Faux Fortune Fosters Frugal Feelings

I like to play poker. I used to play with some friends of mine, back when I was single and working. I was usually the only girl. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost, but I always had a great time.

Now that I’m married and trying to make life work on one income I can’t throw money at poker. I haven’t missed it, but I was still happy to find an online poker application on Facebook. I can play as long as I like with pretend money. I love gambling when there’s no real risk!

The funniest thing is that I’m even frugal while playing with fake money. I get $700 a day just for showing up to play, and I make sure never to lose more than that in a day, and more days than not I win. In little more than a month I’ve amassed a faux fortune of over $50,000.

Now really. What would it hurt for me to play the 100/200 tables instead of the 1/2 tables? Or go all in on a pair of twos? Nothing! But being frugal is so ingrained in me I need to even be careful with money that DOES NOT EXIST!

No wonder my friends get me Dollar Store gift cards for my birthday…

I’ve noticed that frugality is chic these days, which is a great thing.  First time I was ever ahead of a trend!  And now that we’re in a depression recession, being frugal is going to become a necessity for many people who thought it a dirty word just a few months ago.

I hope people will stay out of the real casinos, risking what little money they do have on the slots or blackjack or craps.  Come join me at the virtual tables, which are a very frugal escape from the realities in our 401ks.


Deal of the Day April 19, 2008

This one is just because I love my cordless mouse.

Pick up a Logitech V220 Cordless Optical Laptop Mouse from Circuit City for just $7 (reg. $29.99). Here’s how: First apply coupon code BCAS9D4AZB for a 10% savings, receive $10 back via mail-in rebate, and then receive a second $10 back through mail-in rebate. Rebate offers end 04/19/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

Subscribe to my RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

5 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information on Public Computers

My internet security company (done as a link so only those that really want to know will see it) sent out a very informative newsletter that got my creative juices flowing. Some of this article is lifted directly from that newsletter, and some I added. I think the final result is better than theirs, and less self-serving. I think their security program is da bomb, but know I’m not endorsing any products nor getting paid to mention them. Just so you know.

Our personal information is at risk from hackers every time we get on a computer. At home we can use the best virus and software protection and be diligent about running scans, keeping our information pretty secure.

When we’re a way from home we can’t be sure of anything, except that we can’t be sure of anything. Using a public computer probably isn’t anyone’s first choice (well, except perhaps for people with criminal intent), but sometimes you don’t have a choice.

If you’re away from your desk or laptop and you have to use a computer in a library, hotel, Internet cafe, or other public location security should be on your mind. It can present some real challenges to your privacy, because the host may not have all the security software you have installed on your own computer. You can still take some precautions to make your private information more secure.

1. Be aware of your surroundings. If possible sit with your back to the wall or in an area where no one is sitting next to or behind you. Especially when entering account numbers or passwords.

2. Keep a flash drive on hand. These convenient little buggers are dropping in price almost as fast as our gas prices are going up, and some attach right to your keychain. If you have to download anything (such as e-mail attachments) you can save it to your personal drive rather than the desktop, and you won’t have to worry about deleting items from the desktop when you log off.

3. Pay attention to prompts in the Web browser asking if it should remember passwords. A surprising number of times even public computers are set to default to remembering passwords. Make sure those boxes are not checked before you log into your email or other password-protected accounts.

4. Cover your tracks. Clear your passwords, cache, browsing history, and temporary files before logging off. Double check before you walk away.

5. Avoid sensitive financial transactions. Do not bank online, pay your credit cards or do other sensitive transactions from a public computer. It just isn’t worth the risk. Wait until you get home if at all possible.

No one can give us foolproof privacy protection. Hopefully these tips will keep your information a little bit safer.

Being Computer Illiterate has its Drawbacks

I’m a fairly smart cookie, in general. I read pretty well for a college graduate. I can do basic math in my head, so I’d know how to make change for customers without looking for the cash register to tell me. I know that the general rule of thumb in New York fashion is “always wear black.”

Computers in general are a mystery to me. I grew up in the “only really, really, really, REALLY geeky people own computers” age, and since I was utterly cool (a big fat lie, but at least I wasn’t a computer geek) I was late to the party. I can e-mail and blog and sell on Ebay and post listings on Craigslist. I can even convert a PDF to a JPEG using my Photoshop (which is really wasted on me, much to my husband’s chagrin).

I know just enough to get myself in big trouble. I don’t really get what RAM is, I don’t understand why I can’t just press a button to resize my photos, and I know nothing, NOTHING about programming. That’s why my husband called Apple when he had a problem.

That’s also why I have no idea what’s wrong with my Feedburner feed for this blog. I noticed that it was telling me I had no views, which thanks to you and my WordPress dashboard stats page I know is not even a little bit true. So I fumbled around their site a bit until I saw something about checking to see if my feed is valid. So check I did, and this is what it’s telling me:


This feed does not validate.

  • line 525, column 1401: Invalid character in a URI: ' ' [help]
    ... =justshootmenow&ref=&feed=1" /></div>]]></content:encoded>

In addition, interoperability with the widest range of feed readers could be improved by implementing the following recommendation.

line 2, column 0: The prefix “media” generally is associated with the namespace “http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/&#8221; [help]

<rss version="2.0"


I’m literate enough to understand that there’s an invalid character on line 525.  And there’s something I could do in line 2 that would help my feed work better.  Got it.  But what to do about it?

So I click on the help links which are, apparently, written in Greek. I have no idea what’s wrong, let alone how to fix it. So if you’d like to get my feed, I recommend you just get it some other way. Which I really can’t explain to you, except that it may have something to do with the little orange thingy in the web address space…but that could be the Feedburner way…

See what I mean?

I’m so glad I have my Google reader.


There’s a Worm in My Apple…

Well, Apple has done it again.

Remember when the iPhone was released, and then a few months later they reduced the price? An uproar of epic proportions arose when the people who had waited in line for hours realized that not only do they need to get a wee bit more of a life, but that they’ll have $200 less cash in their pockets to do so. Apple, in a slight mea culpa, offered $100 vouchers to those who had, obviously, overpaid for the privilege of being among the first to have one.


I don’t think that Apple really did anything unethical. They’re allowed to reduce their prices if they choose. But I’m not sure if it’s worth the bad taste that’s left in the mouths of the original buyers, let alone the rest of the computer-shopping world.

Well, for Christmas I bought my husband the new computer he’d been saving for. As a graphic designer/art director/production director he really needed a new one, as his old one was 7 years old and had been updated as much as it could be.

So, in early December I ordered the MacPro with an upgraded 8 core processor and 1G of RAM (or something, I’m computer illiterate), and plunked down $4000 for the privilege. He was in disbelief when he opened his present on Christmas morning (he’s quite familiar with my frugality). He was thrilled! I was thrilled that he was thrilled (though I tried really hard not to think of the $4000)! All was happy in our house! Yay!

Then, yesterday, I got a call from said husband. Apple has just announced the new MacPro, with the 8 core processor as standard, and 2G of RAM standard, and more things that are … better than what we bought. For less than we paid for the inferior version, 4 weeks prior. And they sent us an e-mail announcing it!

Husband was very unhappy. He wanted me to call Apple and see what they’re willing to do. I told him it would be better if he called, because my call would sound something like, “The computer we bought doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as we could have gotten if we waited a month! What bells and whistles? Um, the thingy that makes it go fast. And the whatchamacallit that does something else my husband needs!”

Besides, once again Apple did nothing unethical. But it sure left a bad taste in, well, several mouths.

He did call them, and they issued a $200 voucher that my husband will use to buy more RAM, so he’s happy.

If he’s happy, I’m happy. And, you know, that’s what I live for.

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