Today calls for a gift card search and rescue! Pool your family members’ forgotten or neglected gift cards now languishing at the bottom of drawers, purses, and wallets. Discover how much stored value on each one (there is information on the back of the gift card to either call or go online to discover its current […]
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As tempting as a pricey, artificial pre-lit Christmas tree may be, few things about the holidays are as satisfying as a fresh, real Christmas tree. Real trees smell like “Christmas” in a way that fake trees never will. Fresh test Gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward you. Few needles […]
Get envelopes and label one for each of your holiday spending categories. Label an envelope for each person on your list, too. Place the planned amount of cash in each envelope. Spend from the envelopes. And as you make purchases, replace cash spent with receipts so you’ll know where that envelope’s money went. And when the […]
Here are our best gift ideas that are sure to delight grandparents everywhere, whether this is their first year on the job or they’re old pros by now. These ideas may well help you solve the dilemma of grandparents who are hard to buy for.
Rethink fast food or restaurants between now and Christmas. It may be eating up your available cash. Put the money you would have spent on fast food and eating out into your holiday food stash for gifts, baking supplies, and entertaining. Listen … I hear muttering, and I think I know the problem: Many of you don’t actually use cash […]
Compile your Christmas cards list and divide it into manageable groups. Address envelopes and sign cards, one group at a time. If sending a Christmas letter, draft it, finalize it, and print it. Listen … If you can compose a decent sentence and access a few modern-day tools, you have all you need to create a unique and priceless […]
If you can compose a decent sentence and access a few modern-day tools, you have all you need to create a unique and priceless gift—A Family Christmas Letter. If done well, it will be treasured by those who receive it, and that’s a gift money cannot buy.
All clues for Crossword Puzzle #9 are from EC Daily emails for Nov. 20 – Nov. 26, 2022. In case you missed it … Nov. 20, Nov 21, Nov. 22, Nov. 23, Nov. 24, Nov. 25, Nov. 26 Everyone is welcome to play EC Puzzles. Only active EC Daily Email subscribers with a U.S. mailing address […]
I have no pride and, according to some, no taste. I love fruitcake. Sickeningly sweet, loaded with pecans, cherries, pineapple, and golden raisins; heavy as a brick and about four weeks old. Yum. can only assume that these terribly misguided people are only familiar with a version that is dark brown, dry-as-dust, molasses laden, overly spiced and mystery-fruited (what is citron, anyway?).
Just let me say that you’d be singing a different tune if you’d ever eaten my Grandmother’s white fruitcake. And I think you should! Join me and I’ll give you the recipe, with all my notes. Love, m xo
Feeling a little short on Christma cash? Every evening deposit all the coins in your pocket or purse into a central collection spot. Ditto for your one- and five-dollars bills. Make this a family affair and you’ll accumulate cash even faster. Listen … Not one to carry cash? There are other ways to trick yourself […]
You probably have enough food in your pantry and freezer to feed your family for a week or two. Plan now to skip the grocery store for a couple of weeks between now and Christmas. Eat up what you have already. It might be odd but you won’t starve. Stash the money you don’t spend on groceries in your Christmas money. […]
Choose to be grateful today—and every day—for all that you have. Gratitude will fill your heart with contentment. And best of all? Gratitude is 100% free, in any amount you desire.
Thanksgiving Day should be filled with rest and relaxation as we pause our regular routines to give thanks for the many blessing we have received over the past year. That’s easy to say if you are not the one preparing the splendiferous feast. The secret for cooks who wish to participate fully in having the […]
A Gift Card is not “just like cash.” A Gift Card buys your recipient store credit, subject to that store’s rules. Unless you are certain the store is your recipient’s favorite, it could land in a junk drawer, lost, eventually forgotten. Cash, on the other hand, works in every store and more. Cash comes with […]
It’s time to plan your holiday baking! Select your recipes, check your supplies, then grab the holiday deals at your supermarket or grocery store. Baking supplies are on sale at rock-bottom prices now through year-end—admittedly higher than they were a year ago, but still relatively great deals. Identify which days will be baking and add […]
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 🦃
Can you get a FREE refill at Starbucks? The answer is yes, provided you understand that there are limits and rules, and then precisely follow them. 1. Free refills only apply to coffee (hot, iced coffee, or cold brew) or tea (hot or iced). 2. Free refills apply only to brewed coffee or tea enjoyed in-café during the same visit. […]
If you plan to participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday, start getting your mind into tip-top shape. Retailers are hungry, clever, and anxious to clean you out. Know (before you go) precisely what you are looking for, how much you will spend, and how much you will pay for it. Nothin you put […]
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. […]
Compile a Master Gift List. Add everyone you are planning to gift. Analyze. Who on the list would be happy with just a card? Who is on the list because you feel guilty or obligated? Who on the list will your gift cause to feel guilty and obligated to give you a gift to […]
This is so much fun, no specific skills required. All of these ideas are super doable. More than that? You should be able to make these gift for about $10 or less.
Puzzle #9 will go Live at 6pm MT 11-26 (sorry for the delay!) Puzzle #8 is now Closed Can’t see the puzzle clues? Click anywhere in the puzzle, then scroll down. Correct answers turn green. Prizes Each Weekly Winner: $25 Cash Cheaper, Better, Faster by Mary Hunt, autographed EC sticker pack Each of 3 […]
Your holiday blueprint should be built around your calendar. It will assist you in managing your time and your holiday spending plan, and all other your resources. Consider posting a large calendar in the kitchen or another place where every family member sees it, then make it colorful and fun. Listen … Have you ever doubled-booked […]
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 […]
Homeowners beware. These days home loan scam artists are lurking around every corner. They’re hungry, they’re determined, and they’re coming after your equity.
Create a detailed Spending Plan. Identify your categories: gifts, baking, cards, entertaining, travel, etc. Write down the total amount you have to spend, where it will come from, and how you will divvy it up. Listen … It is vital that your holiday planning includes a specific and detailed spending plan, designating the overall […]
Create your family’s “Top Five Holiday Values.” Take nominations from each family member, decide on a final list, write them down, and post in a place where everyone can see.
For years, I’d been searching for the perfect recipe for one of my family’s favorite dishes, Orange Chicken. And then wouldn’t you know it, within a very short period of time, I found not one, but three recipes that are quite different from one another, but all of them simply too yummy for words. Easy on the wallet, too!
If you buy gifts year-round, take a “gift closet” inventory today so you know what you have. Keeping track of what’s available for gift-giving will help you save time and money. Some of your work is already done!
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.
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.
Listen You probably would not add a family room to your home without a blueprint, knit a sweater without a pattern, or head off on a cross-country vacation without a map. But when it comes to preparing for Christmas, most of us hit the ground running the day after Thanksgiving—without a blueprint, pattern, or map. […]
Use the comments feature below to accept the challenge, add comments, questions, or specific holiday challenges you may be needing help. Then feel free to reply to others’ comments and questions. Let’s agree that we’ll stay on topic, OK? I’m super excited to know that Christmas is only 40 days away. So with that … […]
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!
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!
EC Puzzle #7 is now closed Puzzle #7 Solution Prizes Each of 14 Weekly Winners: $25 Cash Cheaper, Better, Faster by Mary Hunt, autographed EC sticker pack Each of 3 Monthly Winners $300 Cash Official EC Puzzles Rules of Play Everyone is welcome to play EC Puzzles. Only active EC Daily Email subscribers […]
Got books? If you are an avid reader, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you own a few books. OK, make that a lot of books.
Some of your books you would never part with, but others are currently gathering dust on bookshelves or piled on the floor.
Since it looks like you will soon have to buy new bookshelves or continue to wade through books just to get to the kitchen, I’ve got an idea. Resolve this New Year to do what some people do with their wardrobes—don’t add anything until you get rid of something.
Fortunately, the Internet is the perfect place not only to unload old books but also find those on your “to-read” list for cheap.
In today’s post I’ll show you what I’m talking about …
The simple act of gift-giving has become extremely complicated. I blame that on the consumer credit industry.
Think about it: You can be completely broke but still spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts—and believe it is not only your right, but that you are obligated to do it. It’s a lot of pressure.
Mom was right. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You cannot afford to miss it for many reasons. All that plus some fabulous, easy awesome muffin recipes …
Crossword Puzzle #6 is now closed. Solution: Everyone is welcome to play EC Puzzles. Only active EC Daily Email subscribers with a U.S. mailing address are eligible to win prizes. You can sign up now if you are not a daily newsletter subscriber. It’s simple, and don’t worry—we won’t share, sell, or rent your information. By […]
It used to be so easy to shop with cash. Get cash. Shop. But things have changed, perhaps you’ve noticed. More and more stores, shops, restaurants don’t even accept cash any more. Even my beloved Costco gasoline filling station! Ack! The only option for payment is … plastic.
But there is a sneaky way to get around that and beat Costco Gas, Amazon, and others at their own game. I’ll tell all in today’s post.
See you there! Love m xo 💰❣️😂
You really can shop with CASH online at Amazon, Target, Kohl’s, Walmart … absolutely no credit card or debit card required. Let me show you …
There are few things as comforting as slipping between super soft, comfy flannel sheets on a cold winter night. But not all flannel is created equal.
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 …
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
I’m sure my supermarket is not the only grocery store that slashes the price on perishable items nearing their “Sell By” date. And when I see eggs, milk, and, cheese in that Bargain Bin, I load up! How do I make sure those items don’t, well … perish? I freeze them. Yes, even the eggs, milk, and cheese.
When I tell you that I am a born-messy, for whom the years have magnified that trait, it is not with joy. Embarrassment would be more like it. Join me as I step into the confessional. Faithful readers of this blog know that I often write about the power of organization to defeat clutter, a […]
Puzzle #5 is now closed Solution Prizes Each of 14 Weekly Winners: $25 Cash Cheaper, Better, Faster by Mary Hunt, autographed EC sticker pack Each of 3 Monthly Winners $300 Cash Official EC Puzzles Rules of Play Everyone is welcome to play EC Puzzles. Only active EC Daily Email subscribers with a U.S. mailing […]
Sometime ago, I posted a poll asking my Everyday Cheapskate audience, “What would you do with an unexpected windfall of $10,000? Responses ranged from saving every penny to giving all of it away, to using it to get caught up on bills. This got me thinking: What fascinating answers would I get if I changed the […]
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.
For years, my makeup of choice was M.A.C. But oh, that price! After lots of testing, trials and comparisons, I’ve switched. To these drugstore brands.
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 🥖 🍞 ❣️
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 …
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 🛒 ❣️
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 …
EC Puzzle #4 is now closed EC Puzzle #4 Solution: If you are not a daily newsletter subscriber, you can sign up now. It’s simple, and don’t worry—we won’t share, sell, or rent your information. Prizes Each of 14 Weekly Winners: $25 Cash Cheaper, Better, Faster by Mary Hunt, autographed EC sticker pack Each of […]
If you’ve been hanging out with me for any length of time, you know I’m pretty wild about making Gifts in a Jar, now a free downloadable ebook. I’m talking about wide-mouth glass canning jars with screw top lids. Seriously, you can stuff just about anything in one of these amazing containers and come up with […]
It’s been a hectic day. The family’s hungry, the fridge offers little more than eggs and leftovers and you’re fresh out of answers for the question everyone’s asking: What’s for dinner? The solution may be found in a single word: Frittata. A frittata is like an omelet but without the fancy pan work. It’s similar […]
Whether it’s the kitchen, laundry room, garage, car, or basement—getting organized is one thing. Staying organized for many of us is the greater challenge. Here’s an idea: Pick one spot—let’s say the car—to organize and then determine to keep it that way. Forever! Or at least for the foreseeable future. Your car’s trunk can easily […]
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
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.
Got crawling insects like centipedes, spiders, bedbugs, ants, silverfish, cockroaches, fleas and all other creepy crawlies trying to take over your home or garden? Don’t call an exterminator quite yet. I’m confident this is a problem you can fix yourself with non-toxic, completely safe, natural diatomaceous earth (DE)—cheaper and faster!
This dish with its Mediterranean flair is popular in the southern US and Canada. The basic ingredients are cabbage and sweet onion, combined in a baking dish, covered with yummy “sauce,” then topped with a lovely blend of crushed crackers and cheese. Several other ingredients play a minor role. Baked until golden, Cabbage Casserole is […]
Crossword Puzzle #3 is now closed EC Puzzle #3 Solution Prizes Each of 14 Weekly Winners: $25 Cash Cheaper, Better, Faster by Mary Hunt, autographed EC sticker pack Each of 3 Monthly Winners $300 Cash Official EC Puzzles Rules of Play Everyone is welcome to play EC Puzzles. Only active EC Daily Email subscribers […]
As a kid growing up, I lived in a house with security that rivaled Fort Knox. Every exterior opening was fitted with an old-fashioned hook and eye latch, which my mother would latch from the inside each and every time someone left the house.
Thankfully, these days, there are much better ways to make our homes safe and secure that are also friendly to all who live therein …
Want to get latex paint out of carpet, upholstery, or any other kind of fabric―even if it’s an old stain that is dried up? No problem!
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 😴 💤
Here’s what all the buzz over at Amazon Prime Days 11-12 is all about …
Got stubborn hard water marks and stains on your shower doors that simply will not budge no matter what you try? You’re not alone.
I’ve heard from countless readers who say they’ve tried everything from my magic soap scum cleaner to cleaning vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, oven cleaner, muriatic acid, steel wool, Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami and other expensive chemicals to get rid of the horrid, ugly, hard water stains and white haze.
Some readers report that it took multiple cleanings with the magic stuff to get their glass doors truly clean, while others report they’ve tried everything from magic stuff to 30-percent white cleaning vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, oven cleaner, muriatic acid, steel wool, Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami, and even razor blades to scrape away the problem—all without success.
I have to admit this has left me in a quandary and about this far from advising new doors to be the only solution. But then, Eureka! The most unusual solution that really works …
See you at the post … Love, xo m 😍
Holiday creep is real. As Halloween costumes began filling store shelves in August, Starbucks was rolling out Pumpkin Spice Lattes—earlier than in any year prior. Christmas gifts and decor began appearing in my Costco a full two months before Thanksgiving. It really does feel like too much, too soon. Team EC and I have been […]
This puzzle is now closed. All clues for Crossword Puzzle #2 came from EC Daily emails Oct. 2 – Oct 8, 2022. If you are not a daily newsletter subscriber, you can sign up now. 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, […]
Getting organized isn’t easy. But staying organized can be even harder. A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s the mark of an organized home.
Is there anything more convenient in a kitchen than a garbage disposal? For me, it’s right up there with my dishwasher. I’ve learned the hard (expensive) way that there’s a lot we need to know about how to use a garbage disposal.
How maddening to reach for the brown sugar expecting it to be soft and fluffy, only to find a rock-hard clump in the bottom of the box. Or how about this: Brown sugar is on sale, so you stock up. Even without opening the bags or boxes left on the shelf, the contents, in time, […]
It’s no secret that more and more people—especially seniors on fixed incomes—are sinking deeper into credit card debt. Why is this? I don’t think it’s because we’ve had so many emergencies (the reason to have credit cards, right?). It’s because we don’t want to feel poor. At this point, I should define this term, “feeling […]
It is no surprise that pet lovers and owners treat their animals like their children. Dogs and cats are known to be very intelligent, loving, sweet, and caring. If the cost to keep your fur babies fed, healthy, cared for, and looking good has gotten so high, you’re the one coughing up fur balls—take heart. There are at least 14 little ways to cut the cost of pet care that will add up to big savings.
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.
It’s cheap. It’s available in every supermarket and home center in the universe and so useful around your home, you may have a difficult time believing it. Good old, ordinary, plain white vinegar has dozens of uses … some that may surprise you! I’ll tell you more … at the post.
See you there! Love, m xo 😍
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 […]
EC Puzzle Weekly Winners Oct 2022 Puzzle #1 — Donna M., Massachusetts Puzzle #2 — Carolyn Mc., New York Puzzle #3 — Charles G., Nebraska Puzzle #4 — Olivia C., California Nov 2022 Puzzle #5 — Kathy G., Kentucky Puzzle #6— Paula Mc., New Jersey Puzzle #7 — Dawn V., Wisconsin Puzzle #8 — […]
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 […]
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.
EC Puzzle #1 closed Oct 7, 2022. But feel free to head on over to EC Puzzle #2. EC Puzzle #1 Solution
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 […]
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.
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 […]
Here’s a fun, crash course on the how, where, and, why of fresh fruits and vegetables. Start following these insanely simple tips and you’ll be amazed to see far fewer of your food dollars (hopefully, none) in the garbage in the form of stinky, rotten produce.
From time to time, it’s good to do a mental reset to renew and restore our minds. Try it now, even if you have nothing to smile about.
I love to do laundry. I’m crazy that way. Here are some of my favorite laundry tips that just might help you fall in love with doing laundry, too! Or at least stop hating it so much 😂
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 […]
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
One standard stick of butter in the U.S. contains 8 tablespoons, measures 1/2 cup and weighs 1/4 pound.
Buy the most quality you can afford and you’ll save the most in the long run—and enjoy the luxury of quality bath towels in the process.
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 …
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 …
Potatoes—they’re nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive. And as they come perfectly baked from the oven, they’re gluten-free, low-fat, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan.
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?
Want your kids to grow up with healthy attitudes about money? Start living the way you want them to become. Let your kids regularly catch you in the act of living financially responsible lives, and you’ll be on your way to raising financially responsible kids.
I could teach you how to be an extreme couponer. I’ve had a lot of experience, including the time I demonstrated on location, live on national TV from a large supermarket. Couponing is a legit way to spend less, but it’s a lot of work and is mainly limited to grocery and drug stores. Earning cash […]
Whenever I write about my love of coffee—especially Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte—which admittedly has turned me into a coffee snob, reader feedback is as enthusiastic as it is voluminous. I’m happy to know I’m not alone in my snobbery. Many of you bring up interesting points—questions, too. Like what to do with brewed coffee that […]
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 🎃
If you think organizing your home or getting your personal affairs in order requires a lot of time, you might be right. However, if you feel that you just don’t have enough time to spend on these tasks, then you’re probably wrong. All you have to do is recognize little chunks of free time throughout the day.
Soup is a great frugal, potentially delicious meal that can successfully be made from leftovers. It’s a great way to “waste-not-want-not” because potentially, you can get a free meal for your efforts.
I don’t care much for pain. In fact, I’ll do almost anything to avoid it. I also know that pain can be a good thing. The human nervous system triggers a pain sensation to stop us from doing something that might cause a severe injury and to let us know something may be wrong.
Times are tough. Inflation is at a 40-year high. Restaurants continue to face budget-busting challenges from the pandemic and labor crisis. But that’s not all. As I write this sentence, food prices have increased by 18%, which may have risen even higher when you read it. Here’s the Weird Thing Sure, restaurant menu prices have […]
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!
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.
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 🍁 🍂 🍎 🥮 ❣️
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 […]
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.
Here it is mailbag day, when I reach into my virtual mailbag to read and respond to a handful of letters and messages from my wonderful readers. I love hearing from you about your questions, feedback, thoughts, and ideas. Today’s Q’s are on Pet Odor, Line-Dried Towels, HOT Cold-Brew and MORE!
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 […]
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…
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 …
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.
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.
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 ☀️
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.
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 […]
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.
If recent world events have given you on big fat wake-up call, you are not alone. The message is clear—every household needs food in storage. It’s time to prepare and stockpile these items because they have a long shelf.
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
These days, as the cost of just about everything increases, the best way to stretch money is to be smart with it. Could your space use a minor refresh? These affordable home upgrades just might do the trick. Let’s face it, the cost of everything is skyrocketing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
One of the best ways to preserve—the method of food preservation that is making a big comeback—is known as “canning.” Canning is not tricky, but it is a procedure that should be followed precisely.
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.
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.
Have you ever walked into the kitchen to get that first cup of coffee only to discover someone left the ice cream on the counter all night? Or the milk? I don’t hate spoiled food as much as I did before I found clever ways to use items I used to throw out.
Seeing a retirement account as a savings account—or worse, a personal ATM—is super risky. Sure it’s your money, but it’s not your money now. It’s for later. 5 reasons you should not even think about borrowing from it.
You’ll find it in small boxes in the supermarket aisle next to flour, sugar, and cake mixes. It comes in 10-lb. bags at Costco, shelved next to the pancake and waffle mix. It’s a key ingredient in light, fluffy biscuits. But baking soda is not just for baking.
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 […]
Even though not 100% organized, I pride myself on housekeeping to the point of being accused a time or two of being a wee bit compulsive. This brings me to the matter of vacuum cleaners. I’m particular, if not freakish, about vacuums. There was a time when I wore out vacuums so often that the […]
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 …
It’s a lot easier to open a credit card account than to close one! Let’s just say that when it comes to credit, breaking up is hard to do!
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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!
So how can you afford to care for your pet—in sickness and in health? Make prevention maintenance your top priority as a pet owner, and you’ll save later. All that and much more in this article.
It’s no secret that Chromebooks are taking over the computer market. And now they’re better than ever—improved functionality and an excellent user experience!
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 […]
If you’ve ever ducked in the supermarket to pick up a yummy, hot rotisserie chicken for dinner then tossed the remains in the garbage when no one was looking, this is for you. Don’t do that anymore, hear? Do this instead …!
Got more time than money? No problem. There are so many things you and your family can do fun things without spending money—next weekend or any time of the year. Consider these ideas to help get some plans in motion.
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.
While we have lots of DIY cleaner recipes in our EC arsenal, a good quality, a good reliable upholstery cleaner was missing. And now we can check it off with this new handy, effective DIY recipe for homemade upholstery cleaner.
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 […]
Having some method for the water you drink and cook with pass through a water filter is the best way to assure great-tasting water without the high cost of having to haul bottled water into the house. And you have excellent choices for how to do that.
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 […]
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.
If your Keurig coffee machine serves up multiple cups daily, you may want to check out this article. While drinking coffee has health benefits, using your Keurig machine daily without routine cleaning and maintenance can lead to awful consequences.
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 […]
The finish on hardwood flooring is not fragile, but it is not indestructible, either. Hardwood floors must be cleaned properly to protect their beauty and fine finish.
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
Financial budgets are like training wheels: they help you get moving and offer you confidence as you learn how to balance.
Have you figured out ways to keep things cool indoors this summer without sending your utility bills through the stratosphere? If you could use some help, here are some tips, tricks, and great ideas to help you stay cool without burning a hole in the budget.
The program worked like magic. In just three days our boys became non-whiners just as the booklet’s author promised. It was not so, however, for their mother.
Today’s the day I reach into the inbox and pull out some of your questions and only because I want you to feel free to ask me anything! Here is a quick summary of the questions I’ll answer in today’s post. You can click on one to go straight to it or just scroll down […]
In today’s post I’ve identified 20 ways to use hydrogen peroxide around the house. Something tells me I may have missed a few. I’m counting on you to help identify them! Please tell us in the comments. See you there … Love, xo m
If soaring costs are getting you down, finding ways to reduce expenses will help keep your head above water and your spirits high. This post offers seven ways to save money on your cell phone bill. By applying one or more of these tips you may be able to cut your monthly bill in half!
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!
I love my Instant Pot—the greatest time-saving, magic-producing, easy-to-use kitchen appliance known to [wo]mankind. But I have to admit the idea of making Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce in a single pot, all at the same time sounded fabulous. But the process just did not sit well with me.
When it comes to housekeeping, there’s nothing quite so lovely as the smell of nothing. That’s the way clean is supposed to smell—like absolutely nothing!
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!” […]
A plugged-up sink, shower, or tub drain sends most people running for either a bottle of caustic drain cleaner or a plumber’s phone number. But wait. Unclogging a drain could well be a job you can do yourself successfully without caustic chemicals or a big bill.
Effective tomorrow July 10, the cost of USPS stamps will increase incrementally and continually. This is what you need to know.
Cutting the cost of clothes is less about finding bargains and more about knowing what to wear, where to buy and when to stop buying.
One of the most memorable letters I’ve received in my writing career came from a reader reporting on how she and her husband took a big financial leap of faith with their daughter—a move that paid off big. Dear Mary: I wanted to tell you the secret of sticking to a budget on […]
It’s only a mistake if you can’t fix it, and that is especially true in the kitchen. Here are 15 ways to cook your way out of common kitchen mistakes so that no one is the wiser
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. […]
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.
Whatever summer adventures you have planned—the beach, pool, campground, or even your own backyard—these cool summer tips, tricks, hacks, and DIYs will bring a smile to your face and perhaps even a sigh of relief. There’s still plenty of time to get out there and do summer like a champ!
From regular oil changes to changing furnace filters and annual trips to the dentist, smart consumers know that preventive maintenance can avoid costly repairs down the road. Insurance is another item that needs to go on your routine maintenance list.
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 […]
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 […]
Amazon Prime Day (well, actually two days this year) is July 12 and 13. What follows is everything I know about the event and I thought you would like to know, too. And guess what? We have a pop-up “store” that’s not really a store but a place to keep all our lists and links […]
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 ❣️
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 […]
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.
Imagine how much cash you’d have right now if you could get a do-over on all the thoughtless purchases—money wasters—you’ve made in your lifetime. Stop paying for stupid stuff—also known as super money wasters! Learn which items you really can do without and watch your savings grow!
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!
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.
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 […]
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.
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!
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.
If you’re looking for ways to get cash for stuff you no longer need or want, there are a number of options both online and locally where you could earn top dollar. You just need to know where to look. Here are the best places to get rid of your old stuff for the best price.
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? …
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
Even if you never clip a single coupon, you can still cut your grocery bill in half just by changing the way that you shop. These five secrets are about to change your life forever!
Tension rods can perform a variety of functions to corral clutter and get it perfectly organized. Typically used to hang curtains, are one of the world’s most underrated tools. They’re easy to install, and won’t leave marks on walls or in drawers, cupboards, and closets. And best of all? Tension rods are CHEAP!
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 […]
These are the four vacuums—worker bees!—that I own, love, and do not want to live without: Upright, stick vac, handheld, and a robot too …
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.
Every moment that you mourn the passing of the way things were, is a moment lost in the present. Concentrate on where you are and plan for how you will face the future.
Mr. Hard-to-Buy-For is no match for these ideas that you can still order and get in time for Fathers Day!
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.
Four methods to get your cabinets clean and gorgeous—plus a bonus for how to keep them looking that way!
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.
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.
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 […]
Should you or someone you love be turning into a dorm dweller, consider this list of essentials that will go a long way to make dorm life easier, functional, and looking good, too.
I love a beautiful yard, but I hate spending a lot of money to get it that way which explains why I am always looking for do-it-yourself cheap ways to kill weeds, grow vegetables, and feed lawns.
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.
I love to bake, however, baking has not always been fond of me. We’ve had our moments. It wasn’t until I surrendered to the following recipes exactly (duh!) that our relationship made the turn …
That switch! “Forward” spins one way, “Reverse” the other. But why? What for? Counterclockwise in winter … or is it summer? Does it make any difference? Oh yes, it does!
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 …
Over the years I’ve collected a bunch of really great travel tips—some fun, some crazy, but all of them very useful if only to avoid a headache or two. Here are 25 of my favorites:
Fruit flies are amazing —amazingly annoying! And those disgusting little flies are no match for these super easy traps and potent potions.
If you love good pulled chicken (pork, beef) barbecue sandwiches, this recipe is going to knock your socks off. It’s tender, moist, and perfectly seasoned—a great solution for any busy cook who longs to serve authentic barbecue.
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 🇺🇸
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.
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 🧻 ❣️
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 💌
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 […]
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 […]
With this copycat recipe and a strategic collection of spices, you’ll be all set to clone Mrs. Dash Original Salt-Free Seasoning Blend for months and months—perhaps even longer. It’s an investment you will be grateful to have made because it’s going to save you a ton of money!
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
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!
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, 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 […]
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.
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.
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
If you’ve ever wondered if it’s okay to wash your down comforter instead of taking it to the dry cleaners, the answer is yes! Follow these simple steps …
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 …
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 […]
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.
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, […]
Impossible pies are just the best because they’re easy to make and always turn out so well. They’re family-friendly, too. Even your pickiest eaters are going to love them.
Growing up in Boise, Ida. (shout out to all my Gem State readers) my parents had a percolator. I can still hear that coffee pot perking away in the mornings. My mom used something called Dip-It powder to keep the thing clean. That’s a memory that sent me into research mode, prompted by today’s first reader […]
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.
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 …
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 🎉
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.
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.
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 […]
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 …
Using inexpensive distilled white vinegar in the laundry is smart because it will whiten, brighten, reduce odor, and soften clothes without harsh chemicals.
Maintenance and home repair are a never-ending reality for just about everyone. But it doesn’t have to be painful or necessarily expensive …
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 […]
The heavier the load, the more difficult the journey and the more trouble you’ll have reaching your goals. Heavy burdens make it difficult to keep up.
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 🚗
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. 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 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.
This is a copycat recipe for Bisquick, but even better than Bisquick, because it includes dry milk, which means that to use all you add is water.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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?
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
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
If you love your pets but have just about had it with finding their hair everywhere from the couch to the bed and even a hair or two with dinner—help is on the way!
You can’t stop the shedding but there are a number of brilliant, inexpensive solutions for keeping the pet hair problem under beautiful control—even in the car.
Whether they come from your garden, the market, or florist, you can persuade cut flowers to remain beautiful for weeks longer when you are careful to follow a few fabulous flower secrets.
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.
I don’t really have a mailbag but it would be fun if I did. What I do have is a file named EC_Mailbag. That’s where I save all of the questions and letters that you, my Dear Readers, send to me. I just don’t have the time to respond personally so I love it when I get to answer your questions …
I love the smell of a campfire smoke mixed with the scent of pine trees on a cool summer night. In the mountains at a campsite in a pristine national forest. But stale cigarette smoke odor in a car or home? Smoke odor from a house fire? That’s something different and not at all pleasant.
I have a special treat for you today. It’s a recipe. I usually 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 […]
For a few months running, I was on a tear to discover all I could about citric acid. What I’ve learned, tested, and tried is amazing. So get ready as I lay out the case for adding citric acid to the list of cheap natural products we need to keep our homes sparkling clean. What […]
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.
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.
What’s for dinner? How about Pot Roast in crock pot that makes its own gravy? That takes only a few minutes to prepare, then all day in slow cooker on the table in an hour with Instant Pot? That’s what I’m talking about …
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 …
In the same way that there are rules in life for things like how to drive a car, how to cook a meal, or how to manage your money, there are a few simple rules for how to keep white clothes looking brilliant and clean. And, if they happen to get a bit dull, gray, or yellowed, there are rules for how to restore the brightness of washable white clothing, too.
Let me show you how to make 15 of the BEST homemade salad dressings you can imagine—from scratch! Chances are good that your favorite is in the lineup. Get ready cuz you’re about to save a ton of money. Promise!
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.
It was Christmas Eve. Everything was ready, our overnight company would be arriving in a matter of hours. I opened the refrigerator to discover the inside had reached a balmy 70° F. This could not have happened at a worse time. Away to my computer, I flew like a flash, straight to RepairClinic.com, where I entered […]
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.
The idea of emergency preparedness is good, but having an idea is not good enough. Where to start? That’s where most of us get stuck for lack of useful, specific direction …
Avocados are fickle. Sometimes, they seem like they’re ready to eat, and at other times avocados look like they’ll be rotten before you get them home. This unpredictability isn’t just expensive ($1.25 each for medium, $2.50 each for large at my local supermarket, as I write); it also contributes to wasted food. No magic gadget […]
As wonderful as a washing machine is when it comes to saving time and effort, it can also be a troublesome member of the household. It is critical that you perform a washing machine check-up now.
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 […]
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.
Chances are good you’ve noticed the price of ordinary grocery items beginning to soar. The Wall Street Journal is reporting these food items are getting more costly in 2022: mac and cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, soup, coffee, and snacks. And don’t assume it will stop there.
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 …
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!
Surprise! Today, instead of sharing tips you’ve sent to me, I’ve decided to hog the entire column to share some of my own. Several of these are oldies but goodies, while some I have discovered recently. I do love a great tip.
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 …
Dryer sheets have so many other uses around that home that have nothing to do with laundry—indoors, outdoors, and in the garage too.
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 […]
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
All that said, if you have an Instant Pot, yes, you can use the slow cooker setting to make some dishes successfully. But mostly for me, it has been a crapshoot. Let’s just say that I’ve experienced far more misses than hits. Every attempt to use Instant Pot’s slow cook option has ended in some level of disappointment.
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?!”
These scrumptious sauce recipes help you eat out less, enjoy eating at home more—and pocket the difference.
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.
Now more than ever it’s time to slash expenses in order to preserve cash. Gasoline, Food, Utilities—the cost of everything is soaring!
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!
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.
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 …
Here is a wonderfully creative collection of tips that spotlight my readers’ resourcefulness and intelligence in the kitchen and pantry. Get ready to take conventional wisdom to an unconventional level.
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 …
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 […]
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.” […]
With my crazy schedule, I am always on the lookout for the fastest meals possible. These homemade soups are fast, family-friendly and … fabulous!
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to overnight accommodations, I don’t care that much about how pretty the lobby might be; if the place has bell service, bottles of French water, or movies on demand. What I need in a hotel is a safe location, impeccable cleanliness, a comfortable bed, a hot shower, soft towels, and a TV with at least a few channels.
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
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 …
Think you can’t get a better deal on quality LED lightbulbs? Well, think again! Look at this most unlikely resource …
It’s not new. The blue and yellow can is about as familiar as anything I remember growing up. Banished to a shelf in the garage, I assumed WD-40 was an automotive thing. Boy, was I wrong! This stuff is amazing.
A Chromebook In many situations is much better (and so much cheaper) than a Microsoft Windows or MAC computer because it operates using Chrome OS which is secure, fast, and super simple.
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 …
Don’t let your leftover pizza sit in the fridge until it dries up, curls up, and turns downright disgusting. Do this instead …
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.
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.
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 ….
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 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.
Same As Cash!, Nothing Down, No Interest, No Payments Until Next Summer! … or a very popular one these days, 0% Interest on Balance Transfers until 2024!
Old family photos. We sure can’t get rid of them. But we’re not quite sure what to do with them, either. So mostly we do nothing. Maybe it’s time to stop doing nothing. Are you with me? I have a few ideas for how we can get started.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Got ice and snow on top of super cold temperatures this winter? At least one of these recipes for Homemade Ice Melt is sure to come to your rescue to keep your steps, porch, walkways, and even the driveway safe from slipping … or much easier to shovel clear.
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.
For those of us for whom Super Bowl is more about the snacks than the game itself (someone had to say it), you’re going to love these appetizers that are quick, delicious, and easy on the budget.
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!)
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!
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.
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 […]
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?
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 🥖 🍞 ❣️
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 make simple, rich, hearty, healthy and flavorful chicken soup in about 50 minutes—from scratch!—start to finish.
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 […]
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!
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!
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.
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.
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:
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 …
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.
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.
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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.
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 […]
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 …
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 […]
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 sitting back, relaxing and enjoying this beautiful time together—knowing everything is under control. Here’s […]
With only a few days to go before Christmas, it’s easy to allow a sense of panic to set in. Could you use a rescue? Perhaps a few ideas for doable, desirable gifts? Maybe a stocking stuffer or two? And wouldn’t it be great if you can do all of this without leaving the house? […]
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!
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 […]
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
If there’s one subject that shows up in my inbox more often than any other, it has to be rust. Ugly, orange-ish stains on tubs, showers, toilets; washing machines and sinks, even stainless steel. Good news! I have a story followed by a very effective, if not exciting, solution.
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!
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 […]
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!
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.
Enjoy these simple inexpensive ideas to make your home smell like Christmas using the scents of pine, cranberries, cinnamon, oranges and spice.
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?
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 […]
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.
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 🎁 ❣️
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.
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.
Face it, some people are just not easy-to-buy-for. That’s why I’m here to help—I’ve got you covered!
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
If you have kids in your life age 3 and up to young adult, consider these excellent books to get those conversations started—discussions that will begin to open the doors to financial literacy.
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.
Trust me on this. Magnificent Cinnamon Rolls in just 43 minutes from start to glorious finish—and just 3 ingredients!
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, […]
Deals Worth Sharing: Black Friday | Cyber Monday 2021 NOTE: Prices and availability are changing quickly—faster than I can keep up with in some cases—so please click through to see the exact details and availability. Whew! […]
Adding 1/2 cup of borax to every load of laundry will do all kinds of wonderful things to keep your white things white, your laundry, and your washing machine odor-free.
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 […]
I must admit to a kind of love-hate relationship with bacon. On the one hand, my family loves bacon, which means I cook it often. And until I discovered the best, easiest way to do that, I dreaded having to fry bacon to the point of avoiding it!
These are the best gift ideas ever for foodies, gourmet cooks, and home chefs because they’re super useful—affordable, too!
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 […]
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 […]
Furnishing a kitchen well, if only minimall, requires essential items to ensure the kitchen will be used for cooking and preparing meals—not a convenient place to stack take-out containers!
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.
Fresh or frozen? Large or small? Hen or Tom? Here is everything you need to know to select the best turkey at the best price.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 …
Looking for some great campervan gifts for friends or family members who just got their new van, are more seasoned RVers or serious campers?
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.
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 […]
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.
On those super busy days when you just don’t have time to cook at home but it’s just too expensive to eat out, “semi fast food” is a great way to combine quick-service food with home cooking to save time and money.
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.
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!
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!
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.
The truth is that generics are often a great buy because the quality of the product is exactly equal or sometimes even better than the name brand counterpart. Here are six winners:
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!
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!
Gadgets that do cool stuff are awesome. And when they also function to save money? That is amazing. Consider these 11 money-savers that are so great, they’ll recoup their cost quickly, in their first year (your mileage may vary).
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.
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.
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 […]
These days, jeans seem to rip and fall apart long before their time, a problem with simple solutions for how to make jeans last longer.
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 …
Want to make your life easier? Clean out, clean up, and get your clothes closet organized! You’ll know what you have and where to find it!
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 […]
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
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.
It’s safe to say we’re all aware that Italy is where one would find the best leather. I’d just never thought about the Italians having superior knowledge for how to care for said leather …
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! […]
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 …
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.
Knowing how to make cleaning products for pennies rather than spending dollars for them at the store just makes me happy. It’s a no-brainer!
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.
The most important thing you can do to make your personal economy strong is to have an umbrella—an emergency fund with enough money in it to pay all of your bills for six months. And it needs to be safe (safe from you!) and secure in a bank account.
Every day when I open my inbox, I find dozens, if not hundreds, of questions from the audience. Want to know the most-asked-about subject? Stains. Nasty, ugly, stubborn stains on everything you can imagine from concrete to laundry, and teeth, too.
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!
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 …
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 …
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 […]
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.
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 …
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.
Once upon a time, there was a restaurant located in Fountain Valley, Calif. Mañanas’ claim to fame—fresh, hot, homemade flour tortillas. Mañanas had a machine—a big, long, crazy machine—set right out in the open in plain sight. It alone was worth the trip, if only to watch a tiny ball of dough start at one […]
If you want to reduce your food costs and at the same time raise your grocery shopping IQ, start thinking cost-per-serving rather than price-per-pound. It’s not difficult, but oh what a difference it makes!
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 […]
I have a love/hate relationship with carpeting. I love how it looks, how it feels under my feet and how it warms up a room. But I hate dirty carpet; I cannot abide a dirty spot, which is a future stain just waiting to happen. The thought of what lurks between those fibers gives me the heeby-geebies.
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 […]
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
Recently this desperate message with a subject line Dishwasher Disaster! washed up in my inbox. I came this close to ignoring that message because I didn’t have much to go on. There are so many variables. But then I stopped short, knowing the first thing I’d try if this were a problem in my kitchen …
Nearly everything at the store, from beef and cereal, to fruit and veggies, costs more than it did a year ago. Inflation is the culprit eating away at your budget. Food prices are through the roof—and continuing to skyrocket …
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.
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.
That dishwasher in your kitchen is a workhorse. It does a great job of cleaning dishes, of course. But you may not have considered so many other things it will clean and sanitize—things like wastebaskets, baseball caps, filters, and toys. Seriously!
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.
It happens all the time. Someone asks me if I miss living in California, a question I find truly appropriate. After all, I did live there for most of my life and in some ways, we are still adjusting to a much different life in more rural northern Colorado. My inquirers assume my list of […]
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 […]
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.
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 …
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 …
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!
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 …
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.
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.
Toilet bowls develop discolorations for many reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the housekeeping …
Whether your goal is to purge your home of stuff you no longer need or you want to raise some cash—or both—you have options.
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.
From time to time my supermarket runs a special on a cut of beef labeled, “London Broil.” It’s a very lean piece of meat, about 1 1/2 inches thick, and tough as shoe leather. You may wonder why I load up my freezer when it goes on sale, and quite often for about $5 a […]
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 […]
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.
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 …
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.
Your slow cooker has a hidden talent for making incredible salads. Let it slow-cook the main ingredients (and keep the kitchen cool during this hot weather) for a creative salad while you’re away. Then toss in a few fresh additions just before it’s time to serve. What a great hot weather meal idea!
I’ve been accused of thinking I have an answer for everything (you know who you are, my dear husband), and that kinda’ makes me laugh because I have to admit that maybe I do think that. For certain, I love to reach into the mailbag to find so many letters from my readers, many of which include questions, for which I have answers …
Follow these tips to cut back on your smartphone data habit, track and monitor your usage, and stretch your data plan—so you never have to pay overage charges again.
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.
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 …
Well, you’ve done it again! You clever readers have come up with another batch of fabulous ways that all of us can save time and money doing stuff like cleaning the annoying, cloudy film from your car’s headlight covers—and lots more.
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.
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.
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?
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 […]
Whether you just graduated, you’re taking a break from school, or have already started repaying your student loans, these tips will help you keep your student loan debt under control.
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.
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
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.
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
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 …
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
I love to hear from my readers. I encourage you to write to me, and for that, I get hundreds of messages every day—questions galore, great stories, lots of love, and tons of encouragement. Please, never stop writing to me! While I do read every single message, I simply cannot respond to all of them. […]
It’s no secret that dishwasher detergents are specifically formulated to be used in automatic dishwashers. What may surprise you is that these products’ grease- and dirt-busting abilities can be used outside the dishwasher in many useful ways.
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 …
I’ve used Nok-Out and now its companion SNiPER continuously in my home for longer than 20 years, and have recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues. Thousands of people have reported back how Nok-Out has saved the day on more than a few occasions.
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.
UPDATE 6-24-21: While Prime Day has now passed, some (not all!) of the great deals from Prime Day 2021 are still active. What you see below are current up-to-the-minute prices. Most have now returned to their full Amazon prices (many were more than 50% discounted … wow). We’ll pick this up again for […]
Before you toss out that steam iron because it refuses to steam and the soleplate is now sporting a brown, burned-on, gross mess—give it a little love with a good clean out and clean-up.
You might be surprised how easy it is to bring that iron back to working like a dream!
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.
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 …
If you hate your carpet because it’s old, stained, and bordering on disgusting, I have great news. There are steps you can take that will have you falling in love with it all over again.
They’re packed with nutritional goodness, available almost everywhere, and relatively cheap when compared to the soaring cost of other proteins like meat and poultry. But the cheapest and most available eggs in the world are not likely to impact your food budget unless you know how to prepare them well.
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.
When asked by friends what to do for their flea-infested home, I grabbed my collection of natural, non-toxic pest control recipes and retrieved the perfect solution for fleas. I thought you might enjoy knowing about that plus more remedies for all kinds of home and garden pests.
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 […]
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.
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.
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 💤 😴 🛌
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
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 average American household spends most of its money—62% of an average $60,060 in annual expenditures—on just three things: housing, transportation, and food. If you’re trying to cut costs and save money, food is the place to get started.