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th-1A new survey from MasterCard includes what sounds like a bizarre round of “Would You Rather…” More than half (55 percent) of respondents say they’d rather have naked photos of themselves leaked online than have their financial info stolen or compromised.

So would I.

Nekkid pictures would be pretty darned embarrassing for a while, but identity theft is for-evah.

Folks would have to go looking for photos of you in the altogether, but apparently ID thieves sell and re-sell their ill-gotten info. You get one case of fraud snuffed out and another one pops up across town, or across the country.

 


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thHot enough for ya? That’s what I figured. Although recent temperatures aren’t unduly onerous except in places like Phoenix, even an 80-something day can take the starch right out of you.

That’s why this week’s giveaway is a two-pronged approach to beating the heat: a literary getaway and a cold to drink, consumed in an air-conditioned place, to go with it.

 


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thHere’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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StartbloggingRecently I added a sixth way to enter the giveaways on this site: subscribing to my Write A Blog People Will Read newsletter. The weekly(ish) newsletter is writing-focused, but that doesn’t mean that non-writers shouldn’t read it.

Sure, it includes info like how much freelancers should charge and why blogging matters. But general-interest topics show up as well, such as why walking can change a bad day, how “Moose: The Movie” can inspire us all and the ways that fear can actually be good for people.

So even if you aren’t itching to start your own website, give the newsletter a try. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to WriteABlogPeopleWillRead.com/blog.
  • Look for the “Free Writing Tips” box on the right-hand side.
  • Enter your name and e-mail address and you’ll be subscribed.

Every time you enter a Surviving and Thriving giveaway, be sure to leave a separate comment stating that you’re a newsletter subscriber. It’s just one more chance to win.

 


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happiness of pursuitSix months ago I gave away a copy of Chris Guillebeau’s “The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.” Just over 70 entries were tallied for that one.

Clearly the interest is there, so I’m giving away another copy.

The book is based on Guillebeau’s own grand challenge (visiting every country in the world before he hit age 35) as well as other people’s personal tests.

Or, as Guillebeau calls them, “ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals.”

 


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thRecently a relative was sitting on a tailgate with her dog’s leash wrapped around her wrist. The dog suddenly bolted, slamming her arm against the side of the vehicle.

No broken bones, fortunately, but it hurt like heck and she’ll probably have to pony up co-pays for the emergency room visit and X-rays.

Our furry friends can cost us plenty even if they never cause any critter-human mishaps. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the total annual cost for dogs is between $1,314 and $1,843. All you crazy cat people will shell out about $1,035 per year for your little purrmeisters.

Those figures include food, medical care, dishes and the like – but not related costs such as the need to board a pet when you travel or to pay more for homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance if the company deems your pet an attractive nuisance (e.g., a “biting breed”).

Should we put a price on love? You bet.

 


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Salad days.

IMG_20150622_182817We had our first from-the-garden salad last night. When I say “from the garden” I mean that most of it was from our own little urban homestead.

The rest of it was from a great big garden somewhere else. Factory farms count, right?

Although the greens (and reds!) in the garden are starting to look respectable, we don’t want to denude them just yet.

So we possess our souls in patience and augment what we grew with romaine from the supermarket.

Here’s the lineup from the picture on the left:


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thWe’re in the middle of a many-days-long heatwave, i.e., temperatures in the 70s and even the low 80s. When the sun is out almost nonstop, you feel lost in a dreamy golden haze all day.

It’s incredibly hard to concentrate on work right now, so I’m going to make this week’s giveaway fairly simple: $10 worth of scrip to the online behemoth.


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th-1If money is piling up in your checking account, here’s one way to divest yourself of the burden: Ignore both the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance tips and the “check engine” light.

According to CarMD.com, a faulty oxygen sensor is the most common reason for that check-engine light to pop up on the dashboard. The fix could be as simple as changing out a dirty air filter, but you could also be on the hook for a $259.30 (on average) sensor replacement.

Some folks push the envelope on maintenance visits or ignore the manufacturer guidelines entirely. They think that’s frugal, but it isn’t.

The oxygen sensor is a good example. Sure, you’ll save almost $260 by not fixing it. But you’ll pay for it in other ways. Expensive ways.

 


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thI am officially an elder. My niece and her fellow went dip-netting in Chitina over the weekend and scored 60 Copper River red salmon.

Yes, the fish that cost a bomb in the Lower 48. Her sweetheart, who is Alaska Native, had a list of elders with whom he wanted to share his catch. Happily, DF and I were on that list.

“Elder” is still a term of respect among Alaska Natives. Older people get fed first, get the most comfortable seats and most important of all, get treated as though their opinions matter.

They may also get Copper River reds. At least 15 pounds of them – and already filleted.

 


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thRecently I attended “Press Publish,” a one-day seminar presented in Phoenix by WordPress. If you’re a writer (published or not) and one of these seminars comes to your neck of the woods, by all means go.

The day was crammed with programs from WordPress professionals (including a group of “happiness engineers” — what a cool thing to have on a business card) and pro bloggers. It didn’t cost much (they even had a coupon!) and the breakfast, lunch and snacks were great. (At least one blogger from Alaska went a little overboard on the fresh pineapple.)

In addition, writers (published or not) from a wide section of Arizona got to meet one another. I truly believe the event changed lives.

But on to this week’s giveaway. (There’s a connection. I promise.)


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th-1Does a man in your life drag his heels when it comes to seeing a doctor? This Saturday, June 13, he can at least get some lab work done for free.

The “His Health” screenings are being offered to members and non-members alike at all Sam’s Club locations that have pharmacies.

If you live near one that does, your husband/boyfriend/male relative can get up to eight different things checked without paying a dime.


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