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, 31 Mar 2020 06:32:11 -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 e1aa516f0950c1c1adda051c04d60d36 When Batteries Are Just Faking It for 03/31/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/when-batteries-are-just-faking-it Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Just when I think I've heard every possible way to save time and money every day, I open my mail to find new and clever ideas I'd never thought of. No doubt about it, I have the smartest readers in the world (good-looking, too!).</p> <p>LIGHTS OUT</p> <p>I learned this tip by accident, and it has saved me a bundle. If your kids are constantly in and out of the refrigerator, eating the food faster than you can replenish it, remove the light bulb. If they are really hungry, they will take the time to search. Otherwise, it won't be worth the bother. &#8212; Leslie<p>Updated: Tue Mar 31, 2020</p> 2f27aa59325e281c86173e90f2b6b34a Sneaky Ways to Save Big for 03/30/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/sneaky-ways-to-save-big Mon, 30 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I blame it on my friend Kathleen that I caught the sneaky savings bug. One day, years ago, she told me her secret. Whenever she wrote a check, she'd enter an incorrect amount in the register by rounding up to the next dollar &#8212; sometimes five. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Once a year, she'd reconcile her account and discover, to her utter joy, enough "found" money in the account to pay for Christmas. Brilliant! </span></p> <p>Saving money in sneaky ways is all about timing and discipline mixed with a healthy dose of courage. It's learning how to fly under the radar to save money in ways others might not think about. You have to pay close attention and read all of the fine print, too. </p> <p>GOOD ROOMS, CHEAP <p>Updated: Mon Mar 30, 2020</p> 36027b2ba17cf3f214bb38326078d4d2 Family Favorite Orange Chicken Recipe Three Ways for 03/26/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/family-favorite-orange-chicken-recipe-three-ways Thu, 26 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>For years, I've been searching for the perfect recipe for one of my family's favorite dishes: orange chicken. And then, wouldn't you know it, within a very short period of time, I found not one but three recipes that are quite different from one another, but all of them are simply to die for.</p> <p>Two of these recipes have an Asian flair; the first is prepared in a slow cooker, the second on the stovetop. The third recipe is an elegant French entree prepared in the oven. If you need to impress, this one's for you! <span class="column--highlighted-text">Just don't blow your cover by telling your guests just how easy it is.</span></p> <p>SLOW COOKER MONGOLIAN ORANGE CHICKEN<p>Updated: Thu Mar 26, 2020</p> e4097413eb3b67e41e080c3935312335 Great Reader Tips: From Luxury Taxes to Quick Scissor-Sharpening for 03/25/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/great-reader-tips-from-luxury-taxes-to-quick-scissor-sharpening Wed, 25 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Over the years, I've noticed something. People who live comfortably do not do so because they are particularly wealthy. It's because they are disciplined. They possess financial maturity. They live according to principles and rules they impose upon themselves. I have a feeling that Jane, today's first tipster, is one of those people &#8212; quietly disciplined and financially mature.</p> <p>LUXURY TAX</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Whenever I spend money on a "want" (as opposed to a need), I tax myself with a self-imposed rule that I must deposit 10% of the total into my savings account immediately following the purchase.</span> &#8212; Jane<p>Updated: Wed Mar 25, 2020</p> 66b3512701a0bc96d019912b58560d80 Many Benefits of Online Grocery Shopping for 03/24/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/many-benefits-of-online-grocery-shopping Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There are few things more annoying than stopping at the supermarket to pick up a few things and hauling bags of groceries into the house only to discover you have nothing for dinner. Or putting everything away only to realize you totally forgot the one thing that prompted you to stop at the store in the first place.</p> <p>Online grocery shopping isn't for everyone. But if you are prone to impulse shopping or regularly go way over what you intended to spend on groceries for the week, shopping for your groceries online might actually save you money. Online grocery shopping has actually become a total game changer for me.</p> <p>NO MORE IMPULSE BUYS<p>Updated: Tue Mar 24, 2020</p> 26c5729ecfc7023f6c76b9110d2b000b It's Never Too Late To Do the Right Thing for 03/23/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/its-never-too-late-to-do-the-right-thing-18a68 Mon, 23 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>My dear readers: As I was cleaning out some old, irrelevant files, I came across something I wrote back in 2007. I came close to hitting "delete," when I realized some topics are timeless. This column really hit home with me, and I thought you might enjoy this blast from the past as well.</p> <p>Did you read the news about Robert Nuranen and the library book, published by the Associated Press in January 2007? It seems that the ninth grader borrowed "Prince of Egypt" from the library and forgot to return it.</p> <p>Over the years, the family reports multiple sightings of the book, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that Nuranen finally got around to returning it to the library. Yes, there was a fine, but not nearly as much as you might think once you learn the book was 47 years overdue (and that's no typo). He delivered a check for $171.32 to cover the overdue charges.<p>Updated: Mon Mar 23, 2020</p> 1df0100e23b8c9944266f25f7adb21f0 How to Track Investments, Rescue Shoes, Hack a Care Label and Know Your Eggs for 03/19/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/how-to-track-investments-rescue-shoes-hack-a-care-label-and-know-your-eggs Thu, 19 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Mary: Last summer, I got a $3,000 bonus that my brother helped me invest in a couple of mutual finds. When my quarterly statements come in the mail, I'm totally confused by the pie charts and graphs and tend to toss them out. My brother says it's really important to track my investments. Is there an easier way to do this? &#8212; Erin</p> <p>Dear Erin: The idea behind a mutual fund is simple: Lots of small investors pool their money and hire a professional to invest and manage the fund. Reports can be confusing because you're seeing details of everything your fund owns. The one number you need to keep your eye on is the net asset value, or the NAV &#8212; the value of the fund's assets on a specific date, minus liabilities and divided by the number of shares held by fund members. Compare the NAV each quarter with previous statements to see how the fund is doing. In the meantime, start following investing-related websites like Kiplinger and MarketWatch.</p> <p>Dear Mary: I have a great pair of leather shoes that I just love, but they aren't in a color that goes with much in my wardrobe. I bought them over 10 years ago and would love to purchase another pair in black. The brand is Karen Moore Shoes. &#8212; Pam<p>Updated: Thu Mar 19, 2020</p> 7cee36bc0415b5ec748f9a5ccfd6dc0f Pie for Dinner? for 03/18/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/pie-for-dinner Wed, 18 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If you shy away from making homemade pies because of the crust (it can be tricky, and there's all that rolling), you are in for a treat. Meet the "impossible pie."</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Impossible pies are quick, easy and very family-friendly. But what is it that makes them seemingly impossible? The crust starts out as almost liquid; you pour it over the top of the pie and then somehow, in the baking process, the crust finds its way to the bottom and turns into a fabulously delicious pie.</span></p> <p>All of the recipes that follow call for "Master Mix," which is our homemade version of Bisquick. You'll find the recipe for Master Mix below.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 18, 2020</p> 2574c90653a381c79b6cf3c15416dbd6 How to Tear Down Attitudes of Entitlement for 03/17/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/how-to-tear-down-attitudes-of-entitlement Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Attention readers: The following column is an excerpt from Mary Hunt's book "Raising Financially Confident Kids."</p> <p>It is strangely ironic that the freedoms and affluence we enjoy in our society are the very things that stand to ruin our children if not addressed early and effectively.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The consumer credit industry is doing all it can to get your kids to fall for the buy-now-and-pay-later lifestyle. </span>If you do nothing to intervene, statistics indicate your child is headed for a life that will be severely impacted not by credit &#8212; credit is not the problem here &#8212; but by the debt it can create.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 17, 2020</p> a4e37a858dbd2c57c82dcc7315c3fb64 High Vet Bills for Beloved Pets and Prepping for Mortgage Application for 03/16/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/high-vet-bills-for-beloved-pets-and-prepping-for-mortgage-application Mon, 16 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Mary: Our beloved dog Roscoe is getting older, and we're concerned about safeguarding his health. He had a procedure last month that cost us $2,500. While the vet assures us he's fine now, we want to make sure we don't get hit with another huge bill. Of course, we'll do everything we can to keep Roscoe healthy, but we can't really afford these unforeseen medical expenses. What can we do? &#8212; Kate</p> <p>Dear Kate: Plan ahead and stash money into a "Roscoe account." Set an amount and then treat it like a bill each month. Even $25 a month will make sure you have a nest egg to get you through another emergency.</p> <p>Call to learn your vet's policies regarding emergency services like hours, fees and discounts for cash payments. Find out what constitutes a true emergency and what can wait until the office opens.<p>Updated: Mon Mar 16, 2020</p> ad568869b04bd38bf24c4d83cffd0fbf Reader Mail on Cleaning Mushrooms, Whiteboards and Pfaltzgraff Dishes for 03/12/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/reader-mail-on-cleaning-mushrooms-whiteboards-and-pfaltzgraff-dishes Thu, 12 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Mary: In a recent column, you suggested to not wash mushrooms but to simply brush them well with a vegetable brush or clean towel. While I agree with you 99% of the time, on this one I had to write. Did you know that mushrooms are usually grown in manure? You must wash them. I use a commercial veggie wash and brush, too. &#8212; Patricia </p> <p>Dear Patricia: Contrary to popular belief, mushrooms are not grown in manure. Mushrooms are, in fact, grown in a pasteurized substrate. Yes, this does contain manure, but once the whole process is finished, it is not even close. </p> <p>Commercially grown mushrooms you buy in the store begin their lives in sterile laboratories, where conditions are controlled so that no contamination takes place. Mushrooms can grow on any richly organic matter like rotting logs, rich soil, etc. but most commercially grown mushrooms are grown in compost. The compost used in mushroom farming is scientifically formulated and contains various materials such as straw, corn cobs, cottonseed and cocoa seed hulls. It is carefully monitored to make sure it is not contaminated. <p>Updated: Thu Mar 12, 2020</p> 3750f3f9e450e0be45402fc3a92604e5 Thank-You Notes Never Out of Style for 03/11/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/thank-you-notes-never-out-of-style-c9632 Wed, 11 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Today's column was prompted by a young man, age 10, who asked me recently, "Do I have to send a thank-you note when someone gives me a gift?" </p> <p>In these high-tech times, when text messaging and email are the preferred methods of written communication, my answer, in a word, was yes. It's right; it's proper; it's good for you. We may be frugal, but we've got class.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">It is neither difficult nor time-consuming to write a simple, heartfelt note of thanks in response to a gift or other act of kindness. </span>Here are the elements of a well-written thank-you note:<p>Updated: Wed Mar 11, 2020</p> 8b8ec3878009c60403dea19d46ba47cf Reader Mail on Roller-Coaster Income and Debit Cards for Kids for 03/10/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/reader-mail-on-roller-coaster-income-and-debit-cards-for-kids Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Recently, I heard from one of my dear readers, Jenn. The topic of her message? Her family's roller-coaster income. No, they don't work at an amusement park. But given their financial situation, it feels like they're on some kind of scary, rickety, spine-chilling carnival ride. </p> <p>Dear Mary: My husband has two jobs. He is an artist and a salesman. He earns commissions from both jobs, so we never know what our income will be. I work part time and am paid hourly. We can barely keep our heads above water. How can we possibly live on a budget? &#8212; Jenn </p> <p>Dear Jenn: The mistake many people who live with an uncertain income (or what I call "mystery means") make is that they spend whatever amount of money they earn as it comes in.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 10, 2020</p> 764a910e1c5b5dce9c50fbe4e68551e8 Things to Stock Up on in March for 03/09/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/things-to-stock-up-on-in-march Mon, 09 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Even though it still feels like winter, home improvement centers are hauling out air conditioners this month and putting them on sale. And March is National Frozen Food Month, so plan to fill your freezer. But that's not all. Check out all these things you'd be smart to stock up on this month.</p> <p>SNACKS AND SODAS</p> <p>The NCAA calls it their Basketball Tournament, but we know it more fondly as March Madness. That's good news for basketball fans and for retailers, too, who will take full advantage of the situation by offering low prices on party essentials like vegetable trays, wings, chips, sodas, crackers and more. <p>Updated: Mon Mar 09, 2020</p> ef8ab770d2e613e6959e4405b6c4bd68 Easy Ways to Get a Better Deal on Anything for 03/05/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/easy-ways-to-get-a-better-deal-on-anything Thu, 05 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Not everyone is comfortable with asking for a better deal or for a lower rate. Or for a fee or penalty to be waived. It's a process known as bargaining or "haggling," and for many, it's a lot easier to do that online rather than face-to-face in a store. It feels safer. And it's a great place to practice your skills.</p> <p>Here's a simple way to give online haggling a try:</p> <p>Once you've logged in and put something in your shopping cart, find a place on the site to chat with a live agent. Then kindly ask for a coupon code or discount.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 05, 2020</p> ac6255fa4de086f8c58a333714f38ad3 7 Houseplants That Are Really Hard to Kill for 03/04/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/7-houseplants-that-are-really-hard-to-kill Wed, 04 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>I love houseplants, and I do have some beauties! The truth is I don't have a green thumb; I just know a few tricks and tips that I will gladly share with you. Healthy, beautiful houseplants are an economical way to bring instant warmth and beauty to a home, condo, apartment, dorm room, recreational vehicle &#8212; or wherever else you call home.</p> <p>I have friends who, I swear, were born with a green thumb. These talented people effortlessly grow lush, beautiful, exotic plants indoors. Then, there are the rest of us.</p> <p>Here's my best-kept horticultural secret: I only consider plants in what I call the "thrivus neglectus" family, which comes from the Latin root meaning "really cheap and thrives even under the harshest conditions of poor light and owner neglect."<p>Updated: Wed Mar 04, 2020</p> 8d281ffdfe94bc45129ad7d9c50fed4f 3-Day Coconut Cake for 03/03/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/3-day-coconut-cake Tue, 03 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>What do Pat Benatar, George Foreman and I, your humble columnist, have in common? We share the same birthday! I only know that because someone gave me a 768-page book titled "The Portable Book of Birthdays."</p> <p>Good thing, too, or I'd never know that Pat, George and I have "socially savvy personalities (and) a keen ability to promote our ideas and to get what we want. We are intelligent, easily irritable, and need constant emotional stimulation," too. Who knew?!</p> <p>While the book doesn't mention our favorite birthday cake, I feel confident in speaking for the three of us when I say that, without a doubt, it is coconut cake. But not just any coconut cake. It has to be 3-Day Coconut Cake, which is so delicious it will knock your socks off no matter what day you were born.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 03, 2020</p> 0b8d5ad24e2e82455689aa83dd3a4481 Coronavirus: How to Be Prepared, Not Scared for 03/02/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/03/20/coronavirus-how-to-be-prepared-not-scared Mon, 02 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>As I write, coronavirus, a deadly illness, is spreading across the world. However, reported cases of coronavirus in the U.S. pale in number compared with more than 26 million cases of the flu in the 2019-2020 flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p> <p>Should we be worried? Scared? No. We should be cautious, alert, vigilant and prepared. We need to learn all we can and do all we can to prevent contact with influenza as well as this new coronavirus.</p> <p>The best way to prevent infection from any virus is to not get the virus in the first place! Do your best to avoid exposure to viruses, especially this novel Coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV.<p>Updated: Mon Mar 02, 2020</p> 905a849031ab7178205780232cb16ce9 Feel Good About Vacationing for 02/27/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/02/20/feel-good-about-vacationing Thu, 27 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>If things aren't looking so good for you to get away from home this year, it's probably not because you don't have the time. According to a survey by Harris Interactive Inc., the average American worker leaves about 50% of his or her eligible vacation days on the table. You've got the time, so what's the problem?</p> <p>It's likely that you keep pushing a vacation to the back burner because you just don't have the money. After all, a vacation can be very expensive. These days, you'll spend thousands for a family trip to Disney World &#8212; plus airfare if you don't happen to live in Orlando.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 27, 2020</p> 8807af2448ef33fcb25e239f5b78f9ca Could You Go a Year Without Spending? for 02/26/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/everyday-cheapskate/02/20/could-you-go-a-year-without-spending-67ce1 Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>A few years back, Eric and Donna Reed shopped for groceries and household products only once a year. How on Earth? I know. That was my reaction, too.</p> <p>The Reeds got the idea after reading a column in USA Today, wherein the writer confessed to his weakness when it came to buying clothes. So driven was he to buy new sweaters, slacks or shoes every time he stepped inside a clothing store that he publicly announced he was giving up buying anything for one full year.</p> <p>Eric and Donna wondered if they could do the same. Their minds went to the grocery and discount stores, the mall and Amazon. And what about restaurants and home improvement stores? How would they handle the gifts and seasonal items every household needs throughout the course of a year?<p>Updated: Wed Feb 26, 2020</p>