How I’ll use the GoBankingRates.com prize.

Igloo © by Jeff Kubina

Thanks to all of you who voted for me in the recent PF Olympics competition. With your help I came in second and received $250 worth of American Express gift cards.

These will help defray the costs of my upcoming move to Alaska.

I’d previously hinted at a Major Life Change. That would be it.

At least one of you figured it out ahead of time. A reader who comments as “Almafarm” e-mailed me privately and said “You’re moving back to Anchorage, aren’t you?” Trust a fellow Jersey girl to sniff out the truth.

On the other hand, another Jersey girl had it completely wrong. Her guess: That I was going to marry J.D. Roth. Um, no. He’s a nice young man from a good family but, um, no. (Her reasoning was that he’d been talking about dating, and I’d mentioned big changes ahead.)

Life is about to get awful damn busy: After I get home I have about two weeks to finish going through my stuff (“Keep? Sell? Donate?”) and packing it, and to get rid of most of my furniture). Then I head up the Al-Can.

Alaska has been calling ever since I left. In the past few years I’ve spent up to five months a year there anyway — and during that time I’ve been paying $700 a month for an apartment I rarely use. (As veteran readers know, I go a lot of places.) I’ll miss Seattle, but I can always visit.

In fact, my editor at MSN Money mentioned the possibility of my shooting some more videos. I told him I’d be delighted to have them fly me down to film them in, oh, January or Feburary. At that point I’ll be yearning for sidewalks you can actually see.

468 ad


  1. Wow! Good for you. Does your move to Alaska mean more funny tweets and commentaries like you’ve given us before? I seem to remember some fun times you had in Talkeetna.

    BTW – I’m not sure where you posted it, but the tip to sign up for gofobo.com for free movie tickets has been a winner at my house. I’ve been to 3 movie previews in the past 2 months which has barely put a dent in my entertainment budget.

    You rock, Donna!

  2. LOL… Donna and JD sitting in a tree…haha. I’m going to be a part of spreading THAT rumor.

    Anyway, wow, Alaska sounds great. Bravo to you.

  3. Oh, so jealous! I’ve been yearning to move back to Alaska since my husband and I left there almost 6 years ago. Prior to our move back down here to the Lower 48 we spent 5 years in Eagle River and 2 years in Wasilla. My heart and some very good friends are still there.

    I’m looking forward to your posts from Anchorage. I’ll visit vicariously through your stories until we too are able to make the move. Although, I’m not sure I’ll be doing it in September. Think we’ll wait until May… 🙂

  4. Congrats! I presumed it was a big move somewhere. I did not at all think it was a romantic relationship with JD. Though you’re both smart, divorced PF bloggers who like to travel… nope. I still can’t see that.

    Many congrats on going where your heart takes you. I feel like your writing is at its funniest when you’re in Alaska, which tells me you’re the happiest there.

  5. Ooh! All of those Alaskan Brewing Company beers right within your reach! I love their White Wheat Ale. Plus, you have the world’ greatest popcorn at Darwin’s Theory.

  6. Hey, congrats! I hope the move goes smoothly, as well as the attendant sorting and dispersal of stuff.

  7. Good for you – follow your dream 🙂

  8. Congrats on coming in second, though I was rooting for you!

    And wow, a move to Alaska! Rats, I was really hoping to catch up with you at some point in your travels but didn’t anticipate having to chase you in Alaska! 🙂

    I hope the remaining clearing up goes smoothly!

  9. Suzanne in VA

    yay now I have someone to visit in Alaska! But I dont in Seattle….hmmmm 🙂 Will you still be freelancing in AK? How exciting!

    • Donna Freedman

      @Suzanne in VA: You bet I’ll be freelancing. I still have to eat! (Anything but moose.) The nice thing about my job is that I can do it from anywhere I like, as long as there’s an Internet connection.
      And anyone who plans to visit Anchorage really should contact me in advance. I can show you the best places to buy moose-nugget jewelry and moose sausage.

      • Suzanne in VA

        I am planning to go to AK in June 2014 and will certainly bug you well before then to hopefully get to meet you and your expertise. I didnt know if maybe the Anchorage paper begged you to come back. Looking forward to reading about your adventures~

        • Donna Freedman

          @Suzanne in VA: Sadly, the Anchorage paper has laid off a lot of people. It’s not looking to rehire me. And I’m not looking to go back to newspapering: What I do now suits me just fine, so I’m going to do it until the wheels fall off.

  10. Wow congratulations! I wish you much luck and happiness with the move. May the move go quickly and easily!

  11. Why does it feel like you’re leaving us, too? Just promise no articles about 670 ways to use a moose carcass!

    • Donna Freedman

      @WWII Kid: Nope, not leaving you. But I do predict the occasional moose post because they’re so darned commonplace.

  12. teinegurl

    Lol you & JD ? Wow so didnt think that now that would be interesting for sure. Hope everything goes good. Cant wait to hear about some interesting moving stories for sure !

  13. You’re too good for JD. 😉

  14. I’m so happy you’re moving up to Alaska. I would love to visit you should I make it back up there. I could even bring some goodies from the lower 48! Congratulations!!!

  15. Follow your heart:)

  16. Reta Davis

    You go Girl! How neat and cool and great. What a good kinda change for you. Very happy to hear it. Don’t forget, if you get a new email address, to send it to me. Sometimes I have to say things that aren’t all that public! Wow. I am so impressed with this decision. I know things are just gonna be fabulous for you. As Red Green ways, though, “keep you stick on the ice.!”

  17. Reta Davis

    Shucks, that should be

    “Keep your stick on the ice!”

  18. How exciting! I’m hoping for a stress-free move for you and look forward to lots of articles about how to maintain frugality when living in an area with a high cost of living.

  19. Congratulations, Donna, on your big life change decision. I hope your move goes smoothly. I look forward to your “frugal” posts from Alaska.

  20. Congrats on your move to AK! I live in Palmer and look forward to your tips on how to be frugal in AK– no stores double coupons, no CVS or Rite Aid (Walgreens though), and so on. I know many of your tips work here and I use as many as I can, but I am sure your living here again will have you put a new spin on things :)!

  21. Alane Farmer

    I knew it! Your posts have really spoken of your yearning to be back in Alaska. I am so darn happy for you I can’t stop smiling. Keep living your dreams and inspiring me.

  22. Welcome back, Donna! I’m looking forward to living frugally in Alaska tips, too! Although Anchorage will be a bit different than Homer. Maybe the next time you’re in Homer we can swing dinner–I’m sure Michael would like that. Life is too short to not live where you want to be!

  23. Will you be driving? I’ve wanted to meet you forever – you’d be very welcome to stop here for coffee/a meal/the night/whatever! I’m about 20 minutes north of the Pacific Coast border crossing 🙂

  24. Mollymouser

    Congratulations on your next big adventure! 🙂

  25. I can’t wait to hear about this adventure!!!!;)

  26. that’s awesome, I would rather live in Alaska than in Michigan where I am currently stuck, until someone buys my business. But my heart calls for Montana and the Big Sky Country

  27. Congratulations on the prize and on the move! I hope everything goes well up there. I’ve never been to Alaska, but I think it would be an interesting place to visit (and live).
    That’d be awesome if you made more videos for MSN. I liked the ones that you already made, but the only one that’s available online now (I think) is that first one that introduced you in your apartment.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Neurotic Workaholic: I always thought that I have a face made for radio. 😉 But I’ll try to be more relaxed and natural in front of the camera this time around, if it happens.

      • Donna, I’de love it if you made more videos! I’ve watched your original ones a million times, and they always somehow re-inspire me that I can make it on less money than I think. You’ll have a brand new life,and lots of new experiences. Please make some videos that continue to encourage us how to live within our means!

        • Donna Freedman

          @Susan: Thanks for the vote of confidence! We’ll see how things shake down.

  28. Holy Cow!!! Alaska??? Maybe you could share with your readers your reasoning for going back to Alaska….climate….friends…lifestyle? Will tell ya I had a very dear Uncle who went to Juno in the 60’s to work on a pretty big building project and regretted not staying to the day he died….Will you continue all of your writing assignments OR will that change as well? I hope you find “that little cottage” in Alaska…that you have spoke so fondly of…Best Wishes!!

    • Donna Freedman

      @Jestjack: I lived there from February 1984 through September 2001, and have been spending four to five months a year there for the past three years. Also in the past few years I’ve been traveling so much that I’m frustrated with paying $700 rent on an apartment I’m rarely in. Some other reasons factor in — for example, my niece and her two boys are there — but my expenses will actually go down despite the higher cost of living.
      It’ll be an interesting change after 11 years down here in the flats. And yes, the writing will continue. I still have to eat, and I’m too cranky to get a regular job. 🙂

      • Looking forward to your writing about your adventures up North. And it is my understanding that the cost of living is higher but is somewhat offset by each citizen benefiting from the oil industry in the form of a tax credit or check annually…SWEET. Pretty nice that you will be closer to Family BUT this would be somewhat complicated if DD begins her family. I know all too well the lure of a G-child… So the crazy part is you’ll be up north where it is pretty darn cold….and your DD will be out West where it is pretty darn hot…now that’s just crazy! Best wishes in your new chapter of life. As for getting a REAL job….perish the thought!

        • Donna Freedman

          @Jestjack: You’re thinking of the Permanent Fund Dividend, an annual check based on oil profits. It has been as high as $1,800 when I was there, but I think lately has been closer to $1,000-$1,200. Still: I’ll take it! Once I’ve been there for a year, anyway. Note: It is taxable income, which is why Alaska toddlers have to file tax returns.
          And you’re right: If I visit DD I’ll be going out of the frying pan and into the freezer.

  29. Jersey Babs

    Congrats and best wishes for a safe journey north! Tho, hee hee, I won’t say have an ‘uneventful or boring’ journey; because then we your readers would miss out on the tales of your adventures! Happy Trails!

  30. What’s wrong with moose? I recall liking it. 🙂

  31. This is something that I cannot imagine….all I can think of is endless cold and snow. Is it like that? If it is, I don’t think I’d do well. And in the wintertime, are there only a few hours of light each day? I think I’d go crazy. But I cannot wait to see if my (probably) false perceptions about Alaska are true. I hope you not only continue to blog, but hope you throw in some photos of Alaska/the weather, etc. as well, for those of us who have never been there!!! Best Wishes!!!! 🙂

  32. Wow, Alaska is pretty high up on my list of places I will visit someday. I don’t know if I would have what it takes to get through the winter. Colorado is bad enough. Although, everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has lived in Alaska says it is wonderful. Don’t bears outnumber people there? Good luck with your move. I’ll look forward to hearing about new adventures.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Kim: I don’t know if bears outnumber people statewide, but moose might…

  33. lostAnnfound

    That’s fantastic news, Donna! Very happy for you

  34. Adventure awaits…congrats on the big news, Donna!

  35. I knew it!!!

    Where are there videos of you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *