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thMy daughter just got tagged by the Sunshine Blogger Award, which is sort of like receiving a chain letter. In a good way, since it opens you up to new readers and gives you a chance to promote websites you enjoy.

How it works: Awardees get five questions to answer in print (here’s the link to Abby’s), and are supposed to send five of their own questions out to a handful of bloggers they read.

Of the questions Abby got my favorite was No. 3: “What do you think Victoria’s Secret is?”

Abby’s response: “That she’s very cold.” Snort.

But it made me think about putting my own questions out there – to readers, not writers.*

 


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thA trending Twitter hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter really got my attention today. You can imagine why.

Some well-known writers (Jodi Picoult, Harlan Coben, S.E. Hinton, John Scalzi, et al.) dove in along with the rest of us lesser-known and unknown scribes. Collectively we whirled and howled about stuff like:

  • Low pay and no pay
  • Folks who question why we have to use so many cuss words
  • The assumption that we’ll never get published, i.e., be “real” writers
  • People who treat what we do as a hobby
  • Those who swear they could do this too, if only they had the time

Were we being thin-skinned? Check out a few of the tweets and let me know:

“It’s pretty impressive that you spend so much time on something that has so little chance of success.”

“I downloaded your book for free online. Could you please sign this printout of it?”

 


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thSick of sharing the bathroom, and maybe even a bedroom? Understandable. But the solo life can cost you. The chance to walk around in your underpants and watch whatever you want on Netflix means paying up to 44 percent more for the single life.

That’s why I suggested this as a topic for Money Talks News: “Done with roommates? 48 ways to afford living solo.” Some of those 48 tactics are fairly easy things like researching the rental market, watching for move-in specials and entertaining at home vs. making every occasion an expensive one.

Others are simple, but not easy.

 


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thRecently a relative was sitting on a tailgate with her dog’s leash wrapped around her wrist. The dog suddenly bolted, slamming her arm against the side of the vehicle.

No broken bones, fortunately, but it hurt like heck and she’ll probably have to pony up co-pays for the emergency room visit and X-rays.

Our furry friends can cost us plenty even if they never cause any critter-human mishaps. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the total annual cost for dogs is between $1,314 and $1,843. All you crazy cat people will shell out about $1,035 per year for your little purrmeisters.

Those figures include food, medical care, dishes and the like – but not related costs such as the need to board a pet when you travel or to pay more for homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance if the company deems your pet an attractive nuisance (e.g., a “biting breed”).

Should we put a price on love? You bet.

 


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thWhat’s the weirdest thing you ever did to save money? That’s a question that the GO Banking Rates blogger Christine Lavignia asked of me and 29 other personal finance writers. Here’s my answer:

“As a 21-year-old single mom, I was a clerk at a big-city newspaper, where an editor would ask me to run to the cafeteria for coffee for reporters, ‘and get something for myself, too.’

I would pocket the 35 cents it cost to buy an orange drink and purposely get more sugar packets than necessary; that way, I’d get an extra buck or so a week (these were 1979 dollars) plus sugar to take home for my oatmeal.

“I don’t know about ‘weird,’ but it’s certainly sad. … Just one more reminder that since I had very few resources, I’d better be creative about meeting needs for myself and my baby. My various hand-to-mouth coping strategies were pretty useful much later, when I was a mid-life college student and broke divorcee.”

Edited for clarity: I would get two or three sugars per cup of coffee. Some reporters used that much, others didn’t. At times certain writers would cut back to zero sugars for a while (maybe because they wanted to lose weight). No matter what, most weeks I brought at least a few sugar packets home.

The other answers can be seen at “The weirdest thing I did to save money.” In my opinion only a few of them are truly weird.

My favorite? “I scrounged in the Lost and Found for a free swimsuit.”


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