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thThe concept of a “spending freeze” pops up every so often in the personal finance blogosphere. January is prime time for this tactic, given the joyful excesses of the holiday season.

Spending freezes have been announced at a couple of blogs I follow, Jana Says and The Frugalwoods. They’re slightly different: Mrs. Frugalwoods wants to help you “restructure your frugal mindset,” while Jana invites us to join her as she learns “to start paying attention again.”

While leaving a comment on Jana’s post I used the phrase “hypothermia of the budget.” That’s where DF and I are this January, and probably for the next six months. Or maybe longer.

 


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thSome people are into experiences rather than gifts. Physical presents take up space and need to be dusted, whereas a massage or a theater ticket is a one-and-done event.

I suggest that a personal finance book is both a gift and an experience. Sure, it takes up a little space – but it can lead to life-altering changes and literal enrichment. And if you get the Kindle or PDF version, it doesn’t take up any room in your domicile.

When you give the gift of personal finance, you’re giving people tools that can get them out of current money troubles and/or help them build the lives they want. Doesn’t that beat the heck out of a scented candle or a cheese log?

 


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Yep, holiday posts two days in a row and it’s not even Black Friday. Before you regard me as part of the problem, let me say that:

I always preach intentional spending during the holidays, and

I regularly suggest ways to spend intentionally, such as using cash-back shopping sites, buying early and paying with discounted gift cards.

Today I’m talking about a fourth intentional-spending category: rewards programs. In this case, that’s shopping through the Swagbucks rewards website.

Right now Swagbucks is offering heightened rewards for buying décor, gifts, special foods, airline tickets and other holiday-related items. A few examples of points (SBs) per dollar spent:


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thNot that this Lower 48 journey has been much of a vacation. It started out as a business trip and morphed into a medical emergency.

I was supposed to have gone home on Sept. 29 but we didn’t get back to Phoenix until Sept. 28. Our original itinerary had included a short post-FinCon visit, and by gum we wanted to make it happen.

Figured I’d go home on Monday but something told me not to make a reservation. Given that lower-back spasms woke me early Sunday morning, I’m glad I listened.

Ice, ibuprofen and stretching have eased the initial holycowthathurtstooscaredtomove, but I’ll likely give it another day or two before I think about a long plane ride.

Here are some things I’ve learned and some random realizations that popped up since I got here.



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thMore than 1,500 museums in all 50 states will be open free of charge on Saturday, Sept. 24 during the annual event known as “Museum Day Live!”

Or, rather, they’ll be open to those who take advantage of a Smithsonian magazine offer: a ticket good for two people to any participating museum.

What are you waiting for?

 


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