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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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Questions: Mascara Renewal | Robot Vacuum | Ant Killer | Malfunctioning Oven

It’s time, once again, to reach into my virtual mailbag to read what a handful of my Dear Readers have written. I love to hear from you with your questions, feedback, thoughts, and ideas.

Woman sitting at desk and working at computer hands close up

 

Dear Mary: I am an Ann Arbor News reader—especially on Sunday. Love, love your column. Thank you!

I lost the column from I think two weeks ago, regarding rejuvenating mascara. You used saline solution or something like that.

Please republish the formula if possible.  I have good, not great mascara and it does get clumpy, messy. I’ve thrown away soooooo many mascaras because of that. Sharon

Dear Sharon: First, I should explain to my online readers, that some of my blog posts are syndicated by Creators, and distributed to hundreds of local, independent newspapers such as The Ann Arbor News. I never know which post is going to show up in which newspaper, but I’m pretty sure I know the tip you’re referring to. Here it is:

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With ATM Receipts and Legal Guardians, Leave Nothing to Chance

Face it, life is uncertain. We cannot know the future, but that doesn’t mean we should just throw caution to the wind and let come what may. There are some areas of life where we can take steps to reduce certain risks by exercising good common sense.

male hand taking receipt from ATM

Dear Mary: This has been bugging me: At my bank’s ATM, there is a big trashcan where everyone throws away their receipt/transaction slips. It seems like a bad idea to toss them away since they show the balance and transaction info. But being cautious means I end up with an overstuffed, cluttered wallet. Do I need to save them, and what’s the best way to get rid of them? Rob

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Ask Me Anything: Credit Reports, Storing Potatoes, Deadbeat Relatives and More!

I don’t really have a mailbag but it would be fun if I did. What I do have is a file named EC_Mailbag. That’s where I save all of the questions and letters that you, my Dear Readers, send to me. I just don’t have the time to respond personally so I love it when I get to answer your questions here.

Arms and hands outstretched to ask questions

 

Here is a quick summary of the questions I’ll answer in today’s post. You can click on one to go straight to it, or just scroll through to read all. Enjoy!

Contents

1. Is it legal for a prospective employer to ask for my credit report?

2. What’s wrong with storing potatoes in the refrigerator?

3. Please add a Print button to these articles

4. My deadbeat sister won’t repay my loan!

5. Teens and their expensive taste in clothes

6. Help with ugly, stained concrete, please!

7. How to get dingy, gray laundry white again?

 

 Q1: At a recent job interview, I filled out the application, which included a form asking for permission to obtain my credit report. I’ve fallen behind on a number of payments since I was laid off six months ago. Can my bad credit hamper my chances of getting the job? Is it even legal? Doug

Dear Doug: Yes, it is legal for prospective employers to request your credit report as part of the interview process. A credit report has become more than just a list of creditors. It’s a kind of character reference. Employers want to see how a potential employee manages his or her life. If you are sloppy with your personal affairs, can they expect the same kind of sloppiness on the job?

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Questions on Auto Leasing, Homemade Laundry Detergent, Silver in Dishwasher, HE Washers, and 529 Plan Money

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

 

Colorful graphic depicting Everyday Cheapskate readers with their hands in the air with their questions for Mary

 

Here is a quick summary of the questions answered in today’s post. You can click on one to jump straight to it or just scroll down for all.

Contents

  1. Lease or buy a car?

  2. Which is better? Powder or liquid laundry detergent?

  3. Can you put silver in the dishwasher?

  4. Is my washer repairman right?

  5. Daughter not going to college—now what?

 

Q1: Help! Should we lease or buy a new car?

Dear Cheapskate: My wife and I are disagreeing. I want to lease a new car now because ours is old and paying for repairs is like flushing money down the drain. She wants to keep it until we can buy a better car. I hate car trouble and think peace of mind is something to be considered. I’m sure we can afford the payment, but she’s not. What should we do? James

 

Dear James: I’d rather shove toothpicks under my fingernails than ever lease a new car again, which is another story, but enough about me.

Here’s my best advice: Do whatever you must to keep the old car running for now.

Then, for the next 12 months, live as though you are making $400 monthly lease payments—but make those payments to yourselves. Don’t even think about being late, just as if you were under a stern leasing contract.

At the end of a year will have two things: A good idea of your comfort zone for big lease payments and $4,800 cash. Now you’ve got options.

1) You can sell the clunker and together with the money buy a used car or 2) You can make a down payment on a newer car.

To me buying a car is far better than jumping into a lease where you will spend a fortune and have nothing, not even a car, to show for it at the end of the lease period.

Thanks for writing and for calling me “Cheapskate.” I love that because, as you may know, I used to be a world-class spendthrift and that nearly ruined my life.

Learning to live frugally turned my life around so I wear that cheapskate moniker with pride and joy.

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