thToday I got my first paycheck since Nov. 29. At times this self-employment thing is for the birds.

My tax guy suggested I pay myself four times a year instead of monthly. It makes the paperwork easier, but part of me believes the quarterly system stinks.

That would be the part that’s been monitoring the checkbook balance – and suffering periodic panic attacks – since Thanksgiving.

Yet another part of me is glad that I’m not collecting 12 paychecks a year. The quarterly payouts help me keep my frugal edge.


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KohlsSpring Giveaway

Every so often Savings.com gives things away through its affiliates, the DealPros. I’m happy to give readers a chance at the latest promotion: a $50 Kohl’s gift card.

Twenty of these cards will be given away. Here’s how to enter to be one of the winners.


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thFrequent flier miles? Trading in hotel loyalty points? Those all work. So do the tips I offer in a guest post called “Destinations on a dime: 10 tips that will change your wandering ways,” a guest post over on The Real Deal, the house blog at Retail Me Not.

Anyone who’s read me knows that I’m more likely to go for hostels, museum reciprocity, buddy passes public transit and the Megabus.

Rewards programs, too; in fact, I recently cashed in points from a rewards credit card to get a Buffalo Wild Wings gift card for my trip to Phoenix next month (more on that in a minute), and will also cash in Swagbucks points for gift cards to Red Robin and Cracker Barrel. That way I can treat my daughter and son-in-law to a few meals out. After all, they’re getting me to and from the airport.

What else have I been writing lately? So glad you asked.


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th-1The Academy Awards have come and gone. Seen the prize-winners yet?

The summer movie season is nearly here. Got your must-see list going? (I’m looking at you, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Might even spring for a midnight screening.)

Ticket prices are a bummer, but I can help. That is, I can help if you live near an AMC theater and win this week’s giveaway. I can even offer you something to drink.


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thCohabit in haste, repent in poverty. Or at least in aggravation, according to a recent survey from Rent.com.

“How finances will be divided” is the top issue that survey participants wished they’d talked about before sharing space. What a surprise.

“He/she doesn’t pay enough of our expenses” is a recurring theme in advice columns and, I’d bet, in couples’ counseling offices. If I had one suggestion to anyone planning to move in together, it would be “talk about money – and keep talking.”


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Eaters of pie.

thToday being Pi Day I joined the who-knows-how-many folks across the country (and maybe around the world) celebrating mathematics through pastry.

I rarely jump on bandwagons, probably because so few involve pies.

What I should have done was kick back with a book, given how hard I’ve been working on my just-launched writing course. Yet every time I bake a pie I think, “Damn, this is good! Why don’t I do this more often?”

Probably because I’m busy with other things, or because desserts like rice or tapioca pudding are so much simpler. However, since our springlike weather (temps in the 30s) disappeared and we’re back to zero or thereabouts, I decided a little comfort baking was in order.


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