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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th A travel Tweetchat and more.Hope you’ll join me Wednesday morning for a Tweetchat sponsored by GoBankingRates and CheapOair.

I’m attending as a guest blogger and will help provide tips on topics like low-cost student travel abroad, sticking to a travel budget, booking bargain travel, and low-cost Memorial Day activities.

You can ask questions or answer the ones posed, if you have tips to share. The chat takes place from 11 a.m. to noon PDT. Use the hashtag #COAChat.

Sorry to have maintained radio silence since last week. The weather has been glorious, which is distracting enough, but the unseasonable warmth sent the pollen count through the roof. (Think: a “high” reading times 270.) The sneezing and asthmatic wheezing, plus a couple of deadlines and ongoing anxiety caused by my daughter’s latest pregnancy, have kept me from achieving much.


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th9 Traveling for the holiday? You need this bag.The TSA-friendly travel bag is always a wildly popular giveaway. And why not? Nobody wants to pay more for a .64-ounce tube of toothpaste than a 4.6-ounce one.

If you’re planning a trip over the long Memorial Day weekend, this bag of toiletries – all TSA-compliant – means you won’t have to check a bag.

It’s also great even if you’re not flying, since it’s easier to toss these toiletries into your overnight bag than to start stuffing in full-size shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and the like.


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I want to vanish.

th4 150x150 I want to vanish.I sort of already have: DF dropped me at the Anchorage airport at 10 p.m. Tuesday and I hit Tarpon Springs, Fla., at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. For the next five days I’ll be visiting my dad and my sister.

Timing-wise, not great: When I made the reservation a couple of months ago I’d planned it as a barely-any-work vacation. But recently an unexpected magazine assignment came in and an established deadline got moved up a week.

So the time I thought I’d spend hanging with family, doing a bit of sightseeing, and taking long walks and longer baths has turned into a “how to balance interviews with vacation.”


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