Mary Beth Writes

Just figures; all the frugal sites i read are talking about freezing lovely produce from their gardens - while I'm  freezing my credit report...

Per my Mindful Chickens of just this morning - I just froze two credit reports and fraud alerted the third. There are apparently two smaller credit reporting agencies I never heard of before, so I’m doing nothing about them at this time.

I suggest you read this first. Krebs is a well-respected guy; I heard him interviewed on an NPR show a while back. Read “about the author” section for more credentials.

Freezing the credit reports was not NEARLY as hard as I expected it to be.  If you use the links in Krebs’ article, it takes you directly to the Security Freeze pages of each of the websites. 

Equifax did not charge me to install the freeze.  Experion and TransUnion charge $10 each. Which means in a marriage of two people, you will pay $10 for EACH freeze, which is $40. Unless you have a police report on credit fraud against your account. You can read more about it in the article.

Last night when we noticed the mysterious $50 charges and repayments in our credit bill – Len sent an email to our credit account company.

WHILE I was putting the credit freeze on TransUnion – our credit company card cancelled our card so I could not charge the $10 fee to it. Isn’t life simple? I called TransUnion, the guy said to put a free 90-day fraud alert on it. Then when we get the new credit card, we can pay the fee to get the freeze then.

We won’t freeze Len’s credit reports until we get our new cards.

All I want to clearly say here is – this was not hard.  It took less than an hour to do the three reporting agencies. They do ask some security questions, but I could answer them.

I now have pin numbers that I will put in our regular safe place. If we want to buy something big (like a car or open a new credit card) with credit we will have to call (or email) the reporting agencies, give them the pin, and they will give reports to whomever we designate.  But since we are at a very stable and boring place in our financial lives (Praise Be) we probably won’t do this much or ever.  In the meantime we don’t have to worry that our credit is living a Pulp Fiction life without us. 


Grrrrr. Been there, done that. What a pain

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Retired Chicken Observations 3/22-2018

Two things I have been thinking about lately. Both are related to retirement income and retirement adventure.

1. Last week Len and I went to our Social Security office to sign me up for Spousal Benefits.  It took me several run-throughs to understand what “spousal benefits” are. Since then I have talked to several other people who were also unclear on the concept.

My confusion was this. I was already getting Social Security based on my earnings when I worked (as opposed to what I did when I stayed home and raised kids. But let’s not go there now. Grrrr.)

Franc’s Wildly Successful Life

This is a long piece of writing and I am proud of it. If you don’t want to read it all – here are my take-way points about how my friend Franc lives well on a surprisingly small income:

Mindful Chickens 2/24/2018

1.  We did it!  We called, explained what we thought we needed to do, made appts, were home for the appts, rec’d the estimates about - fixing the gutters and getting the house painted.  I think one of the reasons we usually do it ourselves is because this process is so daunting and time consuming.

The gutter guy is coming next week; we are looking forward to no rivulets when it pours. 100-year old houses built on non-waterproofed rubble foundations, like George Washington, cannot lie about what’s happening outside your basement walls.

Mindful Chickens - The Snickerdoodle Edition

1. When we were sick in January (with flu and cold) Len used the CVS card that I had signed up for last year and then barely used.  He bought several OTC medicines plus a cool-mist vaporizer using that card, which saved us 20%. That was helpful.

2. While I was under the weather I signed up for Starz in order to binge-watch an Outlander season.  After I watched TV for two days I canceled the subscription, thus paying nothing.  This is the third year I have done this.  Why do they let me do this??

Frugal Stuff/ Flu edition 1/22/2018

1. I donated blood Friday morning. This is a free mini-checkup every two months; they take your pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and check your hemoglobin levels (iron). They send your blood to be checked for various diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile, and Zika.

DO NOT donate blood in order to determine if you have a disease or not. If you think you might be ill, go to a doctor or clinic and deal with it. 

But, if you (like me) need an extra reason to be generous, the screening to give blood is not a bad perk.

Two Piquant Recipes, No Waiting

This is not a recipe blog. You may sometimes wonder what kind of blog this is, but I bet you have figured out we’re not here to cook. Still, sometimes I come across amazing recipes and today I want to share two of them,by referring you to the sites where I found them.

How do I find these sites, you ask? 

Simple. Google the name of two or three ingredients you would like to use up. This takes you to recipes that use those foods; you decide if you want to try them.

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