This week, Kris and I are spending time with her family in Banff, Alberta, which is nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The scenery is spectacular, and there’s lots of stuff to do. We’ve hiked, rafted, and soaked in the hot springs. This morning, we went horseback riding.

J.D. on horseback
For once, I had good control of my horse (Dell).
Usually when I ride, my horses like to stop to snack.

We’ll spend two more days here before making the long drive home to relieve the housesitter. I’m eager to get home to check on my mother’s condition (my brother says she’s improving). Plus, it’ll be nice to see our cats!

Reminder: New friends Carrie and Seth from Short and Hat are trying to get rich quickly. Using their combined talents (and with the help of Carrie’s grandmother), they made a commercial for a laundry detergent, which is now one of 25 finalists for a million-dollar prize. The catch? The final round is a popularity contest with voting on Facebook. If you feel so inclined, why not help them out?

Though on vacation, I’ve also found time to work. I’ve done a little reading about money on other sites around the web. Here are some interesting recent articles:

First up, Free Money Finance asks, “Why do we all hate annuities?” To be honest, I don’t know much about annuities and have no opinion on them, but whenever somebody mentions them around GRS (as Robert Brokamp did in this morning’s post), people get cranky. FMF’s article helped shed some light on the subject.

From time to time, I get email from somebody struggling to make ends meet on a tiny salary. “What should I do?” they ask. “I can barely afford rent, let alone anything fun.” My general advice, of course, is to find a way to increase income. When you’re pinched, increasing your income will make a greater difference than anything else you could possibly do. But what if that’s not an option? Trent at The Simple Dollar recently walked through some options for making it on very little.

Lifehacker often links to Get Rich Slowly (for which I am grateful), but it’s been a while since I linked to this behemoth of productivity blogs. Recently, though, they’ve posted some great articles about personal finance. Last week, for instance, they shared a bill-by-bill guide to saving on your monthly expenses. This is a run-down of tips for saving on your cellphone bill, your utilities, your credit cards, your insurance, and more. It’s a terrific resource.

Finally, David Roberts has a great article at Grist describing what he calls the medium chill. If you’ve been reading GRS for a while, his theme will sound familiar: “The medium chill involves what economists call satisficing: abandoning the quest for the ideal in favor of the good-enough. It means stepping off the aspirational treadmill, foregoing some material opportunities and accepting some material constraints in exchange for more time to spend on relationships and experiences.”