Sticky Situations: Bankrupt Mortgage Lender and $10,000 Engagement Ring

Money matters can affect every area of life, often stirring up emotions of worry, fear, anger, and resentment. If not dealt with swiftly, those feelings can turn to bitterness, which can eat a person from the inside out.

How to avoid that bitterness thing from taking hold? Talk it out. Ask for help. Get advice from someone you trust.

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Dear Mary: I just read that that the company that holds my home mortgage is under investigation by the Feds, has a net worth of negative 63 million dollars and is expected to file for bankruptcy. This company holds title to my house. If it goes into bankrupt, am I at risk of losing my home, even though I’ve never been late on my payments?

I don’t want to refinance with another company because I am locked in at a great rate for the life of the loan and refinancing would cost a lot of money. Angela

Dear Angela: From what you’ve told me, I don’t think you have a thing to worry about. I do believe you have stated incorrectly that the lender holds title to your home. I am quite certain the title is in your name, with the lender having a lien on the property secured by a note and deed of trust.

Credit Card Payment Dates and Credit-Limits: What Difference Does it Make?

Few things in this world are more confusing than credit cards—how they work, what they really cost and how to manage them responsibly. While it’s only my opinion, I think credit-card issuing banks are just fine with that.

But I’m not fine with that and you shouldn’t be either! When it comes to credit cards, ignorance is not bliss.

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What’s the solution? Stop being ignorant. Learn all you can. Ask questions in order to grow your financial intelligence. That’s the way to win the credit-card game.

Dear Mary: I am on the fast track to paying off my credit-card debt in full and forever. I’m like a racehorse heading into the final lap. Here’s my question: Does it matter when I make my monthly credit-card payments? Would it make any difference if I paid earlier in the billing cycle rather than just before the due date? Kevin

Dear Kevin: Wow, this is great news and I’m out here cheering you on. The answer to your question is Yes, it does matter. Here’s why:

Help! Issues with Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner

If I were keeping track of the number of responses from my readers that are filled with praise and gratitude, there would be thousands of hash marks next to Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner. And the word used most-often to describe it? Magical!

But now and then a response will report problems having to do with allergies and, well … that smell!

Dear Mary: I love your homemade formulas for how to make our own cleaning products But a lot of them use the blue Dawn dish soap. I am allergic to Dawn soap, all fragrances, and citrus, among other things. Do you have a suggestion of what else I could use as a substitute? Peggy

Ask Me Anything: Tamari, Dishwasher Cleaner, Expired Sunscreen, Toilet Rings

It’s time to reach into the inbox and pull out a few questions from my loyal readers—answers to which I suspect might be of interest to others.

I love receiving your questions, by the way, so keep them coming!

Dear Mary: What is “tamari?” It is an ingredient in a recipe I would like to make for Spiced Hazelnuts. Where can I find it? Thanks for any information you can give me. Catherine

Dear Catherine: Tamari is a type of soy sauce, usually used in Japanese food. You can easily substitute with Chinese light soy or regular Japanese soy sauce. You should be able to find tamari in the Asian section of a good supermarket or for sure in a Japanese food store. 

Dear Mary: Could you please tell me where I can purchase Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner? I used to get it at the grocery store, but they don’t carry it any longer.  It is really wonderful for cleaning my stainless steel dishwasher and also glassware. Peggy

Dear Peggy: Your favorite Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner and Hard Water Spot Remover is available at Amazon, about $7 for two single-use packets. You might want to consider a cheaper alternative that gets even higher raves and reviews, Lemi Shine Multi-Purpose Appliance Cleaner, which comes with three single-use packets for about the same price—and a more far-reaching availability. Both produce the same result, in my experience, which I would rate as excellent!

Dear Mary: I have four bottles of sunscreen that have expired. I know that they have lost their full effectiveness as sunscreen, but is there another use? I hate to throw them out. Dorothy

Readers Comment on Everything From Soap Scum to Homemade Yogurt and Heated Mattress Pads, Too

It’s reader response day when I take the opportunity to report back with a few of the comments I get from you, my Dear Readers, every single day of my life.

And you wonder why I keep doing this? It’s no secret that I thrive on your feedback and kind comments. Please, don’t stop.

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Comment on: Best Inexpensive™ Heated Mattress Pad

Dear Mary: I have been reading and enjoying your column and advice for years. You have saved us a ton of money and made us healthier with tips on non-toxic cleaning products, dryer balls, and getting out stains. But I’m truly most grateful for your recommendation for heated mattress pads. I have mild arthritis and winters are hard for these reasons: It’s cold, my bed is cold, my husband can’t tolerate it if I turn up the thermostat. But even if I turn up the heat, the bed is still cold and takes forever to warm up. Arthritis seems to hurt more when I’m cold and trying to get to sleep.

I got the queen sized heated mattress cover with dual controls. I’m so very happy with it. It’s like a giant heating pad for arthritis. I turn it on to heat a few minutes before crawling into bed. It puts me to sleep without meds. Thank you, thank you! You are a huge blessing to us. Anne

Comment on: 8 Wedding Gift Hacks

Dear Mary: I love these suggestions for wedding gifts but if you choose an idea from the couple’s registry and buy it elsewhere it remains on the registry and you take a chance that someone else buys the exact same item. D.J.

Some wedding registries, Amazon, for example, allow you to mark the item as purchased but from another source so that it comes off the list in order to avoid duplication. -mh

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

Dear Mary: I just want to let you know how much I appreciate the recipe for the shower cleaner with vinegar and blue Dawn. I am amazed how it’s taken care of my soap scum buildup. None of the other cleaners I’ve tried work half as well as this does. Thank you. Julie

Ask Me Anything: HE Detergent, Makeup Primer, Cordless Vac, Slow Cooking, DIY Degreaser, Cloudy Glassware

Updated 3-9-18

My fondness for TV game shows’ lighting rounds—the duration of the round is a pre-determined length of time, and the goal is to accomplish as much as possible within that period—may have something to do with my attention span. Lightning round questions are short, the answers quick and concise.

I see we have lots of questions in the audience, so let’s set the clock. Ready? Set … Go!

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Q: Do I HAVE to use HE labeled laundry detergent only in my new Whirlpool washer? Why? Pegg

A: Yes. If the owner manual recommends HE detergent, that means it is a high-efficiency washer. HE washers use considerably less water and have sophisticated computer-like electronics. They’re very smart! HE detergent creates no suds or bubbles. The presence of too many suds can confuse washing cycles, cause delays and make proper rinsing of clothes difficult if not impossible. By the way, you can make your own detergent is HE because it creates no suds or bubbles. Recipe and tutorial HERE. Make sure you measure the detergent in every load. I use 2 tablespoons in my HE machine, which seems like not nearly enough,  but it is! Using too much detergent can cause all kinds of problems. Read your manual.

Q: Do you have a favorite makeup primer? I’m wondering if using a primer will help hide some of those tiny lines. Jeannine

Yet Another Brilliant Way to Use WD-40 Around the House

There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and take action, I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you. My full disclosure policy is here. Thanks!

I had to laugh when I opened my mail to read how one reader was able get his shower doors so clean and sparkly, they looked like new. I had a can of his remedy sitting right there next to my computer.

Hold on! It was NOT there to be used as a computer screen cleaner. (I’ve never tried it, do not intend to and hope you do not either. There is a much better way to do that: Five Fabulous Homemade Products that Use the Power of Rubbing Alcohol).

Photo: Instructables.com

It was on my desk because I had just used it to test the theory that WD-40® would waterproof my leather boots. Supposedly, WD-40 acts as a barrier so moisture can’t seep into your shoes and get your socks wet.

Dear Mary: We bought a home not long ago and the glass shower doors were so badly stained I actually thought the glass had become etched. But I wasn’t ready to give up on them without a fight.

I took the doors off thinking I could put more pressure on them if they were laying flat. Then I tried all the cleaners you mentioned and then some. Still the spots remained. That’s when I remembered what I had used on my car when I found a few spots of tar on it. The answer was WD-40.

I took the doors outside, covered my picnic table and then laid a door on it. Next, I sprayed the door with the WD-40 with the open spray (“straw” setting off), let it set a few minutes then just wiped it off with a paper towel. A couple of spots required more application. When done I put some Blue Dawn in a bucket, used a sponge to soap it down then leaned it against a fence putting a wood block under it to keep it off the ground. I sprayed it with the water hose and allowed it to dry. Then I repeated the process on the other door. They looked great!

The only problem encountered was when I went to retrieve them I discovered a bird had found one before me but THAT was a simple clean up! Randy

Dear Randy: Remarkable! And a what a great idea to use WD-40® to clean those doors (although we need to make it clear that had the glass become etched, it is not likely that WD-40 could not have fixed the problem). WD-40 is a great product. The blue and yellow can is about as familiar as anything. Banished to a shelf in the garage, most people assume WD-40 is only an automotive thing. Wrong! This stuff is amazing. And cheap. 

Most of us already know to use WD-40 to loosen bolts and fix squeaky door hinges. But there are quite possibly thousands more ways WD-40 can make our lives easier. Here are a few of my favorites!

REPEL SPIDERS. And other bugs too! Just spray some WD-40 on windowsills and other places spiders can get in. Wipe away the excess and that’s it. It will keep spiders and other creepy crawlies away.

CLEAN GREASY HANDS. When you’re done with a messy job that got your hands all greasy, painty or sooty, spray them with a little WD-40. Wipe with a paper towel and then follow with soap and water. So much better than getting the sink super dirty.

Lots More: Got a Problem? Grab the WD-40 

REMOVE PAINT FROM LEATHER. It happened to me once. I got paint on my jeans, didn’t realize it and while it was still wet, got into the car. Yep. Paint on the leather seat. A quick spray of WD-40 followed by a soft clean rag took that paint away in a flash—and didn’t leave a trace. Took it out of my pants, too.

CLEAN UP CRAYON MARKS. Whether they’re on the walls of your home or your clothes dryer, WD-40 works like a dream to soften crayon marks making them easy to remove. Always test first, especially if that wall happens to be wallpapered.

FREE STUCK DISHWARE. Ever get a small bowl or drinking glass stuck inside one that is slightly larger? A quick spray of WD-40 just might be all you need to get them unstuck. Give it a try!

As for the boots? Yes! In my test, WD-40 did make my boots repel water and snow so my feet stayed nice and dry.  Pretty cool!

Ask Me Anything: Mats for Vinyl, Programmable Thermostats, Work-from-Home

Just this past weekend, while selecting grout for the new ceramic tile in my laundry room, I did a double take in the flooring aisle at Home Depot. The beautiful “hardwood” flooring didn’t seem to match the sign that clearly read Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. What?! Really? Truth.

But even the most luxurious vinyl comes with somewhat of a challenge, as evidenced by today’s first reader question.

Photo credit: Pinterest.com

Dear Mary: We have just installed vinyl plank flooring in our home. Instructions say to use only non rubber-backed rugs and mats on it. Is there an anti-fatigue, non-rubber mat or rug out there that you recommend? Karen

Dear Karen: This past weekend I was looking at a new line of luxury vinyl plank flooring. Not only is it gorgeous and practical, it’s amazingly affordable. Vinyl flooring has come a long way. But the problem remains that petroleum-based products like rubber can, over time, permanently stain vinyl. On light colors that stain will be an ugly shade of yellow. On darker vinyl, over time, the stain may give a dark, shadowy appearance.

This Guardian Air Step Vinyl Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat may be a good option for you. These mats come in a variety of sizes and two color choices.

Another option would be to use rugs that have no rubber backing over thick felt rug pads. As long as the pad is heavy and slightly smaller than the rug itself, it should stay in place and provide a luxurious cushion for your feet and protection for your floor.

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