(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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(Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone! This article originally ran on July 3, 2015. Its sentiments are as valid to me today as they were back then.)

Here’s today’s neologism, and it’s a great one: “pre-solvent.” It comes from a comment on one a Money Talks News article called “The real reason Americans struggle to save.”

The article cited a couple of surveys that put the fault not in our stars, but in our cards: “Lifestyle spending” and “lack of financial discipline” kept anywhere from 44 to 71 percent of respondents living paycheck to paycheck and/or prevented them from achieving financial goals.

I’d like to point out that underemployment, lack of education and impossible-to-pay medical bills can also hinder the ability to save. But I agree that the “buy now, figure out how to pay for it later” attitude is definitely nudging some folks toward insolvency.

Which brings us to pre-solvency. A commenter named “Y2K Jillian” writes that she and her husband lived paycheck to paycheck for years and loathed the lifestyle. But change happened.

How? “Gradually, gradually.” Which is how I’d bet it happens for a lot of people.


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