I'd had the same oven thermometer for at least a hundred years. The thing had been splattered on and dropped more times than I can count. And the splatters had become hopelessly baked on, making it nearly impossible to read. When I got a message from Naomi about her oven thermometer, I knew exactly what she was talking about and how to fix the problem.
Dear Mary: Every oven thermometer I have ever owned has been difficult to use. The bases were always too small, and they tipped over. They were difficult to set upright when they were hot, and using hot pads or tongs to handle them was mega-frustrating. In the past, you have recommended a model that has a hook at the top. But the oven rack would be right above it, making it difficult to see. Could you recommend a decent oven thermometer that has big writing and won't tip over? — Naomi
Dear Naomi: I think you would be thrilled with an infrared noncontact digital laser thermometer. Using the Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Infrared Thermometer is a lot different than trying to make a wobbly thermometer stand up in the oven. Point it at the space you want to measure. Line up the laser. Then press the trigger. It measures temperatures all the way from minus 58 degrees F to 716 degrees F. And the numbers are written very large, so it's easy to see. This might be exactly what you're looking for. It costs about $17. You can find a link to the Lasergrip and more at www.everydaycheapskate.com/wobbly.
Dear Mary: I recently read your column on ways to save on prescriptions drugs. A few years ago, I started taking an expensive name-brand drug. While I was employed, my group insurance covered it, and I was able to get a monthly discount through the manufacturer. I am now semi-retired and on Medicare with the Part D prescription drug plan. This time last year I was in the doughnut hole coverage gap and could not afford $150 for a 30-day supply.
I called the drug manufacturer discount program and found that I could get one month free because I was on a government program. That was great, but I had two more months to go until the next calendar year would start.
I contacted my cardiologist. She said no problem and called her drug rep for the medication. He dropped off a three-month supply of samples to her office for me to pick up.
This year I'm facing the same thing. I got one month's worth at no charge from the manufacturer and the same three-month supply from my doctor's office.
For anyone in my same situation, I suggest you first go to the manufacturer website and check out any discount plans and then call your doctor's office to get samples. It can't hurt to ask! — Alison
Dear Alison: This is great information, and thanks so much for sharing it with my readers. While this tactic might not return the same results for everyone, it should give confidence to readers facing a similar situation. You're right — it certainly can't hurt to ask.
Dear Mary: Awhile back you mentioned the name of a great carpet scrubber. It was a Shark product, but I didn't get the model number. Could you please tell me? — Wendy
Dear Wendy: I'm fairly certain you are referring the article titled "Who Else Doesn't Want to Scrub Floors on Your Hands and Knees?" The scrubber was the Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Floor Cleaner. It is a great machine that works like a horse but is very lightweight and easy to maneuver. Hope that helps!
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.