budget © by 401(K) 2012

A reader suggested an article on preparing for income reduction. Not layoff or job loss, but rather a partial loss of expected funds – salary reduction, an end to child support and the like.

“Where you still have a job, but really need to evaluate the ‘new budget’,” she says.

I’ve written on this subject before, calling it the “financial fire drill.” You figure out how little you can get away with spending – and you do it with an attitude of calm preparation, not fear of deprivation.

This baker’s dozen of tips will get you started.

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That’s “shooter” as in photographer, not as in hunter.

This week’s giveaway “Snap Decisions: My 30 Years as an Alaska News Photographer,” is more than just the moose-and-goose-in-the-spruce school of photography.

I do have to say, however, that the moose photo to the left is one of my favorite images ever published in the Anchorage Daily News.

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Black Friday 099 © by Neon Tommy

If I were a true minimalist I wouldn’t shop at all, or I’d specialize in experiences over Stuff. But I came pretty close to skipping the madness this year: one online order late Thursday night and one small ($3.99) purchase this morning.

Not without a bit of danger first, though. My niece and nephews and I had spent about an hour looking through the ads from the biggest newspaper of the year. I’d hesitated to bring them out, fearing the site of all that swag would turn the boys (ages 6 and 11) into Monsters of Acquisition.

Surprisingly, that didn’t happen. Even more surprisingly, the only person who got a little monstrous around the edges was me.

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Recently a commenter left this message:

“Donna, is it possible for you to write more thoughtful posts instead? All you are doing is writing simple posts on ways to try to make you money and giveaways.

“That’s nice and all, but the writing quality is really low. There’s not much insight or value added.”

My first response was, “Feel free to skip the stuff that doesn’t work for you.”

OK, that’s a lie. My first, visceral response was, “Feel free to kiss my ass! Even when I’m doing a quick-and-dirty piece the writing quality is higher than you’ll find just about anywhere else on the Internet.”***

My second response? She’s right. And I know it. Not about the low-quality part, but about the fact that I haven’t been doing enough substantive writing lately. That’s because the work-life balance continues to elude me.

Specifically: How do you balance work and life once you’ve gotten a glimpse of what life could be like if it didn’t have so much work in it?

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swagbucks screenshot © by Ruby Galanida

Yesterday I took part in an online chat at CompareRewards.com, a site specializing in news and reviews of rewards programs. One of the guests was from Swagbucks.com, my favorite rewards site.

She gave us a promo code, good only through this weekend, that will provide new members with 70 Swagbucks upon joining, instead of 30.

I intended to put up a post last night — but I lost my Internet connection. (Moral of the story: Don’t intend. Just do.)

So if you aren’t a Swagbucks member yet, I hope you’ll do the following:

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