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thSorry to have maintained radio silence lately. In the past week I’ve had one of those not-terribly-serious yet still life-sucking viruses.

The sinus-y kind that makes your head ache and your nose and eyes itch. The throat-y kind that makes it unpleasant even to sip water. The malaise-y kind that makes you want to lie down a lot, except that you can’t really get comfortable.

Blech.

Since during that time I’ve also been writing for pay and working on the sequel to “Your Playbook For Tough Times,” I haven’t had the brainwidth to come up with something thrilling for this blog.

However, I do have a few things to share. To wit:

 


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thGray Thursday is tomorrow and Black Friday is the day after that. Anyone without a specific plan runs the risk of blowing the budget and/or lying about it.

Ho, ho, no.

According to a survey from VitalSmarts, eight out of 10 people overdo it on Black Friday and 56 percent have a hard time talking about holiday spending with their spouses/partners.

Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, who founded the corporate training company, cite these common tactics for avoiding the discussion:

 


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thThis week you have a chance to win one of three copies of my book, and the opportunity for a free preview.

First, the giveaway: The lovely and talented J. Money, of Budgets Are Sexy and Rockstar Finance fame, is giving away three copies of “Your Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul.”

He’s doing this in three different places:

 


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The scent of home.

thMy partner treasures memories of visiting his grandmother, whose home smelled delicious. That’s why DF likes to have the scent of cookies baking when his granddaughter comes to visit. He wants her memories to be quite literally as sweet as his.

For the past two days our home has been grandchild-free but has smelled delicious nonetheless. We roasted a small turkey and canned most of it, simmered the bones for stock, cooked down the contents of a boiling bag, made a batch of zucchini cookies* for me to take to the potluck that precedes “The Walking Dead” at a local bar** and baked a ham (much of which DF parceled into bags for the freezer).

I’ve needed both the figurative and literal warmth of such a setting, since the light is going away, the temperature has been in the low teens, and the election season left me exhausted and depressed. Being in a warm, deliciously scented place with a man whom I adore has been an absolute tonic.

 


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The divine up-yours.

th(In honor of Throwback Thursday and the recent election, I’m putting this piece — originally published Nov. 3, 2010 — back out there.)

Last summer a relative told me that the only way to “protect” our border would be to allow the Border Patrol to shoot to kill. This eventually resulted in my writing an essay called “Who would Jesus strafe?

Initially, though, it resulted in disbelief and sorrow. I cried as I drove away because his heart was so hard and so bitter.

I needed to do something to cleanse myself of that kind of hatred. And that’s when I came up with my evil plan:

 


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Yep, holiday posts two days in a row and it’s not even Black Friday. Before you regard me as part of the problem, let me say that:

I always preach intentional spending during the holidays, and

I regularly suggest ways to spend intentionally, such as using cash-back shopping sites, buying early and paying with discounted gift cards.

Today I’m talking about a fourth intentional-spending category: rewards programs. In this case, that’s shopping through the Swagbucks rewards website.

Right now Swagbucks is offering heightened rewards for buying décor, gifts, special foods, airline tickets and other holiday-related items. A few examples of points (SBs) per dollar spent:


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thI’ve been getting a bunch of holiday-themed press info lately: holiday spending, holiday hassles, holiday tips. Obviously I need to share it with readers.

Here’s a time-sensitive example: Erin Chase of the Grocery Budget Makeover website suggests that you might not want to shop for your Thanksgiving meal just yet.

Sure, all those displays look tempting and “sale” prices are being trumpeted. But they might not be the best prices of the season.

 


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th-1Every time I give away a Starbucks card the response is enormous. Not being a coffee drinker, I don’t see the attraction. Then again, as a frugalist I guess that if someone wanted to give me $10 worth of hot chocolate or tea I might get riled up as well.

Now that the weather is cooling – or downright cold – in most of the country I figured it’s time to buy someone a drink. Will that someone be you?

 


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Three things about me.

thA big bunch of FinCon16 wasn’t much fun, but I did have the chance to connect with some new people this year. One of them was the delightful and well-read Jana, author of the Jana Says blog and a podcast called The Armchair Librarians.

The other day Jana put up a post called “Three things,” a series of prompts and replies that likely wouldn’t surprise loyal readers but will help newbies like me get to know more about her.

She credits Steph of Life According To Steph for the idea. I’m stealing it from the both of them.

 


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thIt was 8 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, and I got my usual chuckle thinking of Halloween in Anchorage. We generally see a parade of Disney princess, zombie and superhero costumes obscured by winter garb.

Nothing like the sight of an Ariel or Rapunzel wearing a down coat and moon boots.

Last year, long before “Suicide Squad” hit the theaters, one of my great-nephews dressed as Harley Quinn. His makeup was great, his hair was stiffened in pigtails – and his homemade costume, thankfully, had long underwear as its base. It was plenty cold last Oct. 31, too.

Apparently we might see some election-themed trick-or-treaters this year. An e-mail from the Savers group of thrift stores noted that the presidential election has affected costume sales. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump accessories are flying off the shelves.

 


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thAlmost seven in 10 people surveyed by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling say their biggest financial worry is credit card debt.

Of the 1,869 respondents, 69 percent cited plastic arrears as being much, much scarier than having enough for retirement and emergencies (13 percent), paying off student loans (10 percent) or finding affordable housing (7 percent).

About 19 people checked answer E: “Nothing, I have no financial worries.” Lucky them.

It’s likely that most of the people reading the nonprofit agency’s website are already having money issues. But it wouldn’t surprise me if a decent number of the general population were also worried about credit card debt. And if they aren’t, maybe they should be.

 


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thDue to my daughter’s mystery illness, we both missed huge chunks of the 2016 Financial Blogger Conference. Huge bummer for us both, especially since we’d looked forward to meeting with some local readers.

(I did get to say hello to Ro in San Diego, a regular reader/commenter. Thanks for dropping by, Ro.)

My daughter and I each managed to visit the expo hall, where a ton of organizations and businesses were handing out goodies. Obviously both Abby and I wanted to learn about new products and services, but I must admit to thinking how much fun it would be to share these items with a lucky winner.

FinCon swag giveaways have been popular in the past. Pretty sure that the big box of FinCon16 swag will keep that streak alive.

 


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