Plenty of Fish



No algorithm in its right mind would have matched my late husband and I. On the metrics they use, we were irrelevant to each other. On the metrics that can’t be measured in a questionnaire, we were a perfect match. We met pre-internet, back in the olden days.

Internet dating is becoming the norm. You can pay a monthly fee for the big sites that use computer constructs to find people who will be well suited to you. And maybe they will. On the other hand, for frugal dating, there’s a good, free, site called POF tied for second place in Consumer Reports’ survey.

As with any site, you have to use discernment. Meet at a neutral location such as a coffee shop for the first date. Maybe the second, too, if you feel uncertain. Don’t hesitate to decline a date if you’re uneasy about the person.

You have to use caution on any site, and the frugal path is the free sites.


Horrendously Expensive Medications

The latest email from includes an article from a subscriber who couldn’t afford the $280 (!) co-pay on a prescription. He remembered those TV ads about how the manufacturer “may be able to help.” He called and explained his situation. They gave him a coupon for a month’s worth free. Since his was an acute condition, this was enough to get him through.

It can’t hurt to ask!



NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every year in November thousands of aspiring writers start writing a novel with the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. A small portion finish a first draft, but they all start and they all learn something.

There’s no fee and no prize, just a chance to be part of a group and get your novel started. Books that started out as NaNoWriMo books include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus, and many others.

Won’t you join me?


Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Hurricane Irma damaged my windows. Want to help me get new ones? /Widgetflex.swf


Free Book

I’ve published my first mystery novella, Further Investigation. People who have read it have surprised me with their enthusiasm. They seemed sincere, so I started writing another one. The Kindle version of Further Investigation will be free from tomorrow, the 6th, through April 10th, if you’d like to check it out.



My cell phone only handles countdowns up to one hour, and the standard kitchen timer has the same limitation.

I wanted to set a timer for three and a half hours. My computer does everything else, so I Googled how to set a timer in Windows 10. And there it was, I can set multiple timers for up to twenty-three hours, fifty-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds. Yay!

Click the Windows symbol in the bottom left corner, click Alarms and Clock, select Timer from the top, and click the plus sign at the bottom, then choose the number of hours, minutes and seconds you want. Other versions of Windows may have something similar. To find out, Google “how to set timers in Windows <version>.

Duolingo is Great, Muy Bueno offers free lessons in several languages. Last year I learned quite a bit of Spanish very quickly and easily. Maybe it just so happens that my personal learning style fits their methods, but I think it would work well for most people. You hear it, say it, see it, type it. I find it goes more easily if I hurry, because I’m not stressing about remembering each word this time, it will come around again. I think it might work just as well if I didn’t have audio.

Languages have always interested me, but I haven’t had the self-discipline to study tapes or CDs on my own. I bookmarked Duolingo on my bookmarks bar and most days I went there and did a few short lessons, or sometimes many short lessons.

I like it that if I miss a word it doesn’t make a big deal out of it, and a few clicks later it comes around again, until I finally get it. It never says I failed or makes that raspberry noise some games have. And when I get a section right it plays a “ta-da” kind of music and awards me some internal currency I can use to buy enriching extra lesson in things like proverbs and sayings.

Coming soon: Klingon!

Getting Heavy Stuff Taken Away Free

Quite some time ago, the start button on my treadmill stopped working. The motor is probably fine, but without the start button, that’s no good.

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

Benjamin Franklin

So, I spent way too much time wondering how to get the heavy, bulky thing down the steep stairs outside my front door. I’m not physically able to do that, and most people I know are very old or disabled. So it sat there.

Then, I remembered a part of my own book, duh!

“Getting rid of things without a haul away fee

You can give things away on and (the free section). This can be useful when you need to get rid of something that would cost a fee to haul away or to dump. If someone takes it away free, you come out ahead and so do they.”

I advertised it in the free section on Craigslist, making clear that it won’t work unless you can get past the start button. Someone took it away the next day. I think they were a scrapper, gathering metals to sell to scrap places.


Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.