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StartbloggingRecently I added a sixth way to enter the giveaways on this site: subscribing to my Write A Blog People Will Read newsletter. The weekly(ish) newsletter is writing-focused, but that doesn’t mean that non-writers shouldn’t read it.

Sure, it includes info like how much freelancers should charge and why blogging matters. But general-interest topics show up as well, such as why walking can change a bad day, how “Moose: The Movie” can inspire us all and the ways that fear can actually be good for people.

So even if you aren’t itching to start your own website, give the newsletter a try. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to WriteABlogPeopleWillRead.com/blog.
  • Look for the “Free Writing Tips” box on the right-hand side.
  • Enter your name and e-mail address and you’ll be subscribed.

Every time you enter a Surviving and Thriving giveaway, be sure to leave a separate comment stating that you’re a newsletter subscriber. It’s just one more chance to win.

 


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happiness of pursuitSix months ago I gave away a copy of Chris Guillebeau’s “The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.” Just over 70 entries were tallied for that one.

Clearly the interest is there, so I’m giving away another copy.

The book is based on Guillebeau’s own grand challenge (visiting every country in the world before he hit age 35) as well as other people’s personal tests.

Or, as Guillebeau calls them, “ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals.”

 


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thRecently a relative was sitting on a tailgate with her dog’s leash wrapped around her wrist. The dog suddenly bolted, slamming her arm against the side of the vehicle.

No broken bones, fortunately, but it hurt like heck and she’ll probably have to pony up co-pays for the emergency room visit and X-rays.

Our furry friends can cost us plenty even if they never cause any critter-human mishaps. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the total annual cost for dogs is between $1,314 and $1,843. All you crazy cat people will shell out about $1,035 per year for your little purrmeisters.

Those figures include food, medical care, dishes and the like – but not related costs such as the need to board a pet when you travel or to pay more for homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance if the company deems your pet an attractive nuisance (e.g., a “biting breed”).

Should we put a price on love? You bet.

 


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Salad days.

IMG_20150622_182817We had our first from-the-garden salad last night. When I say “from the garden” I mean that most of it was from our own little urban homestead.

The rest of it was from a great big garden somewhere else. Factory farms count, right?

Although the greens (and reds!) in the garden are starting to look respectable, we don’t want to denude them just yet.

So we possess our souls in patience and augment what we grew with romaine from the supermarket.

Here’s the lineup from the picture on the left:


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thWe’re in the middle of a many-days-long heatwave, i.e., temperatures in the 70s and even the low 80s. When the sun is out almost nonstop, you feel lost in a dreamy golden haze all day.

It’s incredibly hard to concentrate on work right now, so I’m going to make this week’s giveaway fairly simple: $10 worth of scrip to the online behemoth.


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th-1If money is piling up in your checking account, here’s one way to divest yourself of the burden: Ignore both the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance tips and the “check engine” light.

According to CarMD.com, a faulty oxygen sensor is the most common reason for that check-engine light to pop up on the dashboard. The fix could be as simple as changing out a dirty air filter, but you could also be on the hook for a $259.30 (on average) sensor replacement.

Some folks push the envelope on maintenance visits or ignore the manufacturer guidelines entirely. They think that’s frugal, but it isn’t.

The oxygen sensor is a good example. Sure, you’ll save almost $260 by not fixing it. But you’ll pay for it in other ways. Expensive ways.

 


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thI am officially an elder. My niece and her fellow went dip-netting in Chitina over the weekend and scored 60 Copper River red salmon.

Yes, the fish that cost a bomb in the Lower 48. Her sweetheart, who is Alaska Native, had a list of elders with whom he wanted to share his catch. Happily, DF and I were on that list.

“Elder” is still a term of respect among Alaska Natives. Older people get fed first, get the most comfortable seats and most important of all, get treated as though their opinions matter.

They may also get Copper River reds. At least 15 pounds of them – and already filleted.

 


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thRecently I attended “Press Publish,” a one-day seminar presented in Phoenix by WordPress. If you’re a writer (published or not) and one of these seminars comes to your neck of the woods, by all means go.

The day was crammed with programs from WordPress professionals (including a group of “happiness engineers” — what a cool thing to have on a business card) and pro bloggers. It didn’t cost much (they even had a coupon!) and the breakfast, lunch and snacks were great. (At least one blogger from Alaska went a little overboard on the fresh pineapple.)

In addition, writers (published or not) from a wide section of Arizona got to meet one another. I truly believe the event changed lives.

But on to this week’s giveaway. (There’s a connection. I promise.)


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th-1Does a man in your life drag his heels when it comes to seeing a doctor? This Saturday, June 13, he can at least get some lab work done for free.

The “His Health” screenings are being offered to members and non-members alike at all Sam’s Club locations that have pharmacies.

If you live near one that does, your husband/boyfriend/male relative can get up to eight different things checked without paying a dime.


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th-1In late April I wrote about Digit, the personal finance app that automates withdrawals. In it I reported that Digit had squirreled away a little over $100 between early February and April 25.

Today I checked the balance and it’s up to just under $223. What I like best about this? I didn’t miss the money.


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th-1Recently a reader named Laura H. e-mailed to ask if I could re-run “Surviving (and thriving) on $12,000 a year,” an article I wrote for MSN Money back in January 2007.

When I wrote that I was 49 years old, back in college and coming off a two-year-long divorce. At the time the assignment seemed like a one-off freelance gig. I had no way of knowing that it would ultimately lead to a career as a personal finance blogger; at that point I didn’t even know what blogs were.

People still mention that $12k piece. Some ask me where they can find the piece. Unfortunately, MSN Money changed platforms and the work I did there between 2007 and 2013 can no longer be accessed.

Fortunately, I keep copies of everything I write.


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thNot in person, of course — unless you happen to live in Anchorage and be the winner of this week’s giveaway.

I’m offering $25 worth of Fandango scrip. Since it’s accepted in so many places, it’s likely you’ll be able to see at least a couple of movies on me.

Or one movie and a bunch of concessions. Your call!


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