Home & Leisure

Everyday Cheapskate: A Homemade Gift You'd Actually Love to Receive

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

With the biggest gifting season of the year behind us, you may be breathing a big sigh of relief, and rightly so. It feels great to know you have eleven months to get ready for the next go-around, right? Not so fast! Your gifting breather may be short-lived, as the spring gifting season is just around the corner!

I'm talking about holidays like...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Frugal Food Shopping 101

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

As food costs continue to soar, it's a good time to revisit the basics of frugal food shopping. Follow these tips and, provided you don't end up buying twice as much, you really will see your food costs plummet.

GO WITH CASH ONLY. Shopping with cash and only cash is one of the best ways to make a severe grocery budget work. If you have the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Chromebook Laptops Are Better Than Ever -- and Cheaper, Too!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Only a few months ago, I told you about what was happening in the world of the Chromebook, a laptop that runs on the Chrome OS operating system and is designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet. I mentioned that Chromebooks had just outsold Apple's range of Macs (and for the first time in the U.S.).

Chromebooks have become so...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 6 Free Websites Help Save Time and Money

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

365 GRATEFUL. Get on board with 365Grateful, a photographic project that's all about the good things in life. Does it sound similar to keeping a gratitude journal? Well, the idea here is to create a visual journal by taking a photo every day of one thing for which you are grateful. So get our your smartphone, digital camera or even your DSLR, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Homemade Tub, Shower and Tile Cleaner Makes Soap Scum Disappear Like Magic

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Quite possibly one of the best tips to ever land in my mailbox was from a guy who is a professional property manager. He handles rental apartments near a big university -- and lots of them. His job is to see that after an apartment is vacated it is thoroughly cleaned and made ready for the next occupants.

He told me that the biggest challenge ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The Blessing of Self-Government

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

You'd have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the turmoil and economic agitations in the U.S. And the growing debt. Too bad we can't do much about it. In fact, we are powerless.

But I have to say that it's kinda fun, if not momentarily empowering, to think about what we could do if anyone would let us. I'd be wickedly effective as ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Dirty, Stained, Grimy, Sticky, Dried Out Leather -- Help Me, Mary!

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

To me there's nothing quite as lovely as soft, supple, beautiful leather. I'll take it in a handbag, shoes, car seats and furniture. I love fine leather.

With that in mind, try to imagine this scene that occurred just a few of days ago: me in my comfy chair, my favorite handbag on the floor next to me and a hot cup of coffee on the table to my ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Here's How to Turn a 15-Minute Phone Call Into $555 Cash

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Mary: I don't have cable TV in my house, but I do have internet. I'm one year into a two-year contract, and I noticed this month's bill went up $20 since I'm no longer in the first-year promo period. I called the company and told the representative I was looking to cancel because I found a better rate. I must have said the magic words ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: 6 Stores With the Best Layaway Programs

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

For those who aren't old enough to remember, layaway is the way lots of people shopped back before credit card debt was fashionable -- or shall I say, tolerable.

With layaway, instead of bringing all of your purchases home and the cost of them being on your credit card bill for many years to come, you leave your selections at the store and make...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Upgrade That Wobbly, Hard-to-Read Oven Thermometer and More

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I'd had the same oven thermometer for at least a hundred years. The thing had been splattered on and dropped more times than I can count. And the splatters had become hopelessly baked on, making it nearly impossible to read. When I got a message from Naomi about her oven thermometer, I knew exactly what she was talking about and how to fix the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: House Rules for Cleaning Silver in the Dishwasher

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I grew up being fearful of the oddest things. I wasn't bold enough to question why; I just did as I was told. Here's one: Never, ever put good dishes or silver flatware in the dishwasher. Ever! I didn't know what would happen if I did, but you can be sure that my fear of the unknown made certain I didn't come close to finding out. That is, until...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How a Simple Solution Changed Everything for One Family

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are two main types of illness: acute and chronic. An acute illness doesn't last very long. It goes away either on its own or in response to treatment, such as taking medicine or having surgery. A chronic illness or condition is ongoing. It affects your health over a long period of time, possibly your entire life. That's the kind of ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How I Book Cheap Travel

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I'm on my way out the door, headed for California. What could have been a very expensive trip is going to be so cheap that even I am amazed.

This is a last-minute trip, so I did not have the benefit of booking well in advance. In fact, I only had five days advanced notice of this trip.

FLIGHT: My first choice in air travel is now Southwest. I ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Know Thy Dishwasher

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I would like to thank Josephine Cochrane of Illinois. I'd like to, but I can't. She's been dead for more than a century. But if I could, I'd thank her for inventing the first commercially successful dishwasher. Personally, I'd give up just about anything but my dishwasher.

I'll admit to being a stickler when it comes to properly washed dishes, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Let's Talk Induction Cooking, Shall We?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I have to tell you that receiving the following message put the biggest smile on my face. Induction cooking? Oh, yes, I know something about that! But I must confess that the prologue of Cathy's question is what really warmed my heart.

Dear Mary: First of all, I want to thank you, thank you, thank you for your 20-plus years of advice and ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Holiday Gift Idea - Spa in a Jar

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you are familiar with a wonderful yet pricey personal care product called Salt Rub by Origins, you may know that for some very odd reason it has been discontinued. I know. How could they do this?

In its place, Origins now offers some kind of ginger scrub concoction that contains sugar and spice. I think it is just awful, which makes me even ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Updates on Einstein Coat, Household Inventory and That Urge to Quit

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are some people in my life who accuse me of having a short attention span, and they don't get much of an argument from me. It's true. I do. That's why I am grateful so many of you keep me on track by reminding me to give updates and feedback on things I've written about.

Dear Mary: I'm wondering how the Einstein Coat is coming. Please ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: The High Cost of Dirty HVAC Filters

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Do I have a story to tell you -- another one of those lessons I've learned the hard way so you won't have to.

While working on a recent column -- "What are Those Grimy Black Lines Around the Edges of My Carpet?" -- I asked my husband whether he'd recently replaced the filter in our heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, or HVAC ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Extended Warranties Almost Always a Bad Deal

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A couple of weeks ago, I took my grandsons to Toys R Us just to look around. This would be an observation outing. And if you believe that, you don't know me very well. We ended up with some Pokemon cards and a cute little mechanical hamster that fits perfectly in the chubby hand of a 17-month-old.

At checkout, the clerk dutifully offered an ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Happy Birthday to My Workhorse, Hoover

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I call him Hoover, and he's worked hard for me since the day I hauled his long lanky self into the house back in 2008.

My dear Hoover SteamVac still holds the record for the best thing I ever bought. Not only did Hoover rescue me from the endless loop of worthless commercial carpet cleaning companies but he's also saved me thousands of dollars ...Read more

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