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

It’s time to reach into the inbox to answer more questions from my loyal readers—answers to which I suspect might be of interest to others.

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

A mailbox full of mail against a blue and puffy white cloud sky

 

Contents

1. What is tamari?

2. What happened to Glisten?

3. Secret in sunscreen

4. Stubborn toilet ring 

5. Shrinking tuna

6. Get out Wite-Out

7. Insolvent parents

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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.

woman with debt worried about bills to pay

After ten years, we’d brought that awful balance down to just $12,000. I could not wait to get it paid to $0. I got this wild idea to write a newsletter about our journey (back then, no Internet, no email, only an IBM Selectric typewriter … yep, that long ago!) hoping that enough people might pay $12 a year to subscribe. They did, oh boy did they. And Cheapskate Monthly was born—during a recession.

Long story short, The Los Angeles Times called, Oprah called, Dr. James Dobson called and the rest is history. The world has changed incalculably in those 28 years. There have been economic highs and lows. We’ve endured the recession of 1992, the horror of 9/11; the Great Recession of 2008. We’ve come through and each time, been better for what we’ve learned. And some things never change.

What you are about to read is from Cheapskate Monthly, Issue No. 2, February 1992, which I found in a neatly preserved file my dear mother-in-law left with my name on it. She’d typed out the contents of each of those early newsletters, together with a note that I might like them one day in the future.

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5 Ways to Give Yourself a Raise

Is money a little tight? Hoping a raise will come through soon? I hate to burst your bubble, but even if it is exceptional, a raise probably won’t do much good. 

By the time a raise is adjusted for taxes, you’ll be lucky to see half of it in your bank account. And if that’s not bad enough, it’s a common problem that when you earn more, you automatically spend more. Reckless spending can consume a lot of cash, fast. 

Woman opening bright pink wallet to discover complete lack of money

 

The degree of reckless spending seems to rise in direct proportion to income. It won’t be long until you are back in your old financial rut just barely getting by. Sadly, until you get serious about your spending, more money will never be enough.

The secret to getting cash inflow to exceed outflow is to reduce the outflow. That is a solution available to almost everyone.

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16 Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living the Life You Love

If you’ve ever been in serious debt or are right now you know the feeling that your creditors own you lock, stock, and bank account. I’ve been there, I know.

Debt steals your freedom one option at a time until you become its prisoner.

family jumping for joy in celebration

 

Debt keeps you chained to a job you hate. It keeps you stuck in the past, unable to move forward in life. And big debt causes terrible stress that makes it hard to breathe, keeps you awake, spoils relationships, and zaps the joy out of living.

It makes sense that if debt steals your options, then repaying debt creates financial freedom. But that’s not necessarily true.

If you spend just the amount you earn, you won’t be living beyond your means or creating new debt to bridge the shortfall, but you will be broke at the end of every month spinning your wheels, living from one paycheck to the next.

The first rule of sound money management is to live below your means—spend less than you earn. This means creating a margin between what you earn and what you spend. The secret to finding financial freedom—freedom from financial worry, fear and want—is in the gap between the amount you earn and what you spend.

The bigger the gap, the more freedom you will enjoy. It’s the money you don’t spend that gives you the freedom to grow your dreams and prepare for the future.

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