q How to be a side gigger.Doing well on your current salary? If so, you’re lucky. According to a MetLife survey, anywhere from 12 to 25 percent of U.S. citizens are either freelancing or working a second job.

A handful of work-related books have come my way lately, offering help for the current or wannabe “solopreneur.” The best of the bunch is Kimberly Palmer’s “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life.” The senior money editor for U.S. News & World Report, Palmer isn’t immune to financial fears.

That’s because although she and her husband both have traditional jobs, they also have two kids and are staring at the same fears a lot of us face: Life is getting more expensive and no one is immune to layoffs. (Ask me how I know.)

So she started her own Etsy store, Palmer’s Planners, in the hopes of being able eventually to work for herself, at her own pace. “It was really about so much more than money. I wanted to be in control of my life,” she writes.

read more

th 2 The low maintenance preppers.I just went shopping in our basement, bringing up several items that were missing in our upstairs cupboards: catsup and ibuprofen (both from Costco), a jar of homemade jam, a can of chicken soup.

It always tickles me to see how much we’ve got stored down there, from the kale we grew and dried to bedpillow-sized sacks of dried beans.

Since I live in a really seismic state, the stockpile also makes me feel safe and prepared. Well, as prepared as one can ever be for another Good Friday Earthquake. (And yes, I’ve thought about what might happen if the house collapsed into the basement: Anger, panic and finally rueful laughter.)

That’s probably why an Everyday Cheapskate post called “Don’t be scared, be prepared” resonated so much and got me thinking, once again, about food preparedness.

read more

th3 This just in: Men prefer sex to a Valentine gift.Stop the presses, right? It certainly doesn’t surprise me that 66% of the men polled by Retail Me Not would choose the pleasures of the flesh over, say, a teddy bear holding a red sateen heart embossed with “I Wuv You.”

They’re likely to be disappointed. In the same survey, 70% of the women said they’d much rather have a present than an extremely personal moment.

Selfish? Maybe. But let’s face it: Most women in relationships can get all the sex they want. Gifts, on the other hand, are a surprise.

Well, sort of: Apparently it’s expected that we’ll be getting gifts on Valentine’s Day. Just flip through any store circular, turn on the TV or surf the Internet to be bombarded by ads that shriek some version of, “Feb. 14 is at hand! Buy the right gift or you won’t get laid for the rest of the year!

read more

th5 Starting the conversations.The demon malware has been vanquished at last. How odd it felt to be unable to write or check comments for a week. And, yeah, to look at pageviews. (Number monkey, right here.)

I missed you guys, and appreciate the Facebook comments saying you missed coming to the site. While the break certainly didn’t hurt me, given the sorrow and disruption surrounding recent events, it made me feel disconnected.

Even though I don’t post daily I’ve come to rely on the chance to put my thoughts out into the blogosphere – and to listen to feedback from readers.

For me the point of having a personal blog isn’t to make money. It’s to start conversations.

read more

th3 Im through explaining.Recently I followed a link at Grumpy Rumblings of the (Formerly) Untenured to a website called Thought Catalog. The article in question is called “18 things women shouldn’t have to justify.”

Things like “putting themselves first,” “how little or how much they’re eating” and “not having baby fever.”

I particularly loved the “amount of makeup worn on any given day.” The writer, Brianna Wiest, says we can go au naturale or “work it like you’re in a drag show…Your face. Your rules.”

I’ve been known to put on a little makeup when I’m having photos taken, but mostly it just seems like more trouble than it’s worth. And again: Nobody tells guys that they ought to wear a concealer or that a good mascara would make their eyes look larger.

Now I’ll see Brianna her 18, and raise her six of my own. Among other things I’m through explaining are:

read more