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qThe personal finance publishing industry has recently seen a run on books about entrepreneurism. That’s probably because the side hustle has become a reality to so many people — up to 25 percent of U.S. residents currently freelance or work second jobs.

And those are just the ones surveyed. My guess is that the numbers are higher.

Among the best of the books I’ve seen “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life.” The author, Kimberly Palmer, is a full-time writer and mom of two who started her own side gig, an Etsy store called Palmer’s Planners.

It wasn’t about getting rich, but rather to earn enough “to be in control of my life,” says Palmer, senior money editor for U.S. News & World Report.

Want a piece of that yourself? Enter to win the book.


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thToday’s press release from Ebates bothered me a good deal. The cash-back shopping site recently surveyed 1,000 people and learned, among other things, that 49 percent use mobile devices to shop while waiting in line.

Apparently it “cures boredom.”

All the Internet at your fingertips – the chance to download millions of e-books for free, listen to amazing music, view more cat pictures than anyone really needs – and you decide to kill time by shopping?

Couple of things, here:

  • How long are the lines in which you’re waiting?
  • How’s your budget holding up under this anti-boredom tactic?

I understand that even five minutes in line can feel endless. It isn’t, since you do eventually get to go home. Even if it turned into half an hour of waiting, is there no other way to occupy your mind? (See “cat pictures” et al., above.)

Possibly some of these folks aren’t actually buying, just shopping – the equivalent of window-shopping in place. After all, some people can walk through a store and look at lots but leave empty-handed.

But the Internet is superb at creating need where none exists. Oh, that funny T-shirt would be perfect for your brother. A skin-care shop is having a sale on products in your favorite scent. What an interesting herbal tea sampler, and your tisane-loving BFF could use a little pick-me-up….

Throw in free shipping and you’re gone. As is a chunk of your budget.


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thA watched pot never boils, but an unwatched pot full of raspberries and rhubarb can make a real mess of your stovetop.

Yep, I’m back from Florida and I’m making yogurt. And messes.

I didn’t get home until 1 a.m. Tuesday and was so glad to be on the ground I didn’t care that it was covered with snow. Total time between waking up in Tarpon Springs, Florida and getting into my own bed in Anchorage: 23 hours. Alaska is really far away from a lot of places.

Since then I’ve been scrambling to play catch-up with several different projects (including multiple interviews for one of them), so I have neither time nor inclination to write something deeply meaningful. However, I wanted to do a quick roundup.


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Want to get? Try giving

thA writer named Revanche, who blogs at A Gai Shan Life, recently wrote about a friend who’s “against” volunteering and giving to charity.

His rationale: “He feels that he worked really hard to get here and doesn’t feel that he got any help so he doesn’t feel he should give back to the community at large.”

He did work hard, putting himself through school and supporting family members at the same time. So did/does Revanche, who’s still supporting “two adult dependents who aren’t my children.”

What her friend doesn’t seem to get is this: He may not have asked for any help, but it would have been there had he needed it.

Suppose he’d become very ill and unable to support those family members (or himself) during that time. No one would have starved. They could have sought temporary assistance from government agencies but also from nonprofits and private charities funded in part by ordinary citizens.

You know, your neighbors. Fellow human beings. People who think that a few of their extra dollars would have more of an impact outside their bank accounts.


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51PYxmmqqGL._AA300_In a recent post called “How to be a side-gigger” I noted that the four books mentioned in the article would eventually go up as giveaways.

Here’s the first one: “Outsmarting the System: Lower Your Taxes, Control Your Future and Reach Financial Freedom.”  

Written by former IRS auditor Anthony Campidonica, the slim volume explains several ways that ordinary people can use a group of tax benefits, i.e., those for the self-employed. You could be an entrepreneur (full- or part-time), a landlord or an investor.

What if you don’t have the wherewithal to open a store, buy a rental property or invest like the pros? Start small, the author advises. Sell your expertise or a product on the side vs. quitting your day job and diving in. Or save up for that foreclosure or repo and go the renovation-and-rental route in your off hours.


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