Everyday Cheapskate from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 29 Sep 2020 06:54:49 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Everyday Cheapskate from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/everyday-cheapskate-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate f1dc3bc27911b0a35045611d47af4d1c Confused in the Supermarket for 09/29/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/confused-in-the-supermarket Tue, 29 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Mary: Can you clarify expiration dates on food products? When it says "sell by 4/01/21," does that mean it has to be used or just sold by that date? Others show a date of, say, "2/01/23" on canned or packaged goods. Does that mean you need to use it by this date, or what? Some canned or packaged products don't seem to have any date that I can find. Why is that? I'm so confused! &#8212; Bobbye</p> <p>Dear Bobbye: Great question! The answer, which I can promise you will be much longer than your question, may surprise you. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">While most food processors date and code their products, the Food and Drug Administration mandates dating ONLY on infant formula and baby food. Everything else is voluntary. Still, the food industry generally follows certain guidelines suggested by the FDA.</span><p>Updated: Tue Sep 29, 2020</p> c1f13d7d1a1c5c6179d30056f0627510 Living With Cash Is Challenging but Not Impossible for 09/28/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/living-with-cash-is-challenging-but-not-impossible Mon, 28 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Mary: I like the idea of shopping online. The problem I have is that I am digging my way out of debt. I am in credit counseling and have no credit cards. Do you know of any websites that will give us "non-credit card customers" the chance to enjoy shopping online? I'm anxious to find out how to do this. &#8212; Richard</p> <p>Dear Richard: Sorry, but in all good conscience, I can't help you with that because I don't think you should be shopping online &#8212; or any other place, for that matter. If you absolutely need something, purchase it locally. But whatever you do, stop shopping! </p> <p>I'm talking about the kind of shopping where you wander around a mall or website just to see what kind of bargains you can find. Isn't that what got you into trouble in the first place? Shopping when you cannot afford to buy anything is a waste of time and only makes you wish, want and &#8212; pardon me if I say so &#8212; whine. Instead, put that energy toward changing your attitudes and repaying your debts as quickly as possible. <p>Updated: Mon Sep 28, 2020</p> b41617cc074d3ea8d1af4701820ce8a9 What the Big Print Giveth the Small Print Taketh Away for 09/24/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/what-the-big-print-giveth-the-small-print-taketh-away Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Have you ever wondered how retailers can possibly afford to offer the no-interest, no-payments, no-money down kind of deals you see advertised? That was the subject of a question I received recently.</p> <p>Dear Mary: There are several appliance, electronics and furniture stores in our area that run television commercials offering nothing down &#8212; no interest and no payments until 2022. It sounds like I can just walk in and take what I want and not pay for three years! How do these companies really make money? &#8212; Kate<p>Updated: Thu Sep 24, 2020</p> 150bc95eed38dde5b36d13373025fce3 Solutions for Stains on Shirts and Windows for 09/23/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/solutions-for-stains-on-shirts-and-windows Wed, 23 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>From time to time, I reach into the proverbial "Everyday Cheapskate" mailbag and pull out a few of your questions to answer here. My goal is to select questions that will have wide appeal. But when the question arrives with a photo showing me the problem, that gets my attention in spades.</p> <p>Dear Mary: My husband wears white undershirts, and no matter what brand or fabric content, they get gray blotches in the wash. </p> <p>I typically use nonchlorine bleach and fabric softener, but I recently stopped those additions, and that didn't help. I use high-efficiency detergent. The washer is set for "whites" and the dryer to "cottons." I changed detergent brands and switched from powder to liquid, but the blotches still appear. <p>Updated: Wed Sep 23, 2020</p> 4b1153f9d82f44e60d53ee98542d5349 The Pay-As-You-Go Route to Higher Education for 09/22/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/the-pay-as-you-go-route-to-higher-education-f73d6 Tue, 22 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Mary: How can a person finance her education without taking out loans? I need to get a master's degree, as I have hit a ceiling, but I don't have $40,000 and don't want to take out loans. Will schools offering graduate programs allow me to move slowly and pay as I go? I just don't feel like there is a choice, and it's stopping me from getting my education. &#8212; Ana</p> <p>Dear Ana: Do you need a master's degree, or do you want one? Here's the difference:</p> <p>Let's say you are a teacher with a contract in a school district that gives an automatic pay increase once you receive your master's degree. In that case &#8212; and provided the monthly payment on the total student debt will not exceed the net salary increase, which you can easily project &#8212; I would have no problem with you getting your degree using student loans, because you have a reasonable expectation that you will be able to repay that loan (which, by the way, is Rule No. 7 in my book, "7 Money?Rules for Life").<p>Updated: Tue Sep 22, 2020</p> bd563c65d339b2cee8b571ac65bda8ef Public Library Services You May Not Know About That Can Save You Money for 09/21/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/public-library-services-you-may-not-know-about-that-can-save-you-money Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>My adult children are big on borrowing stuff from their parents. And, from time to time, they may fail (you know who you are, son) to mention having borrowed something like a Milwaukee Sawzall reciprocating saw in its big, bright red case, prompting that son's father to assume said tool had been stolen after searching the garage high and low for it on a day he had an urgent need for it &#8212; further prompting said father to reluctantly make a trip to Home Depot to buy a replacement.</p> <p>This little blast from my past illustrates, in an odd way, how not everyone needs to own the same things. My husband uses his Sawzall so frequently he's replacing the blade with abandon. But Jeremy? Hardly ever &#8212; maybe once a decade. Harold needs to own this tool. Jeremy is better off borrowing (all is forgiven, by the way).</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Many public libraries are becoming fantastic sources for borrowing unusual items you may need only once a year, or even less frequently. Why buy when you can borrow for free?</span><p>Updated: Mon Sep 21, 2020</p> 567aa46007eafc59505f4888b3954682 How To Make a Cake From (Almost) Scratch and More Great Reader Tips for 09/17/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/how-to-make-a-cake-from-almost-scratch-and-more-great-reader-tips Thu, 17 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>This week, my supermarket has brand-name cake mixes on sale for $1 each, so I've stocked up. And just in the nick of time, here's a clever tip from a reader for how I can make my cake mixes taste for all the world like I made them from scratch. </p> <p>CAKE MIX</p> <p>To make a boxed cake even better, my friend Ida taught me to add three things: 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder. It really does make a superior cake. &#8212; Toni D.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 17, 2020</p> 71b695d3325896213cee42b91c620d28 Car Leases and Laundry Detergents for 09/16/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/car-leases-and-laundry-detergents Wed, 16 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Mary: My wife and I are having a disagreement. I want to lease a new car now, because ours is old and paying for repairs is like flushing money down the drain. She wants to keep it until we can afford to buy a better car. <span class="column--highlighted-text">I hate car trouble and think peace of mind is something to be considered. I'm sure we can afford the payment, but she's not. What should we do?</span> &#8212; James R.</p> <p>Dear James: I'd rather shove toothpicks under by fingernails than ever lease a new car again (which is a story for another time, but enough about me). Here's my advice to you: Do whatever you must to keep the old car running for now. But for the next 12 months, live as though you are making $300 monthly lease payments &#8212; but make those payments to yourselves. Don't even think about being late, just as if you were under a stern leasing contract. After a year, will have two things: a good idea of your comfort zone for big lease payments and $3,600 cash. Then you'll have options. You can sell the clunker and buy a better used car with the cash, or you can make a down payment on a newer car. For me, buying a car is far better than jumping into a lease where you will spend a fortune and have nothing, not even a car, to show for it at the end of the lease period.</p> <p>Dear Mary: I'm so confused by laundry products, particularly detergents. Are powders better than liquid? Is the word "ultra" just hype? Thanks. &#8212; Cindy P.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 16, 2020</p> 0588b52f2df79a1d8a5de80a572a06a1 Simple Record-Keeping for 09/15/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/simple-record-keeping Tue, 15 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If the paper monster has you buried under an avalanche of receipts, bank statements, ATM slips, investment records, paycheck stubs and bills, then read on. The good news is you can probably throw most of it away without worry. But before you fire up the shredder, you need to know what to toss and what to keep &#8212; and for how long.</p> <p>STEP NO. 1: TOSS ALL YOU CAN</p> <p>Monthly. Once you have recorded the amounts and reconciled your bank and credit card statements, you can shred ATM receipts, bank deposit slips, credit card receipts and sales receipts at the end of each month. Exception: Keep receipts for purchases that may be tax deductible, those that involve a warranty and any item whose replacement cost exceeds the deductible on your homeowners or renters insurance. <p>Updated: Tue Sep 15, 2020</p> 46ddea6eb6927763a283e3e2796d1fa3 Another Batch of Great Reader Tips for 09/14/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/another-batch-of-great-reader-tips-4d3ed Mon, 14 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If you've ever asked yourself, "Is there one more thing I could possibly do with baking soda," or, "How will I ever get this candle wax out of the carpet?" today is your lucky day! Read on for some great reader tips.</p> <p>Instead of buying new dress shoes once the heels start to wear out, take them to a shoe repair place, and have a new heel put on for $5 - $6. This lengthens the life of your shoes as well as the life of your paycheck. &#8212; Carrie K., Illinois</p> <p>I ran a day care in my home for nine years and found lots of tricks to save time and money as a matter of survival. The best tip I ever found was how to make homemade baby wipes. You need to cut a roll of good-quality paper towels (I use Bounty) in half horizontally so you have two short rolls about the size of toilet tissue. Put one-half of the short rolls into a No. 9 Rubbermaid container. Gently mix together 2 cups of hot water, 2 tablespoons of mineral oil and 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo. Pour this mixture over the towels. The cardboard core will pull out easily now, and wipe sheets can be pulled out from the center just like the commercial brands. These wipes are much easier on little ones' bottoms and very inexpensive. They're excellent for makeup removal as well. &#8212; Lisa M., Montana<p>Updated: Mon Sep 14, 2020</p> a195c7722030db99aee13995c071e87c More Ways Hydrogen Peroxide Can Make Your Life Easier for 09/10/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/more-ways-hydrogen-peroxide-can-make-your-life-easier Thu, 10 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Hydrogen peroxide is as harmless as it is powerful, and it's so much more than just a household cleaner. It is nontoxic, safe, really cheap and available in any grocery or drug store in a 3% dilution. It's a wonderful cleaning product, first-aid product and sanitizer.</p> <p>There's one thing you need to keep in mind to avoid disappointment: Hydrogen peroxide has a limited shelf life of about one year when not opened and only six months once opened, provided you store it in a dark place.</p> <p>Light causes hydrogen peroxide to dissipate quickly, turning it from H2O2 to plain water and oxygen. It needs to be fresh to be effective.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 10, 2020</p> e38d1e5588ce34daed13dca33fd1cbeb Turn Your Barbecue Grill Into a Baking Oven for 09/09/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/turn-your-barbecue-grill-into-a-baking-oven-2a041 Wed, 09 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you have an outdoor barbecue grill with a cover, you can turn it into an outdoor oven. Why would you want to do that? To preclude the need to heat up your kitchen to bake pizza, cookies, cakes, bread and casseroles. And to expand your camping-out cooking repertoire.</p> <p>GENERAL<p>Updated: Wed Sep 09, 2020</p> 399b033bdff6faf547bf59e617c832bb What You Need to Know About Buying Carpet for 09/08/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/what-you-need-to-know-about-buying-carpet Tue, 08 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>It's not something you buy every day. But when it's time to buy carpet, you need to know your stuff. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Make a bad decision and you'll pay dearly for a long time, and I am not just talking about the money. You'll pay a significant price in dissatisfaction and disappointment.</span></p> <p>STYLE OF CARPET</p> <p>Plush: Usually one solid color with even, smooth pile height. Varies from lightweight (apartment-grade) with fewer tufts per square inch to heavier weights that are very dense. Comes in a vast range of colors. Shows footprints and vacuum marks. <p>Updated: Tue Sep 08, 2020</p> f9abf2708a9cb1a17b0ff9815f432c2a 11 Ways To Solve It With Salt for 09/07/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/11-ways-to-solve-it-with-salt Mon, 07 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Sometimes, the very thing you need to solve an ordinary household problem is sitting right in the pantry. Take salt, for example. It's amazing stuff! And it's cheap, too.</p> <p>I have a favorite little book: "Solve It With Salt" by Patty Moosbrugger. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Just look at all the things Patty says we can do with ordinary, inexpensive table salt to make our lives better. </span></p> <p>CLEAN DISPOSAL<p>Updated: Mon Sep 07, 2020</p> 9eb712dc9e1f65c9ab7f471f91a6facd Breaking Up Is Hard To Do for 09/03/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/breaking-up-is-hard-to-do-d5ee5 Thu, 03 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Closing a credit card account is not for the faint of heart. So, why bother? Oh, let me count the ways:</p> <p>No. 1: Excessive lines of credit &#8212; even those with a $0 balance &#8212; can wreak havoc on your credit rating. </p> <p>No. 2: Many open lines of credit are difficult to manage. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 03, 2020</p> 651e28699100255a7b5b1f54d8f9c773 Watt's Up? for 09/02/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/09/20/watts-up Wed, 02 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Tonight, take a tour through your house with all the lights out. See all those digital clocks and glowing red and green "eyes" staring back at you? That's proof positive your household appliances are sucking energy and spending your money, even when you're asleep.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Transformers that continuously recharge your cellphone, power your computer peripherals and keep your Nintendo Switch ready to go are energy guzzlers. TVs and monitors use energy both when they are on and when they are off. </span></p> <p>The typical cable box draws 28 watts when it is on and recording a show and 26 watts when it is off and not recording anything. Even if you never watched TV, it would still consume about 227 kilowatt-hours annually. That's more than the average person in Kenya or Cambodia uses in an entire year, according to a New York Times story.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 02, 2020</p> b5ccab1692e2f083e5ce26971fc450d6 A Robot Vacuum That Really Works -- and It's Inexpensive! for 09/01/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/08/20/a-robot-vacuum-that-really-works-and-its-inexpensive-78dce Tue, 01 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Vacuuming sucks. Literally. One year, my idea of giving our adult sons robot vacuums for Christmas was intended to help them with that odious chore.</p> <p>What a disappointment. I learned much later that both guys used their robots for only a few months. They were ridiculously noisy, needed constant supervision and did a lousy job. They were more trouble than they were worth. They were annoying and couldn't do the job. But that was then, and this is now.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">There's a new robot vacuum in town, and Eufy Anker RoboVac 30C is its name. This robot has renewed my faith that robotic vacuuming is not only possible but also amazing.</span><p>Updated: Tue Sep 01, 2020</p> a2890256d389944f111a97f504016ffb Kitchen Gadgets That Will Pay for Themselves in No Time at All for 08/31/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/08/20/kitchen-gadgets-that-will-pay-for-themselves-in-no-time-at-all Mon, 31 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I'm crazy about gadgets &#8212; everything from quirky can openers to smartphones. Hand me a Swiss Army knife and I'm in heaven &#8212; the more blades and utensils the better. And when that gadget is a true money-saver? Oh, be still my heart!</p> <p>Today, I want to tell you about four gadgets that are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in a short period of time &#8212; and then to continue paying off in food savings, which is saying a lot as food costs continue to soar.</p> <p>VACUUM SEALER<p>Updated: Mon Aug 31, 2020</p> 865e8dc542a2c757e451b7cde964d636 When It Doesn't Pay To Be Cheap for 08/27/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/08/20/when-it-doesnt-pay-to-be-cheap-d948e Thu, 27 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>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 &#8212; a label that I enjoy because it proves that I'm not the person I used to be (a credit card junkie and a totally whacked-out spendthrift).</p> <p>It didn't take long for me to adopt a mindset that if cheap is good, then cheaper must be even better. As noble as that thought might seem &#8212; and as painful as it is to admit it &#8212; that is not always true. <p>Updated: Thu Aug 27, 2020</p> 3335205991034c57776cdf448973e48c How to Childproof a Forbidden Door, Plus More Great Reader Tips for 08/26/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/08/20/how-to-childproof-a-forbidden-door-plus-more-great-reader-tips-8d613 Wed, 26 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If you've ever had the need to prevent children from closing a door and unwittingly locking themselves in a pantry or bathroom, you may know the old hand-towel trick: Throw the towel over the top of the door. That's it. No matter how hard a child might try to close it, no can do. I've always loved that handy-dandy tip. But I have to admit I'd never thought about how to use a similar trick to keep a child from opening a door. Well, I hadn't until I heard from today's first great reader ...</p> <p>CREATE A TIGHT JAM</p> <p>My 2-year-old grandson opened an outside entry door with a lever-type handle and went outside while I was in the bathroom! I live in an apartment and am not allowed to install a chain or other hardware on the door. I searched for a portable lock and found several kinds &#8212; all about $15 to $25. <p>Updated: Wed Aug 26, 2020</p>