Dear Mary: Several years ago, I visited a friend and was introduced to an item that allows you to keep butter out of the refrigerator and on the counter to be nice and soft and fresh until consumed.
The butter somehow stayed in a top container that was suspended over a container of water. I don't know the name of this thing nor where to buy one. I have never seen one since my visit. Can you tell me what it is? — Lyn, Pennsylvania
Dear Lyn: You are describing the Original Butter Bell Crock by L. Tremain (everydaycheapskate.com/butterbell). I have one, and you are right to recall it as being quite ingenious.
Modeled after the original French butter crock, a Butter Bell keeps butter fresh and spreadable for up to 30 days without refrigeration, no odors or spoilage. Here's how it works: You pack softened butter into the lid. Fill the base with cold water and place lid upside down into the base. The unique design keeps butter soft and fresh using water as an insulator. The key is that you must change the water often, like every day or two at the longest.
Other manufacturers have produced their own knock-off versions of the Butter Bell based on the same principal, some of which are cheaper, to mixed reviews.
Dear Mary: While my gal pals were out shopping for clothes, you'd find me in Electrics, checking out the vacuum cleaners! An odd quirk, but (my love for vacuum cleaners) has trailed behind me all these years.
In my lifetime, I have owned a myriad of vacs, always striving to find The One. Canisters, uprights, what have you. I've had them all, but none hit the mark.
Then I read your column about the Shark Navigator and my ears actually came to a point. The "Aha moment!" in all its glory. My vac nose told me this is The One.
I called my hubby and drove madly to Bed Bath and Beyond, clutching my 20 percent discount card and urging John to drive faster!
Long story short, I don't even put the thing away! There it sits, proudly, grandly and just within reach.
Thanks for the info recommendation, and even if I discovered my Great White this late in life, I am still smiling. Very best regards. — Elsa, Minnesota
Dear Elsa: I'm happy to know that you and your Shark (everydaycheapskate.com/sharkvacuum) are getting along so well. For the price, I just don't think you can beat this vacuum. Now that I think about it, I don't think it can be beat at any price. I'm with you. It is The One! Thanks for writing. Your letter made me smile.
Mary invites questions at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. 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 "7 Money Rules for Life," released in 2012. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.