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thFor years I’ve been promoting the idea that personal finance tips can be found in all kinds of places:

Opera (“8 personal finance lessons from ‘Gotterdammerung’”)

Monster romps (“6 financial lessons from ‘Godzilla’”)

Westerns (“10 financial lessons from ‘True Grit’”)

Superhero flicks (“10 money lessons from ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’”)

And even sled-dog races (“10 personal finance lessons from the Iditarod”).

See? You just have to know where to look.

My latest example is the Meryl Streep/Hugh Grant film “Florence Foster Jenkins.” The chameleonic Streep is by turns jaw-droppingly self-absorbed and touchingly vulnerable, and Hugh Grant is her complex, conflicted companion.

The real-life Jenkins, a New York socialite, was a patron of the arts. Also sometimes their torturer: She had the idea that she could sing. But she couldn’t. She really, really couldn’t.

 

 

Not to give away too much of the plot, Jenkins suffered from a physical malady that may have affected her ability truly to hear her own voice. Or maybe she was just gloriously deluded. Either way, she played to sold-out houses.

 


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thI was really looking forward to saying “hello” to some readers in person. Unfortunately, the plan has changed.

Abby has been sick for two days. We’re going to stay at the hotel until checkout time, so she can rest, and then head back to Phoenix.

The next time I’m in San Diego I’ll make it work. That is, unless that’s my turn to be sick.

Really sorry that this didn’t happen, but I can’t ask her to add an extra hour to the already long travel day — or to sit in a restaurant that smells like French fries.

 


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thSan Diego-area readers: Any chance you can have lunch on Sunday?

I’ll be at the Smashburger on Laning Road starting at about noon. My daughter, Abigail Perry, will be with me.

And if you’ve already eaten? Stop by anyway, have a cold drink and money-nerd-out with the two of us.

If you’re looking to do some early Christmas shopping, we’ll both have our books there:

Frugality For Depressives: Money-Saving Tips For Those Who Find Life A Little Harder” (hers)

Your Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul”  (mine).

Best of all: The FinCon16 discount will apply.

 


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th-1So sorry for the late notice! I know I’d sworn to have the Wednesday meetup site posted as soon as possible.

Wednesday as in Wednesday, Sept. 21. As in “tomorrow.”

So here’s the scoop: At 5:30 p.m., one hour before the Money Meetup — a free event at the 2016 Financial Blogger Conference — I’ll be sitting in the Starbucks at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel/Marina. Y’all come!

 


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Phoenix: Still hot.

th-2My trip to Phoenix went as smoothly as a red-eye can, for which I am grateful. Both flights were completely full but no one was a pig about overhead bin space and thus the planes left on time.

No crying babies, either, although several of them were nearby. I even slept for the entire flight – thanks, generic Benadryl* caplet!

The winds were with us from Anchorage to Seattle, and we made it in about three hours. As I walked into the terminal I checked a monitor and realized my next flight was leaving from the same gate. Easy enough.

I ate the breakfast I’d packed** (buttered roll, apple), walked around for a while to get my legs working, and then got back on the plane and went back to sleep. About two and a half hours later I was on the ground in Phoenix.

The captain announced the temperature at 79 degrees. Manageable, I thought. But by mid-afternoon, when my daughter and I went out in search of FinCon16 clothing, it had got a lot hotter.

Hot enough that I thought, “This is definitely warmer than 79.” But since desert heat is a tricky animal, I had no way of knowing it was 102 degrees. That is, until my daughter checked the weather.

Just as northerners chuckle at those who find 30 degrees so cold, no doubt Phoenix residents would snicker at my discomfort. “Oh, this isn’t hot. Wait until it hits 112!”

 


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thI feel so loved: A chapter from “Your Playbook For Tough Times” is the featured topic on this week’s Wise Bread Tweetchat – which regular readers know always includes prizes.

And this week’s prizes are pretty rich – much richer than I had originally posted. (See below.)

“Doing a financial fire drill” is the subject of the one-hour event, which takes place at noon PDT on Thursday, Sept. 15. (As in “tomorrow.”) We’ll be talking about how to do an extreme budget makeover in advance of anything going wrong.

Think of it this way: Relatively few homes or schools burn down each year. Knowing what to do if that should happen is still a good idea.

And if you need another incentive to participate? Wise Bread has that covered, too.

 


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thMore than 1,500 museums in all 50 states will be open free of charge on Saturday, Sept. 24 during the annual event known as “Museum Day Live!”

Or, rather, they’ll be open to those who take advantage of a Smithsonian magazine offer: a ticket good for two people to any participating museum.

What are you waiting for?

 


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thIt’s the 150th anniversary of the first U.S. nickel, and Mary Hunt is weighing in. The queen of frugality has teamed up with Sunoco to celebrate the birthday of the humble half-dime, which not so coincidentally is the per-gallon amount saved  by Sunoco credit card users.

Given the reaction to a giveaway of Hunt’s “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement” – or, heck, to anything she has written – I know that plenty of my readers are her fans as well. That’s why I jumped at the chance to chat with Hunt.

She’d given some tips to the Sunoco campaign, such as planning meals around each week’s grocery specials and making your own laundry soap for a cost of – you guessed it! – five cents per load.

That’s frugality, though: Little tweaks that add up to big results. And since like me she is a fan of small change, we chatted about the special power of specie. 

 


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thToday is Sept. 1. Thought about your holiday shopping yet?

Yes, it’s early – we’ve still got about 16 weeks to buy and wrap – but the smart money is on early planning.

A cash-back shopping site called Dollar Dig stands ready to help you out – both by saving you money on purchases and by sponsoring a giveaway of Amazon gift cards. Five winners will be chosen, for one $50 and four $25 cards.

Regular readers of my site know that I’m a diehard cash-back user. Not ordering through one of these sites is like begging to pay more than you must.

You’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up at Dollar Dig. Once you’ve earned an additional $20 in rebates you can request a withdrawal.

How do you get those rebates? By buying stuff you were going to buy anyway – and by starting your shopping tour at DollarDig.com. Here’s why.

 


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th-1Hey, San Diego-area readers: You’re invited to the Money Meetup on Wednesday, Sept. 21. The free FinCon16 event is sponsored by USAA and organized by Jason Vitug, founder of the Phroogal blog and author of “You Only Live Once: The Roadmap To Financial Wellness And A Purposeful Life.”

Here’s the beauty part: You don’t have to attend the Financial Blogger Conference to enjoy the meetup. It’s open to the public.

 


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YourPlaybookForToughTimes3DAfter several weeks of waiting for review blurbs and dealing with daily tech glitches, “Your Playbook For Tough Times” is finally here.

See? I really wasn’t pretending to write a book.

You can buy it as a PDF*, to be read on laptop or tablet, for $1 less than the Kindle version. Another discount is available if you purchase both a paperback and a Kindle product.

A frugal hack of a frugality book, you might say.

 


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Cards and consequences.

th-1(I’ve decided to re-publish articles now and again in honor of what the kids call Throwback Thursday. Enjoy.)

On Tuesday I participated in a TweetChat sponsored by Ally Bank, on the topic of “teaching kids the value of money.” One of the responses from another participant frankly startled me.

The question: “When is the right time to talk to your children about credit card debt?”

The answer: “I’d say when they have their own card (and a real sense of consequences), most likely as a freshman in college.”

After picking my jaw up off the kitchen table, I sent out this response: “Waiting till they have their own card is like waiting til daughter gets pregnant to say, “Don’t misuse that thing, y’hear?”

 


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