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Whose Kids Know How to Turn Off Lights? I got a good chuckle when I read today's first reader tip from "Dad." For a split second there, I could hear my own father asking the age-old parent/child question: Don't you know how to turn off the light when you leave the room? MOTION SENSOR …Read more. Of Pet Accidents and Malfunctioning Keurig Machines Dear Mary: I saw in your column a long while back an article about the carpet scrubber (was it Bissell?) and poo-pooed it at the time. Now I am ready to cry UNCLE since I discovered to my horror that one of my cats was shut in a bedroom and peed on …Read more. Best Holiday Gifts for Grandparents As far as gifting seasons go, the biggest one of all is just around the corner. The longer you wait to make or buy gifts, the fewer options you'll have. Last minute shopping is a surefire way to run up mountains of unintentional debt. Been there, …Read more. Solutions for Stains on Shirts and Windows, Too From time to time I reach into the proverbial EC mailbag and pull out a few of your questions to answer here. My goal is to select questions I believe the answers to which will have a wide appeal. But I can tell you for sure that when the question …Read more.
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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.

By the way, congratulations on paying off all that debt!

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, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of 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



3 Comments | Post Comment
@ Marty: A number of years ago, I suddenly developed a sensitivity to store-bought deodorants where they made my armpits itch mercilessly. I tried various brands and found one brand that didn't bother me: Tom's, which is all natural and has no potentially harmful ingredients. It's just a deodorant and not an anti-perspirant, and I've been using it for more than a decade with no bad reaction. You can get it at health food stores and some drugstores, and at one point I even saw it at Walmart, although I don't know if they still carry it.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Joyce
Thu Nov 4, 2010 9:19 AM
I've made my own deodorant before. I got an inexpensive spray bottle (one like a sample size hair spray would come in), then filled it almost all the way with rubbing alcohol, and added a few drops of tea tree oil. I spritz under my arms in the morning, and in the hot weather I usually apply it again sometime in the afternoon. It's a small bottle, so I can easily carry it with me. It doesn't prevent sweating, but it does prevent smelling bad.
Comment: #2
Posted by: freshie
Thu Nov 4, 2010 9:52 AM
One nice thing about getting older, I've found, is that I no longer need antiperspirant. I also don't need to shave as often, though those hairs seem to have migrated to my face (another story!) ;)

Anyway, a couple of years ago, I stopped using anything but alcohol and dusting powder. I haven't had any problems with wetness or odor. I sometimes wonder if deodorant is really necessary for people who bathe daily and wear clean clothes. (Obviously, if somebody works outside and gets all hot and sweaty it is.)
Comment: #3
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Thu Nov 4, 2010 1:02 PM
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