Financially Savvy Saturdays #204

Jul. 22nd, 2017 04:01 am
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Posted by Mel @ brokeGIRLrich

Welcome to Financially Savvy Saturdays, the savviest personal finance blog hop on the planet, created specifically for personal finance writers! We welcome all things money here. Whether you’ve written anything from thrifty living tips to how to nail your retirement savings, you’re invited to link-up.

If it ties into personal finance, we want to read it!

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This weekend’s cohost is Emily from The John & Jane Doe Guide to Money & Investing where she talks about all things money related  – though I think some of her coolest posts are when she talks about how she teaches her daughter personal finance lessons.

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO? Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as Carnivals. If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, I’d encourage you to check out this article.

Interested in co-hosting? Co-hosting is fun AND easy. If you’re interested, you can email me at brokeGIRLrich (at) gmail.com with any questions. Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can sign up on this Google doc.

If you’ve co-hosted before and enjoyed it, consider doing it again! 

Feature of the Week

As this weekend’s co-host, Emily picked the feature of the week. Her favorite post from last weekend’s blog hop was The 3 Patalysing Emotions That Will Hold You Back Financially by NZ Muse.

Click here to read her post!

Click here to read her post!

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s party!

We do have a couple of rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days, related to personal finance and not be solely a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow brokeGIRLrich on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed. Also, you can follow Emily on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook.

4. Comment on at least one post before and after you that have joined the party.

5. HAVE FUN!

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The post Financially Savvy Saturdays #204 appeared first on brokeGIRLrich.

The Friday Blogaround

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:30 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

This blogaround brought to you by lamplight.

Recommended Reading:

Julia Serano: [Content Note: Transphobic narratives] On Transgender People and 'Biological Sex' Myths

Ragen Chastain: [CN: Fat hatred] Slate's Hiring Policy: No Fat Chicks?

Shay Stewart-Bouley: [CN: Misogynoir] My Black life Matters, or Ramblings of Middle Age

Keith Reid-Cleveland: [CN: Police misconduct] Body Camera Footage Shows Baltimore Police Officer Planting Drugs

Russell Brandom: Verizon Admits to Throttling Netflix in Apparent Violation of Net Neutrality

Charline Jao: [CN: Images of violence/guns in video at link] Hit Woman Taraji P. Henson Does Not Mess Around in Proud Mary Trailer

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

Your Best Photograph

Jul. 21st, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

If you're a photographer, even if a very amateur one (like myself), and you've got a photo or photos you'd like to share, here's your thread for that!

It doesn't really have to be your best photograph—just one you like!

Please be sure if your photo contains people other than yourself, that you have the explicit consent of the people in the photos before posting them.

* * *

This is a photo I took in our backyard earlier today of a gorgeous big bee in a sunflower, which sprouted from fallen birdseed mix that contained sunflower seeds. Nature!

image of a sunflower surrounded by various green plants, with a big, fuzzy bumblebee right at its center

"Mooch" Is Settling in Nicely

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:30 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

So, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has been regularly filling in for Sean Spicer when he was stuck in a bush or whatever, has been made White House Press Secretary, i.e. Spicer's old job. And Anthony Scaramucci has officially been announced as White House Communications Director.

He started the gig by holding a press briefing where he went on endlessly about how much he loves Donald Trump, who is the greatest guy and an amazing athlete and a total winner and and and...


Scaramucci's obnoxious presser was documented by a number of journalists who are already calling him "Mooch." Sure.

But here's the thing:


Trust that he spent time during the presser flattering the press, too, and talking about how he wants to improve relations between the White House and the media. Which was evident bullshit — and far less important than this:

I do believe that the best messenger, the best media person, the most savvy person in the White House is the President of the United States, and I'm frankly hoping to learn from him.
Yeah, that would be the same guy who's been waging a war on the free press since he became a candidate. "Mooch" will learn a lot from him, I'll bet.

Daily Dose of Cute

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:30 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the floor looking up at me
THIS FACE!!! ♥

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

We Resist: Day 183

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:30 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Republicans Are "Dismayed" Again. Oh. and If You Make an Authoritarian President, He Will Behave Like an Authoritarian and I Don't Like This One Bit and Sean Spicer Has Resigned.

REMINDER: KEEP CALLING YOUR SENATORS TO TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON REPEALING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.


Sarah Boseley's important article is also accompanied by an equally stark image of Donald Trump signing the Executive Order that reintroduced the Mexico City policy, while surrounded by grinning white men: Reince Preibus, Peter Navarro, Jared Kushner, Steven Miller, and Steve Bannon.

The article is tough, but I highly recommend reading it. Please note if you have a needle phobia, there is an image of a young woman getting a contraceptive implant about midway through the story.

* * *

Ben Wieder, Gabrielle Paluch, and Kevin G. Hall at McClatchy: Ex Trump Associates Helped Fugitive Kazakhs in Visa Scheme.
Two former associates of Donald Trump helped a family of wealthy Kazakh fugitives make extensive investments in the United States, some aimed at helping family members obtain legal residency here, a McClatchy investigation shows.

Felix Sater, an ex-con and one-time senior adviser in the Trump Organization, helped the Trump family scout deals in Russia. He led an effort that began in 2012 to assist the stepchildren of Viktor Khrapunov, who that year had been placed on an international detention request list by the global police agency Interpol.

...On paper, Donald Trump's business relationship with Sater ended almost a decade ago. But earlier this year, Sater re-entered Trump's orbit when he and Michael D. Cohen, one of Trump's personal lawyers, were involved with a Ukraine-Russia peace proposal that was presented to Michael Flynn, then Trump's national security advisor.

...Several key people in Trump’s orbit did business with the Kazakh clan, including the law firm of Trump campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani and the Bayrock Group, which developed Trump-branded projects in New York, Florida, and Arizona and was founded by Tevik Arif, a politically-connected former Soviet official from Kazakhstan.

Lincoln Mitchell, a political consultant who specializes in Russia and its neighboring countries, said virtually any investment from Kazakhstan warrants scrutiny.

"It would be hard to imagine getting Kazakh investment that wasn't close to the ruling family," Mitchell said in a telephone interview from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Again: Legitimate for Bob Mueller to scrutinize Trump's finances. Legitimate, and crucial.

Guardian/AP: CIA Director: Russia Loves to Meddle and 'Stick It to America'. "The CIA director, Mike Pompeo, said on Thursday that Russia had no plans to leave Syria and would continue to try to meddle in US affairs to 'stick it to America.' He reiterated his belief that Russia interfered in the US presidential election and described the US-Russia relationship as 'complicated.' 'I think they find any place that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that's something that's useful,' he said." Yep. Have you mentioned this to your boss, sir?

Speaking of Russians fucking with us... Keir Simmons and Saphora Smith at NBC News: Russia's Lavrov Says Trump May Have Met Putin More Times.
Donald Trump may have held more meetings with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit earlier this month, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday — but he shrugged off the importance of the encounters.

"They might have met even much more than just three times," he told NBC News' Keir Simmons in an exclusive interview, dismissing speculation about the leaders' meetings.

"Maybe they went to the toilet together," he joked.

Asked whether the two presidents had other conversations or met in the corridors of the G-20 meeting, Lavrov used the analogy of children mingling at a kindergarten.

"When you are bought by your parents to a kindergarten do you mix with the people who are waiting in the same room to start going to a classroom?" he asked.

He added: "I remember when I was in that position I did spend five or ten minutes in the kindergarten before they brought us to the classroom."
Fucking ridiculous. I will never stop being angry that Donald Trump is such an overconfident dipshit that he put us in the position of being mocked by the Russian Foreign Minister, who just takes the piss at will, because we are being (un)governed by a man who is little more than a Russian nesting doll of character defects.

On that note... Philip Bump at the Washington Post: Trump Can Usually Make It About a Third of the Way Through an Interview Without Mentioning Hillary Clinton. "In fact, in 19 interviews that he's conducted since becoming president, we found that Clinton tended to be mentioned much earlier than a number of Trump's other favorite topics: The 2016 election, the votes he received, the electoral college and Barack Obama. ...In 17 of 19 of his interviews, Clinton came up, on average about 36 percent of the way in. ...How much does Trump like to raise the subject of Hillary Clinton? He even mentions her more frequently and sooner than his other favorite opponent: the press." GOD, DONNIE, GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD: SHE'LL NEVER LIKE YOU.

Sara Robinson at Rewire: Trump's Sensitivity to Being Laughed at Should Alarm Everyone. "When we hear Trump say, 'They're laughing at us,' it's almost certainly because he's about to put forth a policy explicitly designed to assert dominance or act out rage, abusing the vast powers of his office to brutally stuff some inferior group or nation back into its perceived place because they have dared to challenge him. Trump's fear of being laughed at is the clearest possible sign that we have installed an abuser-in-chief in the White House. Savvy global actors have already figured out that laughing at him is a very reliable way to provoke him into ridiculous postures and self-destructive policies. But closer to home, we also need to realize that over the next three and a half years, the worst abuses of power, the most draconian displays of force, and the most profound violence this administration does to our nation and to the bodies and futures of its citizens will almost inevitably occur because Trump thought somebody was laughing at him."

Daniel Dale at the Toronto Star: Donald Trump Said 414 False Things in His First Six Months. "The Star has tracked every single word Trump has said, tweeted or issued in his name since he took the oath on Jan. 20. Other than the sheer quantity of lies, what's most striking is their outlandish obviousness. With some exceptions, this is not sophisticated deceit. Trump is the toddler with purple icing on his face declaring that a fairy must have eaten the last piece of cake."

* * *

In other news...


[Content Note: White supremacy] Ayana Byrd at Colorlines: Climate Scientist Blows Whistle on Trump Administration's Department of the Interior.
Joel Clement's previous job: Director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Interior, where he focused on helping endangered Native communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to climate change.

His current job, as of June 15 when he was involuntarily reassigned: Collecting royalty checks from fossil fuel companies as a senior advisor at the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

On Wednesday (July 19), Clement filed a complaint and a whistleblower disclosure form with the Office of Special Counsel, an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency for federal employees. That same day, The Washington Post published an op-ed by him titled, "I'm a Scientist. I'm Blowing the Whistle on the Trump Administration." It begins with this disclaimer:
I am not a member of the deep state. I am not big government.

I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science.
Clement writes that involuntary reassignments like the one he (and about 50 others) received were used to eliminate those whose views did not agree with the new administration's.
Fucking hell. And what did Clement do that targeted him for retaliation? "I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities."

[CN: LGBT hatred] Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: Donald Trump to Nominate Another Anti-LGBTQ Secretary to the Army. "Donald Trump has announced that he plans to nominate anti-LGBT veteran and defense contractor manager Mark Esper as Secretary of the Army. Esper is a lobbyist and vice president for government relations at defense contractor Raytheon and served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense from 2002 to 2004. ...However, GLAAD reports that Esper was also the former chair of the National Security Policy subcommittee for the 2008 Republican Party Platform, which specifically targeted LGBT service members. Additionally, he has worked with anti-LGBT lawmakers including Senator Bill Frist and served as Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President of the Heritage Foundation."

David Shepardson and Valerie Volcovici at Reuters: White House Deregulation Push Clears out Hundreds of Proposed Rules. "The White House said Thursday it had withdrawn or removed from active consideration more than 800 proposed regulations that were never finalized during the Obama administration as it works to shrink the federal government's regulatory footprint. ...The steps to eliminate regulations makes good on a much-repeated Trump campaign promise to promote business-friendly policies. Investors have anticipated the action, helping to push share prices higher on hopes that fewer regulations will boost business growth and lead to higher corporate profits."

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

Sean Spicer Has Resigned

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:15 am
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan


[If you cannot view the image in the second tweet, it is a photo of Sean Spicer with his eyes cast downward, to which I've added text reading: "I'm resigning to spend more time with my family working on my Melissa McCarthy impersonation. Thank you and goodbye."]

Spicer reportedly handed in his notice because Donald Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as White House Communications Director: "Mr. Trump offered Mr. Scaramucci the job at 10 a.m. The president requested that Mr. Spicer stay on, but Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange."

That person is almost certainly Reince Priebus, who rumor has it isn't thrilled with Scaramucci's appointment, either.

Let's all take a moment to fondly recall, while Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" plays, all of the horrors that Spicer was willing to spin and defend, all of the corruption about which he was willing to straight-up lie, all of the indignities he was willing to suffer on behalf of this obscene administration. But he drew the line at having to work with someone he doesn't like.

Sounds about right.

Good riddance, Sean. Give Scottie McClellan a call. You'll have a lot to discuss, I'm sure.

I Don't Like This One Bit

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:30 am
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Next week, the Trump administration will reportedly announce a unilateral travel ban on U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea.
Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours, who both operate there, said the ban would be announced on 27 July to come into effect 30 days later.

They were informed by the Swedish embassy, which conducts US affairs in the country.

US officials have confirmed the ban to US media and linked it to the death of jailed American student Otto Warmbier, but given no details on date or scope.
This is potentially a pointless provocation (although Kim Jong Un doesn't particularly want Americans visiting anyway), but, more importantly, it's a very concerning precedent: Warmbier's death is being used as a rationale for banning people from traveling to North Korea, when there is already a State Department caution for traveling there.

And if the motivation were genuinely just concern for citizens' safety, I'm not sure, at all, why this alarming punitive measure is part of the ban: "After the 30-day grace period [to allow tourists and humanitarian workers still in the country to leave] any US national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government."

This strikes me as the exploitation of a tragic situation in order to have an excuse to set a precedent for banning U.S. citizens' travel to other places.

Lest you imagine that's unjustifiable alarmism: "Associated Press news agency quoted US officials as saying that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had decided to implement a 'geographical travel restriction' for North Korea, meaning the use of US passports to enter would be illegal."

I have long suspected that the Trump administration would eventually disallow foreign travel for average citizens. That is, that we simply won't be allowed to leave.

I fear that Trump's border wall, for example, on which he persists despite the fact that undocumented immigration from Mexico has significantly declined, is really less about keeping people out than it is about keeping people in.

And, last month, to little fanfare, the Trump administration reinstated some travel restrictions to Cuba (where it has never been illegal, full-stop, for U.S. citizens to visit, unlike this North Korea ban).

What it utterly unclear is what limitations this administration believes there are, if any, on its ability to issue executive orders defining additional "geographical travel restrictions."

Suffice it to say, this news is not reassuring.
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

This is what happens when a country decides to make its president an arrogant, nepotistic authoritarian with contempt for the rule of law: He shreds every last vestige of functional democratic systems if anyone tries to hold him or his family accountable for their corruption.

Carol D. Leonnig, Ashley Parker, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Tom Hamburger at the Washington Post: Trump Team Seeks to Control, Block Mueller's Russia Investigation.
Some of [Donald] Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members. and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers among themselves.

One adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller's investigation.
The President of the United States has "simply expressed a curiosity" about whether he can pardon himself and his children, whom he inappropriately elevated to key roles in his campaign and/or administration, because they have definitely broken laws and thus may need to be pardoned if the Special Counsel, who was appointed because that president's Attorney General is also a corrupt liar, finds out about their lawbreaking in the course of his investigation, which just expanded to include said president's personal business dealings.

You know. Normal stuff.
Other advisers said the president is also irritated by the notion that Mueller's probe could reach into his and his family's finances.

Trump has been fuming about the probe in recent weeks as he has been informed about the legal questions that he and his family could face. His primary frustration centers on why allegations that his campaign coordinated with Russia should spread into scrutinizing many years of Trump dealmaking. He has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns.
There are a number of reasons Trump is "disturbed" at the thought of his tax returns being scrutinized, from the possibility of embarrassment if they reveal Trump is nowhere as wealthy as he has claimed, which is pathetic but relatively harmless, to the possibility of being exposed as having had business dealings with Russia (or individual Russians), despite having repeatedly claimed he does not, which could be a bigger problem, given the raison d'être of Mueller's probe.

There's some reason, after all, that Trump defiantly refused to disclose his tax returns, in breach of common practice, during the presidential election. He has stubbornly resisted financial transparency, and Mueller's scrutiny is certain to reveal precisely why.

So naturally Trump's legal team is going on the offense, trying to discredit Mueller as being compromised by conflicts of interest and accusing him of violating the limited scope of his investigation.
"The fact is that the president is concerned about conflicts that exist within the special counsel's office and any changes in the scope of the investigation," [one of Trump's attorneys, Jay] Sekulow said. "The scope is going to have to stay within his mandate. If there's drifting, we're going to object."

Sekulow cited Bloomberg News reports that Mueller is scrutinizing some of Trump's business dealings, including with a Russian oligarch who purchased a Palm Beach mansion from Trump for $95 million in 2008.

"They're talking about real estate transactions in Palm Beach several years ago," Sekulow said. "In our view, this is far outside the scope of a legitimate investigation."
Except it's not outside the scope of a legitimate investigation — because that Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, purchased the estate from Trump for two-and-a-half times what Trump paid for it two years earlier, which looks exactly like what happens in real estate money laundering schemes.

That doesn't mean it was a money laundering transaction, but it looks enough like it could be that it warrants investigation, especially given that Mueller is investigating collusion and thus must examine any potential evidence of quid pro quo.

Recall what Trump just said on the investigation to the New York Times: "By the way, I would say, I don't — I don't — I mean, it's possible there's a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don't make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don't make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don't have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don't. They said I made money from Russia. I don't. It's not my thing. I don't, I don't do that. Over the years, I've looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one. Other than I held the Miss Universe pageant there eight, nine years [crosstalk]."

Being that Trump is known to be a profligate liar, who tells "big lies, needless lies, above all else unrelenting lies," it's just as likely and maybe more so that those words were actually another confession, masquerading as another denial.

Mueller has every reason to investigate Trump, his family, and his associates, in excruciating detail. And the fact that he does is precisely why Trump is "curious" about the means he has to stop him.

Republicans Are "Dismayed" Again. Oh.

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:30 am
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

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Driving Lessons: Sophomore Year by Annameekee Hesik

Abbey Brooks has recovered from her end-of-freshman-year heartbreak and has vowed that this year, her sophomore year at Gila High, will be different in every way. Her to-do list: get her driver’s license, come out to her mom, get (and keep) a girlfriend, and survive another year of basketball. As always, though, nothing goes according to plan. Who will be there for her as her plans start to unravel? Who will bring her back to life after another round of heartache and betrayal? These remain a mystery–even to Abbey.

But one thing is for sure, she’s not confused about who she is. And that is going to make all the difference this time.

This is the second book in the series. Check out my interview with Annameekee on the release of Book #1, "The You Know Who Girls."

And add your review of "Driving Lessons: Sophomore Year" in comments!

5 Ways I Saved Money This Week

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
[syndicated profile] brokegirlrich_feed

Posted by Mel @ brokeGIRLrich

5 Ways I Saved Money This Week

5 Ways I Saved Money This Week | brokeGIRLrich

Last week I wrote about the struggle to stay motivated and why it’s so important to water down your soap and Jamie from Medium Sized Family left a great comment about how her weekly post 5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week reminds her of teeny tiny wins that bring her closer to her big goals.

So I’m embracing her mentality and celebrating the teeny tiny wins today (and stealing her blog post idea – which I hope she doesn’t mind and you should totally go check out her posts over at Medium Sized Family).

Here are 5 ways I saved money this week:

Razor Blades 

I buy Intuition razor blades because my best friend got me hooked on the total convenience of them. They’re not cheap (about 5 dollars a razor) and they don’t last as long as a regular razor – but I love that the soap is already on the razor and it makes shaving much faster.

However, at CVS this week they had Island Breeze Intuition refills cartridges at nearly a $5 discount. I snapped them up even though I figured they probably were a pretty funky scent to have that steep of a markdown (and I was right – but my legs are just as smooth and my wallet is $5 heavier).

Dobot

This isn’t my usual harping on the miracle that was digit and is now Dobot. I received an email this week that Dobot is also going to start charging $1.99 a month. So I saved myself a $1.99 by cancelling my Dobot account.

I’m on the hunt for any new app that slowly pilfers money out of my bank account without a fee, but if I don’t have one, I think I’ve got my savings systems under enough control to not spend $24 a year on them.

Discount Store

I needed a new bath mat and a few cleaning supplies, so instead of popping into Rite Aid or Kmart on my way to work, I went to the Deals II Discounts store that has always looked super sketchy to me and explored. It was actually amazing and I got everything I needed for less than $7.

Actors Fund 

Ages and ages ago I wrote about some anxiety and mental health issues I really needed to take care of – and then I did nothing. Well, I did nothing is sort of wrong. I did some research and realized I could either take care of those issues or I could actually save money since health care is a joke, even with medical coverage, in America. I found out about the Actors Fund and finally got the ball rolling to see what discounted rates they have.

Pretzels

I got a free a pretzel from Auntie Anne’s this week because I’m a member of their rewards club and my birthday is coming up. So yay for all the birthday freebies headed my way this month.

What little money wins did you have this week?

The post 5 Ways I Saved Money This Week appeared first on brokeGIRLrich.

Question of the Day

Jul. 20th, 2017 06:00 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Suggested by Shaker DesertRose: "If you enjoy reading, do you have a 'comfort book' or several? What is it/are they? One of mine is Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, which got me through my degree, because the main character is an English major as I was, and re-reading it helped lift my spirits and remind me why I was doing what I was doing."

Throwback Thursdays

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

image of me standing in a road, holding a CD, on an Edinburgh street
Edinburgh, 2001.

In the photo, I'm holding a Clann an Drumma CD, which I'd just purchased after seeing the band perform at the Scott Monument. I'm standing on the street leading into the housing estate at which Iain lived at the time.

[Please share your own throwback pix in comments. Just make sure the pix are just of you and/or you have consent to post from other living people in the pic. And please note that they don't have to be pictures from childhood, especially since childhood pix might be difficult for people who come from abusive backgrounds or have transitioned or lots of other reasons. It can be a picture from last week, if that's what works for you. And of course no one should feel obliged to share a picture at all! Only if it's fun!]
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Rebecca Shabad at CBS News: Senate GOP eyes Tuesday for Health Care Vote, But Exact Plan up in the Air.

Calling the plan "up in the air" is far too kind. Republican Senate leadership straight-up don't want potential objectors in their caucus to see the bill before the vote, so they don't know what they're voting on and thus can't mount substantive objections.

If you imagine that's hyperbole, I assure you it is not:
Senate GOP leaders are eyeing Tuesday for a health care vote, but no one knows yet which proposal will be voted on.

Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said the first vote will be on the House-passed health care bill from May just to open up debate and the amendment process.

"The motion to proceed will be just to get on the House bill and the substitute [amendment] will be, you know it'll be a judgment call the leader will make, at some point between now and Tuesday," Thune told reporters.

Asked if the substitute amendment would be the repeal only plan, Thune said, "It could be that, or the other," referring to the repeal and replace plan.

"Who knows?" he shrugged as the doors of his elevator closed.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday that 50 people are ultimately going to decide whether there's an "outcome" in the end.

"Any three people can kill the bill at the end if they're not satisfied," he said.

But when asked if senators would want to know the plan beforehand, Cornyn said, "Yeah, but it's a luxury we don't have."
Knowing what they're voting on isn't a luxury in any normal democratic process. It is not unusual that federal legislators don't have time to read bills in their entirety (which is bad enough), but it's unheard of that they wouldn't even know the basic details — and most bills aren't as significant as a "healthcare" reform that will affect 1/6th of the United States economy.

Republicans just refuse to slow down the process to give senators the "luxury" of knowing what's in the bill before the vote, because they know their proposal will be such garbage that even some Republicans won't reflexively vote for it.

And instead of making the bill better, they are just making the process of passing it worse, because the objective is to get a win as fast as possible.

A win for them, that is. A loss for all the rest of us.

Shaker Gourmet

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

Twelve percent of them do, anyway: "About one in eight people who voted for [Donald] Trump said they are not sure they would do so again after witnessing Trump's tumultuous first six months in office, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of 2016 voters."

There is nothing that Trump has done so far that wasn't entirely predictable, no behavior he's demonstrated that wasn't on full display during the campaign, no repulsive attribute or lack of qualification and competency that he had not revealed before Election Day.

So what's changed?

They didn't think he'd come after the undocumented immigrants in their families? They didn't think he'd come after the Muslims in their communities? They didn't think he'd take away their healthcare?

He was just supposed to get rid of all the bad swarthy folks, not the "good ones" they know — the exceptions. He was just supposed to take away the healthcare from the moochers on Obamacare, not the upstanding citizens on the Affordable Care Act.

They're mad that their bigot king isn't making exceptions for them.

The people who cast their votes for a conman who made them feel special are now feeling betrayed at the discovery that they're not special to him at all. Not even a little.

Whoooooooooooops.
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Hello Captain Awkward,

I have an ongoing issue that I hope you can help me with, perhaps in the form of a script. I have been married for 24 years. Our marriage is far from perfect but we have worked out some of the major kinks. So here is the issue.

My husband is an introvert, I am an extreme extrovert. We are both ok with that. He doesn’t mind if I socialize and I do not care if he takes a pass on 99% of the invitations sent our way. He is fine with family events and hanging with a few close friends. All good. The problem is the rest of the world. We get invited to a lot of events that the majority of the guests are couples. Neighborhood parties, extended family stuff, work events etc. Again, my husband hates, I really enjoy. People are ok if I attend one or two events solo, but begin to get awkward and insulted beyond that. There are just so many “Husband is sick” “Husband is working on a project” excuses I can make before it becomes obvious that he is just not going to be showing up.

I have no idea what the right approach is to this is. Do I just say to everyone ” Hey husband hates parties and hanging out and makes it a misery for me til we finally just leave early”. I have started to just not attend things myself which makes me sad and resentful.

Any thoughts on how to make this less awkward?

Thanks!

Somebody at the party will probably always ask you that question because curiosity is human and they think enquiring after a person’s spouse is a routine & polite thing to do. You can’t change their behavior, but you can try to approach your replies with more “IDGAF” and see if they get better at taking cues from you.

The biggest recommendation I have is: DON’T LIE ANYMORE. You may think you need to tell white lies to spare the host’s feelings, but that’s part of why you feel resentful about the whole thing. You don’t actually owe the hosts any explanations, and being forced to lie is uncomfortable, so, let it go and tell the truth. He’s not sick, he’s not at work, he’s just not here.

Scripts, which nearly all come with “+ [a subject change]!” after them:

  • Oh, he’s at home.”
  • “He’s doing something else today.” 
  • “He’s not a party person, but I am!” 
  • “Oh, I like to come by myself, and he likes the quiet time at home. Everyone wins this way!” 
  • “We have a mixed Introvert-Extrovert marriage, so, you’re stuck with me for the rest of time.” 
  • “Oh, I can almost never never drag him out of the house for parties! He really loves his solo time, and I love being here with all of you.”

You say people are getting insulted, like, they might feel like your husband doesn’t really like them. That’s awkward, but at the end of the day, so what? It’s not your job to be his neighborhood friendliness ambassador. He’s not hurting anybody.

Your marriage is just fine, and their opinion of it doesn’t matter, so the worst thing I can come up with is that if they are obsessed with even numbers and couples, some people might stop inviting you to things. That would sting, but it’s not something you can actually control. Or, they might awkwardly ask, wait, doesn’t he like us? And you can say “I don’t know, he’s certainly never mentioned anything about that to me. After 24 years I do know that even when it’s his very best friends or family, big gatherings aren’t his cup of tea. It’s not personal, and it’s never gonna change! Good news, though, you’re never getting rid of me, ’cause I love it here.”

I’m gonna end with a compromise suggestion specifically for neighborhood gatherings, specifically for things that are walking distance and don’t require dressing up. Once a month or so, could your husband wander over and say a 10-minute hello to the hosts as a favor to you? Would it, like, crush his fragile spirit to drop in and say “Hey, bud, looks like a great gathering! My wife’s been looking forward to it all week! You know I’m not a party person but I wanted to stop by and say hello for a minute.” Then, he can leave whenever he wants to and you can stay all you want.

He certainly doesn’t have to do this (invitations are not commands, the neighbors are not owed 2 guests just because they invited 2 guests), but one thing I see is you doing a bunch of emotional labor around this and him doing zero. I used to think I hated “small talk” and only wanted to connect over deep truths but it turns out SMALL TALK IS AWESOME IT GREASES THE WHEELS OF THE SOCIAL CONTRACT AND ANYONE CAN DO IT FOR A FEW MINUTES, YOU WON’T DIE OF A BRIEF EXCHANGE ABOUT LAWN CARE OR THE WEATHER INSTEAD OF YOUR INNERMOST THOUGHTS.(See also: IT’S OKAY TO BE A LITTLE BIT BORED/BORING AS LONG AS YOU ARE KIND).

Your social life and relationships with the neighbors are important to you, so if him going for a few minutes would make you feel less awkward and smooth your way, I think that’s an okay thing to ask him to try out this summer.

 


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