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12 Steps to Take the Minute Your Identity Is Stolen While it's not something most of us choose to think about, the truth is that identity theft remains the fastest growing crime in America. The number of identity theft incidents has reached 9.9 million a year, according to the Federal Trade …Read more. Join a CSA for Your Health and Wealth Being a savvy consumer can mean a lot of things. It can refer to a person who knows how to get the lowest price on whatever he or she is buying. It can also mean finding the best value — the highest quality product — for the most …Read more. Shopping for Back-to-School Clothes Your money is limited and time is short. Here is my best advice to make sure shopping for back-to-school clothes doesn't send you to the poorhouse. Set spending limits. Time to get real. How much money (not credit) do you have available for school …Read more. The Fine Art of the Effective Complaint Are you ever frustrated with customer service? Have you been ripped off, taken to the cleaners and hung out to dry by a store or service provider? To claim the title of savvy consumer you need know-how and confidence to make sure that, no matter …Read more.
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Stay Away from the Bottomless Pit of Self-Pity


Do you ever find yourself buying stuff just to make yourself feel good? I know that feeling all too well. And I, like our first reader today, know how to create that good feeling in more constructive ways, like saving and not spending.

NIP SELF-PITY IN THE BUD. I have cut down on my spending and have eliminated impulse buying. I am making inroads, but I get depressed about my finances since I don't seem to be pulling out of debt as fast as I would like. To help combat these feelings, I decided that every time I got depressed about indebtedness, I would go online and transfer $10 into my online savings account. Doing something positive cheers me up, and it kicks my depression out the door. — Delores, California

GREETING CARDS' ADDED BENEFIT. The Gideons International — yes, the organization that places Bibles in hotel rooms — also sells all-occasion greeting cards on their website at For $3, you receive your card and a tax-deductible receipt (for more than half of the cost of the card). With the purchase of each card, two New Testament Bibles are placed somewhere in the world, in more than 193 countries. — Judy, California

CLOSET NAIL FILE. Take a large emery board, and punch a hole in it with a hole-puncher or an ice pick. Then, thread a long string through it, and tie it to the rod in your closet. If you feel a snag on your fingernail while getting dressed (which is when you catch your clothes on the snag), you can quickly and easily file your nail and get rid of the snag.

— Caroline, Texas

PAINT REMOVER. I have had luck rubbing Murphy's Oil Soap at full strength directly on the paint stain on my jeans. The stain comes out even when my jeans have already gone through the washer and dryer. — Jan, Massachusetts

SEASONAL SHOWER GIFT. For bridal shower and wedding gifts, I like to give the new couple hand towels or placemats and napkins with holiday themes. Many new couples can't afford to decorate their bathroom or kitchen for the holidays, and this gift is always a hit. — Sue, California

SAVE MONEY ON VACATION. When you're on vacation and you arrive at your destination, go to the local Costco (check for locations all over the world), and check out gift cards for local restaurants and attractions. You can buy these at 20 percent off and use while there on your vacation. — Gretchen, California

CLEVER WAX PAPER. My 94-year-old mother uses the plastic (sometimes they are wax paper) bags from her breakfast cereal boxes on which to knead and roll out dough. I think she is absolutely brilliant. She has never lost her depression-era training from childhood. I continue to learn from her all the time. — Dawn, Washington

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can email her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Include your first and last name and state. Mary Hunt is the founder of and author of 18 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



2 Comments | Post Comment
Wow, I can appreciate the sentiment, but I would (secretly) abhor a gift of seasonal towels:
Young people often have space constraints, and these towels need to be stored somewhere year-round.
Plus, I guess I do not see it as a hardship to not have a holiday-themed kitchen or, indeed, bathroom...
Comment: #1
Posted by: Grinch
Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:54 AM
As for the liners for cereal boxes - I've never tried that tip but I do use them to pound my chicken breasts. Also you can add your flour and spices and shake the pieces up. Easy!
Comment: #2
Posted by: Renee
Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:12 PM
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