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“The best thing I’ve ever bought.”

Hello, my friends. It’s Friday and it’s Jim’s birthday. Let’s all send him best wishes, shall we? 🙂

Happy birthday, Jim!

And now, let’s look at some of the top stories from the world of personal finance.

The problem with the homeless shelter system in the U.S. (and why it’s not being fixed) — according to a hobo. [/r/vagabond on Reddit] — “As a vagabond of 18 years, I have been to hundreds of homeless shelters across America. As a volunteer and founder of a non-profit group of homeless volunteers, I have volunteered at hundreds more.
Don’t get me started with how bad some of these places are. Allow me to sum up some of my experiences, and shed some insight as to what you can typically expect at your local shelter(s).”

Seven ways to get free groceries. [Surviving and Thriving] — “Most people already know that food banks provide free groceries. The tactics I’m suggesting below are a bit more outside-the-box. Will they meet your every pantry need? Probably not. But any free items you do score will affect the bottom line.”

“The best thing I’ve ever bought is an ebike.” [Financial Panther] — “When I think about life-changing things I’ve bought over the years, the list is pretty small. A laptop. My first smartphone. The robot vacuum that’s saved me literally hundreds of hours of cleaning time. But perhaps the best thing I’ve ever bought has to be an ebike.”

I’m a little skeptical of new-fangled tracking devices such as Apple’s Airtags. They seem like an expensive solution to a non-problem (for me). But here’s an intersting Twitter thread in which one fellow shares how he used Airtags to recover a stolen $800 scooter. After reading this, the things make a little more sense to me. (I’m not going to buy any, but now I understand why somebody would.)

Last week, I watched this short video essay about why the film Arrival is so good.

The essay prompted me to watch the movie again — even though I just saw it a few months ago. Whoa! I’ve always thought Arrival was fine but nothing remarkable. This time through, I was blown away. This is a great, great movie — but you can only appreciate that if you know what’s going to happen. You have to know the end of the film to understand the beginning.

And that’s kind of the point of the movie. That’s what it’s all about!

I feel like this is a very daring way to make a film, to create a story and structure that is incomplete unless you watch the thing twice. Most people aren’t going to do that. But for those who are willing to do so, it’s an amazingly rewarding experience.

And that’s it for me. Jim will be back next week to share more of the best from the world of money. See you then!