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Your Money Temperament and Why it Matters

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


3 Places to Find Extra Cash for Christmas

It’s still summer, but it’s not too early to start planning for Christmas. If you’re ready to make this year a debt-free Christmas, I’ve got three very useful ways to find the extra cash you’ll need to do that. Time is of the essence because Christmas will be here before we know it!


19 Surprising Chlorine Bleach Uses Beyond Laundry

That jug of liquid chlorine bleach sitting in the laundry room has all sorts of uses that have nothing to do with laundry. It can help keep your flowers looking fresh, purify water in emergencies, and even lend a hand when you’re cleaning up after a disaster. 1. Deter Mosquitoes While we think of liquid […]


No More Flabby Celery and More Great Reader Tips

If you suffer the heartbreak of flabby celery, asparagus, and fresh herbs despite your best efforts to keep them fresh and lovely at least as long as it takes to use them up—one simple change in how you’re storing them could make all the difference. That and so much more in today’s post, all courtesy of your fellow EC readers!


National Cheese Pizza Day Deals – Sep 5 2023

This information has expired — check back next year! These deals for National Cheese Pizza Day Sep 5, 2023 could save you some dough. Blaze Pizza Want $5 off your next order of $15 or more? All you have to do is join Blaze Rewards! In honor of National Cheese Pizza Day, the national chain […]


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

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


Like Finding Money You Didn’t Know You Had

You know the feeling when you reach into the pocket of a coat or pants you haven’t worn for a while and pull out a $20 bill? What would it feel like if you pulled out hundreds of dollars? And what if you found money like that month after month? It’s not magic—you can make […]


EC Daily Hot Deals – September 2023

NOTE: Deals posted here were valid and available at the “deal price” when published. Things can (and do) change quickly. Previous days’ deals remain on this Deals Page without further monitoring or regard for whether they are still available or the Hot Deal price is still valid. (That way, you can see what you missed […]


Give But Give Wisely

It’s that time of year again—everyone wants your money. Brace yourself for more dinnertime phone calls and mailbox solicitations. That doesn’t make giving a horrible thing to endure, but the tactics should make us sit up and take notice.  Look, giving is good for us. It’s the best way to pull the drain plug on […]


News You Can Use – September 2023

Looking for a past news article? August 2023 July 2023 9-22-23 Auto Shop Scams In the survey by American Trucks, over half of the individuals reported losing almost $1,000 due to unnecessary or fraudulent repairs. Sadly, 56% of these victims thought their lack of knowledge led them to be easy targets.  The solution to this […]


12 Things About Life Insurance I Wish I’d Known Sooner

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.


19 Hacks to Keep Cool When It’s Super Hot Outdoors

Whatever hot weather 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!


Ask Me Anything: Lost Wallet, 529s, Dubious Credit

Today’s batch of reader questions reminds me how complicated our lives have become since the introduction of consumer credit. Some days I long for simpler times when cash was king—before there was no such thing as a trillion-dollar consumer credit industry attempting to control our lives.


The Absolute Best Way To Get Cash Back When Shopping Online

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 rebates from thousands of retailers actually works much better for me.


Back-to-School Brings Out Shopping Lists and Fundraisers, Too

Have I been sleeping in a cave for 100 years? Sure feels like it. I just read that as a nation, we will spend (brace)  $41.5 billion getting our kids outfitted to go back to school this fall. And by outfit I mean with all the “proper” electronic gear, shoes with all the bells and whistles […]


End-of-Life Preplanning Brings Peace of Mind

  Planning for their parents’ end-of-life expenses is about the last thing most adult children want to deal with. At least not right now. A traditional funeral with end-of-life services with extras like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards and limousines can bring the total to $15,000 or more. Families often overspend on a funeral or burial because […]


The One Thing We Need to Keep Going

Encouragement. For me it is a basic need or perhaps a character flaw, I’m not quite sure. All I know is that I need encouragement, and I need it often. I have a feeling that you do, too. This matter of getting out of debt, living below our means, and learning how to manage our money can be a very discouraging proposition at times.


NEW! Best Inexpensive Cotton Bed Sheets for 2023

Let me tell you about my mission to discover the Best Inexpensive cotton sheet sets. It’s been going on for many months. It costs a fortune because as you know, when I test products for you I purchase them myself. I do not want to be beholden in any way to a manufacturer, distributor, or […]


EC Daily Hot Deals – August 2023

NOTE: Deals posted here were valid and available at the “deal price” when published. Things can (and do) change quickly. Previous days’ deals remain on this Deals Page without further monitoring or regard for whether they are still available or the Hot Deal price is still valid. (That way, you can see what you missed […]


Back to School, Ready or Not!

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


News You Can Use – August 2023

  8-31-23 Food Prices Still Going Up Recently released federal pricing analysis from the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that food prices will continue to decelerate but not decline in 2024 … Full article → Refund, Please The times, they are a-changin’. New dating trend sees men asking for refunds when they don’t see a […]


These Fabulous Frozen Summer Treats are Cool—and Cheap!

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. 


12 Ways to Make it Christmas in July

Ahhh, summer. The days are long, the grass is green, the livin’ is easy and the last thing on your mind is Christmas in July.

While I hate to throw cold water on your barbecue, I need to warn you about something. The holidays are just a few short months away and if there’s anything we’ve learned in the past, Christmas can creep up on you like a too-tight swimsuit.

Blame it on SSAS—Severe Selective Amnesia Syndrome. People who suffer from this condition fall into some kind of seasonal coma. And it’s little wonder. For many, Christmas is no longer the most blessed, but the most stressed time of the year. And expensive.

Somehow we all manage to get through it, many with a pile of new debt. And who among us hasn’t begun the New Year vowing: Next year I’m starting earlier!

Whether you’re into getting started this early or not—I’ve got some great ideas for simple things you can do to celebrate Christmas in July. Come on … it’ll be fun!

See you there, Love xo m 🎄


11 Things You Should Never Plug Into a Power Strip

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


Three Apples a Day to Lose Weight

Now, while apples are plentiful and super affordable, it’s a good time to save some dough. And you’ll be saving something else, too. Calories! Researchers have compelling proof that three apples a day will get rid of fat …


Peaches—Tips, Tricks, My Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler and More Recipes!

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.


Is Your Credit or Debit Card Making You Fat?

The link between debt and being overweight is impulse. People are more likely to grab unhealthy foods on impulse and then carry through with the purchase if they’re using plastic instead of cash. What’s the solution? Leave the plastic at home.


This is Best Hack for Getting Rid of Fruit Flies Quickly and Effectively

Conventional wisdom suggests that if you are careful to remove every trace of detectable food source, you will have no fruit flies. Don’t believe it. For days this one tiny drosophila was driving us crazy at EC Central. I promise you that I scoured this place upside down and inside out to make sure there was not a single morsel of food out in the open. That sent me on a mission to put an end to this once and for all.


Get Pet Hair and Fragrance Build-Up Out of the Laundry

Dogs and cats shed. A lot. That pet hair can get all over the house—on rugs, on bedsheets, and clothes. It sticks to fabrics and won’t go away. How maddening to find it on the clean clothes from the dryer. What’s a person to do? Solutions in today’s post. Woof! ….


News You Can Use July 2023

7-31-23 🫒 Olive Oil The risk of dying of dementia is 28% lower among people who consume more than a half-tablespoon of olive oil a day. Replacing just one daily teaspoon of margarine or mayonnaise with olive oil could lower the risk of death from dementia. The “how” isn’t clear, but experts theorize olive oil’s anti-inflammatory […]


EC Daily Hot Deals – July 2023

NOTE: Deals posted here were valid and available at the “deal price” when published. Things can (and do) change quickly. Previous days’ deals remain on this Deals Page for one week without further monitoring or regard for whether they are still available or the Hot Deal price is still valid. That way, you can see […]


Reality vs. Perception Makes My Head Hurt

Had it not been required to graduate I would never have taken the class titled simply: Philosophy. Abstract thinking makes my head hurt. That’s why I felt a headache coming on when I heard television psychologist Dr. Phil say on his show, “There is no reality, only perception.”


You Need a Family Vacation: Tips and Ideas for Budget-Conscious Travelers

When I was a kid, family travel meant kids crammed into the back seat of a sedan, poking and elbowing one another while counting the miles between rest stops. Things have changed dramatically since then, but even with onboard DVD players, spacious minivans, air travel, cruises, and theme parks, family vacations can be either delightful or disastrous. It all depends on the care you devote to research and planning.


4 Absolutely Brilliant Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob

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


10 Incredibly Simple Travel Tips to Take Stress Out of Flying

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

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


8 Surfaces You Should Never Clean with Vinegar

Vinegar is an amazing and versatile cleaner for all kinds of applications around the house. However, because it is acidic it has limitations. Vinegar has the potential to harm certain surfaces. To prevent any damage, avoid using any strentgth vinegar on the following surfaces and household items. 1. Hardwood Floors Even regular supermarket plain white […]


The Best Inexpensive Toaster in 2023

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.


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

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


11 Mistakes to Avoid When Booking Your Next Flight

Most of us intuitively associate vacation and travel with huge expenses. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right kind of planning plus a few clever tricks and tips, it’s possible to enjoy travel without ripping a hole in the budget.  Face it, the most expensive and challenging part of trip—plane tickets. […]


DIY Wasp Trap That Really Works and More Great Reader Tips

Are you aware that your health insurance may cover the cost of gym membership? Or that 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 […]


EC Father’s Day Gift Guide 2023

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 …


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

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


Banana Pudding—Quick and Easy Show Stopper!

  Here it is … the most decadent, beautiful, quick, easy banana pudding ever. No summer (or any time of year for that matter) gathering is complete without a big, creamy, cookie-laden banana pudding dessert that is make-ahead-friendly and pleases every age. This is the dessert your family and friends will request for every special […]


Simple Ways We Can Celebrate Memorial Day

May 29th is Memorial Day in the U.S. this year. 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. I have a few suggestions.


15 Things That Should Never Go in the Clothes Dryer

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

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


Wash, Clean, Detail Your Car and You Can Keep $150 In Your Pocket

When you think of spring cleaning, you probably think of your home. But what about your car? It has served you well all winter long. It’s been through the mud, the snow, sleet, sand, and salt. It needs a good spring clean, too! You could take your car to a professional and spend $150 or more to get it detailed cleaned up for Spring. Or you can keep the cash and do it yourself.


8 Natural Ways Will Send Rascally Rabbits Out of Your Yard and Garden

As adorable as these creatures are, rabbits can wreak havoc on a lawn and garden. Garden centers, home improvement stores, and online resources offer commerical products to help gardeners protect their plants from rabbits.

But here’s the problem: commercial repellents are expensive, they require repeated applications, and some of them may contain chemicals that can pose health hazards to pets when ingested.

The solution is to find cheaper options that are equally effective to get rid of rabbits that are ruining your lawn and garden.

Rabbit repellents basically work in two ways to keep rabbits out of your flower and vegetable garden and off the lawn—they produce a smell or taste that is repulsive for rabbits but without harm. Homemade repellents are not only less expensive, but a safe alternative to commercial products …


7 Easy-to-Fix Reasons Your Dishwasher is Not Cleaning Like It Should

Few things are more disappointing than opening the dishwasher to put away its clean contents, only to be greeted by dirty dishes and cloudy glassware. It’s understandable how you might conclude it’s time to get a new machine. But hold on. Before you toss a perfectly good dishwasher, consider these seven things you may be doing wrong, any one of which may be causing this frustrating situation.


I Gave This $5 Seatbelt Gadget a Test—Here’s My Honest Review

Attention all vertically-challenged adults, teens, children, and all those who love them: The days of seatbelt hatred are over. Seatbelts cutting into our necks are history. I have good news that will change your life, your kids’ lives, too— the way it has mine.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am considered short of […]


15 Best Gifts for Anyone Who Likes to Cook (or Eat!)

Over the past few years, many people have discovered a love for cooking and baking at home. And a lot of people just love eating unique, gourmet fare. For all of those people in your life, we’ve got the perfect cooking, baking, and eating gifts to delight them—think Japanese cutlery, fondue sets, espresso, sous vide, […]


8 Easy Ways to Slash the High Cost of Prescription Drugs in 2023

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.


EC’s Best Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day 2023

Enjoy this Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2023—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 14 will be here before we know it!


EC Daily Newsletter Archive

Sep 21, 2023      No More Back-of-the-Closet Mistakes -How to stop making those expensive faux pas! Sep 20, 2023      Budget Bites: Chinese Fried Rice! – Because it’s National Fried Rice Day! Sep 19, 2023      Free Basil Galore! –  How to propagate it … and make homemade pesto! Sep 18, 2023      Put Money Back in Your Wallet […]


How to Break the Habit That’s Eating Up Your Future

Let’s not beat around the bush. Eating out is eating up your future. It’s gobbling down your present and keeping you stuck in the past. That heavy debt you’re hauling around didn’t happen while you were asleep. Chances are pretty good that you are eating your way into even deeper debt. Breaking the eating-out habit isn’t […]


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

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

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

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

xo m


Absolutely the Best Homemade Laundry Stain Remover

I’m excited to tell you how to make a fabulous, if not magical, do-it-yourself homemade stain remover. This stain remover recipe is so easy and cheap to make. And wow, does it perform! Just let me be clear at the get-go: While this stain remover works super well on fabric, upholstery, and carpet in the […]


13 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Would you be willing to accept a reduction in pay if you could work fewer hours to spend more time with your family? It is a lovely thought, but how realistic? Working less usually means earning less—hardly an option for most people. But that doesn’t mean we cannot take small steps to simplify our complicated lives. A little bit here and there, and before you know it, your efforts will add up to something significant.


This $10 Self-Sharpening Gadget is Best Thing Ever to Speed Meal Prep

For years, I’ve been relying on a pair of produce peelers. One is red, the other green. Green is for hard-skinned produce like potatoes, carrots, apples—the red peeler for delicate, soft-skinned items like tomatoes, pears, and grapes. OK, just kidding about the grapes, but you get the idea …  I’ve come to loathe my peelers, […]


Best Inexpensive Portable Power Bank and More to Keep You Powered Up

It’s hard to imagine how we’d live our lives without all of the electronic devices we’ve come to depend upon. I’m talking about everything from mobile phones to portable computers, watches, tablets, headphones, earbuds, fitness and GPS trackers; eReaders, too.

The best way to make sure you’re always powered up and ready to go it to make charging convenient. Not necessarily expensive, but well-thought-out.

Today, I thought I’d give you a quick tour of the charging gadgets I depend on and wouldn’t want to be without …


How Many Teaspoons in a Tablespoon?

Knowing basic cooking measurement conversions, such as how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon, can make a big difference in the kitchen. It allows you to confidently adjust recipes for different serving sizes and makes sure that your dishes turn out just right. So take the time to memorize these conversions and elevate your cooking […]


How to Win the Credit Card Balance Transfer Game

There’s nothing fun about credit card debt. An outstanding balance of $5,000 subject to 19.99% interest means you’re paying about $1,000 a year just in interest. Imagine if that $1,000 could go directly to repaying the balance instead. You could pay it off in record time instead of stringing it out for many years. If […]


How to Survive and Not Go Broke When Stranded in an Airport

The busiest travel season on record began and will last through Jan. 5, An estimated 47.5 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines during the winter holiday according to experts— up 3% from last year. Throw weather to the equation and your chances of getting stranded waiting for a flight grow immeasurably.

If you’ve ever set foot in an airport, you know what a ripoff that place can be if you have to buy basic necessities while you wait for a flight. The delay alone is going to feel like you’re out of luck, but your lack of planning can easily make you out of money, too.

Over the years, having traveled more than 1.5 million miles myself and spending more than a few nights in an airport—I’ve learned that it’s easy and super smart to prepare and anticipate the inevitable.

Here are my best tips for surviving an extended stay in an airport.

See you there … Love, xo m 🛩 🤞


Muffins in DIY Tulip Paper Liners to Celebrate Spring

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


Dare to Do the Unthinkable

On an ordinary hot summer day in rural Georgia just weeks before heading off for his first year of college, Scott Rigsby’s life was to change forever.


How to Clean the BBQ So You Can Get Grilling

A couple of weeks ago, with all the confidence in the world that winter had passed, I got everything ready for our first outdoor barbecue of the season. The weather was perfect, ditto for the menu. Shocked! I pulled the cover off the grill and got a shock—and not of the electrical kind. Actually, I […]


12 Frugal Laundry Tips That Will Save You A Fortune

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

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


How to Make Wool Dryer Balls

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


Dear Mary: Drowning in Debt, Bouquet Garni How-To, Quilt Rescue

It’s mailbag day, when I reach into my virtual mailbag and pull out for few questions from my dear Readers, attempting to respond with specific help and resources.   Dear Mary: How can I find a good financial counselor? We are not covering our monthly obligations and falling further and further behind. I am a […]


9 Common Houseplants That are Really Hard to Kill

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


A Simple Meal to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

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

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


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

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


What to Do When You’re Too Tired to Cook

If money is leaking out of your household and you aren’t quite sure where it’s going, I have an idea: Fast food. Busy households mean tired parents—too tired to cook. and that can easily result in getting take-out two or three times a week. Does anything there sound familiar? The last thing you need is […]


8 Ways Online Grocery Shopping Can Actually SAVE Money

There are few things more annoying than stopping at the supermarket to pick up a few things, hauling bags of groceries into the house, only to 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 🛒 ❣️


20 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

It makes a terrific vinaigrette for salad, but apple cider vinegar (ACV) is good in many other ways around the house and garden, too. Here are 11 ways that ACV may work well for you to treat everyday issues like dandruff, stinky feet, garden rabbits, and more. Prepare to be surprised!


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

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


How to Make The BEST Chinese Stir Fry Sauce

I’m done buying bottled, disappointing Asian-style sauces. That’s because I can confidently make all-purpose Chinese brown (stir fry) sauce cheaper, better, and faster than it takes to actually go to the store and search for something that *might* work …


Spring Cleaning Mistakes You Want to Avoid

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


Highly Effective Food Cost-Cutting Strategies for Every Lifestyle

Ever wonder why you never have enough money to consistently save some of it for emergencies? I’m talking about consistent, regular deposits out of every paycheck that go straight into a savings account.

Maybe it’s time to consider that you’re handing over your savings to restaurants, drive-thrus, diners, and coffee shops. Think about it.


Dear Mary: I’m Not Sure I Can Trust Her … Now What?

Of all the things I’ve ever dreamed of being, advice columnist was never on the list. But here I am playing one every day. That’s because while my inbox loads up with tips, hints, and questions related to frugal living and getting out of debt, many questions spill over into money-related dilemmas—advice on family, life, and love.


My Life as a Frog

I have been told if you attempt to pop a frog into a pot of boiling water he’ll jump out every time. But if you put the little fellow into a pot of cold water, set it on a low flame, and warm it slowly, he’ll sit back, relax and let you cook him to […]


How to Make Highly Effective Fruit and Vegetable Wash

To avoid illness from foodborne contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends washing produce thoroughly to help kill bacteria and make sure your fruits and vegetables are safe for consumption. But don’t waste your money on a fruit and vegetable spray or wash you see in store. Make it yourself for just pennies! I’ll show you how …


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

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


How to Turn Your Barbecue Grill into a Baking Oven

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


Think You Might Be a Cheapskate?

Not many people enjoy being called a cheapskate. But I do. I don’t think of it as an insult but a commentary on how far I’ve come. I was born a spender and I took that tendency to a horrible extreme ….


How to Clean, Condition, and Maintain Leather Furniture

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


How to Clean Cookie Sheet Pans So They Look New

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

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

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


5 Ways to Use a Tax Refund to Make Your Life Better

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

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


How to Get $1,000 Into Your Emergency Fund Almost Painlessly

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. Whether you think you cannot do such a thing or believe that you can, you’re right. It take mental toughness and willingness to see this as a scorched-earth project.


How to Hack Your Regular Vacuum to Reach Into Tight Spaces

Today I want to tell you about an inexpensive, super effective tool I that attaches to my vacuum cleaner’s hose that lets me vacuum places no vacuum could ever reach on its own. Every time I use it, I wonder how I had lived so long without VaccuFlex.

My first clue that things were not quite right with my clothes dryer was when suddenly it was taking forever to get anything dry!

I’d checked and re-checked the lint trap, so that wasn’t the problem. Turns out it was all kinds of lint that had been trapped, behind the trap farther inside the machine. And in the dryer vent line.

My laundry appliances are stacked so pulling the dryer down to get into those areas from the back was not at all practical. That’s when in desperation I ordered a VaccuFlex kit.

I removed the lint trap and stuck that hose all the way into that area. It was amazing. Shark nearly filled itself before I stopped pulling out lint balls. Then I went outdoors to vacuum through the outside of the dryer vent. And that fixed the problem. And it has gone on to fix so many other cleaning situations, too! You’re going to love this … See you there! Love, xo m


Recipes to Feed a Crowd and Not Go Broke

Graduation parties, rehearsal dinners, family reunions—it’s the season for large gatherings. If feeding lots of people has you in a panic, relax. I’ve got you covered with recipes for enough fabulous food to feed a crowd that won’t bust the budget.


Emergency Plan for Pets: 5 Ways to Prepare Fur Babies for Disasters

Preparing our homes and families for natural disasters and severe weather is a well-know subject here at Everyday Cheapskate. We talk about it a lot because it’s that important. But what about the pets? 83% of pet owners live in areas impacted by natural disasters, yet less than half have an emergency plan in place.


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

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

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


You Overspent on Christmas—3 Ways to Bounce Back

What went wrong? Put your mind on rewind and go back a few months. How come you overspent so much? Did you run out of cash before you got to the end of your list, so you started charging? Did you feel pressured to make sure the kids weren’t disappointed? Perhaps you didn’t anticipate expenses […]


Yummy Sweets to Make for Valentine’s Day

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


Best Ideas and Gifts (Him, Her, Kids!) to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

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

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


Best Electric Tea Kettles for 2023

An electric cordless tea kettle has become a must-have kitchen appliance to boil water quickly for tea, coffee, or faster pasta. Cordless electric tea kettles are typically quicker, quieter, and safer than stovetop tea kettles due to their automatic shut-off and boil-dry protectors. That means you can walk away without risk while getting ready in […]


Clutter’s Last Stand: How to Get Moving to De-Junk Your Life

What would we do if we actually had to use everything we own, including all that stuff in the drawers, cupboards, closets, shelves, and boxes in your kitchen, bedrooms, living room, basement, attic, garage, rafters, driveway, patio, side yard, and cars? Could we do it? It’s not likely. Instead, we pack it, stack it, and pile […]


Best Drugstore Makeup—Superior Quality, Super Affordable

Drugstore makeup has come a long way in recent years, offering high-quality and affordable options to create a soft natural look on one end and a full coverage look that lasts all day. But with the amazingly wide range of products available now at drugstores—in-store and online—getting started can be overwhelming.  But fear not because […]


How to Safelist Mary’s Everyday Cheapskate Daily Email

You can make sure Everyday Cheapskate daily email reaches your inbox by taking a moment right now to safelist Mary’s Everyday Cheapskate email address. This article will review how to safelist an email address using different inbox providers. Safelisting is a term used in the industry and means adding our  email address to your address […]


How to Safelist Everyday Cheapskate Daily Email

Want to make sure Everyday Cheapskate daily email reaches your inbox? Safelisting can help! This article will review how to safelist (whitelist, allowlist) an email address using different inbox providers. Safelisting is a term used in the industry and means adding Mary’s EC newsletter’s email address to your address book contacts lists. This is the […]


3 Simple Steps to Make Sure You Don’t Fall for Investment Fraud

Reportedly, billionaire oil tycoon Robert Belfer has been impacted by investment fraud in three major scandals: Enron’s corruption, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and now the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. If even wealthy investors with teams of advisors can become victims of fraud, what chance do everyday people have to escape a similar fate? This […]


February is the Best Time to Find These Deals

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


17 Easy Ways to Cut the Cost of Eating Out

Dining out can be an enjoyable experience, but it can also be easy to end up spending more money than intended. Fortunately, there are all kinds of smart strategies you can use to keep restaurant costs down while still having a great time. Read on for 17simple tips to help you make the most of your next meal out.


The Best Inexpensive Bath Towels in 2023

When it comes to purchasing bath towels, what do you look for? Price or quality? How long do you expect your bath linens to last, given weekly laundering? We’ve done a lot of researh and testing and here’s the EC conclusion: 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.


The Best Inexpensive Can Openers for 2023

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? No it is not—and in this post I will prove that to you. That plus my major ah-ha! moment.


A Most Unusual Frugal Use for Blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

There are days when I open up my mailbag and have to sit down because I’m laughing so hard. Some things strike me funny. Turns out this time, though, the last laugh was on me. Seriously it was such a strange tip from Reader Bill, I had to test it for myself. What I discovered was more than a little shocking …


How to Stretch Ground Beef to Cut the High Cost

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ official data says 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. What’s the solution? Learning how to creatively stretch ground beef […]


Budget Bites: Pasta Mama (Gourmet World-Class Dish)

Hugo’s, A popular restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif., has been critically acclaimed for one of its menu items, Pasta Mama. The first time I heard about it, I thought it was a bit odd. Pasta with eggs? Sounds so elementary if not boring. I couldn’t imagine what would prompt people to drive many miles to get Pasta Mama. But they do, insisting, it’s the best pasta they’ve ever eaten.
I had to try it, and as you might imagine, I love it. I would describe it to you here, but it’s indescribable—indescribably delicious, that is. Pasta Mama just might be the best thing you can make for dinner. Let’s find out!


An Essential Guide to House Rules When the Adult Kids Move Back

It used to be that kids reaching adulthood could not wait to leave home to be on their own. At the same time, their parents longed for an empty nest and quieter lives. But like homing pigeons, young people are spoiling these plans, proving that life can be difficult in a crowded nest if there are […]


The Best Skincare Products Recommended by My Dermatologist That Are Also Inexpensive—UPDATE!

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 …


How to Remove Rust Stains from Stainless Steel and More

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 …


On Saving Money and Spreading Manure

As you may know, the mission of this blog is to discover ways to save time and money every day. You help me by sending me your tips, hacks, and ideas. I help you by boiling it all down here. That answers the “what,” but what about the “why”? Why should anyone be concerned about […]


The Cheapest Car Insurance

Any car insurance company’s cheapest premiums are generally the minimum coverage required by your state. This liability insurance covers property damage and medical expenses for other people in an accident you caused—where you were found to be at fault. Here we zero in on the cheapest of the cheap minimum coverage car insurance premiums.


Even Small Households Can Save Big at Costco

Whether a household of one or a big family, I believe anyone can stretch their money and improve their budget by shopping at a discount warehouse club like Costco. But only if willing to stick to a few very important shopping techniques …


How to Care for and Clean a Glass Stove Top

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 right here.


Our Top Ten Most Read Posts of 2022

EC broke all records with nearly 8 million pageviews by 7 million visitors to in 2022. Believing it’s always a good thing to look back to see where we’ve been and to count the blessings—we have put together a roundup of the ten most popular Everyday Cheapskate posts in 2022.


How to Use the EC Print Function

Every post on at Everyday Cheapskate is available to print, save as a .pdf, and/or email.. I will show you exactly how you can us this function to print all or any portion of any post. And you have fabulous options if you only want to print a portion of the text, including an image. […]


Why Everyday Cheapskate?

It was 1992. We’d been paying down the debt for more than 10 years, and I was sick of it. With only $12,000 to go, I got this wild hare to start a subscription newsletter (print delivered by U.S. mail because if you’re counting, there was no Internet then or email). I named my newsletter […]


The Best Mattress Toppers to Help You Sleep Better

Whether you’re looking for the kind of cushioning that hugs a body, better support, or perhaps just a touch of softness—without the need to get a pricey new mattress—consider a mattress topper. Adding this to your mattress can make it a lot more comfortable, meaning a better night’s sleep. Photo Illustration CONTENTS Do you need […]


25 Ways to Save $1,000 on Monthly Expenses

A number of years ago, I met Kathryn and Galen. They’d won a contest sponsored by Woman’s Day magazine. The prize? A money makeover and financial coaching with … me! From our first meeting, we became fast friends. Not only were they drowning in debt, but Galen was also dealing with a protracted season of unemployment. […]


11 Easy Delicious 3-Ingredient Party Dips

Delicious hot, cold, savory, spicy, and even sweet dips—an amazing variety sure to please all—beautifully arranged so that everyone can easily graze through the evening. All said dips need to be quick and easy to make, too, requiring only 3-ingredients (all available in local grocery and supermarkets).


8 Painless Ways to Save Money and Grow a Cash Stash in 2023

The past 12 months have been tough on many people, and higher living costs have made it extremely difficult to build savings. So at this point, your best bet is to look ahead to 2023 and develop a plan that allows you to make great progress with your savings, no matter what that means for […]


Holiday Hash

  Quick and easy holiday treat that is suitable for gifting. If you get the red and green M&Ms you’ll have a very festive-looking result. This makes a lot. You should be able to make 10 to 15 gifts depending on the size of your containers.


Just in Time: Easy, Yummy, Ultimate Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

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

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

See you there … Love, xo m


How to Slash Your Home Heating Bill Using the Science of Infrared

There is an alternative and more effective way to keep heating costs down without feeling cold. It’s called infrared technology. Portable infrared heaters work like the sun, producing infrared light waves, not warmed air. An infrared heater will heat you, your dog, your chair, the carpet, and the walls—not the air around you.


Totally Awesome Gift Ideas for Teens

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


How to Turn What You Love Doing into a Side Hustle

I’ll bet you’re really good at something. Cooking, organization, gardening, cleaning, sewing, knitting, computing, driving—the list could go on and on. Figure out how you can teach that skill to others. The greater your need to earn extra money, the more creative and better teacher you’ll become.


Gift Ideas for Young Professionals, College Students

Gift-giving is undoubtedly on everyone’s mind as we head into these last days before Christmas. It’s a beautiful holiday tradition in which I participate fully because it brings me so much joy.   Earlier this week, I opened my email to find really nice messages from several readers seeking help with gift suggestions. One is in a […]


Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

Short on cash this holiday season? Maybe it’s time to start thinking about gifts that don’t come from a store, but from the heart—a gift of time and talent. It’s going to require some (all?) of your free time over the next week or so, but it sure beats going into debt to buy a bunch of gifts for others—or missing out altogether because you refuse to show up empty-handed. Practical, reasonable and doable Christmas gifts that don’t cost a dime!


Best Gift Ideas for Him

When it comes to finding the perfect present, whether you dread coming up with an excellent gift or delight in the search—one thing is for sure, as we come nearer to Christmas, the stress and pressure can be overwhelming. This is the week to finalize your gift choices if you want them to arrive before the […]


21 Kitchen Hacks You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner

Whether you are naturally gifted in the kitchen or had the pleasure of growing up with some talented cooks who were happy to give you a few pointers along the way—lots of people shy away from the kitchen because they find cooking complicated, and even a bit confusing. 

Fortunately, there are tons of great little tricks that can help anyone improve their cooking game, and maybe get some interest in further developing their skills.

Today, I have for you some of the most useful cooking hacks that can benefit everyone, regardless of skill level.

See you there …

Love, m xo 🍞 🥓 🍕🍰 🍨 and more!


Traditions: The Glue that Sticks Us Together

Family traditions are the rituals and practices a family shares that strengthen that family’s bonds and create lasting memories. Traditions, those things we do much the same way repeatedly, provide a source of identity,  comfort, and security. They reinforce family values. Kids love traditions!


Best Gift Ideas for Her

Face it, some people are just not easy-to-buy-for. That’s why I’m here to help—I’ve got you covered!


Ask Me Anything: Student Debt, Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments

This past week saw a barrage of interest-rated mail—student debt, bi-weekly mortgage plans—in my inbox. Lots of news focusing on the Federal Reserve raising interest rates could be the reason. If you’ve noticed the same, these readers’ questions may interest you or someone you love.  My Big Fat Student Debt Dear Mary: Nearly five years […]


The Ultimate Homemade Caramel Corn—Quick, Easy, Good!

Here’s a quick and easy way to make what I find amazing gift-worthy caramel corn, with stovetop and microwave instructions, your choice. Either way, the secret to crunchy, caramelly awesomeness is to finish by baking the caramel corn in a low-temperature oven, stirring often.


Budget Bites: Supermarket Rotisserie Chickens to the Rescue

If you’re fresh out of ideas (let alone desire) to make one more home-cooked meal, but even the thought of yet another take-out or curbside pickup leaves you cold during these days of uncertainty and angst—I invite you to embrace these two words: rotisserie chickens. Not exactly take-out, not completely home-cooked—think of a well-seasoned, perfectly cooked rotisserie chicken as your ace in the hole; a kitchen assistant with an extra pair of hands to help you get delicious, home-cooked meals on the table in a flash.

Today’s post … what to do with it once you get that rotisserie chicken home! Follow these guidelines and you can easily get three great meals from one chicken. See you there …

Love, xo m 🐔🍗🍲❣️


Skip a Payment?!

If you ever get an offer from a creditor to skip a payment, I suggest you follow Julie’s example by first shrieking in horror, “Are you out of your ever lovin’ mind?” Then politely decline the offer. Or find sweet revenge in returning the offer along with a double payment! That’ll show them who’s in control.


40-Day Challenge Day 13

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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 17

Finalize your list of gifts to make. Be realistic with your time. Inventory your supplies, create a shopping list and match to craft store coupons. Add crafting days to your holiday calendar. Listen …   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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 38

We’ve all been there: One more trinket for a child’s stocking, an extra gadget for your spouse. Once you have purchased items for everyone on your gift list, stop shopping and stop surfing the Internet. Trust yourself and the wisdom you showed in finishing your shopping early. Rest assured that the gifts you made will […]


40-Day Challenge Day 28

When you get an unexpected gift, the worst response is “Oh, but I don’t have anything” for YOU!” so don’t say it. Instead, say “Thank you.” Then make sure you have something for him or her next meeting.”It’s not about keeping score. It’s about love and joy. Listen …      


40-Day Challenge Day 11

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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 24

Look at your holiday calendar today and determine when you’ll need babysitting services. Reserve the dates with your babysitter, or call friends and family and coordinate a holiday babysitting co-op. Listen …    


40-Day Challenge Day 32

Be prepared for surprise guests. keep some generic gifts (candy or comics for kids; candles or calendars for adults) at the ready. Use color-coded wrap, stickers or ribbon to match the gift to the recipient.  


40-Day Challenge Day 19

Plan your holiday menus matching them to grocery store sales. Inventory your pantry and freezer, collect coupons for ingredients on your list and begin stockpiling items you’ll need that are on sale. Listen … Random tips and ideas to ease the Holiday Hosting pressure: Instead of everyone in your circle of friends hosting a separate holiday party, make plans […]


40-Day Challenge Day 35

Help your children go through their clothes and toys, picking out those still in great shape but outgrown. Wash the clothes, and clean the toys to like-new condition. Let the kids go with you to donate these items to a shelter in your community. Let them experience of joy of giving to others who may […]


40-Day Challenge Day 16

If you will be hosting overnight guests during the holidays, make sure you’ve planned for extra expenses like transportation and food. If your guests are not staying overnight with you, offer them hotel recommendations and assistance with making reservations. They need to do this well in advance. Like today! Listen … Inviting friends and family to your home during the […]


40-Day Challenge Day 34

Can’t see everyone between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? Be realistic about how much you can do. Save some get-togethers until after the holidays, and you’ll have something to look forward to.   Listen …


40-Day Challenge Day 20

Change your child’s bookshelf to 24 Christmas books you have gift-wrapped, and number them 1-24.  Each night, read that day’s story with your kids. This is a fun and inexpensive way for the family to count down to Christmas.


40-Day Challenge Day 12

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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 22

Arrange haircut appointments and check wardrobe selections for your family. Launder, press or repair as needed. Check consignment shops and sales if the kids have outgrown last year’s holiday attire.   Listen …  


40-Day Challenge Day 27

Take down your hanging pictures and wall art and wrap them as you would a gift, with paper, ribbon and bow. Re-hang. Grouping multiple pictures looks especially festive. And you can save wrapping paper by wrapping only the front of each. Do this throughout the house or just in one room. Such a fun look.  […]


40-Day Challenge Day 29

If you’re planning to shop online this week, Wed., Dec. 14 is National Free Shipping Day. Not all retailers will be participating of course, but we’re reading that more than 1,000 are on board! Just don’t assume anything!    Listen …    


40-Day Challenge Day 31

  As Christmas draws nearer, visit your community to look at the lights. You can do this on a night close to Christmas. Everyone gets ready for bed (PJs on, teeth brushed), then the whole family piles into the car for your family’s Annual Christmas Lights Pajama Caper Drive. Take blankets along to add coziness. […]


40-Day Challenge Day 26

It’s time to dust off your favorite holiday movies, books and music. Not much to choose from? Visit your local library and borrow new selections, or check online for free or discounted holiday downloads. Listen …  


40-Day Challenge Day 25

Strapped for time and money? Instead of a vast   tree this year, by a smaller one. Set it on a table to give the visual effect of a taller tree. It’ll cost half as much, decorating will take half as long and with half the decorations.   Listen …  


40-Day Celebration Day 36

If you will be hosting many guests at your Christmas dinner requiring more than one table, have everyone get up and exchange places between dinner and dessert. This gives everyone a chance to be together!   Listen …


40-Day Challenge Day 37

Have your children leave some of their gently-used toys for Santa to take to children who don’t have any toys. Once the kids are asleep, hide the toys so you can later deliver them to a worthy charity. Listen…    


40-Day Challenge Day 40

May your day be filled with authentic joy comes not from the outside trappings, but from our hearts. It comes from the birth of a small baby who would become our Savior—from that love, which can fill our lives with giddy joy! Listen …        


40-Day Challenge Day 14

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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 23

When cooking this month, double your favorite meals and freeze the leftovers. Then, when things get rushed right before Christmas, you won’t fret about making dinner or spending money on take-out.   Listen …   Make meals ahead and freeze them. On those very busy days in mid-December, you’ll stay relaxed and stress-free knowing that dinner will be on the […]


40-Day Challenge Day 33

  One night this week, gather the family and eat dinner or dessert by the light of the Christmas Tree. Ask each family member to share a favorite Christmas memory or something from the past year. Teach the family to say “Merry Christmas” in the language of the family’s origin. Give yourself a few minutes […]


40-Day Challenge Day 39

Later tonight, after the kids are all asleep and the house is quiet, pour yourself a cuppa’ and write emails to people you love and miss. You don’t need to get all fancy. It can be as simple as, “Dear Grandma, I love you oh, so much! Merry Christmas!  


40-Day Challenge Day 21

  Inventory your mailing supplies including containers for baked goods and packing materials for boxes. Dry popcorn makes great packing material and gives your recipient (or the birds ) a nice snack. There are tons of other ideas on Pinterest for using what you have to keep everything snug and safe.   Listen … When you need to pad a […]


40-Day Challenge Day 30

Set up a gift-wrapping area by draping a 
card table or other surface with a large 
tablecloth or sheet that hangs to the 
floor. Now you can hide wrapping 
supplies under the table for quick 
retrieval, knowing that you have everything in one place for efficient gift-wrapping.     


40-Day Challenge Day 10

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.    […]


40-Day Challenge Day 9

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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 5

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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 8

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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 3

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.


40-Day Challenge Day 6

  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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 4

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 […]


40-Day Challenge Day 18

  Pull out your holiday decorations and use only what you have. Instead of trying to decorate your entire house, focus on three things: a tree, your mantelpiece, and a wreath. Decorate them similarly.     ICYMI … Intro, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day […]


40-Day Challenge Day 7

  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 […]


How to Deep Clean a Washing Machine—Top and Front Loading (and Why You Should!)

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!


40-Day Challenge Day 15

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 […]


How to Choose and Care for a Fresh Christmas Tree

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 […]


35 Best Gift Ideas for Grandparents

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.


A Family Christmas Letter

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.


White Fruitcake is What Dreams are Made Of

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


Famous Make-Ahead Sides for Your Holiday Meal

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 […]


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

If there’s one thing we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving, it’s this: Turkey is cheap! And the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner can be, too.

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

See you there! xo m 🦃


How to Get Free Refills at Starbucks

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. […]


EC Puzzle #8

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 […]


Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

I know what you’re thinking: Make the mashed potatoes AND gravy ahead of time—up to several days before the big day? Like serve leftovers for the biggest best meal of the year? You have got to be kidding! Well, yes that is exactly what I am suggesting and will be doing myself, but let me […]


Home Equity Loan Scams

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.


How to Clean a Shark Vacuum and Why You Should

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.


22 Legit Ways You Can Make Money at Home

For all the convenience and access to information that the Internet offers, the ability to earn money at home—honestly and legitimately—just might be one of the most useful. At a minimum, you need an Internet connection and computer. Or for some jobs, just a smartphone will do. The challenge is to wade through all the muck and pitches for free get-rich-quick opportunities to find authentic ways to make money. The opportunities for online jobs are out there.


40-Day Challenge — Day 1

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. […]


40-Day Challenge Christmas 2022

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 … […]


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

Gifting friends, family, co-workers teachers, and others with a jar of your own signature Luxury Hand and Body Cream will definitely put you on the map. It’s a homemade gift you would actually like to receive! It’s that good. And what better time than this weekend to make Christmas gifts? It’s quick and easy!


EC Puzzle #7

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 […]


4 Ways to Get More Books for Your Bucks (and Vice Versa)

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 …


Gift-Giving: What’s the Point?

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.


Shopping With Cash is Still the Best Way to Save Money

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 💰❣️😂


Best Flannel Bed Sheets

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.


Homemade Stain Remover for Carpet and Laundry

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 …


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

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

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

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

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

Meet me there …. Love, xo m


Eggs, Milk and Cheese … in the Freezer?!

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.


The Chair

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 […]


EC Puzzle #5

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 […]


Sometimes You Gotta’ Bite the Bullet

Some time 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 […]


How to Liquefy Crystallized Honey and Best Way to Store It

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


Homemade Artisan Bread—Amazingly Easy and So Delicious!

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

See you there. Love, xo m 🥖 🍞 ❣️


Best Space Heaters for 2023 (That Won’t Burn Down the House!)

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 …


How to Organize a Refrigerator

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


EC Puzzle #4

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 […]


Salad in a Jar—Good for Health and Wealth

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 […]


The Frugal Frittata

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 […]


Best Organizers to Keep Your Car Neat and Tidy

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 […]


7 Easy Ways to Give New Life to Leftover Rice

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

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


The Best Reason Not to Buy Prewashed Salad in a Bag

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


How to DIY Get Rid of Bedbugs Naturally

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!


Budget Bites: Cabbage Casserole

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 […]


EC Puzzle #3

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 […]


How to Beef Up Home Security on the Cheap

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 …


A Very Effective Way to Cut Winter Heating Bills

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

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


Surprising Trick Removes Stubborn Hard Water Stain from Glass Shower Doors

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 😍


This Year Holiday Sales Starting Earlier Than Ever

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 […]


Everyday Cheapskate Puzzle #2

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, […]


How Not to Feel Poor on a Fixed Income

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 […]


14 Ways to Cut the High Cost of Pet Care

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.


October Best Month to Score Bargains on These 12 Things

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


29 Brilliant Ways to Use Vinegar That May Surprise You

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 😍


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

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


EC Crossword Puzzles 2022 Winners!

  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 — […]


Official EC Puzzles Rules of Play

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


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

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


Recipes for Tastes of Autumn and Slow Cookers Go Together

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


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

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

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


Creamy Baked Potato Soup

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


Best STEM Toys and Games Ages 6 Mos to 99 Years!

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


10 Easy Ways to Do Halloween on a Budget This Year

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

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

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


Don’t See Inflation in the Restaurant Menu? Look Carefully at the Bill

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 double-digits and may have risen even higher when you read it. Here’s the Weird Thing Sure, restaurant menu prices have […]


19 Surprising Ways Epsom Salts Can Improve Your Life

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


4 Reasons to Start Planning Your DIY Christmas Now

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


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

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

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

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

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

See you there. Love xo m 🍁 🍂 🍎 🥮 ❣️


Calling All PSL Lovers! How to Make Amazing Pumpkin Spice Lattes Yourself

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


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

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


Travels With Vangie: Best Camping Gear Including Resources

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


19 Absolutely Brilliant Ways to Clean With Denture Tablets

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

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


How to Eliminate Odor of Gasoline Spilled Inside Family Vehicle

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Enjoy this beautiful day …

Love, Mary ☀️


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

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


Three Easy Ways to Curb the Disease to Please

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


5 Home Buying Mistakes That Will Make You House Poor

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


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

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

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

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

All that plus lots more in today’s post.

See you there! Love, xo m


6 Awesome Gifts of Summer to Make Now for Christmas

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


Everything I Know About Negotiating I Learned to Survive

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


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

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


Best All-Purpose Commercial Cleaners For Every Place in Your Home

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


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

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


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

Emergencies are a fact of life. When faced with an unexpected event that has dollar signs written all over it, it’s good to be prepared. Nothing new there, I’m sure. We know what we should do. It’s actually doing it that eludes so many. Look, an emergency fund is not a luxury—it’s a must-have! Here how to get started …


This is Why You See Dryer Lint—You’re Drying Your Clothes to Death!

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


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

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


Killer Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

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


Best Inexpensive Cast Iron Skillet and How to Love It

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

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

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

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

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


Random, Useful, Fun Travel Tips

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


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

In keeping with one of my favorite philosophies of food, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first!”, today’s first super recipe is the easiest dessert ever—and most likely the best peach cobbler you and your family will have ever tasted, I mean devoured.   Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler Just three ingredients and your slow cooker. What […]


8 Strategies to Graduate College Debt-Free

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


14 Things That Should Never Go in the Dishwasher

I have learned the hard way there are certain items that should never go in a dishwasher. They can be ruined or they can ruin your dishwasher. You should hand wash them instead. Consider this list of 14 things that should never see the inside of your dishwasher.


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

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


How to Sell a House for the Highest Price Possible

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

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

See you there! Love, xo m


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

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


Vangie is Her Name and Travel is Her Game

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


How to Clean Your Coffee Maker and How Often You Should

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


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

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


A Fabulous Vacation on a Budget is a Staycation!

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


Like Fourth Grade All Over Again

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you there … xo m ❣️


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

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


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

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


Still The Best Inexpensive Cordless Handheld Vacuum

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


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

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


Handling an Inheritance Requires a Game Plan

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


The Ultimate Restaurant Menu Cheat Sheet

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


How to Stop Worrying Your Housing Bubble Is About to Burst

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

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


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

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


The Ultimate Guide to Removing Ink from Leather

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


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

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

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


5 Non-Toxic Methods That Really Work for Killing Weeds

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


Simple Tricks to Make Household Stuff Last Longer, Stretch Farther

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

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

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


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

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

See you there! xo m 💌


How to Use Castile Soap to Make Natural Cleaning Products

From time to time, I hear from readers who have sensitivities or allergies to our beloved Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. 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, […]


What to Do On the Worst Day of Your Life

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


14 Best Homemade Cleaners That Really Work

Items in your pantry like baking soda, vinegar, cream of tartar, lemon juice, and even tea bags, can work as effective cleaners. Even better, compared to pricey commercial products, homemade cleaners cost next to nothing. So the next time you’re staring down a big mess but you’re out of your favorite product, don’t run to the store—open up the pantry and try mixing up one of these DIY cleaning recipes instead. Step back and enjoy the results and the savings, too!


Best Inexpensive Home Dehumidifiers

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


How to Make Perfect Cold Brew Iced Coffee

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


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

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


The Best Places to Buy Eyeglasses

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

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


How to Clean a Bathtub Anti-Slip Bottom

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


7 Places to Look for Free Money

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

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


My Shopping Addiction Rehab Program

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

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

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

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


Bake Bread to Cut Food Costs and Soothe Your Soul

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


Outdoor Grilling on a Budget

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


How to Protect Yourself from ID Theft and Why You Should

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

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


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

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


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

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


Yesterday I Turned Back Time

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


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

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


How to Comparison Shop the Price of Bath Tissue with Confidence

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


How to Roast Coffee at Home to Save Money and Enjoy Really Great Coffee

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


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

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


3 Free Life-Improving Resources

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


Where to Find Basic Essentials When the Shelves are Empty

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


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

Whether yours is a stand-alone unit or part of your refrigerator, your freezer costs a lot in wasted energy or saves 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 a refrigerator/freezer thermometer […]


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

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


6 Reasons We Need to Celebrate Soon—and Often!

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

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

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

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


How to Make WetJet Multi-Surface Solution Refills for Pennies

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. Let me show you how to DIY Swiffer Jet Refills and the cleaning pads too, for just pennies—not dollars!


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

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


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

I have a special treat for you today. It’s a recipe. 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 $1,850 per ounce. In this world, there is carrot cake and […]


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

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


How to Use Wool Dryer Balls and Why You Should

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


How to Clean the Dirty Edges of Carpet

My Dear Readers …

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

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

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


With Sincere Apologies to Pawnshops Everywhere

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


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

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


Simple Secrets for the Perfect Home Manicure

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


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

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


How We Use Home Chef to Cut Food Costs

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


This is How I Cook and Bake Using Free Power from the SUN! 

Many types of solar ovens are available these days, even simple plans to help you build your own. But for me, Sun Oven meets my needs both as an auxiliary appliance and a valuable member of our emergency preparedness team. This simple invention, Sun Oven, is everything I need to cook, dehydrate, bake, and even […]


Make it Better Yourself: Homemade Coffee Creamer

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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