th8 7 more kick ass spending tips.My non-traditionally coiffed blogging buddy J. Money applauded another writer’s “Two kick-ass spending tips” – or, rather, his non-spending tips, as they’re designed to curb impulsive buying.

The Stranger Test: Imagine a stranger holding the item you want to buy in one hand and its price – in cash! – in the other hand. Which would you choose?

The Urgency Test: You’re wondering whether to buy something. Ask yourself, “Would I wear this out of the dressing room right now if I could?” If the answer is “yes” and you can afford it, go ahead.

These are the “only two saving/budgeting ideas that I actually follow these days,” the anonymous blogger, Zee, notes on his site, Work To Not Work.

Good ideas both – although I do think the Urgency Test should be tempered with a bit more questioning, e.g., “How often would I actually use this?” (especially as regards things like hand tools and kitchen gadgets) and “Will this make a big enough difference in my life to spend the money?”

Put another way: There’s a reason you see new or practically unused stuff at yard sales. That reason is often, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

I do like Zee’s viewpoint, though — and I’ll see his two basic tips and raise him seven more ways to help avoid overspending.


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th3 Blog roundup: Sick as a dog edition.Two weekends ago I came down with what seemed like an upper-respiratory virus: congestion, low-grade fever, and general aches and pains. In addition I felt sharp pain in my face whenever I coughed (which was often).

The fever disappeared within two days but everything else hung on, and dug in. After nine days of feeling that I’d been beaten with several efficient hammers, I reluctantly made an appointment at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

“Reluctantly” because I figured there wasn’t much to be done about a virus and that I didn’t have a full-blown sinus infection that could be treated. But I was so tired of hearing my own breath wheezing and clotting that I figured it was time.

Besides, my Aunt Elna was known to have broken ribs while coughing, and eeeewwww.

Professional demeanor prevented the doc from saying “You sound like crap” but I think that’s what she meant. No pneumonia (“although it could turn into that”) so just as I thought: no antibiotics.


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th Welcome, Grandparents.com readers!I thought my website’s dashboard was playing an April Fool’s Day trick on me when I got up this morning: Not even 8:30 a.m. and I already had nearly 1,200 page views.

Nope: It was because more than 600 of you had read “6 everyday habits that are draining your wallet” in the Grandparents.com e-newsletter and then trotted over here to read my linked post, “14 ways to get off the kid-gift treadmill.”

Welcome to all of you, and I hope you stick around to read a little more. As noted in the “About” section of this site, Surviving and Thriving is my playground for words, a place to express ideas that don’t always fit neatly into other sites’ expectations.

Sometimes that’s in a fun way, e.g., “Midlife love rocks! (Ask me how I know).”

Sometimes it’s a midlife-musing way, as in “The bottle blonde at the DMV.”

And sometimes I just get really angry about something and need to vent, such as “Think you’re broke? You probably aren’t.”


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th8 9 smart ways to use all that extra cash.Over at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Crystal writes about a friend with a problem that plenty of people wouldn’t mind having.

“They are now earning more than they need to pay their bills, and they wanted my advice on what to tackle next.  I love those kinds of conversations!” says the blogger.

Among her suggestions: emergency fund, retirement, various types of insurance, paying down existing debt, and health savings and/or flexible spending accounts. All good choices.

What would you do with extra cash? Maybe you haven’t thought about it, being too focused on keeping the books balanced or paying down debt. But there could come a day when you either get more money (a raise, a windfall, a side gig) or need less money (debts paid off, kids leave home).

Start thinking now about what you’d do with it, for two reasons:

  • It helps keep you focused on your goals (prepaying a mortgage, helping a child through college), and
  • It will help you spend when the time is right.

You might think that second one sounds silly. “Help me spend? I can’t wait for the day when I don’t have to agonize over every dime!”

Then again, you might be surprised.


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Want to get? Try giving

th5 Want to get? Try givingA writer named Revanche, who blogs at A Gai Shan Life, recently wrote about a friend who’s “against” volunteering and giving to charity.

His rationale: “He feels that he worked really hard to get here and doesn’t feel that he got any help so he doesn’t feel he should give back to the community at large.”

He did work hard, putting himself through school and supporting family members at the same time. So did/does Revanche, who’s still supporting “two adult dependents who aren’t my children.”

What her friend doesn’t seem to get is this: He may not have asked for any help, but it would have been there had he needed it.

Suppose he’d become very ill and unable to support those family members (or himself) during that time. No one would have starved. They could have sought temporary assistance from government agencies but also from nonprofits and private charities funded in part by ordinary citizens.

You know, your neighbors. Fellow human beings. People who think that a few of their extra dollars would have more of an impact outside their bank accounts.


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