Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Money Crashers: 5 new articles

After a long hiatus—nearly three months—Money Crashers has worked its way through a backlog and started getting some of my articles up on the site again. In the past week, five of my articles have gone live.

Unfortunately, I didn't find out about any of them until today, since the site doesn't have any way of notifying me when an article is published. And since Thrift Week starts today, and I'll be busy all week posting on that topic, I can't take the time to put up a post for each of these articles individually, the way I usually like to.

So I'm just going to make one quick post here covering all these new articles in a bunch, with just a little short blurb for each one. Perhaps later, when Thrift Week is over, I can take the time to talk about some of these topics in more detail, since I think some of them are particularly germane to the blog's ecofrugal focus.

What is Hygge? 12 Ways to Embrace this Frugal Danish Lifestyle
The first to be published is one that I wrote last August and has been waiting until now to be published. That's okay, though, because winter is actually a more appropriate time for it. It's about the Danish concept of hygge, which, as you may know, is a hot trend right now in the English-speaking world. (Well, at least it was last year. The topic may have peaked by now.) The word hygge has no exact English translation; the closest word would be "coziness," but it actually means a lot more than that, embodying the ideas of companionship, comfort, simplicity, relaxation, and harmony with nature, all in one. In other words, it's the perfect ecofrugal lifestyle. In fact, when I first read about this "trendy" topic last year, I was amazed to discover that for once in my life, I was actually ahead of the curve. I've been doing this all my life, only I never knew there was a name for it.

To learn more about what hygge means, what makes it ecofrugal, and how to jump on the hygge bandwagon, check out the article.

Are Monthly Subscription Boxes Worth It? Costs, Pros & Cons
Article #2 deals with another hot and growing trend: monthly subscription boxes. These days, it seems, you can have nearly anything—clothing, makeup, food, books, games, pet toys—delivered to your door in a box every month. But does shopping this way really make sense? In the article, I explore the ins and outs of subscription boxes: what kinds are available, what they cost, their pros and cons, and how to decide whether they're a good deal for you.

Home Security Scams – How to Protect Yourself From Fake Services
Article #3 is about home security scams—something I only learned existed while working on another scam-related article. Apparently, there are shady home security companies out there that will come to your door and try to trick you into buying security products and services that are overpriced at best, completely useless at worst. In this article, I explain how to spot these home security scams and what you can do to protect yourself. Then, for those who still feel the need of some protection, I finish with some pointers on choosing a legitimate security company.

How Does Advertising Influence People’s Purchases?
Here's one I was rather proud of. It explores some of the most common techniques advertisers use to lure you into buying their products, complete with some highly successful examples of each one—such as the "I'm a Pepper" ads for the bandwagon technique, or the "Be Like Mike" campaign for Gatorade. (Don't worry, I also covered other examples that don't involve beverages.) I analyze six advertising strategies (fear, bandwagon, sex appeal, values, celebrity endorsements, and humor), explain why they work on us, and offer tips on inoculating yourself against their insidious messages.

12 Cheap Luxuries to Help Avoid Frugal Fatigue
Finally, another topic that's particularly important for us ecofrugal folks: frugal fatigue. For those not familiar with the term, this is what happens when you've been on a tight budget so long that eventually you crack under the strain and start spending willy-nilly, like a celery-maddened dieter scarfing down a whole box of chocolates.

In the piece, I first discuss the causes of frugal fatigue and how to recognize the symptoms. Then I offer my formula for heading off this ailment: treating yourself regularly to small luxuries that fit into your budget, so you never feel deprived. The bulk of the article covers ideas for treats it's possible to enjoy on a tight budget, such as good coffee, fresh flowers, and fancy toiletries.


That's it for the five new articles. I hope, if all goes well, that from here on out my pieces will be published on a somewhat more regular schedule, and I'll be able to post about them here as they pop up, rather than having to cover them in a clump like this.
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