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.


Free (If you don’t count that your privacy was already violated) Credit Reporting for up to Nine Months…

Transunion Credit Reporting Agency was very naughty.  If you held a credit card between January 1, 1987 to May 28, 2008 they sold our information to businesses without our permission.  As a result people filed lawsuits, which were combined into a class action, and a settlement has now been worked out.

Since we weren’t the ones who filed the lawsuit, or lawyers for either side, we are not going to get a brazilian dollars.  Dadgummit.

We can, however, get free credit monitoring for up to 9 months, depending on the option we choose, beginning after the case and appeals is settled.

You can choose one of these options:

1.  Free credit report monitoring for six months, plus cash if there’s any money left over in settlement fund and you still get to sue them if you want;

2.  All the benefits of option one but you can’t sue them any further, or

3.  Nine months of credit monitoring, access to some free credit scores, and free use of TransUnion’s mortgage simulator service – but no cash payment.

Today is the last day to register to take part, so head here to register or call 1-866-416-3470.

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.

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