351095 Giveaway: Budget Bytes, a wonderful cookbook.I’ve often said that food is the budget category with the most wiggle room. After all, you usually can’t bargain down your car payment or your rent. Groceries, on the other hand, can be finagled.

That’s how Beth Moncel came to start a blog and later write a book. Her student loans were “eating her alive,” she said, so she had to cut spending. When a car repair knocked her budget sprawling, Moncel decided to spend no more than $6 per day for food in order to pay the freight.

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science, she already knew how to make food healthy. Now she just had to make it affordable.

To keep herself on track she created a blog, BudgetBytes.com. Soon she developed quite the fan base, because plenty of us would love to eat well but also cheaply.

Now she’s also got a book, “Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half.” Reading it makes me hungry, filled as it is with ideas like Huevos Rancheros Bowls (served over grits instead of wrapped in corn tortillas), Spinach & Artichoke Pasta, Curried Potato & Pea Soup, Chicken Tamale Pie, Teriyaki Salmon With Sriracha Mayo, Cumin-Lime Sweet Potato Sticks, Firecracker Cauliflower, White Beans With Spinach & Bacon, Savory Coconut Rice, and Southwest Veggie & Rice Casserole.


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How I Make Money Blogging Picture 2 Help with starting your blog. Some people write for love. Others write for money. I say it’s possible to do both, by starting a blog and monetizing it.

Although I dislike that neologism, I do embrace its underpinnings, i.e., that the laborer is worthy of his hire.

This week’s giveaway, an e-book called “How I Make Money Blogging: The Beginner’s Guide to Building a Money-Making Blog,” can kick-start your own efforts to be rewarded for your thoughts.

Some people make a little money blogging. Some make a lot. The book’s author, Crystal Stemberger, is in the latter camp. She really works it, running a handful of sites and also acting as ad-sales goddess, mentor, consultant and freelancer. Apparently she is allergic to sleep, because she recently added yet another specialty: pet-sitting.

Not everybody wants to work 24-7. But if you want to start a blog or if you’ve got a site and want it to start paying its way, this e-book can help. A lot.


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book 281x300 Giveaway: Couponing For The Rest of UsAnd now for something completely different: a coupon expert who doesn’t like coupons.

Kasey Knight Trennum, who blogs at Time 2 $ave/Time 2 Give, says that she’s never sung the praises of coupons. Ask her about “the joys of saving a ton of money,” however, and she’ll get pretty vocal.

More than vocal: Trennum wrote a book, “Couponing For The Rest of Us: The Not-So-Extreme Guide to Saving More,” that’s designed to help readers save money “without it becoming an obsession.”

The author offers information on topics like deciphering “sales cycles,” how to locate coupons for items your family actually eats, smart stockpiling, making the Internet do most of the legwork, and turning saving into sharing.

And again, a sane approach: “I can’t stress enough (that) balance is the key to making couponing work for you. You have to figure out how to make it fit into your world; it cannot become your world.”

In addition to the book, this week’s winner will also get a cute little green accordion-style folder. After all, some coupons are still made of paper rather than pixels.


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1491708069 b 187x300 Help with living a life of passion.Having trouble getting started with your goals? Can’t seem to get it in gear to build the business, create the service, learn the skill or write the book you know will make a difference? Motivational speaker and accountant Onyx Jones can help.

She knows a little something about change and growth. Once a homeless single mother, Jones now has a master’s degree in accounting and is a motivational speaker.

She’s turned the latter into a book called “The Unofficial Guide to Achieving Your Goals,” which is this week’s giveaway.

“(After) committing to following all seven steps, you will see improvement in your quality of life in just 30 to 90 days,” says Jones.

This slim paperback (66 pages) is designed to “motivate, inspire and provide you with tools for achieving your goals and living a life of passion.” And those seven steps mentioned above? If you’re not the kind of person who likes to follow directions, maybe this book isn’t for you.


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q Giveaway: The Economy of You.The 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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