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1

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

2

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.

4

13 Ways to Simplify Your Life

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

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

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

Love, m xo 🎉

5

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.

6

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.

7

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

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 […]

9

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.   […]

10

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.

12

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!

14

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 […]

15

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 […]

16

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?

17

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

19

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

21

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.

25

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. 

26

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 …

27

How to Wash White Laundry to Keep It Looking Brilliant

In the same way that there are rules in life for things like how to drive a car, how to cook a meal, or how to manage your money, there are a few simple rules for how to keep white clothes looking brilliant and clean. And, if they happen to get a bit dull, gray, or yellowed, there are rules for how to restore the brightness of washable white clothing, too.

32

How to Clean a Shark Vacuum

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

33

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

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

34

How We Use Home Delivery Meal Kits to Cut Food Costs

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

35

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

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

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

37

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

On one ordinary day back in 2012, a hefty envelope turned up in my snail mail containing a very kind letter along with a mechanical drawing so detailed it made me want to chew my hair. The sender thought I would be the perfect person to build my own solar oven. Right. Like that was […]

39

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?!”

41

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

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

42

The Best Inexpensive Toaster for 2022

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

45

7 Common Houseplants That are Really Hard to Kill

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

46

Relax. Deep Breath. Prepare.

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

47

EC Reader Recommends Effective Option for DIY Pest Control

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

49

DIY PooPourri Spray Makes Sure You Always Leave a Fragrance

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

50

Deals Worth Sharing This President’s Day 2022

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

51

17 Ways to Cut the Soaring Price of Gasoline

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

52

My Hate-Love Relationship With a Cast Iron Skillet

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

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

53

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

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

54

10 Things You Need to Know About Life Insurance

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

55

The Best Inexpensive Overnight Deal in the Best Vacation Spot on Earth

When it comes to overnight accommodations, I don’t care that much about how pretty the lobby might be; if the place has bell service, bottles of French water, or movies on demand. What I need in a hotel is a safe location, impeccable cleanliness, a comfortable bed, a hot shower, soft towels, and a TV with at least a few channels.

59

Best Inexpensive Slow Cookers

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

61

The One Simple Thing You Must Have in Your Home

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

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

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

63

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.

64

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.

65

Best Inexpensive: Can Openers—UPDATE

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

66

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

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

67

Simple Tricks to Make Your Stuff Last Longer

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

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

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

68

The Night Old Faithful Visited San Francisco

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

70

Should You Repair or Replace Your Broken Appliances?

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

71

8 Delicious Ways to Use Up Old Stale Bread

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

72

Cheap Meals That Are Easy, Fast … Good!

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

73

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.

74

5 DIY Body Scrubs to Keep Your Skin Vibrant and Healthy

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

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

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

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

75

How to Clean a Microwave Oven

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

76

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

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

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

77

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

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

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

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

78

The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2021

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

79

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

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

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

80

Financial Planners 101

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

81

9 Tips to Make Christmas Morning a Breeze

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

83

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you at the post …

Love, Mary xo

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

84

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

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

86

4 Things They Really Want for Christmas

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

88

A Good Hot Cup of Coffee: Best Inexpensive Coffee Maker

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

89

How to Clean Wood Floors to Keep Them Looking Beautiful

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

92

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

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

94

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

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

It’s so confusing!

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

95

Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

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

96

Homemade Stain Remover for Laundry and Carpet

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

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

97

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

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

98

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

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

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

99

8 Things You Should Never Plug Into a Power Strip

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

101

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

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

102

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

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

104

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 😴 💤

106

15 Insanely Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries

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

107

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

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

108

How to Turn Leftovers Into Soup

Soup is a great frugal, potentially delicious meal that can successfully be made from leftovers. It’s a great way to “waste-not-want-not” because potentially you can get a free meal for your efforts.

But I’m not talking about just dumping stuff in a pot willy-nilly. There’s a method here for making really great soup from ingredients you’ve become accustomed to tossing out in the past.

Continue

109

The Emergency Food Items You Need to Stock Up On Now

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

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

111

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

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

112

Best Inexpensive: Space Heaters

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

113

7 Common Clutter Problems and How to Solve Them

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

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

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

115

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 …

116

Why You Need to Start Planning for 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.

118

15 Appliance Abuses That Are Costing You Money

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

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

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

See you there … xo m

119

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

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

120

11 Things Never to Put Down a Garbage Disposal

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

121

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

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

122

24 Clever Non-Coffee Ways to Use Coffee Filters

It was a dumb mistake. I grabbed the biggest package of coffee filters—a pack of 1,000—only to discover much later that I’d picked up the wrong size for my coffeemaker.

Coffee filters aren’t expensive, which is probably the reason I didn’t bother returning them to the store. I suppose I should have tried, but I’m glad didn’t. I began finding all kinds of ways to use those filters for other things than making coffee …

124

Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup

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

129

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.

130

Easy Fixes for the Big 3 Laundry Disasters

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

132

Our Best Tips and Tricks to Make Fresh Food Last Longer

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

133

How to Regrow Scallions and Other Vegetables from Scraps

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

134

How to Store Important Documents and How Long To Keep Them

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

135

How to Clean Gunk and Grime from Kitchen Cabinets

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

137

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

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

140

Even More Brilliant Ways to Use Blue Dawn

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

142

3 Ways to Clean a Bathtub While Standing

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

143

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.

144

The Basics of Home Canning and How to Get Started—Quick & Easy!

  So, you planted a garden, lucked out when your property included fruit trees, stumbled upon a produce sale you just couldn’t pass up, or joined a CSA. Good for you! Now what? What will you do with all that bounty? Your choices are  1) quickly consume your harvest before it spoils 2) give it away or […]

145

7 Budget-Friendly Ways to Keep the House Cool in Summer

Have you figured out ways to keep things cool indoors this summer without sending your utility bills through the stratosphere? If you could use some help with that, here are some tips, tricks, and great ideas that will help you stay cool without burning a hole in the budget.

146

11 Super Cool Summer Tips, Tricks and Hacks

Whatever summer adventures you have planned—the beach, pool, campground, or even your own backyard—these cool summer tips, tricks, hacks, and DIYs will bring a smile to your face and perhaps even a sigh of relief. There’s still plenty of time to get out there and do summer like a champ!

149

This is the Only Way I Will Ever Make Cornbread Again

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!

150

8 Pleasantly Surprising Reasons to Decorate with Houseplants

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

151

Best Ideas for Organizing a Refrigerator

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

152

A Casserole Connoisseur’s Guide to Healthy Substitutions

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

153

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

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

154

27 Things Never to Put in the Refrigerator

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

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

155

The Best Natural Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

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

157

4 Easy Ways to Fix Surface Scratches on Glass

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

158

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

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

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

159

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.

160

24 Ways to Chop Your Grocery Bill

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

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

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

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

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

161

Best Inexpensive Home Security System

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

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

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

165

Practical Tips to Help with Home Maintenance and Repair

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

168

7 Tips to Keep Your Inner Hoarder in Time-Out

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

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

169

How to Make Perfect Iced Tea plus 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

170

9 Ways to Wage War Against Mosquitos—and Win!

Mosquitos are nasty creatures. They bite, they transmit terrible diseases to people and pets and from what I read, have no redeeming value in the ecosystem.

Malaria, transmitted by the female mosquito, infects some 247 million people worldwide each year, and in 2018 alone, killed 405,000 people.

Mosquitos spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya virus, and West Nile virus.

If that’s not reason enough to hate them, 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 to take control of your home and property …

171

EC Father’s Day Gift Guide 2021

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

173

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.

174

Mistakes Teach Us What Doesn’t Work

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

176

8 Super Useful Kitchen Gadgets

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

177

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

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

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

178

Best Inexpensive Bedsheets—UPDATE!

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

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

179

Best Inexpensive Home Dehumidifiers and How to Choose

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!

180

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

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

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

181

Quick and Easy Outdoor Cleaning and Storage Tips You Can Use

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

183

The $150 Starter Kitchen

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

184

7 Cheap Gadgets That Make Life Easy—Fun, Too

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

185

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

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

186

Muffins and “Tulips” to Celebrate Spring

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

187

Most Common Money Questions Women Ask

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

188

8 Ways Online Grocery Shopping Can Actually Help You Save Money

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

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

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

See you there! Love, xo m 🛒 ❣️

189

The Best Inexpensive Robot Vacuum (It Really Works!)

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

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

192

How to Redecorate on a Dime

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

196

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

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

197

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.

198

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

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

199

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

Have you noticed? The cost of everything is climbing and not just a little bit. Lumber prices are up 250% in just the past three months. The cost of gasoline is soaring, with the U.S. avg. hitting $2.87 per gal—nearing $6 a gal in Calif. Wholesale coffee prices have shot up 25% over the past few […]

200

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

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

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

201

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 🥖 🍞 ❣️

202

How to Make Ketchup Just Like Heinz

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

203

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

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

204

A Gracious Guide for How to Be a Good House Guest

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

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

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

205

How to Cook Perfectly Boiled Eggs

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

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

207

How to Make Dirt: Compost 101

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

208

Sweet Onion Salad Dressing Recipe

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

210

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

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

211

Why House Plants Turn Brown and How to Stop It

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

213

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

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

214

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.

215

How to Get Out of a Supermarket Without Overspending

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

216

36 Clever and Frugal Uses for Baking Soda

You’ll find it in small boxes in the supermarket aisle next to flour, sugar, and cake mixes. It comes in 10-lb. bags at Costco, shelved next to the pancake and waffle mix. It’s a key ingredient in light, fluffy biscuits. But baking soda is not just for baking.

217

Quick and Easy Ways to Get Rid of Pesky Ants

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

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

218

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.

221

Washing Dishes By Hand vs. Dishwasher—Which is More Effective?

For many readers, handwashing dishes just feels better and something that’s hard to let go of, especially for those who don’t use enough dishes to fill the dishwasher more than a couple of times a week. But is low-tech handwashing just as effective as a high-tech dishwasher? All things considered, the answer might surprise you.

222

How to Make DIY Dry Shampoo

Listen, we’ve all gone a few too many days between shampoos. Some of us frequently rely on a good dry shampoo to stem the tide. And as you may have noticed, not all dry shampoos are created equal. Some feel sticky, which can weigh hair down. Others leave weird, white-ish chunks clinging to the hair resembling a bad case of dandruff instead of the look of freshly washed hair. Worse? Quality dry shampoos containing hard-to-pronounce, weird ingredients can be super pricey. 

Making your own dry shampoo solves all the problems:  You know with certainty what’s in it, it works really well, and costs only pennies.

223

How to Clean, Restore Dirty Stained Leather

Do you know what I love? Learning insider secrets. I’m not talking tabloid headlines, fake news, or conspiracy theories, which I work hard to avoid—but solid, authentic, and reliable insider trade secrets. And boy, have I got one (make that two!) for you today! I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy this. See you there. xo m

224

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.

226

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?

Well … Yes! And ta-da … here it is! See you there … xo m

228

What Happens to My Good Credit Score When I Get Married?

While planning a wedding and their new life together, most couples aren’t thinking about how marriage might affect their credit. Will her student debt show up in your pristine credit file? Will your bankruptcy destroy his excellent credit score? Should you close the accounts you have but don’t use? Lots of questions—answers in today’s post! See you there … xo m 👩‍❤️‍👨

229

Cucumbers in Plastic Wrap, and More Great Reader Tips!

It’s universally understood that a red flag means to stop or some variation of caution. A green flag, on the other hand, means “Wow what a great idea!” That’s how I mark emails from my awesome Everyday Cheapskate readers who send me their best tips. Check out this fresh batch of “green-flagged” tips: Keep cucumber fresh […]

230

7 Ways to Stop Glasses Fogging Up

If you wear eyeglasses, I’ll bet you’ve encountered a most annoying problem while wearing a mask—glasses fogging up. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, to see! But not to worry … today, a bunch of things we can do to stop glasses fogging up. See 🤓 you there, xo m

231

It’s a Smelly World Out There—Thank Goodness for Nok-Out

Nok-Out and I met quite by accident. In searching for ways my readers could deal with offensive odors, we found each other online. I’ve used it continuously in my home since then and have recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues. If you need an odor-related miracle, read on …

232

14 Things That Should Never Go in the Dishwasher

Without a doubt, my least favorite household chore is hand washing dishes. That makes my dishwasher the one appliance I can’t live without. I love it. In fact, I have this motto that if it can’t go in the dishwasher I don’t need it Ha!

Despite all my efforts, I still end up having to hand wash a few things since having learned the hard way there are certain items that should never go in a dishwasher. See you there! xo m

234

Tips to Rescue Rust-Stained Sinks, Pitted Chrome, and Slow Running Drains

Isn’t it ironic that the places in our homes that should be the cleanest—the washing machine, kitchen sink, bathroom tub, shower, sinks—are often the most troubled? Harsh chemicals, soap deposits, food stains, rust, hard water minerals, and water spots, when allowed to build up, will eventually not only look bad but cause permanent and irreversible damage.

The good news is that you can halt—even reverse—much if not all of this kind of damage …

236

13 Surprising Ways to Use Your Coffee Maker

You might think your coffee maker is a one-trick pony—does anything smell more wonderful than a fresh-brewed pot of coffee? But let’s think about this for a moment. That appliance heats water to about 200 F. and comes equipped with a hot plate to keep it at about 165 F. …

237

The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2020

No doubt about it, we can now say with confidence that hindsight is 2020. There it goes, washing away—the year never to be forgotten.

Today, a roundup of the 10 most popular Everyday Cheapskate posts in 2020 starting with #10 and working our way to the number one most popular …

245

A Red-Hot Alert from LifeLock Made My Day!

Some days I sit down to write this column and the words pour from my mind through my fingers and onto the keyboard. Other times, like right now, all systems go blank—one big expansive, frustrating void. Just as I was about to run outdoors and bang my head on my new stone wall, I got that little ding letting me know I had mail—this time from Nancy …

248

How to Do Christmas Without Debt

If you are or ever have been plagued by credit card debt, I can nearly guarantee expenses related to Christmas have contributed greatly to that miserable situation. You know I’m right and unless we do something to stop that pattern, things are about to get much worse for you. Christmas is right around the corner. […]

249

8 Surprising Non-Food Ways to Use a Slow Cooker

They’re bulky and take up precious cabinet space, but we’ll never get rid of our slow cookers. They can be such a lifesaver on those days when time is scarce and we just want to make a big batch of something deliciously comforting to get us through.   A slow cooker, aka Crock-Pot®, is one […]

250

Free Printables Make Halloween Super Fun

BOO!! No matter the kind of celebration you’ll be seeing this year, these Halloween printables for decorating, playing games, coloring, carving, and crafting will keep you and the kids busy. Best to start early. Print exactly what you want—free and easy!

253

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

254

Tub Tile Shower Cleaner

In what has to be more than 25 years since I a reader shared this recipe (we’re talking pre-Internet, pre-Pinterest … maybe pre-historic), I’ve used nothing else to clean tubs, showers, sinks, toilets, patio furniture—just about anything that will stand still long enough to get sprayed, and can be rinsed easily. It is truly magical. This must be rinsed away well with clear water.

262

Try This Old Restaurant Cleaning Trick

Ever leave the coffee pot on overnight only to wake to a blackened, disgusting, burnt-on mess? Can’t get rid of the gunky build-up in your favorite carafe or thermos—stuff you can see, but not reach? Try an old trick perfected by wait staff in restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops everywhere to get it sparkling clean …

See you there! xo m

September 11, 2001 …. We Will NEVER Forget! GOD BLESS AMERICA!

263

Could You Go a Year Without Spending?

A few years back, Eric and Donna Reed shopped for groceries and household products only once a year. How on earth? I know. That was my reaction, too! How? Or maybe better … WHY?

The Reeds got the idea after reading a column in USA Today, wherein the writer confessed to his weakness when it came to buying clothes. So driven to buy new sweaters, slacks or shoes every time he stepped inside a clothing store, publicly he announced he was giving up buying anything for one full year.

Their story is fascinating enough. But how this all turned out will leave you slack-jawed. And wondering. Could you do it?

See you there … xo m

264

Ask Me Anything: Best Robot Vac, Denim Dye Transfer, Medicare HELP! and More

Happy Labor Day Weekend, Everyone!

Once again, it’s time to reach into the mailbag to pull out a handful of questions from you, my Dear Readers. I never know what I’ll find, but I can usually count on some questions having to do with issues of personal finance, others that zero-in on household quandaries and from time to time, some that are just plain weird. I usually set those aside. And who knows? Perhaps sometime soon, you’ll find an entire post devoted to weirdies from the mailbag!

And now for a little weather report from my neck of the woods (Northern Colorado) … today we are looking at a high of 99F (yes!) … tomorrow 98F (a little better 😂); Monday 90F and Tuesday (wait for it …) 38F with 3 inches of snow! ❄️ I am not kidding! (Seriously, I love this.) Then on Wed., Thur., Fri., right back up to beautiful 80F days. Okay back to today’s questions … See you there! Love, xo m

I hope you’ve got something fun planned for the last weekend of summer!

265

27 Ways to Use Baby Wipes That Don’t Require a Baby

Recently, in my never-ending quest to organize my home, I came across the half-full case of baby wipes I’d purchased more than five years ago when our younger grandson was born. My first thought was that since Sam is all potty trained now, I should find someone with a baby or donate them to the church […]

266

Home Canning: How to Preserve Summer’s Bounty

So, you planted a garden, lucked out when your property included fruit trees, stumbled upon a produce sale you just couldn’t pass up, or joined a CSA. Good for you! Now what? What will you do with all that bounty?

You have several choices, one of which is the subject of today’s post. Ready to get canning? Let’s do it! See you there … xo m

267

Worst and Best Ways to Clean Your Eyeglasses

You just paid a small fortune for new eyeglasses. On top of the cost for prescription lenses and fashionable frames, you opted for Anti-Reflective, Anti-Scratch and UV Coatings too. 
After all, eyesight is a precious thing and it’s only wise to do all you can to protect it, right?

Absolutely! But here’s the deal: You may be destroying your investment every time you clean your glasses because you’re using the wrong cleaners and doing it all wrong.

Not to worry! In today’s post all the things to stop doing—followed by the best ways to keep the sparkling clean.

268

How to Buy Carpet—What You Need to Know to Make the Perfect Decision

It’s not something you buy every day. But when it’s time to buy carpet, you’ll want to know your stuff. Make a bad decision and you’ll pay dearly for a long time, and I am not talking just about the money. You’ll pay a significant price in dissatisfaction and disappointment, too.

When it comes to carpeting there are sooo many choices! And companies, and salespeople. It’s not easy to know who to trust. Truth be told, it’s best to educate yourself so you don’t have to rely on others to make the decisions.

In today’s post, I’ll help you sort through all the noise, identify, and then organize the information to come up with a simple roadmap.

See you there! Love, xo m

269

15 Ways to Solve it With Salt

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 …

270

How to Unclog a Toilet—Quick and Easy!

No one likes to talk about it, but truth be told it happens. Toilets malfunction. They get clogged. Sure, it’s inconvenient but more than that, downright embarrassing if you’re somewhere other than the privacy of your own home. Here’s a cheat sheet so you’ll know ahead of time how to unclog a toilet because everyone needs to know how to unclog a toilet!

271

Best Inexpensive Phone Charger Plus 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 …

272

Household Substitutes: 11 More Ways You Can Use This for That

Recently as I was halfway out the door, car keys in hand and on the way to the home improvement center, I remembered that I might already have what I needed. Cooking spray! That’s it. I’d heard that it just might work. It did, and quite perfectly, too. More on this and plenty more ways to use “This” for “That!” See you there … Love, m xo

273

Going on Vacation? Make Your Own Plant Nanny Plus More Great Reader Tips

Every day I get loads of mail including wonderful notes, letters, and email messages from my awesome readers.

Tucked into many of those messages are tips, hints, tricks, and great ideas for the ways you save time and money every day. I’m pretty sure I have the best job on earth!

You’re going to love today’s post filled with great reader tips. Makes me wonder when I’ll be hearing from you with your best time- and money-saving tips and tricks!

See you there … Love, xo m

274

16 Surprising Ways Car Wax Can Make Your Life Easier

Chances are good that there’s an old can of car wax hanging out in your garage or basement. Now would be the time to find it, dust it off and hope it’s not all dried out. Of course, car wax is good for waxing a car, but it’s handy in so many other ways around […]

275

How to Get the Kids’ Rooms Organized

With schools in the U.S. schools closing several months before the school year ended and now summer, it does seem like the kids have been home like forever. And their rooms are starting to look like it! Don’t make their bedrooms a battleground. Instead, grab this opportunity to help your kids organize their rooms and their stuff. Surprise! I have a few ideas to help get started.

See you there … Love, xo m

276

Food Shopping: The Jarring Truth

Why is it that the odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with ONLY a loaf of bread are about three billion to one? Food prices in the U.S. have climbed so dramatically in recent months, a stroll through the aisles of a typical supermarket is enough to kill […]

277

Cucumbers Galore? Enjoy Salad and Easy Pickles Recipes!

Today we celebrate cucumbers which will soon be in the peak of their season and dirt cheap! Cucumbers are not only delicious when prepared well, they are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Personally, I love cucumbers so much, I would be happy eating them in a salad, as pickles, in a sandwich or just straight up with a sprinkle of salt and I mean every day of my life.

See you there! xo m 🥒 ❣️

280

The Top 12 Shopping Triggers and How to Outsmart Them

I blame my suspicious nature on my neighborhood grocery store. The store used to be a logically arranged market with bright lights and clean floors—a basic, friendly, functional place to shop.

Then the bulldozers morphed it into a big fancy schmancy supermarket complete with shopping triggers of mood lighting, Starbucks, Panda Express, and lots of comfy chairs.

I have nothing against beautiful spaces and modern conveniences, but I’m no fool. I knew all of this effort was to one end—to get me to spend more of my hard-earned money. It was evident the moment I entered the all new, super modern, tripled-in-size, mega supermarket. Everything from the music to the colors, to the placement of the busy bakery seemed ultra contrived. 

Take the “3 for $6!” special of the week. Why not just say $2 each and drop the exclamation mark, I muttered to myself as I placed one jar of spaghetti sauce in the cart. 

Before I could wheel away I had my answer: I saw several customers dutifully place three jars in their carts. Not two, not four, but three jars. 

That response was no accident. In fact, that’s a simple example of how retailers use tricks to persuade—dare I say manipulate—customers to buy more.

Our defense as consumers is to educate ourselves. Today, the 12 tricks we need to know about. I have so much to tell you about this.

See you there! Love, xo m

283

17 Favorite Things I Use (Almost) Daily

Wanna have some fun? Pretend you’re headed to Survivor Island as a contestant (Yes, you made it … !) What will you need to bring along with you? I have a short list myself and here they are—17 things I use almost every day (there are more, but I’m keeping myself in check), without which I’d not want to survive!

Question: Do you have items you use so often you’re quite sure you could not survive without? Please tell us in the comments!

See you there! Love, xo m

284

Magical Solutions for Challenging Situations

Sometimes it’s the most unusual thing that turns out to be the magical solution for a  household problem. Things like a hairdryer, a bottle of essential oil, or a tube of toothpaste. In today’s post readers share their experiences and their questions, too! My favorite kind of post.

See you there … Love, xo m ❣️

285

More Creative Ways My Clever Readers Save Time and Money

Sometimes I wonder how Everyday Cheapskate readers discover their handy ideas. I mean, who would have thought something that cleans brake parts would also remove stains from clothes? Go figure!

Today I have a really fun collection of Great Reader Tips to share. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love them and find at least one that is going to make your life so much easier!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Then I have exciting news: Share it at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com AND you just might win CASH prizes. Yes! It’s true.

I’ve been working on this for more than a year … and finally, we’re almost ready to open the doors and invite everyone in. Which means your chances of winning now before hardly anyone knows about it greatly increases your chances of winning. The current contest closes in just a few days, so hurry!

Consider this your sneak peek!

Meet me at the post … Love, xo m

286

Simple Ways We Can Celebrate Memorial Day

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

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

287

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 …

288

Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce—So Good, It’s Insane!

I love my Instant Pot—the greatest time-saving, magic-producing, easy-to-use kitchen appliance known to [wo]mankind. I use it almost every day to make everything from eggs to pot roast and (wait for it …) cheesecake! Yes, the BEST cheesecake ever! But I have to admit the idea of making Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce in a single […]

289

Solved: Laundry Problems, Mistakes, and Mysteries

Laundry challenges come in every size, shape, and intensity. Giving up tossing that item into the rag bag may not be your only option. Rather than thinking there is no solution for that stain, shrunken item, or another laundry disaster, consider the ways you can recover and renew situations gone bad. Honey, I shrunk your sweater […]

290

How to Slash a Family’s Food Budget without Causing a Revolt

The year was 1992. We’d just come through 10 long years of repaying more than $100,000 of credit card debt I’d stupidly amassed. I’d come this close to losing my marriage, my family, our home and basically blowing up my life. Debt has a way of doing that. After ten years, we’d brought that awful […]

291

3 DIY Face Masks—Easy and Effective

The Center for Disease Control recently recommended the use of cloth face coverings in public. That directive goes on to say acceptable face coverings can be “fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials.”

Easy for them to say. Which household items?

Not all of us just happen to have supplies and equipment stashed away in the event we might ever need a proper face covering.

It didn’t take long for a few very creative folks to come up with and then share their solutions!

Today’s post … three super creative and effective face masks you can make from stuff you have around the house. Wait! Not silly stuff, although some of the shall we say “creative” masks I’ve seen online have made me laugh (a Solo cup?!).

These are truly useful, effective and surely CDC approved!

See you there. Love, xo m 😷 ❣️

292

Drive-Thru, Take-Out, Food Delivery—Is It Safe?

The news is constantly changing as experts learn more about the wicked virus that has invaded our world. Good, reliable information about food safety is absolutely crucial right now.

Restaurants have mostly moved into “to-go only” mode, closing their dining rooms but continuing to offer some combination of take-out, drive-thru, and home delivery. Can we rely on any of these options to keep us safe? Should we? Let’s check with the experts …

See you there! Love, xo m

293

My Annual Spring Clean Kitchen Challenge

On the one hand, it feels as though our lives have been turned upside-down. And right in the middle of so much uncertainty, spring arrived exactly on time to remind that there are some things we can count on to never change! Just like that, I have spring cleaning and kitchen reorganization on my mind […]

294

How to Make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

There’s nothing like reaching for the automatic dishwasher detergent only to find you’re fresh out, or you’re on your last pod. Normally, you’d run to the store or add it to your running grocery list for your next trip.

But suddenly, things are not normal. It’s comforting to know how to do things yourself—how to be more self-sufficient. With this post, you can add one more recipe to your “Make It Myself” file (you have one of those, right? 😂)

See you there … and please, stay safe! Love, xo m

295

How to Make Your Own 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 ensure 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 …

296

Surprisingly Useful Ways to Use a Vacuum Sealer

My FoodSaver vacuum sealer is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I vacuum- seal fresh fruit to extend the useful by at least two weeks, often much longer. I vacuum seal meat before I freeze it so it can last up to 3 years and still taste fresh, flavorful, and freezer-burn free. Prep ahead meals, leftovers, and produce stored in the fridge will stay fresh up to weeks later instead of spoiling in days.

I could go on and on about how my FoodSaver saves our food bill, but today I want to tell you the useful ways I use a FoodSaver that have nothing to do with food! See you there! Love, xo m

297

Questions: Double Stroller, Dehumidifier, Car Trash, Lestoil, Rust Spots, Coffee Beans, and More

Have I told you lately about my email inbox? It’s a mess. And today I’m ready to clean it up big time by answering 11 questions, each one of them representing dozens more with substantially the same request.

What’s inside? Here are the questions I will answer in today’s post:

1. Best double stroller

2. Best Inexpensive dehumidifier

3. That really great car trash can

4. Rust spots on stainless steel sink

5. Laundry stain remover, say what?

6. Shark vacuum … but which one?!

7. Cleaner for icky, greasy, grimy, cabinets

8. Source for green coffee beans, please

9. Hardwood, laminate floor recipe

10. Source for bar mops

11. Fumigate a space that reeks of tobacco smoke

Once you get there, you’ll be able to click on a specific question to jump to the answer or read straight through.

See you there! Love, Mary xo ❣️

298

Surprising Trick Removes Stubborn Hard Water Stains 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 😍

299

How to Clean and Condition Leather

There’s nothing quite so lovely as soft, supple, beautiful leather. I’ll take it in a handbag, shoes, car seats, jackets, and furniture, too. I love fine leather, which means I need to know how to clean fine leather. With that in mind, try to imagine this scene from my real life: Me in my comfy […]

300

How to Beat Clutter and Improve Your Life

Getting organized is like dieting. Everyone knows how to do it—you clear out the clutter, cleverly organize what remains, and then maintain the results, right? Uh, not so fast.

For many of us knowing is not enough. It takes more than that …

301

7 Festive Holiday Dessert Drinks

It doesn’t have to be a full-blown dinner party to count as holiday entertaining. Why not ask your invited guests to bring their favorite sweets while you provide the beverages?

Then knock their socks off with a buffet of these festive holiday dessert drinks. You’ll avoid spending a bundle and reduce your stress in the process!

See you there! Love, xo m

302

11 Things You Should Never Burn in Your Fireplace

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it’s likely that now and then you toss things like cardboard, junk mail, and egg cartons. And why not? It seems like anything that burns should be able to go in because the smoke and fumes go right up the chimney. And that’s a really bad idea. In fact, each time you do that, you could be putting your home and your family at risk.

There are at least 11 things you should never burn in your fireplace … See you there! Love, m xo

303

Ask Me Anything: Cosigning Parents, Silent Stylist, Rum Cake Recipe, and More

Happy Sunday, Everybody!

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

Contents

1. Gray scrapes and “scratches” on fine dinnerware

2. Heartbroken parents who co-signed

3. Spreadable butter disaster

4. Spouse demands control of the purse strings

5. IP Vanilla Extract 

6. The Unscrupulous Stylist

7. Rum Cake Recipe, Pleeeese!

See you there! Love, xo m

306

25 Fantastic Items That Will Simplify and Organize Your Life!

Getting organized isn’t easy. But staying organized can be even harder. A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s the mark of an organized home.

As a natural-born messie with a bent toward hoarding, I know the struggle. But I’ve learned the joy of decluttering and gaining control over my disorganized self—one drawer, cupboard, closet, and room at a time.

Today I want to update 25 of my best organizational helpers that can help organize your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, handbag, and car, too. These organizers can quickly turn chaos to calm. Ahhhh … see you there! xo m

307

Best Inexpensive Steam Iron

There’s something soothing and instantly gratifying about a good steam iron with a heft of heat and steam gliding back and forth over wrinkled fabric. Find the best steam iron with the best features at the best price—that’s the challenge. But fear no more: I’ve made all the mistakes, faced all the challenged, and come up with the best options for you …

308

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth Money in the Bank

Today’s topic is not pretty, but unless you have $8,000 earmarked to treat periodontal disease, an ounce of good dental care could prevent a lot of pain—both dental and financial.  Periodontal disease is an infection that destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bones that hold the teeth in the jaw bone and the bone itself. […]

309

Stop Wasting Money on Kitchen Tools That Do Only One Thing

Celebrity chef Alton Brown contends that a kitchen tool that does only one job is mostly useless. He calls anything like a pickle fork, garlic press, strawberry stem remover, or hot dog steamer a “unitasker.” His advice? Don’t waste your time and money on any kitchen tool if it is only good for one thing. It […]

310

How to Give Yourself a $2,000 Raise in a Hurry

If there’s one thing that I love about you, my loyal readers, it’s how responsive you are. Sometimes you like what you read, other times not so much. Now and then you simply need more information. But no matter what, I can always count on hearing from you. Which brings me to what I wrote […]

311

How to Afford Big Ticket Items

Finally, you have a couple of months where things are going well. The bills get paid on time and you actually have money left at the end of the month. Then Pow! Without warning, the water heater bursts, the car breaks down, and the first half of the property tax bill is past due—and suddenly […]

312

You Paid How Much for Your First Computer?!

I just read something that made me laugh outloud—mostly because it’s funny, but also because it is poignantly true. “I wonder what my kids are going to tell their kids … ‘It was so rough back in my day. I didn’t get a phone ’til 4th grade and sometimes the wifi didn’t always work upstairs!’” […]

313

The Ultimate Risk-Free, High-Yield, Guaranteed Investment

From time to time, this kind of question pops up in my inbox: How can I get started investing in stocks and mutual funds that are risk-free and have guaranteed high rates of return? Of course that makes me laugh hysterically, not only because there is no such thing as a risk-free investment let alone one […]

315

Make Your Own Natural Non-Toxic Ant Spray

If you’ve ever had to deal with an invasion of ants, you may know the meaning of exasperation. While the kids think ants are so cute the way they march in formation, stop to help one another, and work hard to prepare for their own life challenges ahead, it’s better to study these amazing creatures than […]

317

9 Ideas for a Frugal (Not Cheap!) Wedding

In 27 years, I cannot recall a single time I’ve heard from a bride or groom saying they wished they’d spent more money on their wedding.

The best wedding mail comes from frugal brides and grooms who are anxious to share their fabulous frugal ideas with future couples!

319

Help! My Apartment Stinks Like a Stale Ashtray

What do vacuum sealers and apartments that smell like a stale ashtray have in common? Absolutely nothing other than these two messages showing up in my mailbox at the same moment—both of them in response to earlier posts … <>p>Meet me at the post! Love, m xo ❣️

320

How to Give New Life to an Old Eyeglasses Case

Recently, I dropped off several out-of-prescription eyeglasses at a Walmart Vision Center, just one of many collection centers around the country that partner with Lions Clubs to collect old eyeglasses for those in need at home and medical missions abroad. With the cost of prescription eyeglasses equaling a year’s salary in some countries, donated eyeglasses are the […]

322

Every Busy Cook Needs This Easy Go-To Recipe

I may be the only person in the world for whom this happens, but I doubt it. On a whim, I invite a bunch of friends over for Sunday Dinner. Or the phone rings and just like that I need to get a meal on the table in a big hurry because guests are on […]

323

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 …

324

Even Small Households Can Save Big at Warehouse Clubs

It’s been a few years now since my husband and I began talking about relocating to another state. At first, it was only a dream but soon idle chatter turned to serious talk. That developed into a list of “must-haves”—things a new location would have to offer for us to even consider making the leap. […]

325

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 …

326

Dinner-in-a-Box is Not What I Thought

Dinner-in-a-Box. Seriously?

Who in their right mind would trust seafood, meat and produce from some unknown assembly plant, piled onto a loading dock then moved into the back of an unrefrigerated FedEx truck for who knows how long and until some delivery guy drops it on the porch?

The whole idea sounded ridiculously expensive to me, if not just plain gross. I didn’t need to test the obvious so I did what comes all too naturally for me: I jumped to conclusions.

Turns out I was way off base and so wrong. Today I’m here to come clean and set the record straight…

327

A Machine that Gets Pet and Human Hair Out of Carpet Like Magic

How often have you been vacuuming and you turn off the vacuum only to see stray hairs—from your own head or your pet’s body—still on your carpet? No matter how hard and often you vacuum, they’re still there. Now imagine all of the hairs you cannot see because they’ve worked their way below the surface. […]

328

Celebrate Good Times … Come On!

Celebrate? With all that’s going on in our world?  You bet. We need to celebrate wherever, whenever, and as often as possible. In their book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, authors Stephen Post and Julie Neimark tell us that celebration is gratitude in action. Celebration creates a circle of love. When we rejoice […]

331

Best Inexpensive Essential College Dorm Gear

It’s been a number of 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 […]

332

Ask Me Anything: Toys R Us Gift Cards | Percale Sheets | Best Upright Vacuum

Childhood memories … they can be both comforting and painful. I was reminded of that this past week when we took our grandsons to their favorite Family Fun Center—Boondocks.

It’s a great place with all the regular entertainment: Mini Golf, Bumper Boats, Bowling, Laser Tag and their favorite—the Arcade where Eli, age 9, got a shock the likes of which I didn’t understand at first.

We discovered that our Boondocks has been completely renovated and upgraded. The familiar tokens for play and resulting “tickets” that pour out of the machines as rewards are gone. G-O-N-E!! In their place, digital cards your swipe like a credit card, that somehow keep track of points and rewards. How could they!?

Eli was crushed. Right before my eyes I watched as one of his favorite things to do morphed into but a childhood memory. There were tears commensurate with a 9-year old’s grief. That, of course. broke my heart. Actually, anything that insists my kids and grandsons must grow up is met with conflict in my heart.

On the one hand, I don’t want them to grow up. I want them to be innocent, wonder-filled children forever. But then I remind myself how grateful I am that our sons have and grandsons are developing into unique and wonderful adults. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today’s post will leave you feeling a bit nostalgic as well but also filled with hope. I have such good stuff to share with you!

Speaking of good stuff … Congratulations to recent GIVEAWAY Winners!

Nok-Out Giveaway: Vivienne Stephen
ThermaPen MK4 Giveaway: Carolyn Nelson
Raising Financially Confident Kids Giveaway: Rebecca M. Powrozek

This has been so much fun, we’re considering making GIVEAWAYS a regular weekly feature. Your thoughts?

333

Follow Up: Spring Clean Kitchen Challenge

Did you accept the challenge Spring Clean Kitchen Challenge? It’s been six weeks since I wrote about our big kitchen remodel and my determination to follow Cynthia Townley Ewer’s (Cut the Clutter) three rules for organizing an efficient, convenient kitchen. I invited my readers to accept the challenge and many did. It’s time for a […]

334

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 poor.” […]

335

Best Inexpensive™ Dishwasher

Just this past week I heard from my dear reader Penny who is frustrated in the face of needing to purchase a new dishwasher. She writes:  “Our dishwasher is more than 20 years old and every time I think I have decided on a new one and read the reviews, I back out. I know that you […]

336

Best Inexpensive™ Umbrellas

What we should expect are umbrellas that are waterproof, sturdy, and above all, reliable for a decent period of time. And of a decent size. And if something goes wrong—even super strong wind—we want reliable customer service that will make things right. Here are my picks for Best Inexpensive™ umbrellas.

337

My Journey Into the Dark Web

I got up very early on Groundhog Day so I could be among the first to know  Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for how many weeks of winter are still ahead. As I was waiting for the live coverage to begin, I got an email message that made my heart race. The message was from LifeLock. Dark Web Alert: Identity Information Detected!

338

That Bed Sheet Pet Peeve, How to Soften Hard Water for Laundry

It may not show up in The Top Tens Biggest Pet Peeves (yes, there is such a thing), but getting the corners right when putting on a fitted bed sheet ranks high in my mailbox.
Here’s the funny thing: Because it doesn’t bother me, I had no idea that quickly figuring out which corner goes where when putting on a fitted bed sheet was a major pet peeve for so many people! I guess I’ve lived my life just assuming that everyone knew the easy trick to get it right the first time, every time. 

339

Best Inexpensive: Mattress, Bed Pillows, Duvet Cover

The idea to buy a mattress online and have it shipped to your home is still rather mind-boggling. It seems so risky, to say nothing of dubious quality. Like who would do such a thing? It’s a concept whose time has come and one that’s here to stay. The idea of a bed that fits in […]

340

Keep Kitties Out of the Kids’ Sandbox

Pop Quiz: What looks like water, is certainly inexpensive, has a pungent odor but is not toxic (in fact you can drink it if you like); is biodegradable, serves as a useful disinfectant and will repel kitties from your kids’ sandbox? Give up? Read on to learn the answer in today’s first great reader tip.

341

Ask Me Anything: Formica Restore, Silverfish Relief, Party Pressure

Recently, I reached into the pile known as my mail and pulled out a great question, “How can I restore the finish to an original, classic mid-century modern Formica top table that has some noticeable dull spots?” I have the answer but misplaced the letter. So while I don’t know your name, you know who you are and that’s all that matters.

342

The Case for Quartz Countertops

In a recent post, I suggested to a reader that quartz countertops would be a good choice in her quest to find the most durable and easy-care option, because quartz doesn’t stain, doesn’t require any kind of sealant, and cleans up like a dream. And, I said, quartz is cheaper than granite.   In no […]

343

Best Inexpensive™ Dinnerware, Drinkware, Stainless Flatware

Recently, when one of my staff turned 30, I quipped that I have dishes older than he. It’s true. Sometime during the late ‘80s, my husband took on the huge task of painting the dark walnut kitchen cabinets white—inside and out. Of course, that meant new hardware and lighting, too. What a transformation. To celebrate […]

344

How I Spent Forty Bucks to Avoid Surgery

It was a total self-inflicted injury. I did a really stupid thing. Early on a Saturday morning, I heard the doorbell chime, which reminded me I’d set up an early appointment with a landscape company. Not wanting a second ring to wake my husband, I flew like a flash from one end of the house to […]

346

Take My Mobile Phone, Please!

Recently, I inherited a new-to-me iPhone 6. It’s lovely, I’m grateful but I didn’t really need a new phone. My venerable iPhone 5c suited me just fine. And now I need to figure out what to do with it. My unlocked, 32gb, bright green iPhone 5c is in excellent condition with no damage, scratches, or […]

349

Life in a Crowded Nest

It used to be that kids reaching adulthood could not wait to leave home and be on their own. That worked out well because their parents longed for an empty nest and quieter lives. But these days, young people are spoiling these plans. Currently some 85% of U.S. college graduates move back home with their parents […]

350

Best Inexpensive Computer Printers

With so many technologies and capabilities available, choosing a printer isn’t easy. And don’t assume you’ll find the perfect printer anytime soon. No matter the cost, printers get paper jams. They run out of ink/toner. Network connectivity can be challenging. That’s just the nature of printers. I don’t know why, but it’s important to understand […]

351

Dinner-in-a-Box is Not at All What I Thought!

Over the past year or so I’ve been hearing a lot about a new way to get dinner on the table. Every month or so another one of these meal kit delivery services would contact me to give it a try. Seriously? Who in their right mind would trust seafood, meat and produce from some unknown assembly […]

353

Many Happy Returns

What to do with three extra coffee grinders and charming needlepoint “Puppies in a Basket” throw pillow—gifts received and much appreciated, but not quite right in your mid-century modern pad? Here are eight general tips to help make sure that all of your returns are happy. Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates […]

354

Chromebook Laptops Better Than Ever—Cheaper, Too!

Only a few months ago, I told you about what was happening in the world of Chromebook—a laptop computer that runs Chrome OS as its operating system and is designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet. That in fact, Chromebooks had just (and for the first time in the U.S.) outsold Apple’s […]

355

Best Inexpensive Sewing Machines

Turning 7 years old is a big deal on its own but for me it was even better because I would be old enough to join 4-H—America’s largest youth development organization, which is still alive and well after all these years, empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S. with the skills to lead for a […]

356

How to Create the “Dirty Denim” Look

Are your teens hounding you for the hot look known as “dirty denim?” Okay, so you like it too. I won’t hold that against you. But I might change my mind if I find out you or your kids spent for a pair of dirty denim jeans (or $750) when the ones that look neat and […]

358

The Simple Science of Eliminating Bad Odors

Some of my fondest childhood memories have the name of my sixth-grade teacher written all over them. Mr. Migaki loved science and that made me love it too with his amazing experiments, formulas and scientific method. He made school so much fun.

359

For the Love of a Good Steam Iron

While it’s true that life is uncertain, there’s at least one thing of which I am very sure: I will never be held hostage for refusing to iron. Unlike Mrs. Tyrrell whose son Robert, according to police, held her at gunpoint for six hours because she refused to iron his clothes (reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), I […]

361

How Credit Inquiries and Cosigning Can Affect Credit Score

Dear Mary: My son is looking for an apartment near his new job in order to avoid a horrendous daily commute. He recently told me that each time a landlord/manager runs a credit check on him, his credit score drops 15 points. What recourse does he have? Dear Judy: Most potential landlords and their management […]

362

How I Book Really Cheap Travel

Recently, while packing up files and expense records, I came across a file for a  business trip that could have been very expensive but was so cheap, I am still amazed. I traveled from Los Angeles to Denver as the Speaker for the Dept. of Interior Employee Book Forum. I had plenty of notice making […]

364

Immersion Therapy for Mobile Phone Droppers

A mid-west sewer authority did a study and came up with data alleging that 19 percent of people admit to having dropped their phones in the toilet. I’m not sure why this fact would be of interest to a sewer agency, but it did come to mind when this letter washed up on my desk a […]

365

Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month

The title, Once a Month Cooking, made me laugh. Cook once a month? I didn’t need a book to do that. I needed the motivation to cook the other 29 days of the month, too! There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small […]

366

10 Ways to Say I Love You That Don’t Cost a Dime

Long ago in my stupid days I went nuts with credit cards. I ran up a 6-figure debt over a 12-year period. I did pay all of it back plus interest and fees and it was anything but easy. I’m still shocked and embarrassed I let it happen. There are affiliate links in this post. […]

367

Easy Ways To Boost Your Income

Of all the people I know and love, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t welcome a small income boost this month–or any month, for that matter. Whether you’re between jobs, figuring out how to cover an unexpected bill or hoping to stash more cash into savings, get your creative juices flowing with these ideas. […]

368

I Just Booked Cheap Travel Again!

The last time I wrote about how I book cheap travel, the response was huge! And some of those messages were from skeptical readers who were pretty sure I couldn’t do that on a regular basis. I’m excited to let you know I just did … again! I’m on my way out the door, this […]

369

How Does $500 Sound in Exchange for a Scratch or Dent?

DEAR MARY: I love your columns that I read in our local newspaper. We need to purchase a new washing machine and would like your recommendation. I tried to find a column you previously wrote on this subject but was unsuccessful. We need a large capacity machine for our large family. Thank you. Monica DEAR […]

370

Soap Scum Remover So Effective It’s Magical

I could sit for hours reading the lovely letters, notes, and questions you send to me. I could, but I can’t. What I can do is reach into the bag and pull out a few messages to answer and for us to read and enjoy together. Let’s start with this reader’s feedback on a simple soap and scum cleaner for tubs and showers that she reports is nearly magical!

371

Drowning in Scraps of Fabric

Long-time readers of this column may recall the reader who wanted to know where she could donate her fabric scraps. I offered details on a small organization in Texas that turns new fabric scraps into quilts for shelters, churches, and other charities.   Apparently reader G.W. was not the only reader with fabric scraps too […]

372

Perfect Homemade Vanilla Extract

Every year about this time I start scrambling for gift ideas for my long list of friends, neighbors and colleagues. I have criteria. The gift has to be homemade and easily mass produced. It needs to be consumable, attractive and appeal to a wide range of tastes. And above all, it needs to be affordable. Everyday […]

373

The Scoop on Free Ice Cream

Is there anything better than ice cream on a hot summer day? Well, yes there is—FREE ice cream! And I’ve got the scoop on where you can get free goodies like ice cream on your birthday and other times, too. Most of these stores and restaurants will require you to join a club or sign […]

375

Getting Soaked: Good for Bedspread, Bad for Retirement Account

Dear Mary: I have an heirloom bedspread that is about 60 years old, embroidered with wool yarn by my grandmother. There are some brown spots on it, of unknown origin. Can I hand launder it after spot treating? What would be the best thing to treat the spots? I love your column. I’ve gotten so many […]

376

The Story of Soilove

Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you. For years I thought I was the only person who knew about something called Soilove. I first discovered it back in 1982 while searching for a laundry stain […]

377

Help! I’m Too Tired to Cook

Yesterday I got a letter that took my mind back to the years when our boys were small and I was too busy, too tired and too stressed to cook. Dear Mary: I know where the money is leaking out of our household: Fast food. We are expecting our fourth child and I am so […]

378

It’s Only Too Late if You Don’t Start Now

I love to knit. That is not to say that I am a fast knitter or even that good at it. Mostly I make things that turn out marginally, then I tear them out and start over on something else.  Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed […]

379

Hope and Help for Troubled Debtors

Dear Mary: A year ago, I emailed you about the mess I was in with payday lenders. Although I had been a member of Debt-Proof Living for years and knew better—and I am a professional with a masters degree and excellent job—somehow, little by little, I got caught up in the downward spiral into payday loan […]

380

Help! Too Much Stuff for Too Little Space

Dear Mary: I have a young daughter who is almost three-years-old. Eventually, my husband and I plan on having more children. I have saved lots of baby things, clothing, toys and other items, but I am having trouble storing all of these things. They have taken over. I cannot possibly take up any more space with […]

381

Readers Report Nok-Out to the Rescue

Faithful readers know I’m crazy for a product, Nok-Out. I travel with it and live it with. Actually, I wouldn’t want to live without it.  There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Nok-Out is both […]

382

Divorce Decrees Mean Nothing to the IRS

Dear Mary: I am recently married and my husband owes the IRS $23,000 in back taxes. He agreed to an installment plan of $320 per month with the IRS. His divorce decree states that he and his ex-wife are each responsible for paying half of any taxes owed, but she says she cannot pay anything. He […]

383

How to Store Non-Perishable Food

Every household needs to have some amount of food in storage. How much food to store is an individual decision that depends on your financial resources, storage area, and other factors. Ideally, you need enough to feed your family for six months but start with shorter goals, like one week, then two weeks, and then […]

384

Prep Steps for First-Time Home Buyers

Buying a home can be exciting and terrifying, all at once. And for first-time buyers, you can probably multiply those feelings by a hundred. According to Wendy Highfield, of Distinct Realty Group in Denver, Colo., “Now is such a great time to purchase a home, especially with the low rates and personalized loan programs available […]

385

Stop the Flu Virus Dead in Its Tracks

In the past couple of months, three acquaintances of mine have come down with the H1N1 virus, also known as Swine Flu, landing all three of them in the hospital in critical condition. I don’t know if any had gotten a flu shot, or if in their particular situations that would have prevented their life-threatening […]

386

Mortgage Lender Calling Every Hour All Day Long!

  Dear Mary: We are one month behind on our mortgage payments and plan to catch up this month. We have told our credit union we will pay half on the 1st and the second half on the 13th. This will bring us current. They call all day, every hour. When we answer they say […]

387

Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared

  If there is one thing most people take for granted it is food. US supermarkets are always well-stocked and we don’t think much about how all that food gets there. When pushed to consider it, I wager most of us assume there are huge warehouses somewhere filled with enough food to feed the nation […]

388

13 New Uses for an Old Credit Card

  Before you cut up an expired credit card—or toss that silly fake one you got as junk mail—consider all the great things you can do with it! 1. Bookmark. It’ll keep your place and act as a handy straightedge for underlining or highlighting. 2. Glass scraper. A credit card is just the right size […]

389

Don’t Use it, Need it or Enjoy it? Unload it!

What would you do if you had to actually use—or at least enjoy—everything you own?  Truth be told, most of us will never live long enough to accomplish such an overwhelming task. Instead, we pack it, stack it and pile it away—even pay rent to store it—and keep right on accumulating, acquiring, and attaining even […]

390

15 Minutes is Worth More Than You Think

Want to stop spending so much of your hard-earned money on utility bills? Wish you could find time to declutter your home or complete a long-overdue project? The secret to your success in all of the above just might be in 15-minute increments. Each of these projects that follow can be completed in 15 minutes […]

391

Use Science to Slash Your Home Heating Bill

  Got big heating bills this winter even though you keep the thermostat set at “Brrrrrr”? Science may be able to offer you a better and cheaper way to stay warm at home. But first a few facts: Feeling warm or cold has nothing to do with air temperature. We get warm from our surroundings […]

392

An Ingenious Way to Keep Butter Soft and Fresh

  Dear Mary: Several years ago, I visited a friend and was introduced to an item that allows you to keep butter out of the refrigerator and on the counter to be nice and soft and fresh until consumed. The butter somehow stayed in a top container that was then suspended over a container of […]

393

Help! My White Leather Couch Reeks

Dear Mary: I found a GREAT deal on a gorgeous couch at an estate sale. It is upholstered in white leather and appears to be new—as no one has ever sat on it. Priced at $100, you can be sure that I grabbed it up fast and brought it home. There are affiliate links in […]

394

Will Stay-at-Home Mom be Eligible for Social Security?

Dear Mary: I’m a stay-at-home mom and haven’t had a paycheck since I was a teenager. Will I be eligible for Social Security benefits? — Emily, Oregon Dear Emily: If you are married, you will be eligible. Your Social Security retirement benefits are tied to your husband’s. You can file when he does, provided you’re […]

395

The Best Inexpensive Stroller

One of the best money management tools I know is this Rule of Thumb: Match quality with need. In other words, don’t buy quality beyond the need. Sometimes the cheapest option is the best choice. Other times, you’ll regret having gone cheap when you have to replace that item well before your need for it goes […]

396

Paralyzed by Too Many Choices

  Dear Mary: I am looking to purchase a new dishwasher as my 10-year-old GE model is leaking and will cost at least $300 to repair. My husband and I are “light users,” running a full load every four days or so. We rinse dishes and basically use the dishwasher on the short cycle and […]

397

8 Reasons I’m Hooked on Nok-Out

Nok-Out and I met quite by accident. In searching for ways my readers could deal with offensive odors, we found each other online. I’ve used it continuously in my home since then and have recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues. Not everything in life can be doused in bleach. But […]

398

Three Little Ways to Save Big

Think you’ve cut your expenses all you possibly can? You might be wrong. Check out these simple ways you can keep more of your hard-earned money over the next 12 months. Unhook the cable. Make a one-year commitment to living without cable television. If you can’t bear the thought of missing your favorite shows, consider the […]

400

Dry Cleaning Dilemma

Dear Mary, My daughter has a letterman’s jacket that has real leather sleeves and a wool body. The regular dry cleaner doesn’t want to clean it because of the leather sleeves and the leather cleaner doesn’t want to clean it because of the wool-blend body. Do you have any suggestions on how I might spot clean […]

401

Second Hand Clothes, First-Class Style

While most retail stores are hanging on by a thread due to COVID-19’s assault on the U.S. economy, thrift stores, specifically consignment stores, are having the opposite problem. Business is booming! According to thredUP.com, a major secondhand shopping site, the resale apparel market will grow from $28 billion to $64 billion in the next five years. […]

402

So Disgusting I’m Embarrassed to Tell

While I am a very busy person and not 100% organized, I do pride myself on cleanliness to the point of having been accused a time or two of being a wee bit compulsive. Which brings me to the matter of vacuum cleaners. I’m freakish if not particular about my vacuum. And I wear them […]