Retailer Discounts Can Have Strings Attached Dear Mary: Recently we purchased a new stove at Sears. My husband agreed to sign up for what we thought was a Sears credit card to save 15 percent on the price. I was surprised by his decision because that's not our normal practice. We use credit, …Read more. Random Household Hacks You know what makes me smile and feel smart at the same time? When I know how to perform some random act that makes it easier to accomplish little things around the house. Or on a trip. Or in an area of life! Enjoy some of my favorites: Speedy re-…Read more. What You Must Know if You Insist on Using a Debit Card How do you pay for stuff? Do you hand over cash? Write a check? Pay with a credit card? Or do you use a debit card because the payment is automatically deducted from your bank account? Most people use a combination of paper, plastic and electronic …Read more. Secure Your Future Before Assisting Others Reading the email message from Joann reminded me of the safety speech flight attendants give before takeoff. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times. " ... In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will automatically …Read more.more articles
5 Ways To Prevent Colors From Fading
Dear Mary: There are liquid laundry detergents on the market specifically for washing dark colors, but they're expensive. Do you have any tips for washing dark colors inexpensively? — Avis T., e-mail
Dear Avis: Follow these steps and you can wash your dark clothes with the same laundry detergent you use for your whites and brights.
1. Inside out. Washing and drying are tough on the outside surfaces of the items and cause dark colors to become dull and rough, so wash and dry colored items inside out. If you hang these items in the sun to dry, leave them inside out. Sun is brutal on colors.
2. Cold water. If you want to prevent your colored clothing from fading, wash it in cold water. Detergents have come a long way in the past several years, and most do as well in cold water as they do in hot or warm water. The warmer the water the likelier it is to pull color from the fibers and wash it down the drain.
3. Short cycle. You want colored laundry items to spend as little time as possible exposed to water and detergent. That means no soaking and a short wash cycle, no longer than six minutes. That is plenty of time to get those dark items clean.
4. Under-dry. Over-drying can cause colors to fade. Pull clothes from the dryer or the line while they are still slightly damp.
5. Use vinegar. Add a cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle of your bright or dark colors to help "set" the colors and to prevent premature fading.
Dear Mary: Can you explain the difference between a contingency fund and a freedom account? — Beth B., e-mail
Dear Beth: Your contingency fund is a pool of money that you keep in a safe place for a dire emergency.
Your freedom account is a separate checking account that you open in your bank or credit union and designate to be your freedom account. The purpose of your FA is to help you to turn your irregular and unexpected expenses into predictable monthly expenses. It's like a Christmas club account, if you remember what that is.
I'll use auto maintenance as an example of an irregular expense. Statistics say it costs about $765 per year to maintain and repair a car. You anticipate this with your FA. Divide $765 by 12 to get $65. Treat this as a new monthly expense by depositing $65 into your FA. Now when you need tires down the road, the money will be there in your FA to pay for them. Do this for all of your irregular expenses and you'll break free from dependence on credit.
Do you have a question for Mary? E-mail her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books, including "Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill With a Credit Card?" To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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