Self-publishing is something like childbirth: Toward the end of the process you’re swearing you will never, EVER do this again. You’re also looking for someone to punch in the mouth for not being supportive enough* (anyone who’s ever been in the transition phase of labor will likely back me up on that).

I felt that way toward the finishing-up portion of “Your Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul.” When I wasn’t gnashing my teeth and rending my garments I was thinking Lord please get me through it…I swear I’ll be a good girl and stay away from JPEGs after this.

Just as with childbirth, I forgot the pain almost immediately and decided to do it again. This time around the damn thing was practically breech, a self-publishing project that came out feet-first and sideways. For the past 10 days or so I’ve been whirling and howling with regard to final edits, formatting and cover design. On Tuesday night I was absolutely unhinged with cumulative rage and frustration as another formatting snafu erupted.

But you know what? I’m sort of forgetting how that felt, now that “Your Playbook For Tough Times, Vol. 2: Needs And Wants Edition” has made it into the world.


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(I’m taking part in the “Tell Your Swagbucks Story” promotion at the Swagbucks rewards program site.)

When my daughter first told me about Swagbucks, I figured it was just another frugal hack, i.e., a way to earn a few rewards cards and boost my budget.

It was. But it’s become so much more.

Over the years, the Swagbucks rewards program has become a way for me to eat better, slash my gift-giving costs, travel more affordably, send items to people in need and enjoy fresh tomatoes in Alaska – frugally.

Here’s how.

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This video clip was shot the other night, at nearly 10 p.m. Ignore the still-brown grass and look up instead.



And that, friends, is why Alaskans are a little bit tetched in the summertime.


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My friend Linda B. and I went to see “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” on its opening day, and we were not disappointed.

A trash-talking and genetically modified raccoon, a musclebound alien with no social filters, a female assassin with green skin, the assassin’s mostly robotic sister, a (sorta) reformed space pirate and a super-adorable sapling version of the treelike giant alien Groot – what’s not to like?

Given my propensity for finding personal finance lessons everywhere, I went in with pen and paper. Although it was a pretty dark movie (outer space!) I could mostly read what I’d scribbled, and I skipped lunch with Linda in order to go home and write.


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Vanilla finances.

Many LOLs were LOLed once I discovered a post called “Vanilla sex: Here, have another helping” on the How To Write Better website.

Writer, coach and humorist Suzan St Maur posted the piece as a way of poking fun at the idea of “vanilla sex,” i.e., conventional, ordinary (subtext: boring) physical love.

St Maur (not a typo – she doesn’t use the period after “St”) wondered if the adjective could be used for other things.

Apparently it can. A few of her examples:


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