Link love, a virus and a credit card option.

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.


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:


If you’re single and tired of living with roommates, check out “29 tactics for living alone without breaking the bank,” a post I did for Clark Howard’s website. Sharing the rent and utilities and probably some other stuff (housewares, furniture, et al.) is the frugal way to go. But sometimes you just want a place of your own.

Making the switch from communal living to single bliss will generally cost even more than you think (read why in the article). But if a solo apartment is on your bucket list, I offer 29 things to think about before you take that leap.


Let’s talk about me for a minute

NerdWallet writer Bev O’Shea interviewed me and four other cheapskates for an article designed to prevent Yuletide excess. I feel so loved!

Read the result at “5 frugality pros help you rein in holiday spending.” The other four money nerds, incidentally, are Mary Hunt (Debt Proof Living, Everyday Cheapskate), Tiffany Aliche (The Budgetnista), Gary Foreman (The Dollar Stretcher) and Mrs. Frugalwoods (The Frugalwoods).

Chrissa Hardy of the Wise Bread website featured my book in a recent article/review, “5 tips from ‘Playbook For Tough Times’ that’ll help you live your best life.” Among other things, she said: 

“When you’re stuck in a financial rut, it can be difficult to summon the strength to pull yourself out. And it often requires way more than just strength. You need a plan, you need willpower, you need guidance, and you need the right tools. All of those things can be found in Donna Freedman’s new book.

“Freedman doesn’t just offer incredible advice, she shares her personal struggles. (The author) doesn’t sugarcoat her financial tips because she knows there’s nothing sweet about being broke. Her book reads like a conversation with your savvy best friend – she understands you, and she wants to help you.”

The review also includes a chance to win a copy of “Playbook.” The deadline to enter is Dec. 31.


A credit card for travelers

If you’re in the market for some travel rewards plastic, take a look at the Discover it® Miles card.

It’s a no-annual-fee card; no foreign transaction fees, either. While it offers a decent-but-average 1.5 miles per dollar spent, the Discover it® Miles card matches points for the first 12 months for new card owners. (In other words, if you earned 15,000 miles you’d get another 15,000 at the end of the year.)

For the past three years J.D. Power has ranked Discover No. 1 among credit card companies in terms of customer satisfaction. Booking travel with rewards points isn’t always easy, and having to make a change can be difficult. Thus dealing with a company with a reputation for good customer service could make for smoother traveling.

Some other perks:

  • Your FICO score (from TransUnion) appears on each bill, which gives you some ongoing insight in credit health.
  • Up to $30 worth of in-flight Wi-Fi credits will be refunded each year.
  • You can redeem rewards in any amount (vs. a required minimum), either for cash-back or travel credit.
  • Since it’s not a co-branded card, you can use any airline or hotel you like.
  • Your rewards never expire.

However, the Discover it® Miles card probably isn’t a good match unless you plan to spend a lot the first year you own it. If that’s not the case, look for a card with an up-front signing bonus. View some of the top-rated travel rewards options at CardRatings.com.

(Note: The above URLs are affiliate links. Should anyone apply for and receive cards, the companies will award me finder’s fees. Affiliate links are one way to help me cover the expenses of keeping this site up and running.)


They won’t grow up

A recent study indicates that young adults have a hard time envisioning themselves as adults – and not because they’d rather be playing video games and Instagramming their lives.

The Bank of America/USA Today Better Money Habits report shows that 62 percent of those aged 18 to 26 think that maturity is more about financial prowess than age. They’re having trouble “adulting,” they say, because they equate adulthood with financial independence.

Those of you who have kids should take a particular survey finding to heart: only 31 percent of high school graduates and 41 percent of college grads say they learned good financial habits at school. Small wonder, since such education isn’t mandatory and studies show that it doesn’t generally take hold.

The moral of the story: Teach your children well. Lead by example. If you don’t feel you can, then research financial literacy together. Keep in mind that you probably know a lot more than you think. Just paying bills, making a budget or staying out of debt can make a big impact on your kid’s future money habits.

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  1. I’m sorry that you’re sick, hope you feel better soon. Oh, and I left a comment at Wise Bread in hopes of winning “Your Playbook for Tough Times.” *fingers crossed*

  2. Sorry to hear you’re down with the crud. Hope you’re feeling better soon! I always seem to get the kind that leaves me in a state of low-grade misery that leaves me feeling dragged out and down and exhausted – and it’s only when I start to feel better that I realize I’ve actually been sick and not just in a funk. As you said, “Bleh!”

    Clark Howard’s website hung my computer up something fierce, but I was able to read the article. Great advice, especially for young people looking at moving out on their own for the first time. It’s amazing to me how much I didn’t know in my 20s that’s now second nature.

    We bought a copy of _Playbook_, and I really enjoyed it. *Lots* of helpful information and encouragement. Are you going to talk about frugal cooking/eating in _Playbook_ II? You’ve posted a lot of great advice about that here over the years!

    • Donna Freedman

      Yep, there will be a food chapter. I might also do an entire separate e-book on frugal food hacks because so many of them exist.

      If you have a chance, could you leave a short review on Amazon? Doesn’t have to be an epic — just a paragraph or two about what you found helpful and/or what you think will resonate with others.

      Thanks for being such a consistent reader and commenter.

      • Done. 🙂 Took me a couple days to get my words just right… It’s got excellent reviews on Amazon – but then again, why wouldn’t it?

  3. Carolina Cooper

    Sending a little cheer your way: I found the following quote (attributed to Abraham Lincoln)and I immediately thought of you.
    “Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” I don’t know if Abe said it or not, but still, good advice.

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