Dear Mary: I have several bottles of perfume and cologne that I cannot use anymore because they no longer spray. How can I clear the tube so I can spray the scent?
-- Margie, California
Dear Margie: Cologne and perfume are by nature somewhat sticky. If a bottle sits unused, the tiny opening in the sprayer can clog.
Try this: Remove the sprayer pump from the top of the cologne bottle. Run the spray pump under hot water. Place it back on the bottle, and test to see if it is unclogged.
Another option is to force a needle into the hole of the spray to break through the sticky residue that is clogging it.
If these methods don't work, remove the top altogether and transfer the balance of the cologne to a new spray bottle.
Dear Mary: I'm recently retired and wonder where I should invest my retirement fund. The banks are not paying much interest, and the stock market can be such a roller coaster. We need something more stable but with some growth.
-- Sharon, email
Dear Sharon: If I had an answer for where your investments could be stable while experiencing steady growth, I'd be a very rich woman. We are living in very difficult times -- with the U.S. dollar teetering, savings interest rates nearly 0 percent and the stock market, at best, rocky. Add to this, I am not qualified as an investment professional to advise you. But I can recommend what I think is a terrific
Everything I know about investing I've learned from the book "Sound Mind Investing," by Austin Pryor. Recently, he wrote "The Prudent Investor's Guide to Owning Gold." This book is an easy read and not at all whacky. I highly recommend it. This eBook, $2.99, is offered as a Kindle book at Amazon.com.
Dear Mary: We are a retired two-person household. Our only income is my husband's Social Security check, which has to stretch a long way. We have no debt and own our home. Up until now, we have faithfully tithed 10 percent. Should we continue to tithe on our Social Security income? What would you do?
-- Shellee, email
Dear Shellee: I believe that gratitude is the cornerstone of a well-lived, abundant life. Giving away part of what we have is a tangible way to express our gratitude.
It sounds like you and your family have been greatly blessed given that you have no debt, you own your home and you have steady income. In that giving has been part of your lives up to now, I cannot imagine why you would think of changing that.
My suggestion is that you not get hung up on percentages, but instead give to others as you've been blessed. The more you give, the more you will be blessed.
Do you have a question for Mary? Email her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.