Dear Mary: My husband says that it costs more to make ice in the freezer than to buy it in bags. I find that hard to believe. Do you know the answer? — J.M.
Dear J.M.: Let's say a 10-pound bag of ice at the store costs $2. Two dollars' worth of water from your tap would be nearly 350 gallons at the U.S. average price of about 0.0058 cents per gallon — enough to make a lot of ice. You are already keeping the freezer at zero degrees F, so it will take no more energy to make ice in it than you're spending now to freeze other stuff.
Your husband's theory might hold water if he's talking about buying a separate ice-making machine that will be an additional appliance in your home and draw its own electricity. Otherwise, I think he's all wet.
Dear Mary: I love the soft texture of whipped butter, but the stuff in the tubs costs a fortune when compared pound for pound with stick butter. My favorite is the butter that is whipped with olive oil. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make my own whipped butter? I have no idea what type of proportions I would need, or if a third ingredient is necessary so it will spread easily. — Sara
Dear Sara: You'll need two sticks of real butter (that's 1 cup, and please do not substitute with margarine), 1 cup of canola or olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and an electric mixer. Allow the butter to come to room temperature in a medium-size mixing bowl. Mix it with the electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds or until it becomes creamy. Keeping the mixer running, add the oil in a small, steady stream. Add the salt. Keep mixing until it looks very light and fluffy. Store the whipped butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Even enjoy its spreadability straight from the refrigerator. By the way, the nutritional value of canola oil and olive oil are almost identical. However, you may find it more cost effective to use canola oil.
Dear Mary: How long will a turkey keep in the freezer? I still have an uncooked turkey in the freezer from Thanksgiving 2007. Should I toss it, or can I do something with it? — Lina
Dear Lina: I just did a double take! I thought I read 2017, but now I see you've had this bird in your freezer for 11 years. You may have a collector's item on your hands — petrified turkey! No, seriously, you need to dispose of it. My best sources assure us that a turkey frozen solid in its original packaging is good for up to one year. After that, it degrades into a tasteless, poorly textured, very old, terrible piece of poultry that should be tossed.
Dear Mary: I was reading a Spanish newspaper cover to cover on a flight from Madrid to Miami. The newspaper, El Pais, features articles from The New York Times, the Washington Post and others every week. Well, right there in one of the articles was a quote from you. Talk about reaching readers! On a recent extended visit to Spain, I didn't have internet access like I have at home, but I checked your column at least three times a week in that newspaper while I was there. Thanks for the job you do and for inspiring us. Congratulations on all your accomplishments. You are a blessing in my life. — Carmen
Dear Carmen: Who knew I could write in Spanish! Ha-ha. Seriously, oftentimes interviews that I do or articles I write are licensed to other publications without my knowing. Many thanks you for your kind words, or perhaps I should say, "Gracias!"
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.