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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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Over the weekend I went to Fairbanks with my friend Linda B., who had a play in the annual 8 x 10 Festival. It’s a very cool concept: The Fairbanks Drama Association puts out a call for 10-minute plays and, after blind judging, selects the best eight to be performed as an evening of staged readings.

As usual, it was a great evening. Linda’s play, “Here There Be Dragons,” was a delightful mashup of satire, swords ’n’ sorcery, and Pokemon Go. The other seven shorts were pretty entertaining as well, especially one called “Smartphone” – imagine asking the GPS on your phone for directions to a date, only to have the device direct you somewhere else instead and try to get you back together with your former partner. (Not to give too much away, but the phone had a personal reason to rebel.)

We saw swans and moose on the way up and back, had pie at Rose’s Café (although, alas, the sauerkraut pie is no more), bumped into a former co-worker who’s now teaching school in Fairbanks, and ate the sourest sourdough pancakes I’d ever tasted. It all would have been a lovely weekend had that stupid virus not still been kicking my keister.

But that’s not what this story is about.

 


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If you’ve been on the fence about Hulu, this might be the time to do it: This weekend, Swagbucks is offering a $28 incentive to try the $7.99-per-month television service.

Specifically: When you sign up for Hulu you’ll get 2,800 SB points, which translates to $28 worth of gift cards (or PayPal, if you prefer the cash). You could think of this as making $20, or that Swagbucks is paying for your first three-plus months of the cable TV alternative.

But wait, there’s more: If you sign up this weekend you’ll get another 300 SB in your account in May. The total, then, is $31 worth of gift card (or PayPal) power.

So how do you get a piece of the action? Two easy steps (with occasional gusts to three):

 


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As noted previously, I’m close to finishing the sequel to Your Playbook For Tough Times. The working title is Your Playbook For Tough Times, Vol. 2: Needs AND Wants Edition. But the title may be augmented slightly, since long subtitles are a thing among personal finance publishers.

Last night I finished proofing a printout of the manuscript, finding more than a few issues throughout. As I noted in “Try editing on paper,” the mistakes just seem more obvious on flattened wood pulp than they do on a shiny screen.

Very glad I read it this way. Now DF has agreed to do a read-through; here’s hoping he doesn’t find many more gaffes, lest I start doubting my ability to write a useful sentence. After that, I can send it to the formatter and then on to the cover-design guy.

One of the (many) things still to do is continue building a mailing list for the book’s launch. Since my blog readers have been supportive the first time around, I’d like to invite anyone who’s interested to join the list.

What’s in it for you? A discount, and a promise.

 


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A sick-day roundup.

Some people who visit Florida bring back postcards, or ashtrays made out of seashells. I brought a virus: sore throat, chest-tightening cough and general malaise. I’m achy and wheezy (two dwarfs whom Snow White never mentioned) and the switch in time zones messed with my sleep both there and back at home.

Worth it, though, because I got to see my father and stepmom plus my sister, brother great-nephew. I even met a reader named Cheryl, who lives in the area and met me and Dad at Dunkin Donuts for a stimulating discussion about money and life.

Finished the rough draft of the new Playbook For Tough Times while I was there, too. Now all I have to do is edit it, work with the formatter and the cover-design guy, write a press release and start in on promotion.

At that point my inability to take a deep breath will, with luck, be figurative rather than literal. However, if this crud is the same one everyone else has been talking about I could be stuck with it for weeks.

 


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