By Mary Hunt
Dear Mary: I’m trying to find a reliable website to help me book cheap flights. Do you have any suggestions? — Peggy C., e-mail
Dear Peggy: I would not rely on any one site to get the price right every time. Every day, there are thousands of new airfares on hundreds of airlines. The prices change every minute. Kayak.com is a good place to start your search for cheap airfare. You can input your preferences and compare Kayak’s results with those of other sites, such as Expedia and Travelocity.
I like Kayak’s “Fare Alerts.” This feature sends an e-mail alert the minute the price drops on the itinerary you want to buy. Whenever I purchase an airline ticket online, I put it on hold for 24 hours. Most airlines and travel sites will allow you to do that. That gives you time to compare prices and make sure you really want to go through with the purchase. Airline tickets are rarely refundable, and change fees can be horrendous.
Dear Mary: I want to reduce my phone expenses but keep my land line active. My friend tells me she got a basic plan with AT&T for less than $10. She now has the safety of a land line without the big monthly bill. Do you know whether all phone companies have a basic service? I have Verizon. My Internet access is bundled with phone service. How can I get a basic plan? — Beth T., California
Dear Beth: I have a hunch that your friend’s service is bare-bones, with no long-distance plan. It is likely that she can only call within a very small radius of her home.
Call Verizon’s customer service. Ask about bare-bones service. I can’t guarantee Verizon has a $10 service for you, but you should be able to get one that is a lot cheaper (and more limited) than what you have now. The company will not be thrilled to downgrade you, but you might be able to save a bundle of your own.
Dear Mary: Help! Some of my sweatshirts and jeans have a musty smell to them. Is my machine causing the smell? I wash everything in cold water, and I hang my clothes to dry. What am I doing wrong? — Nicole A., Nebraska
Dear Nicole: You have a mildew problem. It could be residing in your washing machine, especially if you only wash with cold water. I would run a cycle, without clothes, using the hottest water possible with detergent and liquid chlorine bleach. In the future, get into the habit of adding a cup of white vinegar to the rinse water of every load.
That will take care of the problem going forward, but I’m not sure you’ll be able to restore the musty clothes with vinegar alone. The only product I know of that will remove the smell effectively is Nok-Out, a completely nontoxic, EPA-approved miracle in a bottle. You’ll find Nok-Out online at http://www.NokOut.com. If you place an order, please tell Lou, one of the nicest women you ever will encounter, that “Everyday Cheapskate” sent you!
Do you have a question for Mary? E-mail her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books, including “Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill With a Credit Card?” To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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