th 150x150 The cheaper I sleep, the longer I can stay.I just had three really nice days in Austin, Texas. The total charge for lodging was about $84, breakfast included. That’s because I stayed at HI Austin, a 10-minute bus ride outside of the city’s bustling downtown.

Yes, I had up to four roommates at any given time and yes, the bed was extremely basic (a bottom bunk). But what did I care? Any time I was in the room I was asleep or headed in that direction.

I’ve stayed in hostels in the United States (Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City) and the United Kingdom (London, Cardiff) and always had an agreeable — and frugal — experience. These places aren’t nearly as scary as those Eli Roth movies would have you believe.

Well, there was that one hostel roommate who’d just been arrested for importing machetes. And the time that some Eurotrash dude decided he could make me into a cougar. But both those examples actually wound up being funny, as well as good blog post material.


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th9 150x150 Austin meet up on Sunday, Aug. 3?Thanks to all those who’ve e-mailed tips about Austin or left suggestions in the comments section. Based on that and my own schedule in the capital city, I’m thinking about 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 3 at a restaurant called The Shady Grove.

Anyone up for meeting there? And is 11 a.m. too early?

If so, then how about 11:30 a.m.? I’d like to get there before it fills up for Sunday brunch. The menu looks tasty indeed.


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th7 Heading to Austin, Texas. Got any insider tips?I’ll be in the Lone Star State’s capital city for a few days in early August. Anyone who lives there/near there or has visited a lot have any insider tips to share?

DF has suggested the Harry Ransom Center, at the University of Texas. I’m also interested in the Texas State History Museum. And, of course, in good barbecue.


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DONNA F For the best FinCon14 price, book by Monday night.Once again I’ve been chosen to present a program at the Financial Blogger Conference, which takes place Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans.

According to the organizer, Phil Taylor, I’m apparently the only person who’s been involved all four years. So I guess it’s really not just me who likes to hear myself  talk.

The “early bird” pricing ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 30. So if you’re a blogger or want to be one, sign up now for the best deal (more on that in a minute).

Or just attend because you’re intrigued by personal finance and/or would like to hear writers talk about what they do.


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th 11 Hitting the road? Heres what you need.An article in the July issue of Consumer Reports, “How to deal with road emergencies,” includes a sidebar on stuff every driver should keep in the car. While not everyone is going to have everything on the list, the piece will help you think through what you’d do if something went wrong.

Not that I’m wishing bad karma (carma?) on your road trip. But suppose you did have a fender-bender or a flat? Or one of your kids takes a tumble at the rest stop? Or your battery just up and dies when you’re miles from nowhere?

That’s where the Consumer Reports list comes in handy. Best-case scenario: You’ll never need any of it. Worst-case scenario? You’ll need it and not have it.

Since only amateurs pay retail, I’ll suggest some frugal hacks after the list. They won’t all work if your trip is happening tomorrow, but they’ll help you replenish what’s missing for later excursions.


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