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thWant a free ticket to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Design, the Contemporary Jewish Museum or the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts?

You might have that ticket already, if you use a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card, or any card with the BofA logo. The Museums On Us program means gratis admission to 150 museums in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Bring along that bank card and a photo ID and you’ll get in without paying on the first full weekend each month. Usually that’s Saturday-only, but not always. This year the first full weekend happens to coincide with Mother’s Day. If mom has a card, she’s in; if you have a card but she doesn’t, you’ll wind up paying for one instead of two.

The word “museums” may connote the fine arts. But old still-lifes aren’t the only things that you can see for free.

 


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thSome very interesting reader comments appeared on my April 6 post, especially as regards grown sons and daughters who expect help with down payments and furnishings.

“Just got an email from my stepson who wants us to co-sign on an FHA home loan because they don’t have enough income to qualify for the loan,” wrote Kandace.

She hasn’t said “no” yet, but she will. But she knows that won’t be the end of it.

“Then they will likely want us to co-sign on an apartment, but I’m not comfortable with that either. I’m thinking about what I would be willing to give – or lose – financially. It will probably be an amount that helps get them (he, his wife and their two kids), into an apartment. But no co-signing for me.”

Not everyone was able to make that kind of call – at least initially.

 


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thGreetings from Phoenix, where I’ve spent a lot of time editing the manuscript for my daughter’s upcoming e-book. The working title is “Frugality for Depressives,” and it’s designed to help people who experience depression figure out which money hacks will work and which won’t.

Fact is, not all tactics work for all people even if they aren’t depressive. Some folks are never going to soak beans, do online surveys or wash Ziploc bags.

“Frugality for Depressives” looks at money-saving tips in terms of common depressive symptoms and also suggests workarounds so that these tips could be used in at least some form.

As Abby knows from painful personal experience, depression and other mental illnesses make it hard to live on a budget. These diseases can also affect a person’s ability to earn, which means frugality isn’t just a lifestyle choice – it’s a survival mechanism.

The e-book should be out within the next four to six weeks. To my knowledge no one has written anything like it before. I believe the book will be a huge asset to those who can’t frugal* the way everyone else does but who still want to save money.

It’s been great (if time-consuming fun) and of course a writer always likes to see her offspring write great stuff. This is especially true if it keeps said writer from having to work on her own book.

 


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th-1I figured that might get your attention. The headline is semi-disingenuous: What you’ll be doing is preparing 10 to 12 meals in an hour or less, but not actually cooking them until you need them.

Specifically, you’ll be turning 48 to 60 minutes’ worth of kitchen work into a dozen future dinners by using Erin Chase’s new FreezEasy meal plans.

Recently I wrote about her Grocery Budget Makeover plan. Chase is the founder of $5 Dinners and a series of cookbooks, and also the co-founder of “The $5 Meal Plan.” This time around she’s created a series of meal plans, shopping lists, kitchen prep tips and videos to churn-and-burn future meals (both meat-based and vegetarian).

Since I know her in real life, I can attest that she dreams up recipes in both the exotic and everyday realms. (Hint: She has four kids.) However, her recipes share several attributes: They are affordable and they are simple to prepare.

Beta testers report that Chase’s plans takes “the overwhelm” out of the equation. You know, that feeling of “What are we (or what am I) going to eat today, tomorrow, next week…?” that can ruin your day – and, maybe, your budget. It can also create an unhealthy relationship with food.

 


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Yesterday I saw a funny letter reproduced online, purportedly written by a St. Louis guy who decided not to lend his 6-year-old son $20 to buy something.

He created a logo – Dad Savings and Loan: Because Apparently I Look Like I’m Made of Money – and explained why the loan had been declined. Among other things, the child had “insufficient funds and a history of not doing (his) chores.”

In addition, “over $80 has been spent on discretionary entertainment expenses since Christmas…an unsustainable amount of expenditure, and we cannot further compound the problem by financially assisting with (further) debt at this point.”

Dad-poses-as-bank-to-reject-loan-for-20

Classic! And it touched a particular nerve with me. Here’s why.

 


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