Coffee heat rising

“The Economy”: A Context for Personal Finance

The Economist publishes a discussion of academe’s shortcomings in the teaching of basic, introductory economy (yeah, that Econ 101 course you took for three useless credits). They — the shortcomings — are manifold. But, we’re told, someone’s working to fix it . . . and for those of us who are drawn to questions about money, the economy, and how they work, the fix is extremely interesting. It involves a free, full-length online textbook designed to approach the subject in a better, more effective, and more engaging way. Frugally enough, its authors have titled it The Economy.

Our reviewer points out that economics “accounts for more than 10% of degrees awarded at elite universities each year, . . . and many more students take an introductory course as part of their general-education requirements. . . . Economics teaches that incentives matter and trade-offs are unavoidable. It shows how naïve attempts to fix social problems, from poverty to climate change, can have unintended consequences. . . . [and] at its best, enables people to see the unstated assumptions and hidden costs behind the rosy promises of politicians and businessmen.”

In other words, if your eyes glazed over on Day 1 of Econ 101 and stayed glazed all semester, you need this book. More to the point, where the future of humanity is concerned, maybe your kids do, too.

Designed by an international team collaborating as the Curriculum Open-Access Resources in Economics, the book takes a fresh approach to its subject. “Messy complications, from environmental damage to inequality,” we’re told, “are placed firmly in the foreground. It explains cost curves, as other introductory texts do, but in the context of the Industrial Revolution, thus exposing students to debates about why industrialization kicked off when and where it did. . . . Quite early on,” we find “lessons in the weirdness in economics . . . that make the subject fascinating and useful but are skimmed over in most introductory courses.”

So cruise on over to the site that hosts this free tome. The table of contents gives you a clue — and with color-coded markers shows how chapters fit into various themes such as  history, innovation, the environment, politics and policy…among other topics key to everyone who buys, sells, invests, or votes.

New Book! Frugality for Depressives

eeyoreDoes the whole prospect of pinching pennies get you down? Or were you already feeling like Eeyore before the idea arose?

Our friend Abby Freedman Perry (I Pick Up Pennies) realizes that trying to get a grip on your personal finances is even harder if you happen to suffer from physical disabilities or from depression. Contemplating that truth, she discovered that no one else has written about it or suggested ways to take control.

Hence her new book: Frugality for Depressives: Money-Saving Tips for Those Who Find Life a Little Harder.

Click the image to preview the book.

Says one of the book’s reviewers at Amazon…

By Susan T Mason on May 26, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Refreshing to find a book that does not just tell you to “get with it”, but admits that it just is not going to be perfect and that is okay. While I am not a depressive, I do live with one. Neither of us is getting any younger and are finding it hard to keep up with stuff like we used to. Being frugal is important to us, but if you are not 100%, it is good to have permission to prioritize.

Check it out. You can get it in the Kindle version and also in a paperback edition.

w00t!! Our First COLLECTION Is Out!

fire book 2aiA collection of shorter works is called a “Boxed Set” in Amazonese. Isn’t that…annoyingly virtually cute? WhatEVER. We just put our first one out, and it looks pretty good. It collects the first six books of Fire-Rider, from the time our hero Kaybrel comes into possession of the captive Tavio to the time the traveling war bands decide which way to go next after leveling an enemy city. Along the way, we meet some colorful characters, learn what drives the warriors’ thirst for blood, examine Kay’s misgivings, and nearly get into a fist-fight.

The first three books have received five-star reviews. Apparently lowering the price to 99 cents causes people to buy it. Must mellow them out, too, which would explain the nice things they’ve had to say. 😉

Fire-Rider REALLY NEEDS those reviews. At $3.99, the set of six books is two bucks less than you’d pay if all six were priced at 99 cents, the lowest figure Amazon will allow me to post. It’s five dollars less than the present total cost of the six books, combined.

So, dear readers (♥♥♥♥), would you please, pretty please with sugar on top go to Amazon and get your copy of The Saga Begins? And then especially please with ice cream and chocolate sauce review the gilded prize at Amazon?


Woo HOO! Celebrate Great Fire-Rider Reviews with PRICE CUT!

Hot diggety. I’ve been afraid to read the reviews for Fire-Rider, because the cookbook got royally panned over its screwed-up formatting (which I was unable to see in Amazon’s ballyhooed online quickie Kindle viewer!) and I really didn’t feel up for much more self-inflicted depression.

But mirabilis! Books I and II — A Gift for the Kubna and The Spoils of War — have received very nice reviews! Thanks for that, if they came from any of our doughty readers.

To celebrate, I’m cutting the price 66 percent, from $2.99 to $.99 — yes, ninety-nine cents!! — for the series’ first three books: Gift, Spoils, and The Journey Begins.


So, hurry on over to Amazon and grab those cheap copies while the grabbin’s good.


How to Game the Coupon System

CVS drugstore gameAmanda Grossman, proprietor of Frugal Confessions, has published an interesting and informative e-book explaining, in full detail, how to work coupons from CVS Pharmacies to get free or nearly free goods. Enthusiasts call this the CVS game, and so, appropriately enough, Amanda has titled her book The CVS Drugstore Game: Strategies to Turn Pocket Change into Thousands of Dollars Worth of Free Products.

If you’ve never tried the drugstore game, you really should take a look at this thing. Even if you’re not especially interested in power-couponing at the corner pharmacy, you should see it. The book is a real tour de force.

I knew some couponing aficionados were doing this, but until I read Amanda’s book I had no idea how they pull it off — and do so with a minimum of clipping. The strategies Amanda describes have, of course, a natural appeal to us frugalistas. They would be especially useful for consumers with large families, and also for groups of friends or neighbors who band together to buy products in large quantities by way of generating large savings.

Well worth the $4.99!