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FrugalityforDepressives_250Those of you who follow my daughter’s blog already know this, but: Abby has been working on a book lately. You’d also know this if you read my late-March post, “Watching a book be born.”

Happy to announce that “Frugality For Depressives: Money-Saving Tips For Those Who Find Life A Little Harder” is here, and happier still to be giving away a couple of copies of the electronic version.

(Edited to add: Hannah at Unplanned Finance is also giving away a copy. Use the link to find out how to enter; the deadline is May 9.)

(Note: The above link is for the Kindle version. Anyone who wants an ePub or PDF version can check the ad on the right-hand side of this page. It’s the same price – $7.99 –  for all these editions.)

During her post-illness years of poverty and struggle, Abby looked for money advice but couldn’t find anything that worked. Personal finance blogs were popping up like mushrooms after a rain but they all said the same stuff over and over:

  • “Drink one less coffee a day and you’ll retire rich!” (Many days Abby was too sick to leave her apartment – and she doesn’t like coffee anyway.)
  • “Get a second job to help pay off debt!” (Depressives with chronic fatigue sometimes can’t even get a first job, let alone a second one.)
  • “All those toys you bought during the good times? Put them on Craigslist and watch your fortunes rise!” (It took her a year and a half to save up enough rewards points to get herself a basic MP3 player. Toys R Not her.)

She often saw a phrase I’ve come to loathe: “If I can do it, anyone can.” Gah. Basic money hacks do work for a lot of people, but they don’t work for everyone.

Abby tried – oh, how she tried. “Each failure drove the shame and despair deeper. Each new twist focused my mind on my inability to be the good frugal girl I was raised to be.”

[Sorry about that, kid.]

Since she couldn’t become a perfect frugalist, Abby decided to hack the hacks.

 


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Bunny boots: Don't leave Nome without 'em

Bunny boots: Don’t leave Nome without ’em

(Note: This was written Saturday evening. Thanks to a tech glitch, it wasn’t published when it should have been. Oops.)

It’s snowing, finally – just in time for spring equinox. About seven inches are on the ground right now and it’s still coming down madly.

Earlier today the neighbor across the street had a pair of preschoolers working on the front steps with little kid-sized shovels while he attacked the driveway with a snowblower.

The children loved it so much that once the steps were clear they were out in the front yard, shoveling paths to nowhere. Just being able to fling the snow around was fun, I guess. It’ll be interesting to see if they find it fun a few years down the road or whether they’ll be moaning and griping: “I shoveled the steps last time! It’s his turn!”

Me, I’m just happy to be sitting upright. On Wednesday I came down with the intestinal bug that’s been making its way through (as it were) half of the city. Today I was able to tolerate solid food (rice, dry toast, yogurt, applesauce) during the day. In a little while we’ll know for sure whether I’m healed, because I had some of the turkey that DF roasted: hot, juicy and deliciously worth the relapse risk.

So far, so good: I’m sipping tea and watching thick curtains of snow silvering the night sky. DF is lying on the couch, also watching the picture window as though it were the most engrossing movie in the world. He was so hypnotized by the weather that he almost forgot to preheat the oven for the bread he’d left to rise.

A few days ago it was in the mid-40s and yards, while not green, were at least not white. Today it looks like December, not March. If this keeps up the Easter Bunny will have to wear bunny boots.

 


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Keeping it real online.

thYesterday I read a long, painful and moving essay on the LoveLifeEat blog called “When you can’t be the person the Internet wants you to be.” It affected me so much that I wrote to its author, Felicia Sullivan.

Short form: I told her that writing about the dark places in her life make her honest, not self-indulgent.

I also said that her words matter. By daring to tell the truth about life, i.e., that sometimes it is horrible, she has helped and will help an unknowable number of people.

Some readers will be bolstered by the fact that they aren’t the only ones dealing with depression, unemployment, the loss of a parent, a difficult relationships with the surviving parent, the search for meaning. I’d bet my next freelance paycheck that her essay encouraged some readers to examine their own dark places and get help for them.

What a refreshing change from the everything-is-awesome drumbeat that makes up so much of the Internet. So many blogs resemble a never-ending, humblebragging stream of fake Christmas letters: Look at me! Look at me and my perfect life!!!

Riiiight.

 


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thThe sore throat started developing late Friday afternoon, but I ignored it: We had hot dates both at my friend Linda B’s show* and a concert by the Cypress Quartet** and I refused to miss either one.

By the time we got home I felt pretty lousy. The sore throat was worse, I ached all over and I had that burning-eyes-and-nose sensation that suggests sinus involvement. No fever, though, so I’m inclined to think “virus.”

However, I’m reminded of the one good thing about being sick: Reading.

 


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thRecently the two bottles of Method foaming hand soap in our bathroom were on their last few squirts. They’d been there since I moved in almost three years ago. (Tempus fugit!)

We also keep bar soap by the bathroom sinks, which is probably why the bottles lasted for three years’ worth of handwashing. The foamy stuff is undeniably easier to use than the bars, though.

It’s also easier to use than regular liquid soap. You get exactly what you need, vs. squirting out a surplus that either slides off and down the drain or that takes too long for an impatient child to wash off all the way.

Neither DF nor I are exactly children. (Chronologically, anyway.) But we’ve been watching his granddaughter about once a week and my two great-nephews also visit. Given that children are two-legged petri dishes when it comes to the latest viruses, I’d like to make it as easy as possible for them to wash their hands.

Since I’d remembered reading a recipe for foam-refill soap, I went prospecting online rather than pay full price. Even if it were a relatively small saving I thought I’d give it a try.

Good news: It was an easy frugal hack.

Better news: We already had what we needed on hand.

Best news: The saving was actually pretty decent.

 


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