Home Improvement Money-Saving Secrets If you've been putting off updating or sprucing up your home because of the high cost of home improvements, today's readers are sure to inspire you to do those projects yourself, for less! HARDWOOD FLOORING. My husband and I wanted a hardwood floor, …Read more. Life in the Middle Between Parents and Adult Children Every day I drive by a beautiful new assisted living complex under construction close to where I live. As beautiful as this place is, it's become a daily reminder to me for how difficult it can be to talk to aging parents about their health and …Read more. Unclog a Drain without Chemicals A plugged-up sink, shower or tub drain sends most people running for either a bottle of caustic drain cleaner or a plumber's phone number. But wait. This could well be a job you can do yourself without chemicals or a big bill. Assess the situation. …Read more. The Joy of Laundry Start with one of the principles of living beneath your means: Take care of what you have. Next, add one of the most effective ways to reduce stress: Find an activity that gives you a sense of personal satisfaction. And what do you have? Laundry! No,…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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