Author: Marie

I'm the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It's currently available in paperback and electronically as a Kindle book on Amazon. I've also written a nonfiction book about how to write fiction, My Writer's Sampler: Exercises in Learning to Write Fiction. It's a lot of fun.

Paid Medical Studies

Clinical trials for new treatments reach a point when they need human volunteers to participate. One reputable site is Covance: https://www.covanceclinicaltrials.com/en-us/

To find even more local trials, check out the “volunteers” section of your local Craigslist. Even though it’s under volunteers, most of them pay you for your participation. Here’s a short sample of Craigslist ads in my area:

 

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Taking the Long View

Some things just take time. Put aside $1000 in an interest-earning account and leave it alone for twenty years and you’ll have a ton of money. Plant a shade tree now, and ten years from now you’ll have shade. Have a baby now and eighteen to twenty-two years from now they’ll be pretty much grown up. Live long enough, and you’ll be eighty. Some things just can’t be rushed.

Unfortunately, the prime years for starting things like shade trees and decades-long savings plans are our twenties and thirties. I for one was not thinking long term during that phase of my life. When those years are gone, they’re gone.

On the other hand, you haven’t lost until you give up. Start those retirement savings in your forties, fifties, even sixties, and you’ll have a great deal more than you would have if you’d never started.

The hybrid poplar tree can grow eight feet a year. Plant it where it will shade your air conditioner compressor the first year and your windows in later years.

Adopt an older child and they’ll be in college before you know it.

Eat your vegetables now, and maybe you will get to eighty.

Where’s the Beef?

I heated up a frozen dinner, Korean-style beef with vegetables and rice. Come to take off the covering film, there’s no beef! Delicious vegetables and rice, but no beef. I just got off a live internet chat with a rep at the site given on the package. They’re sending me coupons for a couple free meals.

When something isn’t right, let the manufacturer know.

When something is great, let the manufacturer know.

The Trick to Freezing Milk

The key to successfully freezing and later using milk is in the thawing. If you start pouring the thawed part before the whole container thaws, the taste and texture will be different than you expect. Let the whole container thaw, then shake it up good before drinking.

Before putting the container in the freezer, make sure there’s room for the milk to expand as it freezes.

No Fee No Interest Balance Transfers

Paying too much interest on your credit card debt? Could be any interest is too much interest.

When I had to replace the windows in my condo (thanks a whole lot, Hurricane Irma), I put the charge on my reward credit card, to get the points. After a while, I found a no-fee balance transfer through CreditKarma.com and moved the balance to a no-interest card. So for 18 months every payment I make really goes to pay down the balance.

When the 18 months are up, I’ll look for another no-fee, no-interest balance transfer offer. I may be paying for these windows for the rest of my life, but at least I won’t be throwing away money on interest charges.

Search on “no-fee no-interest balance transfer credit card 2018.”

The Magic of Craigslist

Now and then I look at the Free section of my local Craigslist and mentally furnish a life from it. If you’re starting out or starting over, it might be worth renting a truck and spending the day retrieving the free household goods in your area.

Today I could go and get several couches, chairs, a nice wooden table, three chair-style barstools, a king size mattress and box spring, a large china cabinet, a hutch, an Ikea dresser, a section of kitchen cabinetry, two old-style televisions, a box of VHS tapes, some hardcover books, a box of packaged foods, three different exercise machines, a patio table, lots of firewood, a large birdcage, kittens, and some tropical fish.

To find your local Craigslist, Google “Craigslist” and the name of your town.

As with any used items, examine furniture closely for signs of bedbugs or mold. These are free items, given away by the owners, so there’s no guarantee and no delivery.

 

 

Teacher Gifts

I keep hearing that teachers are spending their own money on necessary school supplies for their students.

In light of that, when you want to give your kids’ teacher a gift, maybe skip the cute ceramic apple or box of candy and check around your house for extra school supplies to give. Sometimes “school supplies” is another word for “office supplies,” so maybe you have more usable items than you realize.