Some good reads (and a $100 Amazon card).

thGiven that my most recent giveaway had 243 entries, I’m guessing you guys like to win gift cards. That’s why you should all head over to my daughter’s website, because she’s giving away a $100 Amazon gift card.

Well, she isn’t. DollarDig is. Abby’s just the host. The cash-back site is sponsoring the giveaway of the gift card and will also donate $100 to a charity of the readers’ choice (and 10 T-shirts in addition to the Amazon scrip).

That’s not the only site you should visit, though.


Having trouble making ends meet, or know someone who is? Check out Liz Weston’s “How to pay your bills when you can’t pay your bills,” on the NerdWallet personal finance site. If you can’t meet all your obligations, you need to determine the best strategies – paying some bills and ameliorating the impact of not being able to pay them all. Weston can show you how.

Erin Huffstetler has an answer for all those T-shirts that rarely/never get worn. (Looking at you, compulsive runners.) “How to make a braided T-shirt rug” walks you through making T-shirt “yarn,” the braiding and finally the sewing of your handcrafted floor cover.

I’m very impressed by the result. Not everyone who reads this is crafty or even moderately proficient with a sewing machine, but pretty much all of us can learn to braid and the final sewing can be done by hand if need be. I bet this would make a good scouting or Sunday-school project, too, although I’d suggest starting smaller than Huffstetler did.

Sometimes spending a little could save you a lot. Or so says credit expert Beverly Harzog in “How a budgeted splurge helps you get out of debt.” She says (and I agree) that if you don’t “keep a treat or two for yourself” then you’ll fall off the budget wagon – and that’s rarely a soft landing.

“So if you love your latte, keep your latte,” Harzog says. “Ignore the latte-shamers and take care of yourself.”


‘Does anyone feel anything?’

In a post called “I don’t write ‘content,’ I tell stories,” Felicia Sullivan writes about something that’s been bugging her for the past year:

“I’m going to say something that’s a bit controversial: There’s a deluge of terrible writing on the Internet. What I love about the online space and the advent of digital technology – the democratization of voices and the ease in which unknown greats can rise above the din and find shelter with a receptive audience – has also given way to the sense that everyone who has a piece of virtual real estate can call themselves a writer.

“I witnessed mediocrity get rewarded with microfame and book deals. I watched people fixate on securing X amount of fans and newsletter subscribers thinking that acquisition, the desire for more, was tantamount to achieving personal success. I watched people instruct others on how to manufacture ‘viral content’ to ‘bolster your brand and increase followers’ instead of telling honest stories.

“I watched brilliantly crafted novels go unnoticed in favor of poor fiction with its grating, overwritten prose and characters void of complexity. I read a lot of lists and scrolled through what seemed like a labyrinth of quizzes, wondering, does anyone feel anything?

This has been bugging me, too. Certainly some people would think of this as sour grapes on her part, or mine. But I think she’s nailed it: Too much attention is going to those who’ve learned to work the system, whether or not they produce anything worth reading.

I’d be interested in hearing other people’s thoughts on this.

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  1. I agree with you and Felicia Sullivan. Too much attention and reward are given to mediocrity. Content is just stuff. Good writing results in stories we want to read.

  2. jestjack

    I agree. What I seem to see lacking… is an original thought. Present company excluded…LOL….But your action on transportation would be a good example… I read tons of articles on frugality and saving on transportation costs by combining trips, buying cheaper gas, reducing insurance costs…etc. But few if any suggest doing without a car altogether. You on the other hand saw what a “money suck” an auto can be and did away with it along with ALL the expenses. And as memory serves you did a good thing by passing it on to DD. A pretty original thought from where I’m sitting.

    • Donna Freedman

      It worked out well for the three of us — although, as you’ll recall, the article did make it clear that going car-free isn’t for everyone.

      Whether I’m writing about frugality or anything else, here’s what I keep in the forefront: How will this help others? Will it teach, entertain or make people think?

      Not every post can be the Magna Freakin’ Carta. But even a quick piece should have style.

      Thanks for being such a consistent reader and commenter.

  3. priskill

    Yeah, have to agree. There are a few blogs worth reading, both for content and quality of writing — S&T always at top of that list. I also see too many potentially interesting blogs falling prey to the “Sponsored Post” syndrome where every other article is essentially a homespun ad for a food product or some such. You instantly know that nothing in it will reflect an actual original thought. And I am all for bloggers earning their daily bread, so links and sponsors are fine — happy to oblige! Even the occasional sponsored post is fine. But it’s so obvious when commerce takes over the wheel. I just quit reading. Happily, that never happens here, or at Frugal Girl or Root of Good or I pick up Pennies — You are all writers first. Viva la Difference!

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