Big news from Swagbucks.

ImageProxyRegular readers know that I’m a fan of the Swagbucks rewards program, which randomly awards points (“Swag Bucks”) for searches and also gives out rewards for watching videos, playing games, shopping and other activities.

As of March 2 the rewards redemption process will morph slightly – a change I believe is to the good.


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A mess of beans.

th-1The temperature is about five below zero, which isn’t unusual for an Anchorage winter. Even though we’re hard by Cook Inlet, it still gets chilly in the winter.

This hasn’t been an ordinary winter, though. We’ve had hardly any snow and temperatures in the 30s and even the low 40s, which is just against God. When it finally started snowing the other day even non-skiers like me were greatly relieved.

But apparently my blood has thinned, because as the thermometer settled toward the zero mark I was unreasonably cold. Wool socks weren’t keeping my feet warm. A fleece layer was necessary even in the car. I considered pulling out the long johns and maybe even zipping my coat.

Clearly what was needed was a mess of beans.


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Screen_Shot_2015-01-06_at_4.54.26_PM_t670In 2002 Kelly Sangree got fired. She was eight months pregnant, her (now-ex) husband earned only a quarter of what she did – and they’d already been having trouble paying the bills.

The couple struggled financially and ultimately broke up. Due to health issues (hers and a daughter’s) Sangree moved in with her parents and scrambled to contribute to the household while paying off debt accumulated during her marriage.

Sangree wrote a book about her experiences. If you’re facing reduced income for any reason – job loss, rapid debt repayment, an entrepreneurial dream – then “Hard Core Poor: A Book On Serious Thrift” can help.


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thAnother quiet and rewarding weekend here at Chez Low-Key. “Rewarding” refers not just to R&R-value* but also to our finances.

Among the highlights:

A little Dumpster wading. While dropping off recyclables I checked the mixed-paper bin, as usual. This turned up 70 points for the My Coke Rewards program and also two glitzy gift bags (one Christmas, one birthday).

Using the wood-fired dryer. DF did a load of laundry late on Saturday morning and I arranged it on our drying racks in front of the fireplace insert. Some of it was dry by evening; all of it was dry by Sunday morning.


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thA recent survey from Consumer Reports noted that 75 percent of shoppers had paid off their 2013 holiday purchases by the end of February 2014. However, some were still paying for their celebrations in late November, i.e., almost a year after the fact.

True, that was just 7 percent of respondents. Still disturbing, though. Then again, I find it unfortunate that it takes some people two full months to pay the tab in full.

Afraid to open the January credit card bills? Personal finance author Donna Skeels Cygan calls this a “holiday hangover,” i.e., the lingering pain of overindulgence.

This kind of hangover isn’t one “you can simply sleep off,” says the author of author of “The Joy of Financial Security: The Art and Science of Becoming Happier, Managing Your Money Wisely, and Creating a Secure Financial Future.”

In this case, the hair of the dog is twofold:

  • Owning any mistakes you made this year, and
  • Learning from them.

Here’s how.


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