply) can be very hard on the machine. […]

How to Make Crispy Orange Chicken at Home—Cheaper, Better, Faster!

You can make Crispy Orange Chicken (a dead ringer for the Applebee’s version) today, quick and easy (cheaper, too) in less time than it takes to open an app, place an order, pay online, get in the car, drive to a restaurant, find a parking place, call the number to alert staff you have arrived, wait, accept order, drive home while food is getting soggy and cold, go in the house, open the bag, notice they forgot to include the rice, oh well … [try to] enjoy. Do it! Mom will be amazed by your cooking skills.

A Fabulous Vacation on a Budget is a Staycation!

You might want to take a Staycation this summer—perhaps to save money, you have not accumulated enough vacation days, or simply need to stay close to home. A cash shortage need not eliminate the idea of a family vacation. Clever and creative parents can turn several days off work into an amazing vacation experience without […]

Like Fourth Grade All Over Again

I’m not sure why I loved fourth grade so much. Maybe it was because my teacher was extra pretty and her name was Mrs. Hunt (who could’ve guessed?). Or that I sat behind Rick Collier, voted by all the girls to be the cutest in Grade 4 and the entire universe. For certain, it had […]

How to Make Homemade Natural Furniture Polish and Get Rid of White Rings

Some time ago, I got a request from EC reader Kelly for a homemade furniture polish recipe. She said that she uses a lot of it and it’s getting so expensive.

My first thought was, of course, to suggest she time her purchases for when furniture polish goes on sale, and then to stock up. That was fresh on my mind as I’d recently purchased a can of Pledge aerosol polish for $2.50 What a deal! Here’s how I did that:

I’d been harboring a $1 coupon and when Pledge went on sale for 2/$7, I used my coupon, bought one can and enjoyed a great bargain.

Kelly didn’t mention environmental issues in her desire to make her own furniture polish, but after doing some research on the matter, I became convinced that may be something all of us should consider—perhaps even more than the high price of quality furniture cleaners, polishes, and protectants.

From that research emerged three recipes for Homemade Furniture Polish … all 3 in today’s post—plus a bonus

You’re going to love this, and when you do would you consider sharing today’s post? That would be awesome!

See you there … xo m ❣️

How to Make Freezer Jam – Easy Step-By-Step Instructions

Step-by-step easy freezer jam instructions and recipes If peak season for peaches, strawberries, and raspberries calls for lots of homemade jam in order to enjoy summer’s bounty far into the cold days of winter, those happy thoughts can turn sour when you consider the time, work, and know-how required to do that by canning. If that’s […]

The 5 Legal Documents Every Adult Needs and How to Get Them

There are at least five important legal documents every responsible adult needs to have. This is not difficult nor particularly expensive. But it’s easy to procrastinate. Even if you’re certain you have your very important legal documents in order and you could put your hands on them at a moment’s notice, please take time to make sure about that. Laws change, regulations can be expanded or deleted without notice. It’s possible your documents could use an update.

Still The Best Inexpensive Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Can’t anyone make a decent cordless, handheld vacuum cleaner that is convenient to use, holds a charge well, runs for at least 15 minutes before needing to be recharged; has powerful suction to pick up all kinds of stuff we need a vacuum to pick up including pet hair—will last for more than a couple of years AND not cost a fortune? YES! Here it is!

26 Ways to Use Aluminum Foil to Save Time Money Make Life Easier

Using aluminum foil to line cookie sheets and to keep a steak hot while you finish getting everything ready to eat are the ways we’re supposed to use it, right? Well yes, but there are so many other aluminum foil hacks that can save you time, money, and effort. You can use it to polish silver and halt static cling. And there are dozens more ways to use an ordinary roll of aluminum foil.

Handling an Inheritance Requires a Game Plan

While not always easy to think about, inheritances are a part of the financial picture for many  Boomers—and just one of the topics that popped up as I reached into my mailbox this past week. Dear Mary: Before reading your book, Debt-Proof Living I believed we were doing just fine with our money. Recently, my […]

These 7 Frozen Summer Treats are Cool!

In these sizzling days of summer, it’s tempting to load up the freezer with pricey frozen treats. Or to duck into a coffee shop or juice bar to grab one of those decadent blended coffee chillers or a fruit smoothie. But the big price tags can make even the creamiest concoction or slushiest treat hard to swallow.

Giving up favorite cold treats isn’t your only option. Make these yourself and you have great summertime treats at home for just pennies, not dollars. 

The Original Homemade DIY Tub Tile Shower Cleaner (30 Years and Counting!)

Quite possibly one of the best tips to ever land in my mailbox came from a guy who is a professional property manager. He handles University rental apartments. His job is to get the soap-scum-laden (gross!) tubs and showers sparkling clean for next occupants. Here is his personal, original, homemade solution. Prepare to be amazed …. and forever grateful!

9 Ways We Can Wage War Against Mosquitoes—and Win!

Mosquitoes are nasty creatures. They bite, they transmit terrible diseases to people and pets, and have no redeeming value in the ecosystem. They can turn a beautiful backyard, deck, or patio into a nightmare area not fit for humans during mosquito season. But it doesn’t have to be that way, provided you are diligent in taking control of your home and property.

Ask Me Anything: Scratched Dinnerware, Cosigning Parents, Silent Stylist, Mortgage Write-Off, Yum Rum Cake, and More

Once again, it’s mailbag day, when I reach in and pull out your questions. While there are always more than I could possibly answer in one sitting, I try to select the ones that will have the greatest interest to most of you, my Dear Readers. What’s inside? …

Contents

1. Gray scrapes and “scratches” on fine dinnerware

2. Heartbroken parents who co-signed

3. Spreadable butter disaster

4. Spouse demands control of the purse strings

5. What if we lose our mortgage-interest write off? 

6. The Unscrupulous Stylist

7. Rum Cake Recipe, Pleeeese!

See you there! Love, xo m

How to Stretch Ground Beef to Make the High Cost Easier to Swallow

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest official data says in Sept. 2021, the average price of a pound of lean ground beef climbed to a whopping $6.15 per pound. Since then, we’ve seen all kinds of economic turmoil, sending us into inflationary times, when the price of everything is soaring.  If you and your family are […]

The Ultimate Restaurant Menu Cheat Sheet

Before restaurant menus ever make it to print, restaurant owners hire menu engineers and consultants to bury super sneaky psychological tricks into the pretty pictures and mouth-watering descriptions for one reason only—to get you to spend more money. Want to beat restaurants at their own game? Here’s your cheat sheet listing the sneakiest of sneaky tricks.

4 Absolutely Brilliant Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

There’s just nothing that screams late summer like sweet corn when it’s fresh, hot, and slathered with butter and salt. Today, I want to share with you four brilliantly delicious ways to cook corn on the cob that are sure to thrill and delight you, your family, and guests, too.

How to Make Perfect Iced Tea (Plus Real Southern Sweet Tea Recipe)

The only thing more comforting than a big, tall glass of iced tea on a hot summer day is knowing how to make that perfect iced tea yourself. With confidence. And for just pennies per serving.

My dear mother-in-law, a very proper Canadian, taught me the difference between proper iced tea and the “swill” most restaurants pour, which in her opinion was, at best, a very poor facsimile. And trust me, she knew her stuff—including the six rules for proper iced tea!

All that, plus the official recipe and instructions for how to make Southern Sweet Tea in today’s post.

xo m

How to Stop Worrying Your Housing Bubble Is About to Burst

You bought the biggest home they said you could qualify, taking advantage of low rates and creative financing. Who knew you could afford such a great house? But now you’re worried that even the smallest hiccup in the economy will burst your housing bubble.

Relax! Consider these 8 steps you can take starting right now to make sure that doesn’t happen.

How to Make Sun Tea So It is Bacteria-Free and Safe to Drink

A quick Instagram search for #suntea turns up more than 36,0000 results confirming that the summer months are prime time for this classic tea beverage. Add in the untold number of sun tea worshippers out there who aren’t into hashtags and social media and results are clear—there’s a lot of love for sun tea. But […]

How to Remove Ink Stains on Leather

Because of the variables, there are a number of remedies, all of which do work to remove ink stains from leather in certain situations. You may have to make multiple attempts until you find one that works for your particular leather and situation. Go through the steps that follow until you hit on the one that works for your specific ink-on-leather challenge.

15 Ways to Solve It With Salt and Make Your Life Easier

Sometimes the very thing you need to solve an ordinary household problem is sitting right in the pantry. Take salt for example. It’s amazing stuff! And it’s cheap, too.

I have a favorite little book, Solve it with Salt by Patty Moosbrugger. Just look at all the things Patty says we can do with good old ordinary inexpensive table salt to make our lives better …

Simple Ways We Can Celebrate Memorial Day

One week from today, May 25th is Memorial Day in the U.S. I want to challenge you and your family to find reasonable ways that you can pay homage to those who have given their lives for the sake of our country and our freedoms—even while observing social distancing guidelines.

I have a few suggestions. See you there! Love, Mary 🇺🇸

5 Non-Toxic Methods That Really Work for Killing Weeds

There are a number of effective ways to kill weeds. Some involve chemicals or require digging. The problem with chemical weed killers is they aren’t always effective, they can be expensive, and cause health problems. Sure, digging is always an option, but now we’re talking heavy tools and a lot of sweat. I say we look to non-chemical, cheap, and relatively easy ways to kill weeds that really work.

More Simple Tricks to Make Your Stuff Last Longer

Being wasteful is easy especially when things seem to be so plentiful and simple to replenish. Just order more. Or run to the store, right?

Sure, we love to buy things on sale but that’s not the only way—nor the best way—to cut costs. Discovering simple ways to make things last longer is the surefire way to save time and money.

Today I have a bunch of clever tips and tricks to make things like toilet paper last longer—tricks I’ve been doing for years now, which are certainly coming back to bless us these days. And I’m banking on the fact that you’ve got a few of your own you’ll be willing to share. See you there … ! Love, xo m 🧻 ❣️

Q/As on Auto Leasing, Homemade Detergent, Silver, and MORE!

You should see my email inbox. Yikes! It’s overflowing with reader questions, tips, stories, feedback, rebuttals, and all kinds of love from you, my dear readers. In this post, I’m making a tiny dent in the pile with these responses to a handful of your questions on auto leasing, homemade laundry detergent and more.

See you there! xo m 💌

How to Use Castile Soap to Make Natural Cleaning Products

From time to time I hear from readers who have sensitivities or allergies to our beloved Blue Dawn. Is there something all-natural we can use that will not trigger these reactions but still work well? There is and it is pure Castile soap. While olive-oil based Castile soap has been around for centuries, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile […]

What to Do On the Worst Day of Your Life

On the Sunday after Pastor Rick and Kay Warren lost their son to suicide, Rick’s message, “What to Do On the Worst Day of Your Life,” had a huge impact on my life. I had not experienced “the worst day of my life” then, nor have I since. But I was prompted to begin living […]

14 Best Homemade Cleaners That Really Work

Items in your pantry like baking soda, vinegar, cream of tartar, lemon juice, and even tea bags, can work as effective cleaners. Even better, compared to pricey commercial products, homemade cleaners cost next to nothing.

So the next time you’re staring down a big mess but you’re out of your favorite product, don’t run to the store—open up the pantry and try mixing up one of these DIY cleaning recipes instead. Step back and enjoy the results and the savings, too!

Today … recipes and instructions for 14 of my best homemade cleaners!

Remember there is a big PRINT button at the very bottom of the post, that will allow you to print any or all of these recipes. It’s so easy.

Once you click on PRINT, hover over any paragraph or image and you will see a little trash can icon. Click on it to make that highlighted section disappear. Once you have eliminated everything you don’t want to print, now click on the print. Check it out!

By the way, if you’ve not noticed in the past, you have that PRINT option on every post at Everyday Cheapskate.

See you there … Love, xo m

Best Inexpensive Home Dehumidifiers

Recently, lots of readers have inquired about how to deal with high humidity, which can get pretty miserable this time of year. A dehumidifier can be a godsend for those who live in high humidity areas to remove excess moisture from indoor air. What? Where? What Size? All of that right here in today’s post!

How to Make Perfect Cold Brew Iced Coffee

As a coffee lover, there’s one thing I just didn’t get—Iced Coffee. What?! The idea left me well, cold. Coffee is supposed to be hot. Very, very hot. And then I made a serious mistake. I accepted a sample of iced coffee in a popular coffee shop. It was strong, sweet, creamy, and icy, icy cold. Wow! I needed to figure out how to make this myself because as much as I might want iced coffee again, I was not going to pay the outrageous price to have someone else make it for me ….

Wendy’s Is Giving Out FREE Burgers May 28 – June 5, 2022

Wendy’s, the national fast-food chain, may live to regret this, but let’s not mention it to them. Here’s the deal: In celebration of National Hamburger Month, any time starting on May 23 to June 5 (two full weeks), you can grab a FREE Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger with any purchase at all through the Wendy’s app. You’ll […]

The Best Places to Buy Eyeglasses

There are a number of ways to buy eyeglasses, including from local opticians, independent optometrists, optical departments in big-box retailers, and online-only vendors. Regardless of which option for glasses you choose, eyeglasses do not have to cost hundreds of dollars. To compare prices from prescription eyeglasses from a number of retailers, Mary has looked at prices and the process for 8 different eyeglasses retailers and gives her top picks.

In this post, I‘ll examine Zenni Optical, Costco Optical, and other great locations to buy eyeglasses both online or in person, show you how much you should expect to pay, and give you my top picks.

How to Clean a Bathtub Anti-Slip Bottom

If you have a bathtub with a slip-resistant bottom that no matter what you use to clean, it still looks dingy, grungy, and downright disgusting, I have really great news—a solution that will bring even an older tub bottom back to clean, like new.

7 Places to Look for Free Money

It’s been several years now since I got a super fun letter from a reader who has developed a hobby of looking for money in gutters, parking lots, streets, sidewalks, and other public places—and he keeps a running tab. He included a copy of his free money journal for the previous year.

It was amazing to see how his finds often exceed $50 in a single month, available to him just for the taking. Not bad! But I couldn’t help wonder how his payoff might climb if he knew about at least 7 other places that harbor free money … Curious? You should be! xo m

My Shopping Addiction Rehab Program

Shopping is my thing. I love the thrill of the hunt, that feeling of discovery and the joy of a bargain. I find it satisfying in ways I can’t fully describe. I want to experience the feeling as often as possible. Shopper’s high is no joke. It’s real, it’s palpable, and it’s addictive.

Shopping got me into a lot of trouble. In just 12 years I ran up more than $100,000 in consumer debt—most of it on credit cards. Eventually, all of it came crashing down and nearly took me with it. Thankfully, that crisis became the catalyst to turn my life around.

It took 13 years to repay all of the debt. I learned a lot about myself in the process but mostly that the satisfaction I got from shopping was short-lived. It was fake because it vanished in less time than it took me to get the stuff to the car. But that just set me up to do it again and again because the small bursts of joy I got from shopping were worth the pain that always followed.

Crazy I know, but absolutely true. I could so easily go back to my old ways, and that’s scary …

Bake Bread to Cut Food Costs and Soothe Your Soul

Fifteen years ago, I became a bread maker. I read a book, gave it a try and found immediate success. I can’t really take much credit for this thing I love so much—turning out amazing loaves of bread on a whim. I owe any success I have achieved to Jeff and Zoë —creators and authors […]

Homemade Baby Formula That is Safe, Nutritionally Sound, and Doctor Approved

A quick online search for homemade formula specifics smacked me in the face! Dozens of loud warnings to never even think of making baby formula yourself. I get it—messing with an infant’s development by inadvertently withholding any of the proper nutrients necessary (amazingly found in perfect proportion in a human mother’s breastmilk) is dangerous.

Lack of proper nutrition at the right time in a baby’s early development could result in irreversible damage. Rest assured, what follows has been very carefully developed by health professionals and is doctor-approved.

What to Do If You Don’t Have Enough Money to Pay All of Your Bills

It might be the skyrocketing cost of fuel and food. Or perhaps you’ve lost your job or you’ve already been living paycheck-to-paycheck with no cushy emergency fund to fall back on. For whatever reason, suddenly this month you can’t pay all of your bills. You’re scared, angry, worried, and seriously overwhelmed. You’re looking for work, […]

How to Break the Acrylic Nail Habit and Help Your Nails Recover Beautifully

Anyone who’s ever had acrylic nails knows that they absolutely ravage your natural nails if removed incorrectly or worn for years without taking a break. And no wonder. Part of the process is to sand down one’s natural nails to get the stuff to stick and not “lift” before the next appointment. It was a difficult habit to break and I’m glad I did, not only for my nail health  (google “acrylic nails dangers” if you dare) but even more so for my wealth. The cost to keep up with that addiction is staggering.

Outdoor Grilling on a Budget

Getting our outdoor grill cleaned, polished, and ready for summer got me thinking about how much fun it would be to celebrate. After all, the first day of summer comes but once a year, so why not do things up right with an amazing menu and a few good friends to kick off the season even if that means grilling on a budget …

13 Ways to Simplify Your Life

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! And now our thoughts turn to a brand New Year! A clean, unspoiled canvas. Have you given any thought to goals? Or do you find New Year’s Resolutions to be a big, fat waste of time? Ha!

Here’s something I’m pretty sure we can all agree on—simplifying our lives to save time and find financial peace of mind!

In today’s post I have a list of 11 ways to do that. And I’ll bet you have a few you could add to the list. I hope you’ll do that with your comments. See you there!

Love, m xo 🎉

How to Protect Yourself from ID Theft and Why You Should

Identity fraud is a serious issue as it is responsible for the theft of $112 billion stolen from Americans in the past six years. That equals $35,600 stolen per minute, or enough to buy a house every 8 minutes!

While the world has been busy masking up and locking down, ID thieves have been having a field day! Hmmm … who’s been digging through your trash? If you do not know how to effectively guard your most important information, it’s time to learn.

How to Get Outdoor Windows Sparkling Clean—Cheaper, Better, Faster!

You can pay a fortune to have your outdoor windows washed professionally, or let me teach you how to do this yourself. You need the right tools, too, or you are going to waste a lot of time and money trying to get your windows streak-free and sparkling like diamonds. Look for these tools at a home improvement store near you or use the links provided to get them online.

Amazing Ways to Use Cornstarch Around the House to Save Time and Money

Cornstarch is a low-cost, readily available, humble miracle found in the baking aisle of just about every supermarket and grocery store in the country, and online. Extracted from corn and then processed into a very soft, white powder, cornstarch is sold in boxes and canisters. Usually, we think of cornstarch as a pantry ingredient used […]

The Best Inexpensive Skincare Products My Dermatologist Recommends

If the high-price of quality skincare is enough to give you a rash, good news. You don’t have to spend a fortune (or even a lot) to get the best.

Some years ago, as my dermatologist was wrapping up my routine office visit, I asked him what specific products he recommends I use for daily skincare. Without hesitation, he pulled out a notepad and wrote down instructions that include these products …

34 Ways to Make Fabulous Meals from Leftovers

How to use leftovers? Oh, let me count the ways. There really are so many ways to make meals from leftovers, something the late Julia Child preferred to call “the remains of the day.” Such an elegant way to refer to leftovers. Regardless, both terms refer to anything from half a pan of lasagna to a dab of […]

10 Things You Can Do to Make a Vehicle Last Twice as Long

Most cars and trucks are built to last far longer than we can imagine. And when all is said and done, the difference between a clunker and a cream puff comes down to how the owner has taken care of it. Check out these 10 simple things you can do to make your car last longer than you ever dreamed possible! See you there … xo m 🚗

Commercial Fabric Softeners are the Problem (Here is the Solution)

When it comes to doing laundry, most of us are prone to overkill. We want beautifully clean, brilliantly white, soft, and fluffy laundry results. And we don’t measure. We pour stuff straight into the washer, often adding a second big glug just to make sure. We use liquid fabric softener by the gallon and dryer […]

Yesterday I Turned Back Time

Yesterday I turned back time. Really! I reset my lawn sprinkler timer, which was more than an hour off. It was surreal to watch the numbers go backward—so much so that when I reached the desired time, I didn’t stop. I let it go back a full 24 hours, one hour at a time.   […]

Instant Pot Quick Start Guide: Best Tips, Recipes, and Accessories

Instant Pot comes with an owner manual and recipe book. Both should be considered required reading but honestly, I found them to be unbearably boring while only marginally useful. Here is my Quick Start Guide with the websites, tips, recipes, and accessories that put me on the fast track to falling in love with my Instant Pot.

How to Comparison Shop the Price of Bath Tissue with Confidence

Knowing how to confidently compare the price of bath tissue has become a big topic in light of shrinkflation, soaring costs, and frequent product shortages. What makes comparison shopping super challenging is that size, weight, and ply vary greatly from one brand of toilet paper to another. Product labeling can be confusing if not downright mysterious!

How to Roast Coffee Beans to Save Money and Enjoy Really Great Coffee

It all started about 10 years when I had a conversation with Dax Wilson, who’d recently taken up this hobby of home roasting. The motivation? First, quality and taste, but also to cut the high cost of quality coffee by at least half. That was enough to get my attention and all I needed to become equally enthusiastic. Let me walk you through the entire process to get started, complete with tips and advice on creating your perfect cup of home-roasted coffee.

Once You Use Alvin Corn DIY Glass Cleaner You Will Never Look Back

Alvin Corn is a homemade multi-purpose cleaner that cleans glass, mirrors, and lots more. Its funky name refers to its somewhat surprising ingredients: ALcohol, VINegar, and CORNstarch. This is the most amazing product that will clean glass, mirror, quartz surfaces and do it with no streaks, leaving them sparkling clean.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2022

Enjoy this Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2022—a fun selection of gifts to delight every kind of mother— even those who say they don’t need a thing. But hurry. Some of these items are time-sensitive, which means you have no time to lose. Sun., May 8 will be here before we know it!

3 Free Life-Improving Resources

If you are generally wary of free stuff, I’m right there with you. Most of the time, I’ve found, free stuff is like bait. It’s a tasty morsel, a big tease with the clear intent of getting us to part with money we have no intention of parting with to get whatever it is that’s […]

Where to Find Basic Essentials When the Shelves are Empty

The disruption to U.S. food supply chains continues to play out in grocery stores and supermarkets across the country. Our best proactive move is to know where and how to find basic essentials when prices skyrocket or shelves are empty. Good news! Finding the essentials you need may not require you to stand in long […]

Money-Saving Tips, Tricks, and Hacks to Put Your Freezer To Work

Whether yours is a stand-alone unit or it’s part of your refrigerator, your freezer is either costing a lot in wasted energy or saving you a bundle in food costs. Use these simple tips to make sure your freezer is working hard for you to stretch your food dollars. General Freezer Guidelines Ambient temperature Get […]

Top Ten Signs a Website is Not Legit—It’s a Scam!

Every day millions of people get sucked into Internet scams and tricks that end up costing them dearly, something I was reminded of when I got a letter from a reader asking this simple question: How can I tell if something on the Internet is legit or some kind of scam?

6 Reasons We Need to Celebrate Soon—and Often!

Celebrate? With all that’s going on in our lives, the nation—the world?

With all the challenges you’re facing right now, you may be thinking that’s the last thing you’ll be doing now, or anytime soon. Let me encourage you to think again. Please!

Now, of all times, we need to celebrate wherever and whenever possible—for six very important reasons.

Today, I celebrate YOU! You mean the world to me and I think you’re awesome! Love, m xo

DIY Floor Cleaners for Wood, Laminate, Luxury Vinyl, Tile, Swiffer Refill

If you own a Swiffer WetJet Spray Mop, chances are you absolutely love it. But let me guess: You’re not wild about how expensive it is to buy the refills —the cleaning solution and those disposable cleaning pads—for just pennies!

Even more annoying, to the WetJet manufacturer “refill” means throwing out the empty dispenser bottle entirely and having to purchase the refill liquid in a new bottle. Know what I mean? And just try to pry the lid off an empty bottle to refill it yourself. That thing is impossible to get off without destroying it and yes, I speak from experience. And those refills can be as much as $7.50 each. And the disposable pads? At least $.50 each and that’s on a good day.

Well, you can forget all that bad news because I’ve learned how to get that bottle open making it totally reusable (it won’t leak!), and how to save money making our own Swiffer solution and reusable cleaning pads, too.

See you there! … Love, xo m

4 Kitchen Money-Savers That Pay for Themselves in No Time at All

My favorite gadgets, of course, are ones that actually help me to save money and/or time. I’ve been fooled from time to time, spending good money on things that just did not perform well. Or the gadget turned out to be so cumbersome, using it actually complicated rather than simplified my life.

But now and then I strike on a gadget that is so magnificent in its functionality and money-saving properties, I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Today I want to tell you about four gadgets for the kitchen that I consider to be wise investments—money savers!

All four are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in a short period of time—and then to continue paying off in food savings, which is saying a lot as food costs continue to soar.

Meet me there …. Love, xo m

Now is a Good Time to Join a CSA for Your Health and Wealth

Being a savvy consumer means a lot of things. It can refer to a person who knows how to get the lowest price on whatever he or she is buying. It can also mean finding the best value—the highest quality product for the most reasonable price. Or, it can refer to someone who joins a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and shares in that farm’s harvest every week during the growing season.

Einstein in the Kitchen or Let Them Eat (Carrot) Cake

I have a special treat for you today. It’s a recipe. Normally I sell this recipe for $1,000 but it’s your lucky day. OK, I’m just kidding about that, but honestly, this one is worth its weight in gold, which as I write is about $1,929 per ounce. In this world, there is carrot cake and […]

15 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Quick and Easy Using Ordinary Stuff In Your Pantry

Despite how fascinating ants may be, control and management around the home are important for both health and safety reasons. If you suspect you have a serious ant infestation, consider calling a pest control professional. However, most ant problems—especially those teeny tiny sugar ants—are generally annoying and a problem you can solve quickly with ordinary items you have around the house and garage. 

How to Use Wool Dryer Balls and Why You Should

A previous post, on why laundry softening products are a real problem continues to strike a chord with thousands of readers. I know because you send me messages and letters, which I love—even ones from some who are not 100% satisfied making the switch from problematic laundry softeners to wool dryer balls.

How to Clean the Dirty Edges of Carpet

My Dear Readers …

Dark, shadowy, dirty lines on the carpet along baseboards, under doors and draperies, along the edges, and in the crevices of carpeted stairs are all visible signs of an aggravating problem called filtration soil.

Normal vacuuming is no match for removing filtration soil. And neither are the best carpet spot removers. Filtration soil is greasy and sticky. It is possible to effectively do it yourself and in today’s post I am going to show you how to do that.

But first, it’s important to know what that dirt is and how it got there …

With Sincere Apologies to Pawnshops Everywhere

In the wake of America’s big economic wake-up call back in 2008, dollar stores and thrift stores saw—and continue to see—a big resurgence. And now another kind of retail quasi-lender is commanding all kinds of attention from sellers and buyers, too—pawn shops.

Secrets for How to Grow An Edible Garden Just About Anywhere!

Even if you don’t have time to tend a full-size garden; even if you don’t have time or resources to build square-foot boxes. Even in a small garden, you can grow lots and lots of different vegetables and enjoy a great harvest for your effort. Nothing quite compares to cooking with vegetables that you’ve grown yourself.

How to Clean a Shark Vacuum

I’m pretty sure you know by now just how much I love my Shark vacuum cleaner. And given all the mail I get, I know that many of you have Sharkys, too. It’s super important that you know how to clean a Shark vacuum to make sure it keeps performing at top efficiency both now and for many years to come.

Simple Secrets for the Perfect Home Manicure

I wish I had all of the money I’ve spent over the years on salon manicures. It would be quite a tidy sum. And perhaps I wouldn’t have had such horrible nails and even worse cuticles.  Thankfully, after untold trials and errors, I’ve come up with the perfect home manicure routine that has turned my […]

Put a Big Smile on Your Face with a Dental Savings Plan

Dental Savings Plans are membership plans, similar to the way a person becomes a member of Costco, pays an annual fee, and receives full privileges at Costco warehouse clubs for the year. A member can just walk in, show his or her membership card to enjoy highly discounted prices everything available at Costco. Really, that’s how a Dental Savings Plan works. You sign up with a plan your dentist accepts, pay your membership fee, get your card and enjoy highly discounted dental services and procedures on kinds of dental care.

How We Use Home Delivery Meal Kits to Cut Food Costs

During these times of quarantine, lockdowns, shut-downs, and restrictions, Home Chef has become a godsend for so many families and individuals. Sure does beat take-out, drive-thru, curbside pick-out, and other kinds of home delivery. We can make meals when we want them, the way we want them, without tax and tip added to the bill …

6 Ways to Make Safe, Problem-Free, Homemade Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners are designed to reduce static and make laundry come out feeling soft and smelling great. But they can cause allergies, they’re damaging to clothes dryers, and they’re not cheap! So what’s the solution?

Make laundry softener yourself that’s is good for you and your budget!

Laundry Stripping is the Easy Solution for Dingy Gray Sheets, Towels, Underwear

I can’t recall a time when I was excited and at the same time embarrassed to tell you about something so amazing that I’ve discovered. Excited because it’s a super dramatic solution to a common problem, embarrassed because it’s somewhat gross. Let me just put it this way: I would have sworn that I have the cleanest, whitest, softest laundry in town. You’re not going to believe this …

Three Reasons I Love Cooking (and Baking!) with Sunshine

On one ordinary day back in 2012, a hefty envelope in my snail mail contained a very kind letter and a detailed mechanical drawing that made me want to sit in the corner and chew my hair. The sender thought I would be the perfect person to build my own solar oven. Right. Like that […]

Make it Better Yourself: Homemade Coffee Creamer

Cream. It’s coffee’s perfect mate. And when that creamer comes flavored in a handy bottle from the dairy case, even more perfect, right? Oh, but so pricey! Here’s a solution: Make it yourself cheaper, better and faster!

The way to do this is to start with a Base Recipe that is basically bland in taste but creamy. Then you add flavor it up exactly the way you love your creamer.

In today’s post I offer two Base Recipes—#1 starts out sweet, #2 is not sweet and then we go from there with specific “recipes” for 28 different flavors. The one you love has to be in there somewhere!

Unless you are a black-coffee only die-hard ☕️, you’re going to love this. See you there … Love, xo m

18 Clever Home Organization and Storage Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

Organization is an important aspect of any home. And we’re quite familiar with the rule: A place for everything and everything in its place. Right? The challenge is finding that place and then actually following through by making sure that place is regularly occupied!

What follows is a random selection of tips and tricks I’ve received over the years from my dear readers. Undoubtedly, some will have a ring of familiarity, while others will have you smacking palm to forehead wondering “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

How I Kicked the Paper Towel Habit Using the Power of Scarcity

It was this event, now more than 20 years ago, that served as the catalyst to change my arrogant attitude about abundance and entitlement. A half-used roll of paper towels turned into a lasting wake-up call. I won’t say we have completely kicked paper towels from our home, but we’ve come pretty darn close! A single roll can last for six months or longer. If paper towels were to become extinct and disappear from the face of the earth, not a problem, as we have replaced paper towels in our home with bar mops.

The Best Way to Store Salad Greens to Make Them Last Longer

Has this happened to you? You open the refrigerator expecting to pull out the fresh, beautiful healthy salad greens you picked up at the market to get dinner on the table, only to reach in and discover a wilted, slimy mess. That romaine, iceberg, or bag of pre-washed salad mix can’t be more than a week old but there it is—and into the garbage, it goes. We hate when that happens—especially now as the cost of everything including fresh produce is soaring!

The Best Inexpensive Toasters for 2022

A toaster is just about the most basic piece of equipment in a working kitchen. Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? And it needs to be affordable. Is this asking too much? Thankfully it is not—we can have what we need in a toaster at a very affordable price.

The Best Players For Your Spring Clean A-Team

There’s an illness that has been documented by poets for centuries and I’ve got it. It’s Spring Fever, that wonderfully amorphous disease we all recognize come March and April. Spring fever remains a fuzzy medical category, but there has been a great deal of research on how seasonal changes affect our mood and behavior. I know how it affects me—it makes me want to clean! I’m anxious to introduce you to the members of my Spring Clean Team …

7 Common Houseplants That are Really Hard to Kill

I love houseplants and I do have some beauties! The truth is I don’t have a green thumb, I just know a few tricks and tips that I will gladly share with you because healthy, beautiful houseplants are an economic way to bring instant warmth to a home, condo, apartment, room, RV—wherever you call home …

Relax. Deep Breath. Prepare.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past few days, there have been moments you’ve felt short of breath contemplating what happens if the US goes to war with Russia and or China. The potential threats and the number of ways these threats could impact our lives is at the least, concerning and […]

EC Reader Recommends Effective Option for DIY Pest Control

Disclaimer: What follows is an “off-label” recommendation from an EC reader. Mary Hunt nor any others associated with this blog, nor the product manufacturers, distributors, or the EPA endorse this reader’s findings and recommendations. Read it for your own information and entertainment.  There is an old adage out there that promises, “Teaching teaches the teacher.” […]

DIY PooPourri Spray Makes Sure You Always Leave a Fragrance

I have something really fun to share with you today about fragrance, but first a story. About my friend, Herta. It’s been quite a few years now since she and Al came to visit. In their graciously kind manner, they brought gifts. I thought I’d heard of everything, but one of these gifts left me wide-eyed and sputtering to find a good response, which I am not sure I did.

Deals Worth Sharing This President’s Day 2022

Traditionally, Presidents’ Day has come to mean extreme bargains. In fact, in the past, I have suggested that if you can hold off purchasing that big-ticket item, wait until this holiday weekend. This year things are different. Authentic deals are slim pickin’s. However, I uncovered some Amazon and Walmart deals worth sharing. And as I […]

17 Ways to Cut the Soaring Price of Gasoline

Only a few months ago I paid $1.87 a gallon for gas in Thornton, Colo. That’s less than half what I paid yesterday. What’s going on? All I know is what I read in the news. And all I know about how to beat the system (a relative term these days) and keep my fuel costs down to the bare minimum I’m sharing in this post.

My Hate-Love Relationship With a Cast Iron Skillet

I really don’t know where I got the thing. It may have been a wedding gift. What I know is that I tried to use that cast iron skillet without success and I mean not even a little bit. Food would become hopelessly stuck to it and burned beyond recognition. If it wasn’t turning out charred fare, it was growing a fine coat of rust.

The good news is I rescued it and now more than 40 years later, my favorite skillet and I have quite a love thing going on.

17 Surprising Ways a Bar of Soap Can Make Your Life Easier

If you’re a fan of liquid soap for handwashing and prefer to use body wash in the tub and shower, bars of soap may seem quite old-fashioned. And you may be surprised to learn that good old bar soap still has a valuable place in an active household! Bar soaps—any scent and even those little bars from your last hotel stay—are useful for some pretty cool stuff at home. You can even use bar soap to make liquid soap.

How to Cook and Keep the Kitchen Clean at the Same Time

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.

10 Things You Need to Know About Life Insurance

The first rule of buying life insurance: Never purchase insurance from the same person who advises you on the type and amount you should have. Educate yourself first, then contact an insurance company. To get you started, here is a list of things everyone—regardless of age—needs to know about life insurance.

5 Fabulous Homemade Cleaners that Use the Power of Rubbing Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, is extremely useful around the house because it acts as both a solvent and a disinfectant. Add to that, it’s cheap! Using it as an ingredient in homemade cleaning products is super smart. And don’t we love it when we can figure out how to do things cheaper, better, and faster?! Oh, yes we do 😍 xo m

5 Smart Moves to Make With This Years Tax Refund

Tax time—that interesting time of year when ordinarily smart people begin to make really dumb financial decisions. Isn’t it amazing to watch what a little extra cash (well for some, maybe a lot of extra cash) lining the pockets can do? While there are many dumb ways to manage it, here are my top five …

How to Disinfect Your Phone

I don’t mean to gross you out, but here’s the truth: It’s 10 times dirtier than a toilet—and you’re touching it at least 47 times a day. Let’s fix that …

Broke? Can’t Save? Yes You Can! This is How to Save Money

Your income is low, you say; you’ve got bills to pay. Rents are sky-high, grocery costs are through the roof—who can possibly save? My answer: You can. Yes, you can. And as you watch your balance grow, prepare for a surprise—saving will become addictive. Try it. Save money. See if it doesn’t become habit-forming.

Best Inexpensive Slow Cookers

A slow cooker is an ingenious appliance. It’s simple. It cooks slowly. Really slow—like it takes 8 hours to get a meal ready where other methods can take 30 minutes. But unlike that 30-minute meal, a slow cooker doesn’t require work. It doesn’t need a babysitter. No coddling required with a slow cooker. You can just throw the ingredients into the slow cooker, set it, and walk away.

How to Conquer Burned-On Oven Crud

I don’t know how else to describe what happens to beautiful sheet pans once they take up residence in my kitchen. All I can say is that in no time they begin to get this nasty build-up of what I call oven crud—a burned on incrustation of oven filth.

It’s not that I don’t wash and scrub those pans. I do. But apparently not well enough. I’m just not willing to spend hours of my life to keep sheet pans and ovens looking the way I want—clean and sparkly.

I’ve been on a rampage to conquer this problem once and for all. Call me idealistic but I’d like my sheet pans and oven to clean up as easily as my dishes and dishwasher. Is that too much to ask?

I’m pretty excited to share with you what I’ve learned through much trial and error. Now, I won’t boast perfection, but I’ve come up with a protocol that’s working really well for me ….

Best Ideas and Gifts to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

In this post last minute ideas to celebrate Valentines Day including dozens of gifts that are sure to please your Valentines without breaking the bank, divided into three categories—Gifts for Kids, Gifts for Her, and Gifts for Him. Honestly, this is so much fun.

Don’t worry that time is short. I’ve also included a slick way you can legally and ethically sign up for Amazon Prime Shipping, use it to send your Valentine’s Day gifts (to yourself or to others) and not have to pay for it. Really, It’s OK. Amazon wants you to do this.

February is the Best Time to Find These Deals

February is a busy month. First, we have the Super Bowl, then Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day with its 3-day weekend—all offering us excuses to shop. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to take part in these events—in fact, it can be a great month to save if you stick to the things you need and you know where to look.

A Very Bad Hair Day

Apparently, my hair is my life. Believe me, I am as surprised by this fact of vanity as anyone. Had you checked with me about my philosophy of life a mere ten days prior, I can assure you that my hair would not have made the cut for my Top Ten Important Things. Sure, I’ve had […]

How to Get Gross Stinky Towels Smelling Fresh and Lovely Again

If my inbox is any indicator of what’s going on in the world, and I believe it is, smelly towels are a growing problem for consumers—and for sure my dear EC readers. And it’s a rather new problem, the result of modern things like front-loading high-efficiency washing machines that use very little water, detergents, fabric […]

The One Simple Thing You Must Have in Your Home

My heart was pounding, the smoke alarm was screaming and I was in full-on panic mode. Flames were reaching toward the upper cabinets. It happened so fast! I didn’t have time to run to the pantry to search for baking soda.

I had a rip-roaring fire on my hands and I was in slow motion thinking about how sad it would be to be homeless for Christmas.

if you do only one thing today, let today’s post be your guide. Please. With so many death-or-life situations in our world, do what you can while you can, to prevent this one thing.

Highly Effective Food Cost-Cutting Strategies for Every Lifestyle

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.

Yummy Sweets to Make for Valentine’s Day

Friends. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  Thankfully, we have several big, beautiful weekends between now and then—plenty of time to make fabulous homemade treats and sweets (and stick them in the freezer!)

Best Inexpensive: Can Openers—UPDATE

Can’t anyone make a can opener that’s easy to use, does a great job, and doesn’t turn into absolute junk in a matter of months? An opener that will latch on easily, twist smoothly, and give a clean continuous cut every time? Is that too much to ask? This post is an important UPDATE as our Best Inexpensive option has changed!

How to Make Taco Seasoning Mix and What to Do With It

Seasoning packets from the supermarket may be convenient, but they have drawbacks—not the least of which is they’re relatively expensive! I hate to pay that much for so little. And I don’t have to because I’ve got a great recipe to make taco seasoning mix myself, using ordinary spices I have already. As a bonus know exactly what’s in it, and how old the ingredients are, too.

The Night Old Faithful Visited San Francisco

Over the past three decades, I’ve logged more than 1.4 million air miles for book tours, speaking events, television and radio shows. It’s been and continues to be great fun and I have mostly loved every moment. As you might imagine, many funny things have happened to me on my travels. But none can top what happened […]

Should You Repair or Replace Your Broken Appliances?

You’re worried the washing machine may be on its last spin cycle. It makes a horrible screeching sound and needs a lot of coaxing to make it all the way through a full cycle. Should you spend the money to fix this inefficient appliance or replace it with a new, high-efficiency model that will use less electricity and water?

8 Delicious Ways to Use Up Old Stale Bread

Got stale, leftover bread? Don’t toss it—use it up instead. Here’s the secret: Grilling, toasting, baking, or frying gives bread a second yummy life. In fact, today’s ideas, tips and recipes are all best when the bread is not fresh. Prepare to be amazed! See you there … Love, m xo 🥖 🍞 ❣️

Cheap Meals That Are Easy, Fast … Good!

As food prices continue to soar, I am more convinced now than ever that given the right recipes, we can cook wonderful cheap meals—from scratch at home—and have them on the table in the time it would take to decide on a restaurant or take-out, drive there, place the order, wait for it, pay for it, and drive back home to face marginally acceptable fare.

15 Things That Should Never Go in the Clothes Dryer

In the same way that drying clothes outdoors on a clothesline has its limitations (weather, effort, community rules that forbid outdoor clotheslines), a clothes dryer does as well. It can ruin stuff.

While the effect may not be noticeable on the first time or two through the dryer, the destruction will build until that item, which should have never been put through the dryer in the first place, comes to a tragic end long before its time. Check out 15 things that should never go into a clothes dryer, but air-dried instead.

5 DIY Body Scrubs to Keep Your Skin Vibrant and Healthy

Skincare professionals out there recommends exfoliating to keep our skin looking vibrant and healthy.

While there are plenty of pricey commercial exfoliants and body scrubs that do a great job, for just pennies you can make your own equally effective homemade Body Scrubs.

Today I have DIY recipes for you that use stuff I’m pretty sure you have already. Seriously!

While Sugar Scrub is my favorite, I have a feeling you’re going to want to try that and the others, too.

How to Clean a Microwave Oven

Face it, a microwave with frequent use, whether at home or at work, isn’t going to get a thorough cleaning every single time it’s used. It’s going to get dirty, so it’s good to know how to clean a microwave effortlessly, from time to time. With steam!

7 Things You Need to Know About How to Clean a Dishwasher

If your dishwasher is not turning out beautifully clean, cloudless, spot-free, sparkling dishes, pots, glassware, and flatware—without handwashing them first—don’t assume the dishwasher is broken.

If it runs, you can make sure it runs well. And you can stop that pre-washing, too!

How to Clean a Tub or Shower—and Keep It Clean

The only thing better than making things myself is when what I make turns out to be cheaper, better and faster than something I might buy in the store to accomplish the same goal. Learning how to make and use powerful tub and shower cleaners—one for a miraculous deep clean, the other for daily maintenance—rocked my […]

How to Detail Car Interior Using These Homemade Cleaners

Remember that pristine, fresh, clean feeling of slipping behind the wheel of your new car? Cleaning the interior of your car may not restore that new car smell, but it will certainly improve the air quality. Washing the windows, getting rid of trash and clutter, and cleaning the carpet and seats can help you breathe easier and could even … um, well, improve your driving skills!

Stinky Laundry, Smelly Washer: How to Clean a Washing Machine

If you assume the inside of your washing machine is the cleanest place in your home because you put detergent through it with every load and occasionally wash with hot water, join the club. Most people think that. 

So why is there dirty residue on the agitator? Why do washed clothes sometimes come out with stains they didn’t have before they went in? Why do towels and the washer get stinky?

The answer is germs. Germs that have survived load after a load of laundry. Don’t panic! Today’s easy protocol for how to clean, disinfect, and sanitize your washing machine—top or front loading—to the rescue!

Help! I Get Clumps of Crystals in My Homemade Laundry Detergent

Several times over the past years, I have wished with all my heart I could call Mr. Migaki, my favorite teacher of all time who sparked curiosity and the love of science in my fifth-grade self. I needed to ask him about minerals and crystals and why borax and washing soda—both of them ingredients in our homemade laundry liquid and powder detergents—can be powdery soft one day and hard as a rock the next. I was reminded once again of this curiosity when I received this message from EC reader Pat.

The Best Homemade Gluten-Free Muffins

I thought this matter of gluten-free was pretty solid—that some people are truly allergic to gluten, others have celiac disease for whom gluten is a serious health issue, while others are simply gluten sensitive. Now I learn there is a growing school of thought that unless a person is diagnosed with celiac disease, it’s all a big hoax. 

Here’s what I know for certain: My husband had an annoying cough for at least 20 years. He visited every kind of doctor and to no avail. His symptom was unexplainable and about drove me nuts. About six months ago we decided to remove gluten from his diet, and I agreed to go along as well. Within days, his cough began to wain.

A hoax? I say no and here’s my proving ground: Now and then Harold will fall off the wagon, either knowingly but oftentimes not (gluten is in a lot of things these days). Sure enough, I start to hear that low-grade cough. He can’t help it, he can’t hide it …

The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2021

I can’t believe it’s 2022—a brand New Year, and a new decade, too! The year 2021 has been an absolute whirlwind here at EC Central—a year filled with growth, joy, and bright new horizons.

Should You Lend Money to Family, Friends? Read This First

Over the years I’ve heard from dozens of readers who have lent money to friends and family members, only to have become outraged when the deal goes sour. The problem is they write to me after they’ve made the loan. By now, they’ve been waiting months, even years, for repayment, without success, hoping I can wave a magic wand to get their money back.

I tell these readers that I wish they’d written to me before they lent the money. Doing things right from the start makes all the difference in the end. Here’s how:

How to Guarantee You’ll Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

So, did you make any New Years’ resolutions? Reportedly, half of us do that. Here we are, only hours into 2022, and how are you doing?

Before you answer, let me promise you that if you’re struggling or have already fallen off the wagon—it’s not your fault. It was bound to happen! You’re not a loser and failure does not define you …

Homemade English Muffin Bread

Here’s an easy way to cut your grocery bill this week: Make your own bread. Wait! Hear me out.

Let me show you how to make homemade bread that is so easy, so simple, and so foolproof it’s going to make you feel like a genius. Homemade bread, specifically this English Muffin Bread, is simply amazing.

Favorite Super Short, Easy, Inexpensive Instant Pot Recipes!

I have loved my Instant Pot since the day it arrived back in 2016. I’ll admit to being slightly intimidated in the first few days but that was short-lived. Thanks to a few tips, tricks, and these ridiculously simple recipes, in no time I was making dinners in 30 minutes or less—start to finish.

How to Get Yellow-Stained Bed Pillows White Again

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This is Contentment: Want What You Have, Buy What You Need

Years ago, I read in The New York Times that according to Yankelovich Research, the average American adult is the target of some 3,500 commercial ads in a single day. Fast forward to 2021, and although there are no official figures, the average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. How outrageous is that? Sure, we live in a highly commercialized society but 5,o00 commercial ads? In a single day? I figured that had to be a gross exaggeration.

Financial Planners 101

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed a growing trend in my mailbox—readers in search of financial planners or advisors. Or assistants. When taken in the message’s context it’s pretty clear that not everyone means the same thing when they refer to a financial planneradvisorcoachassistanthelper!   One reader wanted to know where to find a financial planner […]

Let Heaven and Nature Sing!

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 …

Who Stole the Joy?!

It was an unusual interview. The interviewer explained she was writing an article for a national women’s magazine on clever ways to put more joy into the holidays. In that I’ve written a book on the subject, she called hoping I would help her with the story. I knew that I could. In my typical […]

9 Tips to Make Christmas Morning a Breeze

Early mornings are hard enough, but Christmas morning can easily morph from calm into all-out chaos. But not this year. That’s because time is on your side. Use it now to plan and prep and you’ll give yourself the gift of being able to sit back, relax, and enjoy this beautiful time together—knowing everything is under […]

19 Clever Ways to Use Bread Bags that Have Nothing To Do with Bread

As you know—and only because I write about it so much—I may as well be president of the Artisan-In-Five fan club for how the book and method of making bread have rocked my world.

Back when I was first learning to do this (it is so easy), I decided I needed bread bags not only to store partial loaves, but also for presentation. Let’s just say that when you bake bread, you have a lot of friends.

Here’s the funny thing: I use bread bags like there’s no tomorrow—but not so much for bread. I use them to do so many things that make my life easier!

I think you’re going to really enjoy today’s post.

Happy 4th of July, Everyone! Today I am decked in red, white and blue in celebration and gratitude for the freedoms and liberty we enjoy in the USA—precious rights for which many have died to protect and preserve.

Happy Birthday America!—may God continue to shed his grace on thee! 🇺🇸 ❣️

See you at the post …

Love, Mary xo

PS Don’t miss the special July 4th bonus at the end of today’s post!

Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts—Sinfully Delicious!

Yes, I did. I made Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts. In fact, I’ve made this recipe four times in 30 days just to get it right. I call it research. You know, honing my pastry skills. My family calls it delicious and please make some more!

How to Make the Ultimate Homemade Caramel Corn—Quick, Easy, Good!

The ultimate easy, homemade caramel corn (caramel popcorn) recipe. Easy to make, stays crispy and crunchy for weeks if you can possibly make it last that long. It’s that good. Add this to your week of celebration—perfect for parties, snacking, movie night, Christmas Eve, and gifting! Here’s a quick and easy way to make what […]

Last-Minute Incredible Edible Holiday Gifts

You do not need a lot of money nor must you have the gift of craftiness to assemble fabulous gifts in your kitchen. It’s hard to go wrong with a gift that is meant to be eaten or used up. That kind of gift does its job to convey your love and best wishes without increasing the recipients’ stuff-factor.

So gather your supplies, set up your production line and let the fun begin!

See you there … Love, xo m

How to Roast a Cheap Cut of Beef

These days, with beef prices hitting all-time highs, buying the cheaper cuts of beef is one way to make our food dollars stretch as far as possible. Just know that what follows is for those of us with more time than money and are willing to put out the effort. It is so worth all of that! It’s that good!

Mary’s Favorite Things

  If you woke up this morning with a sense of panic realizing there are just days until Christmas, let me offer some sweet relief—a compilation of my favorite things that I have purchased from my own money, with all details updated and now gathered into one convenient place. You’re about to discover that my […]

Yes! You Can Put Silver in the Dishwasher

Can you put silver in the dishwasher? Contrary to popular belief, you can wash silver and silverplate flatware in the dishwasher without causing harm, just follow a simple set of rules. This should come as great news in the event you are planning to pull out the good silver for the Holidays. Do it … I don’t think you’ll regret it!

Crockpot Casserole Slow Cooker: A Review

Since I purchased my manual version in 2016, before a programmable version was available, I’ve been using it regularly to make desserts, casseroles, and lasagna and I could not be happier. While this doesn’t replace my traditional 7-quart slow cooker, it is my go-to option for recipes that are more casserole-like.

4 Things They Really Want for Christmas

Sure they want toys, but underneath it all, what kids really want for Christmas (adults, too) just might surprise you. What we really want isn’t in a store. So, how can we give those we love what they really want for Christmas? I have a few ideas in today’s post … and I hope you have some, too. Will you add them in the comments area?

More than a Dozen Ways to Make Dump Chicken

The meal prep method is called “dump chicken” and despite its dubious name, it is genius. Here’s why: You dump chicken pieces and your choice of sauce ingredients into a 1-gallon freezer bag, seal it, label it and stick it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, dump […]

Shoe Repair It’s More Than You Think

To some people, a cobbler is a lovely fruit dessert, best served warm. To others, it is a shoemaker who repairs shoes—an almost forgotten trade.

The Shoe Service Institute of America reports that shoe repair shops have dwindled from 100,000 in the 1930s to 15,000 in 1997 to about 5,000 today. The industry may be facing extinction, but business is booming for the cobblers who remain.

Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

Short on cash this holiday season? Maybe it’s time to start thinking about gifts that don’t come from a store, but from the heart—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.

In today’s post …. idea starters! Practical, reasonable and doable Christmas gifts that don’t cost a dime!

See you there … xo m 🎁 ❣️

The Ultimate Guide to Proper Re-Gifting

Eighteen days until Christmas. While you let that sink in, allow me to whisper one word in your ear: Re-gifting.

The act of re-gifting—passing on as new a gift someone else gave you—is controversial but only because of those who do a noticeably bad job of it. After all, if every act of regifting were carried out flawlessly, no one would find it distasteful, or even consider it a thing.

Moldy Cheese: How to Prevent, Fix, and When to Toss It Out

Whoever said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” must have been a deli owner. Think about it. With all that cheese in those cases, have you ever seen one growing green mold that looks like we can grow in our refrigerators? Never. 

All I know about the proper care and handling of cheese I learned from one such person. That kind deli owner introduced me to the two archenemies of cheese: bacteria and air.

Gift Guide 2021: Totally Awesome Gift Ideas for Teens

Finding the perfect gift for teen boys and girls is almost impossible. Teenagers like what they like. Funny thing. I’m kinda’ the same way. So what do teens like? Here are some really cool ideas to get you started. Before you read on, make sure you have your sense of humor handy. This Gift Guide for Teens is nothing if not a lot of fun, no matter your age.

How to Achieve Perfectly Dry Lettuce Without a Salad Spinner

I used to have a salad spinner. It worked OK, but not as well as the currently popular OXO model. Even it does not remove all of the water from a load of salad greens. And it takes up a lot of storage space. This does not mean I’ve abandoned my pet peeve for wet, soggy, limp salad greens. I’ve just found a better way to dry my salad greens for a lot less money and a fraction of the storage space required for a big bulky salad spinner. 

A Good Hot Cup of Coffee: Best Inexpensive Coffee Maker

So you like coffee. A lot. Me too. I like it so much I’m a home roaster. And importer. I import green coffee beans direct from the La Minita plantation in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. Why? Well, because (get ready) it’s the best inexpensive way to enjoy the best organic, free-trade, gourmet coffee […]

Best Creative and Inexpensive Homemade Holiday Gifts!

Whether it’s something from your kitchen, craft room, woodworking shop, or computer, there’s nothing like a homemade gift. A tree ornament, a plate of cookies, box of fudge, note cards, tiny birdhouse—just a few of the many homemade gift ideas with universal appeal. Today, I have ideas for you that don’t require special skills or months of lead time. One in particular is, well … sew easy! I love homemade gifts both to give and receive. No wonder I have so many favorites.

How to Clean Wood Floors to Keep Them Looking Beautiful

Of all the choices in home flooring, wood stands out for many as the most beautiful. Add to that, wood is durable, coordinates well with any decor, and most Realtors agree that it improves the home’s value at resale. Knowing how to protect and clean wood floors is essential—and surprisingly easy.

Top 10 Holiday Shopping Mistakes to Avoid

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 make sure they bag a 65-inch TV for $99. Black Friday—the day shoppers boast of getting all of their Christmas shopping done in one big, […]

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

I know what you’re thinking: Make the mashed potatoes AND gravy ahead of time—up to 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 […]

How to Make Soft Spreadable Butter

You’ve seen the little tubs of “spreadable butter” in the dairy case of your supermarket. In fact, you may purchase them because they’re just so convenient. And if you know your prices you know the typical spreadable could almost be considered a luxury item.  Most “spreadables” are part real butter, part canola oil. Others have […]

Everything You Need to Know About Storing Coffee

Having reached the level of coffee snob some years ago, I don’t think I’m quite to the level of coffee geek yet, but I continue to work on it. That’s how much I love really good coffee! As you may recall,  I’ve been a home roaster for many years now. While my family and I […]

What is an Air Fryer? Why You May or May Not Need One

Air fryer recipes are sweeping the nation, but what is an air fryer? How does it work? And most importantly, do you need one? Here’s the lowdown. What is an air fryer? Several years ago, a well-hyped, “miraculous” kitchen appliance appeared on the scene—the air fryer (or is it airfryer)? Either way, the message in […]

You’re Not the Only One Confused by Date Labels on Packaged Foods!

No doubt, you’ve noticed that some food products come with dates and codes printed on them. Does that mean it has to be consumed by that date or just sold by that date?

It’s so confusing!

But not to worry, I have untangled this to help us understand. Notice, I did not say it’s going to make sense, but at least we will know how to interpret the confusing dates and codes.

Cilantro-Lime Rice Just Like Your Favorite Restaurants

I have no idea why on the one hand I seriously do not care for cilantro but on the other hand, I’m crazy for Cilantro-Lime Rice as served by both Chipotle and Qdoba casual Mexican restaurants.

How do they do that? How do they take rice, lime, and cilantro for goodness’ sake, and turn it into such a delicious side dish?

I’ve been asking that question for a long time. Finally, I believe I have figured out how to make delicious, amazing Cilantro-Lime Rice that tastes for all the world just like the restaurants’—and for just pennies.

But before I get into the specifics for how to make Cilantro-Lime Rice, I want to tell you about something I have learned in this process—a super fast way to prepare plain rice from scratch in about 12 minutes give or take.

Today I have two copycate recipes for Cilantro-Lime Rice—Chipotle style and Qdoba’s. Yes! You can make either (or both) at home, today—easy! Both methods, super awesome! Yum.

Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

You can skip the store-bought stainless steel cleaners, and make your own highly effective cleaner and polish using items you probably have already. Read on to learn how to create your own stainless steel cleaner for pennies and avoid buying expensive commercial cleaners.

Homemade Stain Remover for Laundry and Carpet

Unlike some other homemade laundry stain and detergent products you’ll find here at Everyday Cheapskate, this one is also a homemade stain remover for carpet. Ah-ha! That got your attention!

Just let me be clear at the get-go, that while this stain remover works super well on fabric, upholstery, and carpet in the house and car, it must be rinsed well or laundered once that stain disappears. Got it? OK, let’s get right to it …

Easy DIY Ways to Control The Cost to Heat Your Home This Winter

The headlines are sobering: Home Heating Costs Expected to Skyrocket This Winter Home Heating Costs Expected to be 30-60% Higher This Year Energy Prices Drive Inflation Who knows where this is going or just high expensive it will be to keep our homes warm during the coming cold months of winter? While there’s nothing we […]

What Teachers Really Want for Christmas

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 …

Ingenious Tips for How to Store Bread To Keep It Fresher Longer

Whether store-bought or homemade, is it asking too much for bread to remain fresh long enough to use it up to the last crumb? It’s not, that begs the question why does bread become stale or even grow mold so quickly?

It’s a storage problem. If you don’t like throwing out the rest of the hardened, stale, or even moldy bread pieces, I have some ingenious tips to keep bread fresher for longer— up to the very last fresh, delicious crumb.

8 Things You Should Never Plug Into a Power Strip

Whether you live in a house, apartment, condo, mobile home, RV, or dorm room, having sufficient electrical outlets to handle all of the accessories, appliances, and tools you need can be a challenge. And that’s when knowing how to use a power strip device safely sure comes in handy.     While one of these […]

Best Gifts for Grandparents

As gifting opportunities go, the biggest one of all is just around the corner. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my readers are feeling somewhat stressed, even panicked. Last-minute shopping has a way of doing that, especially when you have zero gift ideas when it comes to the grandparents and seniors on your list. But not to worry. You have plenty of time and if you’re short on ideas, here you go!

The Best Time to Buy (and How to Store) Baking Ingredients + Free Printable

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, we’re nearing the time to stock up.

Which begs the question: What is the shelf-life of baking supplies, in the event you decide to buy enough to last the year?  All that in today’s post including a Free Printable Cheat Sheet.

How to Turn Your Barbecue Grill into a Baking Oven

If you have an outdoor barbecue grill with a cover that closes over the top of the grill, you can turn it into an outdoor oven. Why would you want to do that? I can think of a few reasons! To have another baking oven on holidays or other occasions when you really use it. To have an alternative on days you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. To expand your camping-out cooking repertoire. To have a way to cook and bake during power outages …
To have an alternative appliance should electric rates spike.

Your Best Thanksgiving Feast Ever, Healthy, Delicious, and (Relatively) Cheap!

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 be, too.

So much good stuff in today’s post … I learned so much from interviewing two turkey experts! Honestly, I’ve interviewed a lot of people over the years, but these two are my absolute favorites.

See you there! xo m 🦃

12 Fabulous Ways to Use Fresh Cranberries Starting Now and Throughout the Year

Fresh cranberries are available in supermarkets and grocery stores from October thru December—a very short season! Stock up on fresh cranberries during the fall season and freeze an amount that will last you through the year.  Store them right in the bags they come in and they’ll be good for up to 12 months. What to do with all those cranberries? I’m so glad you asked!

Spooky Tales of Scary Tricks Just Waiting to Be Played on You

Blood-curdling stories, tricks. and treats are all part of Halloween fun. But the last thing we expect are spooky tales from our friendly lenders, bankers, and credit card companies. So gather around while I tell you some scary tales of tricks waiting out there to be played on you!

This is The Secret for No More Wadded-Up Bed Sheets!

I’ve discovered a fabulous solution. Some very smart person has come up with a gadget (made in the USA, yay!) that solves this problem. It is a square piece of plastic with four locking clips—one for each corner of the sheet (fitted or flat). Cleverly named Wad-Free, it prevents the sheets from getting all wadded up. 

A Very Effective Way to Cut Winter Heating Bills

Until several years ago, I didn’t know something called a heated mattress pad even existed. It makes sense since I’d lived in Southern California for most of my life, where it is mostly warm all year round. Then we moved to Colorado, where the seasons are more pronounced—and winter heating costs can be shocking!

I’m excited to tell you what we discovered that takes care of both slashing our heating costs, but makes cold weather sleeping absolutely awesome! See you there! Love, xo m 😴 💤

Savvy Shopper Tricks and Treats

You think shopping is what you do when you buy things. That’s true, but it’s more than that. Shopping is a competition with you on one side and retailers on the other. And whenever the store gets more of your money than you planned to leave behind, they’ve executed a brilliant shopping trick. They win

What follow are the tricks that retailers don’t want you to know. Learn them well and you’ll turn the tables on them. You’ll start winning at the shopping game!

The Best Reason Not to Buy Prewashed Salad in a Bag

Those bags of prewashed chopped salad greens are certainly a tempting option because what’s not to like about having someone else do all the work of chopping and then double- or even triple-washing?  Even so, I don’t buy pre-washed chopped bagged salad greens, but not be for the reasons you might assume.

15 Insanely Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries

According to the USDA, a normal American family of 4, is spending on average, $$1,108.10 a month on food at home. That’s a lot of money for groceries, no matter the size of your family. And it’s going to get worse unless we determine right now to fight back. There are so many things we can do even in these uncertain and inflationary times to make our food dollars stretch farther than we might have ever dreamed possible!

14 Ways to Use Cheap Rubbing Alcohol Around the House and Garage

Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol is more than a medicinal cooling and soothing liquid for external application. Pour it into a good spray bottle and rubbing alcohol becomes an effective disinfectant and also a natural solvent to solve so many common but often annoying issues around a home and garage. Plus, it dries quickly and leaves no streaks.

The Emergency Food Items You Need to Stock Up On Now

No one knows how long these difficult times will last. It could drag on for a while, it may be over relatively quickly. Life is uncertain. Regardless, every home needs a stockpile of food. It’s part of any sensible emergency preparedness plan. You need to stock up now. Today. Good news! It’s not too late. You can do this.

Please take a few moments sometime today to assess your stock of food and pantry items. We’ll do this together.

Gift Guide 2021: Toys for All Ages That Are Sure to Delight

Unsure of the perfect gift for that special child? Concerned about availability, shortages, and disruptions in the global supply? You can relax because I’ve compiled a list of sure hits for a variety of ages that are available right now (including fast shipping) and updating it daily. These are the hottest toys this holiday season […]

How To Make DIY Wrinkle Releaser Static Remover

Unlike myself, not everyone I know loves to iron. I guess I’m crazy that way. There’s just something soothing, calming about the sound of a good burst of steam, the smell of clean, and instant results. But enough about me.

For most people, ironing is the worst. So when the makers of Downy laundry softener came out with a wrinkle release spray that touted also to be a static guard, odor eliminator, iron-in-a-bottle—we were thrilled …

Homemade Body Lotion:A Gift You’d Actually Love to Receive

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!

The Best Accessories, Tips, Secrets of Instant Pot Rockstars!

Everyone, it seems, is talking about Instant Pot—the revolutionary electric pressure cooker that for all the hype, promises to turn anyone from an occasional home cook into an overnight culinary rockstar. Whether you’re on board with your own IP, still considering, or are just now learning about such a thing as an Instant Pot, discovering […]

Best Inexpensive: Space Heaters

The most efficient and easiest way to reduce your home heating cost is to heat only the rooms that are occupied while keeping your furnace set very low to say 60 F. Then use a space heater to make the occupied room comfortable; You can rely on this method during the day as well as at night. You could easily see your heating bill escape the surging cost of heating fuel, by simply keeping the main source of heat set very low, supplementing with electric space heaters. It’s such a simple way to make a huge difference in your home heating costs …

7 Common Clutter Problems and How to Solve Them

Clutter. It’s a problem for lots of us and not because we’re slovenly or have hoarding issues. The problem is just too much stuff!

I have a theory that most of us would be more than willing to let go of the stuff that’s cluttering our homes if we knew these things would serve a worthwhile cause or help someone else.

Check out the perfect solutions for your seven biggest clutter problems. Tell me what you think. And please share your own solutions with us. See you there! Love, xo m

Three Generic Cleaners Same as Brand Names but Cheaper

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

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

October Is the Best Time to Score Bargains on These 12 Things

Oh how I love this time of year! Cooler weather, sweaters, scarves, pumpkin pie, and beautiful fall colors make this the very best time of year. For bargain hunters, October is the calm before the holiday shopping storm and that means the likelihood of finding super deals is high. Here’s are the great buys you can expect in October.

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Latte—Cheaper, Better, Faster!

Originally created by Starbucks, Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) has developed a cult following. It is so popular, PSL even has its own Twitter account! The downside is that PSL is so stinkin’ expensive. And you have to go there, wait in line, order, then wait some more. At $5.75 for Starbuck’s venti PSL, that’s quite a price to pay! […]

12 Frugal Laundry Tips That Will Save You A Fortune

If you’ve ever suffered the heartbreak of stains, unbearable stink, or other kinds of annoying laundry issues—or just want to know the secrets to get laundry super clean and smelling fantastic—you’re going to love this!

Whether it’s latex paint (fresh or dried on for a long time), stinky towels, yellow armpit stains, here are the ways to deal with those challenges and more …

Most Requested Copycat Recipes

Here for your mixing pleasure are the four copycat recipes most frequently requested by Everyday Cheapskate fans and followers. Whether you requested or not, I’m certain you’re going to enjoy these not only for the money saved but for the joy of knowing exactly what’s in the mixes you use. Plus making mixes yourself gives you the opportunity to tweak and control things like the amount of sodium. Even better, no MSG.

These 3-Ingredient Cakes are So Easy It’s Almost Scary

Just in time for the holidays, quite possibly the easiest, most versatile, amazingly delicious boxed cake hack ever to be discovered. I can’t take credit for this, it’s a basic hack I ran into while cruising the Internet—wait, I mean while doing exhaustive research!

I tried it. Again and again. I switched things up, came up with ways to hack the hack and well, it’s amazing. And did I say easy? It’s almost scary, like how can this work? But it does. And as a bonus, this is super budget-friendly, especially when the ingredients are on sale.

How to Get Fabulous Results Treating Laundry Stains with Lestoil

Lestoil (“less toil”) Concentrated Heavy Duty Cleaner is a product that’s been around for at least a hundred years. Your mother probably used it on your clothes when you were a kid. It is a thick liquid stain treatment that is not easy to find, but it is really worth the effort. Lestoil, used properly, is the best laundry stain treatment when a stain is so stubborn we need to bring out the big guns!

Stop Making These Slow Cooker Mistakes

I gave away my slow cooker. I’d stopped using it feeling pretty much like a slow-cooking failure. I’d just acquired a multi-cooker with a slow cook option should I ever feel the urge to try that again.   Besides, who wants to dine on meat that’s an odd shade of gray and vegetables with all […]

Hands Down This is The Best Apple Pie in The Whole World

Classic Apple Pie with a flaky crust, perfectly set filling, and just a hint of cinnamon—does anything shout autumn more than this? This is the recipe that hits the mark for even the most discriminating apple pie connoisseur. No overpowering spice, an annoying hint of lemon. Crust too thick, too thin; soggy bottom, “curdled” filling, overcooked, undercooked—I’ve battled every possible variation. I can confirm that this is The One. This is the recipe that’s both foolproof and inexpensive. It makes Apple Pie dreams come true.

This Homemade Silver Cleaner Removes Tarnish Like Magic

There’s no shortage of commercial silver cleaning products on the market these days. Those that I’ve tested generally do the job, but they’re messy, contain harsh chemicals and if that’s not bad enough—they’re expensive!

Good news. I have a simple, non-toxic, homemade silver cleaner recipe for your lovely silver pieces—chains, earrings, bracelets, flatware and heirlooms that’s cheaper, better and definitely faster, requiring little if any elbox grease.

Rebooting My Spirit

To say that I am impressionable would be to put it mildly. And when I say impressionable I mean prone to take on the circumstances and anxieties of things around me. Here’s an example: I watched the movie “Castaway,” and for the next seven nights in a row, dreamt that I was drowning.

15 Appliance Abuses That Are Costing You Money

Sad but true: Modern day home appliances are not made to last for decades the way our grandparents’ appliances did. It’s by design and called “built-in obsolescence.” Add to that, most appliances now have some kind of electronics that make them digital and in some cases, “smart!”

Modern appliances, as lovely and useful as they are, need to be treated with a lot more care than we might have imagined. Otherwise, we could be charged with committing appliance abuse! I’m talking about costly repairs.

Ready to give up your old ways? Me too! And here are 15 ways we can get started now. Today!

See you there … xo m

Chicken Still the Backbone of the Frugal Kitchen (with RECIPES)

With the price of beef skyrocketing, now more than ever, chicken continues to claim its place at the backbone of the frugal kitchen. And why not? By comparison and even though the cost of all food is going up across the board, chicken is still much less expensive than beef or pork. It’s healthy, delicious, and useful right down to and including the bones.

11 Things Never to Put Down a Garbage Disposal

Most every home has a plumbing system that includes a number of drains. One of those drains may have a garbage disposable attached to it. It’s tempting to put all manner of things down it—and other drains, too—because it’s just so convenient. But hold on. Every drain in that system, especially the one attached to the garbage disposal, is vulnerable to breakdowns. Plumbing repairs are not cheap …

Ask Me Anything: Dry Slow Cooking, Clean Grout, Home Safe, Cloudy Glassware, Not-Drying Dryer, and Lots More!

I don’t mention it as often as I should, but the truth is that I’d be lost without you, my loyal, encouraging, and responsive audience. Thank you for being there every day and for filling my inbox to overflowing with your comments, questions, and outpourings of love and gratitude. Please don’t stop. Ever. Speaking of questions, let’s take a few from my proverbial mailbag …

How to Remove Stubborn Stains on Carpet and White Grout

Faithful readers will recall a reader tip from a past post, in which Julie shared her simple homemade carpet shampoo of hydrogen peroxide, hot water, and a tiny bit of liquid soap. That tip set off a semi-avalanche of responses requesting specific details, and many of which cautioned, wisely, that hydrogen peroxide can have a […]

Peaches—Tips, Tricks, My Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler

Who doesn’t love a perfectly ripe, fresh peach? Whether freestone or clingstone (don’t know the difference? read on … ) they’re delicious raw, grilled (yes! and oh yum!), made into jam or cobbler, peaches are one of the most popular fruits. While they’re in season, fresh peaches are relatively cheap, too. In this post, all you need to know to take full advantage of peach season.

24 Clever Non-Coffee Ways to Use Coffee Filters

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 aren’t 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 …

How to Deep Clean a Garbage Disposal and Why You Need To

According to Prevention magazine, there are more than half a million bacteria in the kitchen sink, about 1,000 times more than the average toilet. The solution to this problem is to deep-clean a garbage disposal every couple of weeks. Mark the calendar. It’s easy and you can do this in twenty minutes flat using items from your freezer and pantry.

Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup

You can plan on this to be your signature dish with your friends and family. Guests to beg for the recipe! It’s that good, and fast, too! Keep this handy to see you through cold winter days. You can plan on this to be your signature dish with your friends and family. Guests to beg […]

Know Your Cleaning Products to Protect Your Health and Wealth!

Two women, different locations, same accident. Both, while using an ordinary commercial toilet bowl cleaner, were not satisfied with the way it was not removing stains. Each added household chlorine bleach and stirred with a brush. One died quickly, the other spent a long time in the hospital. The Problem Whenever chlorine bleach comes into contact with […]

9 Easy Moves to Simplify the Way You Manage Money

Confused and stressed out about how to manage your money so you don’t run out before payday? Put these nine easy moves into action and you’ll be well on your way to simplify your spending.

I know what you’re thinking—simplify and spending in the same sentence? Ha! Like that’s even possible when we have credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts, bills, bill-pay, auto-pay, fees, penalties, interest rates, and fees to keep track of. How can we possibly make managing money simple?

By having a plan. By choosing to become accountable and then using every tactic possible to streamline and de-stress your money. I’ll show you how in today’s post! See you there … Love, xo m

5 Reasons to Give Kids an Allowance

At the foundation of a person’s financial intelligence should be this undeniable truth: It is not the amount of money you have, but what you do with it that matters. This is true for a child managing a $5-dollar-a-week allowance or a corporate executive with a $5,000-dollar-a-week salary.

Unless your children learn simple, wise money management techniques, more money will never be enough.

The simplest way to get started building financial intelligence into your kids’ minds and hearts is by putting them on an allowance and then requiring them to suffer or enjoy the consequences of their financial decisions.

How to Clean Cookie Sheet Pans So They Look New!

They come in sizes big and small, rimmed or without sides. We use them to bake just about anything, but mostly cookies. And they can get super grungy with layers of baked- and burnt-on grease resulting in ugly stains and residue build-up.

Does anything here look familiar to you? If so, I have good news. Your cookie sheets can be cleaned and restored, even back to the way they looked when new.

What follows in today’s post is a relatively quick and easy way to get rid of baked-on grease, stubborn food residue, and even rust on any type of cookie and baking sheets—aluminized steel, aluminum, and non-stick—and then to clean and maintain to keep them sparkling clean.

Easy Fixes for the Big 3 Laundry Disasters

What do stinky, yellowed, and crayon-stained laundry items have in common? They’re the reason many people write to me. Fortunately, each of these problems has a unique remedy—a way to reverse the stains and get those items back to looking good as new.

Our Best Tips and Tricks to Make Fresh Food Last Longer

Has this ever happened to you? You open the refrigerator to pull out salad greens to get dinner on the table, only to reach in and discover a wilted, slimy mess. That romaine, iceberg, or bag of pre-washed salad mix can’t be more than a week old but there it is—and into the garbage, it […]

How to Regrow Scallions and Other Vegetables from Scraps

At our house, we’re getting much better with storing and using up produce. In fact, we’ve all but completely stopped throwing rotten produce into the garbage. Now I’m taking it further by actually regrowing vegetables from scraps. In the kitchen window! It’s like my inner gardener has come out to play and not a moment too soon as grocery prices soar and inflation in the U.S. has now reached a 20-year high.

How to Store Important Documents and How Long To Keep Them

If the paper monster has you buried under an avalanche of receipts, bank statements, ATM slips, investment records, paycheck stubs, and bills—the good news is you can probably throw most of it away without worry when you have a simple recording keeping routine. Just read this before you fire up the shredder …

7 Quick and Easy Ways to Give Yourself a Tax-Free Raise

Is money a little tight? Hoping a raise will come through soon? I hate to burst your bubble, but even if it is an exceptional raise, it may not do you much good. By the time you adjust a raise for taxes, you’ll be lucky to see half of it in your bank account. And if that’s not bad enough, nearly everyone who earns more automatically spends more. Reckless spending can consume a lot of cash, fast. I have a better idea. Give yourself a tax-free raise! How?! I have a few ideas …

How to Clean Gunk and Grime from Kitchen Cabinets

Got grimy kitchen cabinets? Don’t think you’re the only one. Unfortunately, wood cabinets—painted or natural with a clear finish—are prone to all sorts of grease, grime, and gunk from simply being in the kitchen. Depending on just how much grease and grime you’re looking at and the supplies you have available, there are several options to clean kitchen cabinets. At least one should help to get the job done—plus one final suggestion for how to keep your clean cabinets looking gorgeous!

The Best Way to Vacuum Carpet is to Memorize this Routine

Perhaps this has happened to you: You’ve lived with carpeting, then for one reason or another you live with hardwood or some other type of hard surface flooring that shows up every little bit of dust and dirt. You can’t believe it! You can sweep or vacuum one day and by the next morning, dust and dirt are back …

Simple Secrets to Buy a Car All Cash

An automobile is a major purchase—becoming more “major” all the time as prices for new and used cars are skyrocketing. It is the one consumer purchase most likely to throw a major kink into anyone’s financial situation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. What’s required is a modicum of radical thinking, a willingness to forego immediate gratification, and forethought.

Do I Need to Drink Filtered Water or Is the Tap Okay?

These days, a trip to the grocery store requires nerves of steel. The cost of everything, it seems, is soaring. Why? Can we blame the pandemic? Will prices return to pre-pandemic levels once this thing settles down? Will it ever go away? Who knows? One thing for sure: It’s time to hunker down and find reasonable ways to cut food costs every way that we can. Here’s one: Stop buying bottled water.

Even More Brilliant Ways to Use Blue Dawn

I’m not certain when a subject becomes a saga, but I think we may have crossed over into saga territory on the subject of terrific ways to use Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid that have nothing to do with washing dishes. Get ready for even more brilliant uses in today’s post.

Best Hack for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies Quickly and Effectively

Fruit flies and I go way back to my high school biology class and a unit on genetics. We raised 
Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, in little Petri dishes. Then we’d anesthetize them so we could look at them through the microscope to see how our genetic predictions sized up with the number and […]

3 Ways to Clean a Bathtub While Standing

Cleaning the bathtub is one of those housekeeping chores that’s more pain than pleasure for those with health issues that make bending and kneeling difficult. Here to the rescue are three very effective and efficient ways to clean a tub while standing—even a tub that is deep and or jetted.

How to Make Pure Vanilla Extract

Great news! Time is one of the most important ingredients in homemade extracts. Fortunately, with Christmas nearly five months away, you’ve plenty of that! AND the price of vanilla beans has dropped considerably! I’ll show you where to get them …

Ask Me Anything: Big Bulky Laundry, Cash for Text Books, Who Needs Life Insurance, and More

Another reach into my virtual mailbag—the place where hundreds of questions land every single day! How awesome is that? The problem is figuring out how to respond to so many of my dear readers’ questions. It’s a good problem to have, so I keep plugging alone, hoping hat one QA will resonate with thousands of of readers with a similar question of their own. So with that, let’s dive in.

8 Pleasantly Surprising Reasons to Decorate with Houseplants

Experts call it “interior landscaping” and it’s becoming increasingly popular not only in homes but in offices and other commercial settings. I would have assumed that’s because houseplants can be quite inexpensive. But now we’re learning, they’re more than a cheap way to add a pop of green to a living space. Houseplants offer surprising physical and mental benefits as well.

Finally the Mystery of Hair Conditioners Solved

Hair conditioners fall into general categories according to what they do and the problems they solve. Using the wrong product for the specific condition of your hair will produce disappointing results. For example, if your hair is thin and fine you are not going to be happy with my industrial-strength conditioner for thick, coarse, frizzy, color-treated hair. Conditioners are not quite as simple as shampoos, but not to worry …

Best Ideas for Organizing a Refrigerator

Lately, have you cleaned out your fridge? Once the expired condiments and forgotten take-out containers hit the trash and the shelves and walls get scrubbed clean, it’s time to organize the refrigerator. The way you do that matters. All that plus favorite tips and organization gadgets …

A Casserole Connoisseur’s Guide to Healthy Substitutions

It’s easy to see why casseroles have fallen out of favor with the weight- and health-conscious crowd. One serving of some casseroles can harbor an entire week’s worth of carbs or WW points. Luckily, it’s not difficult to trim the calorie count and step up the nutritional value of almost any casserole recipe around, even those typically laden with high-fat ingredients. You can make healthier versions that taste just as good.

Got Dingy Dirty Grout? This Product Will Clean It and Lots More (It’s Just $1)

Dingy, dirty tile grout. It’s a vexing problem. I know. I have a lot of tile and grout in my home, all of it white or light-colored. And without fail, within a couple of years of it being new, it gets more than dirty. No matter how diligent I am to clean it, that grout appears to be hopelessly stained. It is a problem for me. And for my readers, it’s right up in the questions I am asked most often.

27 Things Never to Put in the Refrigerator

Have you outgrown your refrigerator? Thinking it’s time to replace it with one that’s bigger? Before you do that, take inventory to see just how much stuff you have in there that really does not need to be refrigerated. You just might discover that suddenly, your current fridge is a lot roomier!

Do you know which items should never be stored in the refrigerator?

The Best Natural Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

Stainless steel has become a popular choice in kitchen appliances, counters, sinks, and other household fixtures for its longevity and luster. And that beauty can quickly lose its appeal under greasy fingerprints, streaks, smudges, dirt,  spills, and stains (which is weird given that it has”stainless” in its name). Using the wrong cleaning tools and techniques […]

4 Easy Ways to Fix Surface Scratches on Glass

Our homes are well accessorized with glass from windowpanes to shower doors, tabletops, and glassware. While glass is both beautiful and durable, normal wear and tear or mindless abuse can result in ugly surface scratches on glass. Here are four methods to fix or even remove surface scratches that use ordinary household items together with a little elbow grease.

How to Clean, Restore, and Care for a Glass Cooktop

When it comes to kitchen appliances, nothing says modern and sleek like a beautiful new smooth, glass cooktop. And nothing says “Oh, no!!!!” louder than a burnt-on mess or ugly scratch that appears for all the world to be permanent.

But wait … what if I told you there may be a way to restore that glass cooktop back to its beautiful self? All that in today’s post! See you there… Love, m xo

10 Incredibly Simple Travel Tips to Take Stress Out of Flying

It goes without saying that when traveling by air, you need to get to the airport early. But this summer especially as air travel is back and things return to normal with Americans making up for lost time—plan to double the time you might otherwise allow to arrive, get through security, and to your gate.

Beyond that, check out these tips and tricks to make your experience less stressful. After all, you do want to arrive with joy in your heart and kind words on your lips.

24 Ways to Chop Your Grocery Bill

It’s impossible not to notice that the cost of everything is going up, but learning just how much is quite shocking. Consumer prices jumped 5% in May—the fastest pace since the summer of 2008. And while the exact numbers have not been released for June, predictions are even worse news.

Here’s the deal: We can either stick our heads in the sand and pretend that nothing has changed, or we can get smart and determine to beat inflation. It won’t be easy, but we know how to face difficult situations! I say we pull out every stop, get super serious, and take full advantage of every possible way to cut the cost of food without giving up good nutrition and the foods we’ve come to enjoy.

Impossible? I don’t think so, and I hope what follows will convince you as well.

Even if everything you will read you know already, it’s good to be reminded to keep our grocery shopping skills honed and working at top efficiency.

And please … share your best tips and ideas in the comments area following the post as a way that we can stick together and help one another through these difficult days ahead. See you there! ox m

Best Inexpensive Home Security System

Several months ago, we had a serious home security wake-up call with the news of a home invasion in our sleepy town, population fewer than 20,000.

In the middle of the night, two young, hoodied thugs went from house to house in a beautiful new development until they found an unlocked window. Once inside, they held the terrified homeowners at gunpoint.

Eventually, the perpetrators were caught and charged with seven counts including kidnapping, grand larceny, and attempted murder …

The Easiest Summer Barbecue Ever— Ribs, Beans, Slaw, Dessert

On the off chance that your fear-of-ruining-a-pile-of-ribs keeps your backyard grilling events stuck in hamburger mode, you can let those fears go!

That’s because you’re about to learn a fool-proof, easier-than-easy method for turning out perfect baby back ribs every time you give it a try. But wait! There’s more …

I hope these recipes come in handy just in case you’re planning to barbecue this weekend! See you there … Love, xo m

Would You Rather Stick a Fork in Your Eye or Talk About Budgets?

For lots of people, just thinking the word “budget” is like nails on a chalkboard. I know the feeling. For many years I wouldn’t have anything to do with a budget because I couldn’t stand the idea of anyone—or anything—telling me how to spend my money. And where did that get me? Into one big financial mess. Let me tell you about that …

Practical Tips to Help with Home Maintenance and Repair

Maintenance costs can put a serious dent in your budget and savings—a dent that’s tough to repair. And while there are certain things you definitely need an expert to handle, there are plenty of other situations in which you can make minor but meaningful repairs without the need to call in for professional support—while saving serious cash.

7 Tips to Keep Your Inner Hoarder in Time-Out

I don’t know why some of us have such a strong propensity to accumulate, collect, and otherwise hold onto stuff beyond a reasonable limit. Maybe we’re born that way. Or more likely, we’ve picked up an understandable yet unfounded fear of not having enough of what we might need someday.

Whatever the reason, it starts with clutter that can quickly lead to hoarding—something that is expensive in terms of time, money, relationships, health, and peace of mind.

EC Father’s Day Gift Guide 2021

Father’s Day is a fabulous, wonderful day to show Dads how much we love them, how special they are—and a great opportunity to poke a little fun, too! Here to help with lots of last-minute gift ideas …

How to Liquefy Crystallized Honey and Best Way to Store It

It’s discouraging when you reach for the honey, only to discover it is no longer a smooth liquid, but all grainy—like sugar! You may have even tossed it into the trash assuming that it’s gone bad, and certainly not safely edible. Truth be told, it is still perfectly delicious and nutritious. It’s easy to turn  crystallized honey back into its liquid self.

Mistakes Teach Us What Doesn’t Work

Have you made any mistakes lately? Want to talk about it? Most people don’t. Can’t say that I blame them. It’s embarrassing. And when it’s a really dumb mistake, well that’s something you hope to never have to think about again. And that’s a mistake.

8 Super Useful Kitchen Gadgets

There’s just nothing like a clogged drain in a tub, sink, or shower to get the day off to a bad start. Ack! Now what? Gallons of caustic drain cleaner? A mad online search for an available plumber? Today, I want to share a fabulous anti-clog tool plus seven other kitchen gadgets that I love and […]

How to Make No-Rinse Daily Shower Cleaner—Cheaper Better Faster

The only thing better than making my own cleaning products is when what I make turns out to be cheaper, better, and faster than something I might buy in the store to accomplish the same goal.

This spray-and-walk-away Daily Shower Cleaner is the perfect solution to keep tubs and showers sparkling between major cleanings.

How to Save Money and Get Financially Confident Starting Now

For a good deal of my life, I lived under a dark cloud of fear that I would end up financially destitute—a bag lady. Studies reveal that I’m not the only one. Most of us have felt that way, not because we’re broke, but because we lack confidence. That makes us timid, worried and financially insecure. Look, we don’t have to accept financial insecurity as some kind of life sentence. And that constant and gnawing fear of becoming destitute? Forget it! We can do something about this.

Best Inexpensive Bedsheets—UPDATE!

Let me tell you about my mission to discover the Best Inexpensive bed sheets. It went on for many months. It cost a fortune because as you know, when I test products for you, my dear readers, I purchase them myself. I do not want to be beholden in any way to a manufacturer, distributor, or company when it comes to determining what I believe is the Best Inexpensive option.

Today another update, as things do change quite often when it comes to purchasing bedding. My mission continues. Don’t worry … it’s all good! See you there, xo m 💤 😴 🛌

How to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer—On a Budget!

Are you dreading the heat of summer? Relax while you consider these ingenious solutions to keep your house comfortable without putting a freeze on your bank account.

On this solemn day of remembrance and gratitude for all American Heros who have given so much, I want to express my gratitude specifically to all of my readers who have served in our military, and to family members for whom the sacrifice has been immense. That you’ve given so much to protect and preserve our liberty and freedom goes beyond words. But I will say this anyway: Thank you. God bless you and God bless America, land that I love! 🇺🇸 xo m

Quick and Easy Outdoor Cleaning and Storage Tips You Can Use

Many outdoor cleaning and storage solutions can be rather expensive, especially when compared to do-it-yourself or homemade alternatives. Here some of my favorite cleaning tips and storage solutions for the garage and patio that will give you the results you need without the costs you don’t. Charcoal Starter After the food has been cooked on […]

The $150 Starter Kitchen

For less than the cost of a week’s worth of restaurant meals, I can show you how to set up a starter kitchen that will get that special someone in your life excited about cooking at home. Just But for newly minted grads or newlyweds, this will get them started cooking great cheap meals in the kitchen …

7 Cheap Gadgets That Make Life Easy—Fun, Too

I am nothing if not a cheap gadget lover. Ingenious items that make my life easier are great, but when I find something that’s cool and also has the potential to save money? Well, that’s cause for celebration. Here are a few of my favorite fun finds.

The Useful Life of Spice Plus How to Repurpose at the End

When I packed up my kitchen for our big move a few years ago, I was embarrassed to discover what I had accumulated in the spice cupboard. I’m pretty sure there were a couple of bottles of something or other in there that were certified antiques, pre-dating the Nixon administration.

Muffins and “Tulips” to Celebrate Spring

I’m about to give away all my secrets for how to make muffins that are so great your friends and family will call you a genius. But first, I want to show you what happened one Saturday morning as I was in the middle of making a fabulous—if I do say so myself—brunch …

Most Common Money Questions Women Ask

I recently asked a group of women of all ages to tell me the money questions they most wanted to ask. Because they could remain anonymous, the responses poured in on debt, credit, divorce, Social Security, and parents’ issues. What I learned is that we’re all embarrassed to ask many of the same questions. These are the answers that most of you really wanted to know.

8 Ways Online Grocery Shopping Can Actually Help You Save Money

There are few things more annoying than stopping at the supermarket to pick up a few things, hauling bags of groceries into the house only discover you have nothing for dinner.

Or putting everything away only to realize you totally forgot the one thing that prompted you to stop at the store in the first place.

Online grocery shopping isn’t for everyone, but it has become a total game-changer for me. Let me tell you how.

See you there! Love, xo m 🛒 ❣️

Saving Money by Choice, Not by Chance

A question that I answered in a previous post brought a small avalanche of mail, mostly from readers who were aghast that I would suggest they save such a portion of their paychecks for retirement. It was money they just didn’t think they could afford to save. I can only imagine that for a person who saves nothing, suggesting they should be saving at all is shocking. Or even impossible. Here is one of those messages …

Stop Taking Parent Loans for Your Kids’ College Education

You’re a parent, and you are responsible for taking care of your minor child financially. But you are equally responsible to take care of yourselves. Taking on student loans so that your child can enroll at the college of his or her dreams may sink your dreams of ever retiring. Or worse. But don’t despair. You and your student have options, so dry your tears and let’s figure this out …

Cheapskate Gardening Tips, Tricks and Recipes

Is there anything more gratifying than a beautiful garden when you just happen to be the gardener? One trip to the garden center to pick up soil amendment, weed cloth and weedkiller can pretty much zap all of the joy for the expense that can represent. That’s why I love today’s tips, tricks …

The Best Inexpensive Robot Vacuum (It Really Works!)

Vacuuming sucks. Literally. One year, my idea of giving our adult sons robot vacuums for Christmas was intended to help them with that odious chore.

What a disappointment. I learned much later that both guys used their robots for only a few months. They were ridiculously noisy, needed constant supervision, did a lousy job, and just more trouble than they were worth. They were annoying and couldn’t do the job. But that was then and this is now …

Window Air Conditioner: How to Fix It, Clean It, and Make it Like New

The heat of summer is giving millions of window-mounted air conditioners a real workout. Undoubtedly, many owners of said units will be wondering why their air conditioners aren’t working properly. In most situations, consumers can fix a window air conditioner themselves provided they have the right information and an inexpensive handy tool. If you have a window air conditioner in your home, here’s what you need to know to fix it, clean it and make it like new.

3 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

What credit score is good? Sound like a super easy question, right? Well, it’s not. In fact, there is no single answer. It’s complicated! But you can forget all the confusion and concentrate on just three simple things and your credit score will take care of itself. Let me show you …

Make Sure You Have These 9 Essential Pantry Items

Have you been paying attention to what’s going on with the cost of food? I just read that the average cost of ground beef in the U.S. has once again hit an all-time high. I believe it, and not only beef. It is shocking how grocery prices are going up, which underscores the need for a kitchen that includes the essential pantry items.

This Really Is the Best Inexpensive Car Trash Container

I’ve always thought that a car should come outfitted with some kind of incinerator that sucks the accumulation of trash and garbage right out of the car and into a holding tank somewhere that magically converts it into purified drinking water. Or gasoline. 😂

While waiting for that kind of invention to appear, I’ve tried plastic bags, plastic tubs, and every kind of frugal trick and tip you can imagine to handle the annoyance of car trash.

I’ve tested and tried. Some ideas are better than others, but nothing has ever proven 100% satisfactory. Until now …

How to Redecorate on a Dime

Changing your environment can greatly improve your outlook. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The key to great decor isn’t how much money you have to spend. More importantly, it’s about seeing possibilities in what you have already. You’ll be surprised at what you can do yourself for little or no cost!

The 1-Percent Savings Solution

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

7 Easy Ways to Give New Life to Leftover Rice

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

Enjoy these 7 ideas for using leftover rice (including two of our favorite recipes). Will you add your ideas for how to use up leftover rice in the comments? See you at the post … Love, xo m

How to Make Fabulous Meals Using a Formula, Not a Recipe

Ever feel like kitchen klutz? Wish you could take that odd assortment of stuff in the pantry and freezer mix it with leftovers in the fridge, and make something delicious without a specific recipe and without having to run to the market?

Well, grab your whisk and shout for joy! Thanks to the Fool-Proof 5-Step Formula in today’s post, you can create fabulous, original, homemade, delicious, and nutritious entrees designed by You, using the items you have on hand.

I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this! Love, xo m

16 Brilliant Reasons to Stop Throwing Out Pickle Juice

A friend asked if she could borrow some pickle juice. Huh? Who keeps pickle juice? The purpose of pickle juice is to keep the pickles fresh and flavorful. And when the pickles are gone, out goes the juice, right? Wrong! Really, I had no idea that pickle juice had so many health benefits or could be used in so many ways in the kitchen.

How to Clean, Condition, and Maintain Leather Furniture

When it comes to furnishing your home, it’s difficult to find anything more luxurious and elegant than fine leather. With that elegance comes the challenge of how to clean leather furniture, keeping it free of stains, and well-maintained so that it gets even better with age. Improper attempts to clean fine leather can result in […]

7 Common House Plants That Are Pet Safe (and 12 That Are Not)

I love plants, especially beautiful house plants. Healthy, economical plants can make any space warm and inviting—not just for humans, but pets, too! Some cats and dogs enjoy taking a nibble or two on items like flowers and plants, and that’s a problem because some indoor plants are toxic to cats and dogs.

22 Legit Ways You Can Make Money at Home

For all the convenience and access to information that the Internet offers, the ability to earn money at home—honestly and legitimately—just might be one of the most useful. At a minimum, you need an Internet connection and computer. Or for some jobs, just a smartphone will do.

The challenge is to wade through all the muck and pitches for free get-rich-quick opportunities to find authentic ways to make money.

The opportunities for online jobs are out there.

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

You could have knocked me over with a feather as I was searching for ways to use my Instant Pot and locked eyeballs with—Instant Pot Cheesecake. What?! I can bake in this thing? (Yes, I can.) There aren’t enough words to describe just how great this Instant Pot Cheesecake recipe is. Instead, I’m going to show you. Prepare to be amazed.

What is the Best Way to Clean a Painted Wood Floor?

A message in my inbox this week came from Joan who asked, “What is the best way to clean a very grimy painted wood floor?” Before I get to an answer for Joan, let’s talk generally about wood floors and the difference between a painted wood floor and a finished wood floor …

How to Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (No-Fail Secrets!)

They’re convenient and, we’re told, more healthy. But there are few things quite as boring or more difficult to prepare well than boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Here are two foolproof methods to prepare boneless skinless chicken breasts (BSCB) so they come out and tender and juicy every time—provided that you follow these instructions exactly!

16 Facts and Uses for the One-Cent Piece That are Worth Every Penny

For some people, pennies are so annoying, they don’t even bother picking up strays that end up on sidewalks and streets. Then there are those who eagerly collect the copper coin, living up to the Benjamin Franklin quote that a penny saved is a penny earned.

Assuming that the rest of us fall somewhere between those extremes, today I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few facts and uses for the lowest value coin in the U.S. currency lineup—the lowly penny.

Homemade Artisan Bread—Amazingly Easy and So Delicious!

Just in time for the weekend—homemade, artisan bread! I’m convinced that anyone with an oven, flour, yeast, salt, and water can make authentic, crusty French bread. Actually, it’s super easy. If I can do it (I can!), so can you. Let me show you …

See you there. Love, xo m 🥖 🍞 ❣️

How to Make Ketchup Just Like Heinz

So this is a first for me. Honestly, Heinz Ketchup is about as common a product as any in the Hunt refrigerator. So why on earth would I even think of making it myself? If you haven’t seen today’s headlines, brace.

Some (But Not All) Spray Bottles are Designed to Fail

Many commercial household cleaning products—glass and window cleaner for example—routinely come in a bottle with a handy sprayer. And that sprayer top? Don’t expect it to keep spraying for the long haul. It is designed to fail as soon as you use up the product. So maddening!

A Gracious Guide for How to Be a Good House Guest

It was shocking if not surreal. The email message was from a woman I’d never met and whose name I recognized only because a few months earlier she mailed me a book she’d written.

The message announced that she and her family were planning a cross-country road trip to Disneyland and would just love to stay with us since (at the time) we lived nearby and oh wouldn’t that be so much fun. She gave a tentative date they would be arriving. 

Everything I know about what not to do as a house guest, I learned from that experience, from the moment they drove up to the time they finally departed—far too many days hence.

How to Cook Perfectly Boiled Eggs

Eggs. They’re nutritious, delicious and cheap! And who’s not thinking eggs right about now as we head into Easter Weekend!

Cooking boiled eggs properly—Easter eggs, ramen eggs, deviled eggs—is quite simple and foolproof, provided you know the secrets.

How to Make Dirt: Compost 101

Some home gardeners call it “black gold.” I understand, it is truly that amazing. But really, it’s just dirt. Rich, nutrient-filled, organic, beautiful black dirt. Sure you can buy the stuff at the garden center for about $10 a bag, but why would you do that when you really can make it yourself?

Sweet Onion Salad Dressing Recipe

Because sweet onions don’t pack the punch of their cousins—red and yellow onions—they’re perfect for making dishes where you want the flavor but not the heat. Like this sweet onion salad dressing! It is fabulous …

Ask Me Anything: Washer Dryer Purchase, Christmas Cactus Care and Feeding

Time to reach into the mailbag to answer a few of the questions from my dear readers. It’s kinda’ my favorite day, which should give you an idea of how much I love to hear from you. While I cannot respond personally to all of your messages and letters, know that I read every one, selecting those to answer here which I believe will have a more universal appeal.

Why House Plants Turn Brown and How to Stop It

Not only do houseplants bring warmth and a sense of calm to a home, but it’s also an inexpensive way to decorate. Keeping your beautiful house plants looking healthy and green, is the challenge. The most common question is why do the leaves turn brown? Why do plant leaves turn brown? According to The Smart […]

Practical Tips to Follow If You’re Out of a Job

These days it’s practically inevitable that you or someone you know will face a period of unemployment. Consider these practical tips every unemployed person should keep in mind while dealing with the financial and emotional toll of leaving one job and searching for another.

Rehab is for the Birds and More Great Reader Tips

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

Your Money Temperament and Why it Matters

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you do have a money temperament. Everyone does. It’s the way you naturally think about, behave, or react to money. To loosely assess your money temperament and to have a little fun with this, consider the following premise then choose the response closest to what you would do.

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls

Whenever I write about the benefits of using wool dryer balls in place of laundry softeners, I get a few responses gently raking me over the coals for suggesting we should spend money for commercially manufactured products when it’s so easy to make wool dryer balls. Yes, we could do that … but at what cost? Just as I was convinced that I could not possibly make quality wool dryer balls for less than the price I pay for a great commercial brand, here comes a YouTube video that blew my theory out the window! Prepare to be surprised.

5 Ways a Tax Refund Can Make Your Life Better

Discovering that you’ll be getting a tax refund is certainly not the worst news you’ve had in your life. In fact, it’s easy to see a tax refund as some kind of gift from the universe.

But here’s the truth: It’s part of your paycheck that you should have been getting all along. Plan now for how you’ll manage it or your refund could evaporate into thin air. You have options—at least the five that follow. Choose well. The decision you make for what to do with that check could change your life …

How to Get Out of a Supermarket Without Overspending

This is not the first time that we’ve visited the subject of how to get out of the supermarket with at least some money left in your bank account. Still, who doesn’t need an occasional reminder—a mental tune-up—to remain vigilant and razor-sharp when it comes to making our food dollars stretch until they scream.

Quick and Easy Ways to Get Rid of Pesky Ants

If the arrival of spring is ushering an ant infestation into your home and yard, don’t panic. You may not require toxic pest control products or a professional service to take get rid of these pesky creatures.

In fact, chances are good you already have everything you need to do it yourself. Or if you prefer a commercial product that is eco-friendly and really works fast, I’ve got that for you, too.

Spring Cleaning Mistakes You Want to Avoid

The sun is shining; birds are chirping, daffodils and crocuses are pushing their way out of their long winter slumber. Suddenly you feel that familiar urge to clean everything in sight. But before you get started, do yourself a big favor and consider these spring cleaning mistakes you definitely want to avoid.

A Simple Meal to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

I can count on the simple ingredients in this meal to be on sale just when I need them, in early March. When you see corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, and carrots on sale, stock up.

Corned beef in its original sealed plastic freezes well for up to 6 months. This is a meal you will want to repeat often.