Thursday, February 21

Informative Post Review

Recently, before I became fully employed, I had a little bit more time on my hands than I do now.

So, in an effort to earn a little bit of income in my spare time I signed up with Informative Post (sign up). I only wrote one or two articles for them, but they accepted my work and paid me for it via PayPal.

At the current time they are expanding (especially since they've just introduced a new affiliate program). I hope they can keep their focus on accepting only quality original articles -- there are more than enough article directories out there with not so good content.

If you sometimes feel like writing something that isn't a good fit for your blog, perhaps you should give them a try?

As with any online program, be a little bit cautious. Give it a try. Make sure it works for you. Then, after dipping your toe, feel free to jump in a little deeper if everything seems alright.

Here are the current rates for accepted articles...

TechnologyScienceWorld & BusinessSportsEntertainmentGaming
$3.75$3.47$3.58$4.11$3.83$4.32

Wednesday, February 20

Incentive Credit Rates Making Sense

I find it hard to believe but I'm finally looking at a situation in which it makes sense to take advantage of temporarily low credit card rates.

To give you a bit of background, I've been forced to quietly carry some credit card debt for years now. Luckily, I do have a low interest credit card, but it's still a noticeable drain on my finances. Anyway, as my last post suggests, I've been offered a good job. This means I've finally broken down and decided to move to a city that actually has a demand for my skills.

While this is terrific it does mean that I'm going to have a lot of expenses to deal with. I'll have to find someplace to live and that generally means paying two months rent up-front. Until I find a permanent home I'll have to stay somewhere -- and I don't intend to live out of my car for any length of time. Hmm, I'll have to spend a lot on gas until I've finish relocating too. In short, there are a million little things that are going to cost me extra for the next month or two.

The plan?

Pay off a large chunk of the existing debt on my credit card. Then, I'll pay for all these new expenses using the same credit card while I have access to very low interest rates. Either way, it's the same cash out of my pocket. So, by funneling my payments through the credit card I'll end up with the same total balance but it will be financed at a much lower interest rate.

Once I get settled into the new job and get a few paychecks under my belt I'll be able to whittle away at my debts. It should be interesting to see what happens when a decent income collides with frugality instincts honed by half a decade of living with less. I can't wait!

Saturday, February 16

Stealth Living

You Can't See MeI hope this will be the last in a series of posts dealing with how to get by during tough times. You see, while I have been searching for a decent job lately, I believe I've finally found one.

Anyway, while I've been away from home looking for work, I've had to live very cheaply indeed. See my previous post about "alert status red" for more information. Once again, I'm happy to give you tried and true strategies for getting by on less -- or stealth living in a 24h society.

I know it's been done before, but the stealth issue is that I've been living out of my car. If you are forced to this level of living for a short period of time here are some ideas for you:

  • Buy old fashioned (large flake) rolled oats. If you are lucky they will come in a large plastic bag that is resealable. This is your cheap, convenient and healthy food.
  • Buy powdered milk because it won't go bad whether it is hot or cold.
  • Buy bottled water. It's okay if it freezes, as you can melt it and use it at a later time.
  • Buy plastic cups, perhaps the cheap pack of 50 beer cups, but not the styrofoam ones.
  • With these items, and perhaps some chocolate powder, preferably chocolate protein powder, you have an instant snack anytime you are hungry.
This will be your staple food, but you can supplement it with other things if money permits. I'd suggest putting the food between the back of your seat and the rear seats. When parked you can reach back, work with the ingredients, make yourself a meal, and eat it. It's also handy to use a plastic grocery bag, attached in some way for easy use, to put your garbage in as you open and unwrap things.

Clothing is another issue. So are showers. Use the trunk of your vehicle like a closet or dresser. Have a gym bag that you will load with clothes you will change into and then simply go to a nearby 24h gym. It helps if you have a membership, but many will offer a trial membership. You can go early in the morning and then change for the day after your workout and subsequent shower. Be sure to get your change of clothes ready whenever weather permits -- as it could rain anytime and interfere with your ability to pick out a critical change of clothes for an upcoming interview.

With showers covered, and clean clothes to change into, you now need to have access to facilities. This is easy during the day if you have pocket change. You can walk into a donut shop or a McDonald's, use the facilities, and then buy some minor item on your way back out. However, you will have to find 24h services so that you are never left without the ability to use them whenever you might need to. Of course the gym will work as well, but you'll generally want to limit your visits there as you may end up working out every day in order to shower and change anyway.

Now, sleeping in the car does suck, but if you have to do it, you have to do it. You obviously must find a safe place that you won't freeze. One good place is at a gas station used by a large number of truckers. They are generally busy 24 hours a day with trucks coming and going. You can find a parking spot, curl up, sleep as best you can, and then head out to the gym the next morning to wake up and get changed. Just make sure you don't freeze to death.

If you need Internet access in order to stay connected during your travels, you have several options. Usually you can book some time at a public library. However, if you do have a laptop, you can find places that are frequented by students and see if those businesses maintain a public access network. For example, while doing laundry on the road recently I was able to connect my laptop and get online thanks to the local pizza place.

Living like this is not fun, it's not comfortable, but it is cheap. Just be careful while you are out there...