th8 150x150 Giveaway: A book for those going out on their own.Is there a young ‘un in your family who’s about to fly the coop? Or do you know of a recent grad who’s jonesing to live solo? This week’s giveaway could be a nice pre-housewarming gift. That is, it can help them learn some of the things they need to know about leaving the nest.

I’m Free, I’m Free, I’m Free! Now What?” was written by a woman I know who wants to give “easygoing, mildly cynical guidance” to those about to set up housekeeping.

But couldn’t you give a new young lessee much or all of the knowledge s/he needs? Probably. Will they listen? Not necessarily.

Hence the subtitle of Janet McCart’s book: “A Semi-Serious Guide to Early Housekeeping or Things You Wouldn’t Let Your Family Tell You.” Some young people are skilled at tuning out what their parents say but would believe it if they read it in a book.


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th1 Wealthy people think you could live on less. Here’s a piece of advice from the rich: You ought to be able to live comfortably on $25,000 to $50,000 per year.

This was one of the takeaways from the Country Financial Security Index, a survey of about 3,000 U.S. residents published a few months ago. More than half (55 percent) of the respondents consider themselves “middle-class,” even though some of them made incomes of as much as $200,000 a year.

Depending on where you live, $200k might not be enough to live on, at least comfortably. Which brings us to another result, something called the survey authors call the “comfort gap.” Nearly half of the respondents believe that $50,000 to $100,00 is enough to live comfortably. Yet only 34 percent consider the people who earn such incomes to be “financially well-off.”

Sure, they may have nice stuff. But actual security? Not gonna happen on that salary.

And here’s the part that concerns me: More than half of the respondents who described themselves as “wealthy” believe that an individual could live comfortably on $25,000 to $50,000 a year.


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th7 Heading to Austin, Texas. Got any insider tips?I’ll be in the Lone Star State’s capital city for a few days in early August. Anyone who lives there/near there or has visited a lot have any insider tips to share?

DF has suggested the Harry Ransom Center, at the University of Texas. I’m also interested in the Texas State History Museum. And, of course, in good barbecue.


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th6 Junk food: Sometimes it just tastes good.It’s National Junk Food Day, apparently. And me without a single Moon Pie in the house.

In fact, I’ve eaten quite well today. Breakfast was oatmeal made with half yogurt whey and half water and flaxseed, plus half of the last banana in the bunch (shared with DF, because I’m kind like that).

For lunch I had rice topped with roasted vegetables – carrots, broccoli, Walla Walla onions and home-grown turnip, plus a dish of homemade yogurt mixed with a spoon of homemade orange marmalade and more of that flaxseed.

If only I’d known about the holiday. I might have gone to McDonald’s for breakfast and Burger King for lunch. Nothing says “bad for you” like a single meal that holds all calories needed for the entire day (with way too many in the form of grease).

On the other hand, I did eat white rice instead of brown. So am I junking out sufficient to the day?


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th5 Go to the movies on me.Summer blockbusters mean lots of things: excitement, drama, peril, animation, pratfalls, talking animals, jokes about body parts.

They also mean a nice break from reality in a dark and air-conditioned room. In some areas of the country that’s a really welcome respite.

But given that the average cost of a movie ticket is more than $8, movies can put a hurt on the budget.

That’s why this week’s giveaway is a $10 Fandango gift card.


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th 1 How much underwear do you have?While chatting with a relative recently about small vs. large savings, I mentioned that I wasn’t interested in making my own laundry soap. The money saved would amount to about 8 cents per load, and DF and I generally do no more than six loads of laundry per month (and usually fewer).

The relative was shocked: “We do two or three loads a week for just the three of us.”

Then again, one of those three is a very active 8-year-old – in other words, lots of dirty clothes. That also means an extra set of sheets each week. And for all I know, that family uses a bath towel only once.

That’s how I grew up; my mom didn’t think it was sanitary to reuse a towel. Boy, did I get over that idea when I moved out on my own.

But that got me to thinking: Are we really grimy people for not caring whether the towel gets used, reused and re-reused?


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