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The Pocket Change Investor
The Secrets to Getting Ahead -- Even if You Have
A Pile of Credit Card Bills, Hefty Mortgage Payments, Loans Out on a Clunker or Two,
And a Bad Case of the "I'm Tired of Living Payday to Payday" Blues

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Welcome to Our First On-Line Issue!

Our format has changed but our goals have not. We want to help you save money, get out of debt, and live better on less. To read the whole issue, click here, or click on the links below for specific articles.

  • Stop Debt Collectors Cold. Bankruptcy attorney John Ventura explains what your rights are if you've fallen behind on your bills, and debt collectors are calling you at home and work.
  • Cutting the Cost of College. It's easy to get college credits by simply taking a test. Compared to the cost of tuition, these tests are cheap -- only $50 each.
  • The Times They Are A-Chargin' (not a typo). Thinking about giving The New York Times Book Review or a magazine subscription as a gift? Read this article if you don't want to be billed forever, or forced to fight with bill collectors.
  • A Money Saving Tip for Movie Buffs. How'd you like to rent videos and DVDs for FREE?
  • Curing the Patient Without Bleeding the Family. Here's a unique way to take a scalpel to health costs.
  • Emergency Preparedness Upstairs. You may not be able to use the staircase to get your family out in case of a fire. Here's how to get them downstairs safely, and in a hurry.
  • Book Corner. This issue's picks include two great books on starting a business of your own, one on how hormone replacement therapy became the cure-all for menopausal women (hint: think drug industry), as well as our own book, Invest in Yourself.
  • Good Advice for a Price. In the same way that you might hire a trainer at the gym, we can give you the individualized attention you need to solve a personal finance, business, lifestyle, or health problem.
One of the things I like to do in my letters is to give you a slice or two from our lives ... in the hope that it inspires or at least entertains you. For example, as I type, Marc is in the kitchen, not 30 feet away, processing home-grown peppers and shiitake mushrooms for our freezer. We cook them together, quick freeze them in ice cube trays, stuff them into plastic bags, and then pop as many as we'd like into whatever we're cooking during the long winter months.

The room where I'm sitting used to be our dining room, but I got tired of taking all our work stuff off the table when we wanted to eat. So the world headquarters of Good Advice Press now resides near the refrigerator, and we moved the dining room down the hall and past the staircase.

We recently tucked a dining room table into a corner of the living room, because we needed dining room #2 for, our newest Web site. We had 10,000 or so comics left from "Marc and Nancy Comics," our early 1980's adventure in retail, which we took out of storage and priced. Now, we're ready to sell them. Please tell every comic fan you know about our site!

While you may not have a pile of comics in the attic, it's well worth your time and energy to create what we call an "Ace in the Hole" -- a teeny, tiny business -- to provide for your family, should the you-know-what hit the you-know-where. (Click for our advice and book picks on being in your own business.)

We hope you enjoy our FREE e-letter, and that you'll forward it to everyone you think might benefit from our ideas.

Many thanks from Marc Eisenson and me!
Nancy Castleman
P.S. We share our best summer experience below.

Our garden produces bumper crops of vegetables interspersed with flowers and the more than occasional weed (many of which are quite edible). Among the bounty are bushels of bird houses ... actually bird house gourds, which when dried, drilled, and hung, are frequently put to good use by birds.

This summer, one of our gourds was home to a pair of wrens. When their young 'uns were nearly fully feathered, and for reasons we can only guess, the parents disappeared. After long hours of waiting fruitlessly for them to return, we took the babies inside.

For the next 11 days, we were on almost continuous nursing duty, feeding them a concoction we came up with, along with aphids and assorted other bugs. When they outgrew the small box we had first kept them in, we built a cage, and furnished it with twigs, which they loved. When that closed in on them, tree branches and moths filled our guest room as the babies learned to fly and feed themselves.

Our hearts broke over the few who didn't make it, but the day came when the guest room was too small, they could eat on their own, and the greater world beckoned the four who remained. So we opened the window and watched as one by one, they flew off.

Baby Wren

We sure fell in love with those little wrens, as did the six of our nine grandkids who got to meet them -- Andrew, Stephen, Josh, Caity, Alison, and Lucy. It was a wonderful, grueling experience. We miss them terribly, and have great compassion for every parent who is now dealing with the empty nest syndrome.

Next time we rescue orphaned birds, which we hope won't be for a good long time, we'll raise them to be more neurotic. They never stop by, call, or write.

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This issue of The Pocket Change Investor is dedicated to Paul Havemann and the other great folks at HSH Associates, the nation's largest publisher of consumer loan information, and the host for our Web site!

Issue #35 ©2003 Marc Eisenson & Nancy Castleman  Good Advice Press  PO Box 78  Elizaville, NY 12523