th11 150x150 School shopping and other topics.Haven’t started your back-to-school shopping yet? You’re not alone.

According to the National Retail Federation, 44.5% of parents will shop from three to four weeks before school starts. Another 25.4% will wait until one or two weeks before the first day of classes.

Despite the rising cost of basics like food, fuel and utilities, we will be shopping. That NRF survey indicates that combined K-12 and college spending will reach just under $75 billion in the United States this year.

However, we’ll be pickier about how and where we buy. For example:


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th4 What Im writing, and a TweetChat that might pay.A regular feature on the Get Rich Slowly blog is “Ask the Readers.” Last week’s question was “How can we improve Get Rich Slowly?

Imagine my preenery when a handful of readers replied, “Bring back Donna Freedman.”


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th7 Want a chance at a decent old age? Have a daughter.When middle-aged sons live with their parents, it’s probably because they’re underemployed or unemployed. But middle-aged daughters are more likely to bunk with their parents in order to take care of them, according to a new survey from Yodlee Interactive.

Men ages 35 to 44 are more than twice as likely as women to receive economic support from their parents, and more than three times as likely than women to live at home.

Oh, and daughters are more likely to provide “emotional” support as their parents age, regardless of living arrangements. In fact, 20 percent of the men surveyed say they do not plan to call or visit Mom and Dad as they grow old. Nice.

Maybe it’s because women are socialized to be caregivers. Maybe it’s because they’re guilted into it. My best friend from childhood cared for her father during a long battle with dementia, and also dealt with her mother’s congestive heart failure, despite working and having two kids.

When she asked her older brother for help he told her that because she was the daughter it was her “duty” to take care of their parents.

I am not making that up. And yes, it happened fairly recently, vs. back in the 1800s.


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th 1 Prayers that sound like accusations.A couple of weeks ago I found a vintage copy of Elisabeth Bing’s “Six Practical Lessons for an Easier Childbirth” in the mixed-paper bin at the recycling center. It made me smile, and not just because of the awful 1970s hairstyles and maternity clothes. After four pregnancies in a row had stopped developing, my daughter was expecting again and this time a heartbeat was detected.

An omen, I thought.

Except that it wasn’t. At a second appointment on June 5, no heartbeat could be found. This embryo, too, had stopped developing, probably the previous week. Except for a very brief spell of crying as she got dressed, Abby described her reaction as “numb, with a slight underlying sadness.”  

After all, she’d been through this four times already. Who wouldn’t want to numb herself?


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thumb Prepping: It’s not just for grownups anymore.Dallas resident Bernie Carr sees no reason that city dwellers can’t be ready for trying times. Having written The Apartment Prepper blog for several years and having written “The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster,” Carr has made preparedness more accessible to a lot of folks who don’t own bunkers.*

Now she’s taking on a new audience: kids.

Not to scare them into stockpiling skateboard wheels and Fruit Roll-Ups, but rather to make the idea of getting ready for any challenge – be it power failure or hurricane, earthquake or zombie apocalypse – less frightening.

Her new picture book, “Jake & Miller’s Big Adventure: A Prepper’s Book for Kids” (Ulysses Press) is designed to show young readers that it’s smarter to be prepared than scared. While imagining an amazing trip (deserts, mountains, jungle, a cave) they pack the supplies they need to stay warm, fed and safe.

Carr has donated a copy of the book for this week’s giveaway. Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, whether you live in Tornado Alley or on the Ring of Fire, Jake and Miller’s story can show kids that getting ready isn’t scary – it’s smart.


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