Free

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.

 

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Timers!

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

http://www.duolingo.com 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 www.freecycle.com and www.craigslist.org (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 Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

 

 

52 Weeks: Vacations – Staycations

“Staycation” is a recently coined word for a period of time when you are on vacation from work, but you don’t travel anywhere. Lodging is not an issue and you aren’t driving or flying anywhere. You’re cooking at home so there aren’t any additional costs as there would be with actually going somewhere. I’ve done this more often than not, before it had a name. Having plenty of time to rest and to catch up on household projects does relieve a lot of stress. You could also take day trips to nearby interesting or educational places and activities. Perhaps there’s a time-consuming creative project that could enrich your time off.

 

 

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

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

52 Weeks: Vacations – National Parks

Summer vacation season is coming up. Frugal people already know that visiting family or friends not too far away is the least expensive going-somewhere vacation. Next up is simple travel with low-cost lodging and inexpensive or free activities.

For day visits, more than half of National Parks in the U.S. don’t charge an admission fee. Those that do charge have free days. Some have bicycles or canoes for rent and some have interesting guided walks. Anyone sixty-two or older can get a Golden Age Passport from the National Park Service, for free entrance to any site run by the NPS.

 

 

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

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

52 Weeks: Children – College

Personally I think our nation has gotten carried away with ignoring the many rewarding careers that don’t require a four year degree. However, if your child wants one, here’s some thoughts from the book:

College also has various levels of spending that are possible

$0: (to parent) kid combines grants, loans, work, and scholarships

$0: kid joins military and they pay

$0: kid takes up college-irrelevant career

$10,000+-: community college, live at home

$200,000+: university, four years, live there

$300,000+-: umpteen advanced degrees

A surprising number of colleges in the U.S. offer free tuition. Most of them have limitations. They may require that you come from a set geographical area, or from a low-income family. Some involve work programs and others require work after graduation. Some of them are:

  • US Coast Guard Academy
  • S. Naval Academy
  • Merchant Marine Academy
  • Air Force Academy
  • Military Academy
    • The military schools have stringent entry requirements and they require five to eight years service after graduation
  • Alice Lloyd Collegein KY
  • Berea College, KY
  • Cooper Union in NYC
    • As of 2014, they only cover half of the tuition
  • Collegeof the Ozarks in Lookout Point, MO
  • Cornell University, NY (Ivy League)
    • Free tuition for students from low income families
  • Barclay Collegein Haviland, Kansas (Bible college)
  • Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia
  • Deep Springs Collegein CA
  • Franklin W. Olin Collegeof Engineering, MA
  • Louis Christian College, MO
  • Webb Institute in Glen Cove, NY (engineering)
  • William E. Macaulay Honors Collegeat CUNY, NY
  • Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades, PA

To see if there are any I overlooked, search on “colleges with free tuition.”

 

 

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

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack