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“Everyday Cheapskate”

Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at 9:36 am

Getting debt free


everyday cheapskate - mary huntmary hunt

Dear Mary: After reading your books and columns for several years, I am ecstatic to report that I am almost debt-free; my credit card debt is history! I can’t thank you enough for your encouraging words and sage counsel.

Now I need to know how to find a low-interest card — preferably a no annual fee type — to use mainly for online purchases, and which will be paid off monthly. I have absolutely no idea how to go about this and would appreciate any information you could provide. Thanks for everything! — Sherry

Dear Sherry: Congratulations on your amazing progress toward becoming debt-free. I am so very proud of you. This is an almost amazing accomplishment, so keep going and don’t ever give up. You’ll be there soon, and what a wonderful debt-free day that will be for you!

As for your question regarding a low-interest card, I would suggest that the interest rate not be your primary consideration. You will never carry a balance on it, so your primary consideration should be that is it has no annual fee. Second, it must have an excellent grace period of at least 21 days. Next it should be either a MasterCard or Visa and last you want to get the lowest interest rate you can.

Using a credit card as a tool, not a weapon with which to do yourself harm, will be a new way of life for you. Expect to face the temptation of allowing a balance to roll over. It will happen. However, I am confident that the hard work you have done and the financial maturity you have achieved will carry you through those moments of temptation, keeping you on the straight and narrow path to financial freedom!

I recommend that you go to This is a kind of directory of every credit card being offered, arranged by category. Plan to spend some time searching for the card that is right for you.

Dear Mary: Can you tell me which floor-cleaning machine you would recommend for tile? — Lou

Dear Lou: Now that I live in a house with some ceramic tile floors, I found myself wondering the same thing. But rather than only tile floor, I wanted to find the best inexpensive power machine to clean hardwood and laminate flooring, too.

About six months ago, following a good deal of research, I purchased the Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner for about $115.

I knew that it would do one more thing, but I wasn’t that interested in the carpet scrubbing option because as you may know, I am in love with my Hoover Steam Vac. But in an effort to give the machine a fair trial, I tested that feature as well. Honestly, I am thrilled with this little machine! It is truly remarkable. It is so really lightweight, and easily swivels under counters and around corners. And boy does it scrub! The manufacturer boasts 1,000 scrubs per minute.

My Shark Sonic Duo came with a remarkable supply of supplies: five different cleaning pads — one for each of the applications. All are very sturdy, and easy to wash and dry. And I got four different bottles of concentrated cleaners: Carpet cleaning, Pre-treater, Wood and Hard Floor Cleaning and Wood and Hard Floor Polish. All of these products are highly concentrated, with easy instructions for how to mix with water to fill the tank. After six months of active use, I haven’t come close to using up even half of these products. I will have no qualms about using our homemade hard floor cleaner in the refillable dispenser, and I promise to report back here.

So my response is that I would highly recommend Shark Sonic Duo machine for your tile needs — and all other types of flooring as well. However, if you prefer a single purpose machine to clean just your tile flooring, take a look at the Hoover TwinTank Steam Mop (about $70). Please understand that while I have not personally tested this machine, this steam mop gets many excellent reviews and that gives me confidence in suggesting it for your tile floors. I hope that helps — and no, I do not work for the Shark or the Hoover companies — to answer a question I do get from time to time.