An Avalanche of Reader Love

I’ve told you about my email inbox but really you should see it—not that I am complaining. On the contrary, the more mail I get, the move love I feel from my wonderful readers.


Some of you send the most amazing stories and accounts of your progress in getting out of debt. Other messages are a quick sentence of encouragement. But mostly, you can’t seem to locate past information and simply need a repeat or reminder of a tip, trick, product or do-it-yourself instruction you’ve read in a previous column.

I’m no statistician, but I’m told that for every person who actually writes to ask a question—given the size of readership that Everyday Cheapskate enjoys—1,000 others want to know as well, but just don’t get around to writing. So, consider the following my attempt to compile lots of messages with the same or similar question and at the same time kill thousands of birds with just a few stones.

Q: Can you tell me which carpet steam cleaner you recommend, the one you said was the best thing you ever bought?

A: Oh, you’re talking about my beloved Hoover Steam Vac. I still have it, still love it and wouldn’t want to live without it. Make sure you re-read the original post so you’ll know how Hoover works best for me (hint: no shampoo.)

Q: Which Shark vacuum do you recommend? There are several models and I’m confused.

A: You want a Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (about $160). This will give you a vacuum that cleans carpet so well you might be embarrassed to see what it gets out (I sure was!) And you will have the attachment you need to vacuum your hard surface floors of hardwood, laminate or tile. But wait, there’s more! The Lift-Away feature turns this Shark into a handy vacuum to clean stairs.

Q: Can I use a blender to grind coffee beans? What make or model would be the best?

A: You might get away with grinding coffee in a blender in a pinch, but I would not recommend it as a regular method. You will end up with powder and that will not make good coffee. You need a grinder. They come in two varieties: blade grinder or burr grinder. A blade grinder cuts the bean into small bits. A burr grinder crushes the beans. A blade grinder will be cheaper, however coffee experts agree that a burr grinder is far superior for grinding beans to make a great cup of coffee. My choice for the best inexpensive blade grinder is KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder (about $20). For about $5 more, you can get a fabulous manual burr grinder—Vero Manual Coffee Mill (about $25). It’s beautiful and creates a perfect grind.

Q: I just took my tent down from the rafters—unused for several years and the smell is horrendous. Mouse urine, something from other rodents? I have no idea [often the case]. It is a lovely Timberland tent [insert your precious item here] and I would hate to have to throw it out. Any suggestions? I thought about Nok-Out but I don’t know if I need to submerge it in the stuff; use it straight from the bottle or dilute it first. As the absolute QUEEN of practical information I know you can help me!

A: You are definitely on the right track and please do not throw out that awesome tent! Nok-Out is the best possible rescue here because it will eliminate the odor by killing it—not cover it up. Fill a spray bottle with Nok-Out. Pitch the tent outdoors. If you can easily see the offending areas on the tent, spray them well. Me? I’d spray the entire tent inside and out to make sure I didn’t miss a single iota of stinkyness. To do its amazing job, Nok-Out must come in full contact with the offending odor. Do not rinse. If it’s a sunny day the tent will dry quickly. If not, it will take a bit longer to dry. You may need to conduct a second operation to treat the floor of the tent. Provided you have saturated every source of the odor, this will take care of the problem. [Don’t forget to use coupon code DPL at checkout for 10% off]

Q: You had information on using Wax for polishing furniture and I can not remember all the uses for it in a home.

 A: You can always go to to find past columns that include links to resources, instructions and products. In this case you could simply type the word ‘wax’ into the “search my blog” field” at the upper right side of that page, then wait for a few seconds (patience, please) for the search engine to search millions of words and then return every column in which that word appears.

I believe you are referring to Surprising Ways Car Wax Can Make Your Life Easier, in which I offer  13 ways to use both Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax and Turtle Super Hard Shell Paste Wax around the house.

Q: Would you please reprint the brand of indoor TV antenna you have in your new home? I lost the column in which you told everyone it sounded like a great antenna.

A: It’s the FlatWave Amped Indoor Amplified HDTV Antenna by Winegard, about $60. You can re-read that particular column (Have You Given Yourself That $1,400 After-Tax Raise Yet?) by typing a keyword like ‘antenna’ in the search box at

And with that I’ve just cleaned up a nice chunk of my email inbox. I’ll be doing more of this in the near future, so stand by.


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  • Beck

    What do you suggest for cleaning laminate flooring? I am about to take out the carpet and replace it with laminate. Thanks for all you do!