August 15, 2013 10:50 AM

DEAR MARY: I am looking to purchase a new dishwasher, as my 10-year-old GE model is leaking and will cost at least $300 to repair. My husband and I are “light users,” running a full load every four days or so.

We rinse dishes and basically use the dishwasher on the short cycle, and it has always worked fine for us. We have looked at many brands, read many reviews and find that there are pros and cons about each brand. We did go to Consumer Reports for its suggestions and still are very confused. — Jan, email

DEAR JAN: Here’s what I would do if I were you: Determine the price you’re willing to pay for a dishwasher and the top three features you want — for example, Rinse/Hold, Short Wash and must be very quiet.

Go to a Sears store, which now carries the top brands of appliances (you can also shop online at Sears’ retail online site or the Sears Outlet), with your three requirements and color choice. Then listen and pay close attention to what you learn. In the store, the salesman will try to steer you into a higher-end model with lots of bells and whistles you’ll probably never use. Keep going back to your three “must-haves.” Then make the decision, arrange for delivery and installation, and don’t look back.

If you hold out to find the perfect dishwasher at the perfect price, you’ll still be looking next year this time — and driving yourself nuts with indecision.

By the way, I found my LG steam dryer online at the Sears Outlet — the companion model to my new LG Wave Force washer, which I had purchased locally. What a bargain. I had to check daily because the Sears Outlet online inventory changes rapidly. But once I found it, I snapped it up in a hurry.

Even with shipping from Ohio, it was half the price of buying it locally. I could view a close-up photo of the scratch that sent my dryer to the outlet and before agreeing to purchase. Even though considered damaged, the dryer came complete with the full manufacturer’s warranty. And once set into place, the scratch is completely hidden. I’m still pumped about that bargain.

Good luck, and I hope you are able to make your decision quickly.

DEAR MARY: I have several very nice leather purses in light colors. Two are white, and the others are beige. I hate to get rid of them, as they were quite expensive, but they are so dirty that I just cannot use them. Also they are in perfect condition other than the dirt.

How can I clean them safely? I have asked at various cleaners, but they do not do leather purses — although some of them do leather jackets. — Barbara, California

DEAR BARBARA: Try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge, available in any supermarket or discount department store. Dampen it with water, then go to work on those purses. I’ve had excellent results using one of these erasers on everything from white plastic patio chairs to leather shoes, woodwork and painted walls, too. I wish I knew what makes these erasers work so well. Could it be magic? That being said, I am quite certain this will do the trick for your purses, provided the problem is dirt, not wear.

Mary invites questions at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, 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.


Disclaimer: Copyright © 2017 Indiana Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.