In Investing, No Risk Means No Reward Dear Mary: This may be the ultimate in stupid questions but it's been plaguing me for a while. Is there any value in converting my existing 401(k) into cash without removing the funds from my 401(k)? Do they even allow that? I hate losing all that …Read more. Readers Share Ways to Use This for That Eyeglass cleaner. If you're out when you realize your glasses or purse mirror needs cleaning, try using a drop of hand sanitizer to give you crystal-clear results instantly. This works great on glass, but should be tested on plastic. — …Read more. Cheapskate, Who Me? Some people think the word cheapskate is an insult. Not me. I enjoy being called a cheapskate. It reminds me that I'm not what I used to be: a credit-card junkie. There was a time I used plastic to fill the gap between my pathetic income and the …Read more. Plan is Not a Four-Letter Word A friend — I'll call her Sally — in her early thirties moved from Arizona to Florida in search of a better job and a new life. Not that many months later, she decided a change of scenery wasn't the solution she thought it would be and …Read more.more articles
Don't Toss the Expired Sunscreen
Dear Mary: I have four bottles of sunscreen that have expired. I know that they have lost their full effectiveness as sunscreen, but is there another use? I hate to throw them out. — Dorothy G., Florida
Dear Dorothy: Great question! And good for you for realizing that sunscreen does expire (a good reason for not buying the big economy size unless you are a real sun worshipper). If your products have a moisturizing component (most sunscreens do), you could use them for hand lotion. Sunscreen also makes a dandy shaving cream, expired or not. Just make sure you mark these bottles clearly as "expired" so you don't use them accidentally next summer, or you could end up with a nasty sunburn.
Dear Mary: I recently paid off five credit cards. I'm closing one of the accounts because the company charges an annual fee. I will have $54,000 in available credit. Should I keep the other accounts open? My only other debt is a car payment. I hope to buy a house in three to six months and want my credit score to be awesome. It was about 740 before I paid the credit cards off, and I had them charged up over 50 percent. I need advice. — Jill, Kentucky
Dear Jill: I agree that you need to close the account that charges an annual fee, even though that may cause your score to take a temporary dip. And yes, you need to be very diligent to keep the other accounts active by making charges of any amount several times a year and then paying them off immediately to keep your balances at $0. Six months should be sufficient time for your credit score to reflect all of these positive moves and to recover from any dip that results from your closing the one account.
Dear Mary: Lately, I've heard about the chemicals in antiperspirants being linked to cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Do you know how I can make my own deodorant? I am allergic to many things and haven't found a store-bought deodorant that I can use. — Marty, North Carolina
Dear Marty: Antiperspirants contain aluminum to prevent wetness and deodorant to neutralize odor caused by the bacterial breakdown of perspiration. There are a number of home remedies that can substitute for the deodorant part of that equation (baby powder with baking soda is a good one, as are any number of aluminum-free commercial deodorants), but nothing I know of in a home remedy will prevent perspiring.
Dear Mary: What is "tamari"? It is an ingredient in a recipe I would like to make for spiced hazelnuts. Where can I find it? Thanks for any information you can give me. — Catherine C., California
Dear Catherine: Tamari is a type of soy sauce, usually used in Japanese food. You can easily substitute with Chinese light soy or regular Japanese soy sauce. You should be able to find tamari in the Asian section of a good supermarket. For sure, it would be in a Japanese food store.
Do you have a question for Mary? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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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