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Letters From my Readers Dear Mary: I wanted to tell you the secret of sticking to a budget on our family vacation — something we've had a hard time achieving in the past. This year, we let our teenage daughter plan the vacation. Seems too simple. We told her the …Read more. The Truth About Extended Warranties Recently I stopped into Toys "R" Us to get a little something for Eli. Yes; I am one of those grandmothers. We found the cutest toy shaving kit, just perfect for bath time. The price was under $10. At check out, and without missing a beat, the sales …Read more. Six Silly Gadgets That Make Life Easier I am nothing if not a gadget lover. Ingenious items that make my life easier are great, but when I find something that's cool and has the potential to save money? Well, that's cause for some kind of tiny celebration. Here are my current fun finds. …Read more. When it Doesn't Pay to be Cheap There is a predictable progression many of us go through as we make a decision to stop living beyond our means. We get cheap. In fact, some even call us cheapskates — a label that personally I enjoy because it proves that I'm not the person I …Read more.
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Online Bartering Just Got Easier

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Recently, a reporter called to ask me to weigh in on the merits and advisability of bartering, especially when times are tough. "Great idea," I said, and I went on to mention ways people can do this. You can trade music lessons for housecleaning or baby-sitting for haircuts. I wish I'd heard from our first tipster earlier. I didn't know about this new way to barter online. Read on!

TIP OF THE MONTH WINNER! I was on Craigslist re-listing my car that I had been trying to sell for more than two months, when I decided to look at the bartering section. I ended up finding a painter who was looking for a car in exchange for painting. I had no extra money to pay for the painting of my house and garage, which were in desperate shape. He agreed to paint my house and garage in exchange for the car. It was a great deal for me, as other painters estimated the house job would cost between $5,000 and $7,000; my car was worth $3,000. -- Leslie C., Illinois

AFFORDABLE EXTERMINATION. Last spring, we had a problem with carpenter ants. The cost to have the house fumigated was more than $900. Then we heard of a less expensive treatment. Spread uncooked Cream of Wheat where the ants travel. They will eat it, and when the cereal settles in their stomachs, it expands and kills them. -- Darlene, e-mail

YOGURT FRUGALITY.

You can save money on yogurt by buying it in quart containers. There are fewer choices of flavors, but you can buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit to flavor it. This gives you a 32-ounce container for about $2, depending on where you shop. You even can add cookie crumbs or candy bits to make it resemble the expensive yogurt cups that the kids like so much. -- Tina G., e-mail

FRENCH FAVORITE. My son and I are avid breakfast eaters. On weekends, I make entire loaves of bread into French toast. It takes seven eggs and about 1 1/2 cups of milk. Once the toast is cooled, I put it back in the same bread wrapper and put it in the freezer. In the morning, I pop a piece in the toaster, and my son has French toast in the morning. He loves it! -- Krista K., Oregon

One Tip of the Month winner is selected each month. The winner receives a one-year online subscription to the hugely popular members-only area of the Debt-Proof Living Web site (www.DebtProofLiving.com), which includes the equally popular monthly newsletter, Debt-Proof Living, now in its 17th year.

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can e-mail her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of DebtProofLiving.com and author of 17 books, including "Debt-Proof Living" and "Tiptionary 2." To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



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