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If you’ve been on the fence about Hulu, this might be the time to do it: This weekend, Swagbucks is offering a $28 incentive to try the $7.99-per-month television service.

Specifically: When you sign up for Hulu you’ll get 2,800 SB points, which translates to $28 worth of gift cards (or PayPal, if you prefer the cash). You could think of this as making $20, or that Swagbucks is paying for your first three-plus months of the cable TV alternative.

But wait, there’s more: If you sign up this weekend you’ll get another 300 SB in your account in May. The total, then, is $31 worth of gift card (or PayPal) power.

So how do you get a piece of the action? Two easy steps (with occasional gusts to three):

 


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As noted previously, I’m close to finishing the sequel to Your Playbook For Tough Times. The working title is Your Playbook For Tough Times, Vol. 2: Needs AND Wants Edition. But the title may be augmented slightly, since long subtitles are a thing among personal finance publishers.

Last night I finished proofing a printout of the manuscript, finding more than a few issues throughout. As I noted in “Try editing on paper,” the mistakes just seem more obvious on flattened wood pulp than they do on a shiny screen.

Very glad I read it this way. Now DF has agreed to do a read-through; here’s hoping he doesn’t find many more gaffes, lest I start doubting my ability to write a useful sentence. After that, I can send it to the formatter and then on to the cover-design guy.

One of the (many) things still to do is continue building a mailing list for the book’s launch. Since my blog readers have been supportive the first time around, I’d like to invite anyone who’s interested to join the list.

What’s in it for you? A discount, and a promise.

 


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A sick-day roundup.

Some people who visit Florida bring back postcards, or ashtrays made out of seashells. I brought a virus: sore throat, chest-tightening cough and general malaise. I’m achy and wheezy (two dwarfs whom Snow White never mentioned) and the switch in time zones messed with my sleep both there and back at home.

Worth it, though, because I got to see my father and stepmom plus my sister, brother great-nephew. I even met a reader named Cheryl, who lives in the area and met me and Dad at Dunkin Donuts for a stimulating discussion about money and life.

Finished the rough draft of the new Playbook For Tough Times while I was there, too. Now all I have to do is edit it, work with the formatter and the cover-design guy, write a press release and start in on promotion.

At that point my inability to take a deep breath will, with luck, be figurative rather than literal. However, if this crud is the same one everyone else has been talking about I could be stuck with it for weeks.

 


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As we neared my dad’s place yesterday I noticed a Dunkin Donuts. It’s been ages since I had a sugar-raised sinker from DD, which operated in Anchorage when I arrived back in 1984 but has long since decamped.

Then Cheryl, a reader from Tarpon Springs, left a comment suggesting a meet-up at a local Wendy’s. She didn’t just pull that locale out of thin air; when I visit my daughter* in Phoenix I always have reader events at Wendy’s.

But…doughnuts. And it’s within walking distance of where I’m staying.

Anyone else interested in coffee and crullers? Cheryl and I will make room for you at the table.


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On Saturday I hung out the first laundry of the year. We’ve been putting the bedclothes out  air all winter long in order to sleep in fresh air, but this was the first time in months that it’s been possible to dry stuff on the line. (It helped that I’d first tumbled those clothes in the dryer for a few minutes.)

Not that it was super-balmy, mind you. This was mid-30s weather, but a nice breeze blew and the sun was strong and constant. By midday the temperature in the greenhouse was in the 70s. Maybe I should have dried the clothes in there.

The next day DF put the comforter, blanket and top sheet out to gain the benefit of the sun and wind. He had to hang the linens lengthwise to keep them from dragging in the snow. Despite steady daytime melt, the drifts are still high near the clothesline because of DF’s use of the snowblower.

Two days after my second cataract surgery we got another dumping of snow, the first in several weeks. About nine inches fell at our place, plumping up what already lay on the ground. I don’t know how much has fallen this year and I don’t know how much of it was still there after sublimation and melt. But the back yard still looks fairly snowbound.

 


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Last September, the Dollar Dig cash-back site sponsored a giveaway of $150 worth of Amazon gift cards. This was a real win-win, since I like giving things away and you guys like the chance to get them. (The giveaway garnered more than 140 responses.)

Now site owner Rich Chrobak has asked my daughter and me to do posts to call attention to Autism Awareness Month. Since a giveaway does tend to get more eyeballs on a site, Chrobak is sponsoring giveaways in both places.

Here you have a shot at winning an Amazon Echo Dot. On Abby’s site, you’ll be in the running for a SamsungVR headset.

But that’s not the only way Dollar Dig is involved with Autism Awareness Month. Chrobak is putting his money where his heart is: All net profits for the month of April will go to POAC Autism Services, a New Jersey nonprofit that offers support, education, training and activities for families experiencing autism.

And if you like, you can be part of this effort.

 


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The cataract surgery on my right eye took place last week and went as smoothly as the first one. Well, all except for the healing: This one is bloodshot and a bit sore seven days after the procedure.

It’s not infected, though. I know this because I went for a check-up today and was told I could stop using the antibiotic eye drops, although I do need to keep squirting in the steroidal ones.

Once the eye is completely healed I’ll be able to get an updated prescription for glasses. Until then, I’ve been enjoying the odd sensation of walking around the house sans specs without bumping into anything. Or to sit at a computer and write, as long as I increase the type size.

Speaking of writing…

 


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Women are earning more and taking more responsibility for managing money, but a majority of us aren’t confident about our choices.

According to the Allianz Women, Money and Power Study, six in 10 (61 percent) women wish they had more confidence in their financial choices. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) wish they knew more about investing and financial planning.

Personal finance blogger Melanie Lockert wants to help. Or, rather, she wants to encourage women to help themselves. The upcoming Lola Retreat will be a place where women can talk openly about money: how to earn it, save it, invest it and enjoy it.

 


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Just got back from Phoenix, where they’re already drinking cold beverages. Here in Anchorage it was 1 degree when we got up.

Depending on where you live you might be sipping a fancy lemonade or wrapping your frozen fingers around a mug of cocoa or coffee.

The choice is personal, but if you win this week’s giveaway the beverage won’t cost you anything. That is, if you like Starbucks — which a lot of you do, if previous giveaways are any indication.

 


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Did you know that you can hack any ATM machine? You can! Or so those Nigerian scammers would have you think.

Half a dozen messages in today’s spam filter read as follows:

 


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Still visiting my daughter and drinking the weird water of Phoenix. She and my son-in-law cope by using a reverse osmosis system to turn the hard H20 into something approaching potable agua.

Probably I’d get used to it if I lived here; for now, I cope by turning it into iced tea.

What I really resent, though, is the weirdly random stains the mineral-saturated water makes in the toilet bowls. I made it my mission to eliminate them.

And, as Abby noted in “The beauty of a clean toilet,” I succeeded. That’s because I had a secret weapon.

Oh, vinegar: Is there anything you can’t do?

 


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I’m not going to be with my sweetheart today, except in spirit (and by phone). That’s because I came back to Phoenix to lend a hand after my son-in-law broke one foot and badly sprained the other.

Since I won’t have a holiday of my own, I’m focusing on other people’s Feb. 14 follies. For example, did you know that some people buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets?

Not making that up. Couldn’t make that up.

 


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