Two dates for you:

February 7 – The last direct deposit for my day job

March 11 – The earliest I can expect to get paid again

I’m not saying this because I feel sorry for myself. For reasons I’ll detail below, I’m doing fine. I’m bringing it up to remind other freelancers – and fully employed folks – to get creative about meeting your needs.


read more

John Robbins was born into wealth and, as an heir of the Baskin-Robbins fortune, could have stayed there. He walked away, though, and focused on a planet-friendly and sustainable lifestyle.

The money he did have was lost to Bernie Madoff’s antics. But Robbins, already an author, focused his writer’s eye on a potential silver lining: “Curtailed consumerism could lead us to reassess our lives and values.”

The result was “The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less,” which I’m giving away this week.

read more

My biweekly personal finance column at MSN Money has morphed into a daily frugality blog. Since life never happens quite as you wish, the new gig was poised to launch right when I got sick last week.

My mental picture is of the Fates passing a joint and cackling with laughter as they watched me struggle with computer connection woes six or seven hours after what was later determined to be a gall bladder attack.

Eventually everything was resolved and Tuesday was the debut for Frugal Cool. Despite the semi-preachiness of the inaugural headline (“Frugality: The right life choice”), this is not an eat-your-vegetables kind of site.



read more

A few nights ago I had what I thought was a really bad case of indigestion and nausea. Zantac couldn’t touch it. It got worse. I tried to make myself vomit and couldn’t.

Eventually I realized that (a) indigestion shouldn’t feel like this and (b) I had eaten a fairly healthy dinner. A doctor’s visit and an ultrasound determined that it was a gall-bladder attack.

read more

Whenever I offer free movie tickets there’s a lot of interest. I can only infer that the tighter economy has led a lot of people to cut back on entertainment.

This week you’ll get both dinner and a movie in time for the Feb. 26 Academy Awards. Even if you don’t go see a nominated picture, you’ll be hitting the theater for free. If you play your cards right, you’ll be hitting the theater more than once.

read more