Sunday, January 28, 2018

Frugality: Your Electric Bill, Part 2

There's an easy way to save on your winter electric bill that doesn't require you to change your lifestyle, and not only that, it will protect you, your family, your pets, your plants, your wood furniture, your musical instruments, and your electronics! It doesn't require a big investment of either time or money.

You've heard, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity!" in the summer. Winter air tends to be much drier than summer air, and it works the same way humidity in the summer does: that is, 70 degrees at 50% humidity is a lot warmer-feeling than 70 degrees at 20% humidity. In addition, with higher humidity, you will lose heat from your air more slowly than with lower humidity, meaning your heater will come on less frequently.

The process is easy: buy a cheap humidity monitor, and keep your indoor relative humidity between 45-55%. You'll cut down on static shocks, protect your delicate respiratory passages, and lose less heat from contraction of wood in your building. In addition, you'll also reduce your fire danger on dry days!

There are several ways you can increase your indoor humidity. The easiest is to buy a humidifier, and you can find one relatively cheaply at garage or moving sales. You can also increase your humidity by cooking, opening the dishwasher and letting the dishes air dry, air-drying your laundry indoors, misting your plants (you were going to do that anyway, right?), setting out shallow pans of water to evaporate, or taking a shower and leaving the bathroom door open (and not running the exhaust fan).

Friday, December 15, 2017

Finally, a Replacement for Listmania!

I created tons of Listmania! lists back in the day to spotlight products on Amazon that I thought were great and went along with articles I was writing. However, we have a family joke that says as soon as we like something, it's doomed, and such was the case for Listmania!

However, Amazon has finally seen the light for us poor affiliates, and has introduced the Idea List. Go to your lists, and you'll see a new idea list tab. Add your products to a list, then go to your idea list page, use the site stripe to get your affiliate code, and you're back in business!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Frugality: Your Electric Bill, Part One

Electricity is necessary. But there's no point in having to pay too much, or use electricity you don't need. We can all do our part to reduce demand, and in the process, save money that we were spending on our electricity bills for other things.

LED bulbs:
Yes, this used to be a major investment ($13-14 per bulb). In fact, I had a financial plan for replacing all my bulbs with LEDs. That is, until I went to the dollar store and discovered they had LED bulbs there for, yes, $1.

For some specialty bulbs (3-way, fluorescent tube replacements) the cost will be more. But for your everyday, ordinary light bulbs, you're talking about reducing that part of your electric bill that goes for lighting by 90%. I used to have timers on my Christmas lights and it was a significant part of my December bill. Now, all my Christmas lights combined cost less than the nightlight I used to have.

Light color matters, too. I know many people complain about the bluish tint of LEDs. First off, they also come in yellowish tints, too (look for a low Kelvin temperature, around 2700). However, you may want to consider a cool white or daylight setting. Why? Because you see better with less light.

And when you're replacing, don't forget about your refrigerator bulbs. I had 2 40-watt bulbs in my fridge, which meant that every time I opened the door, I was not only heating up the interior of the fridge with room air, but I was also putting out 72 watts worth of heat to heat up the food I was trying to keep cold. Now I have 2 4-watt bulbs which give me more light (enough to see how badly I needed to clean the refrigerator).

In fact, I'm now down to just seven bulbs needing to be replaced. Four are specialty bulbs, and the others I just haven't quite gotten to yet and I don't use often.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Frugality: Overview

A big part of financial freedom is learning to live with less. The less money you need, the less you need to make, and the bigger difference every additional dollar makes. With that in mind, let's talk about frugality.

That doesn't mean cheap. It means cutting out unnecessary spending, and making what you do spend go farther. So how do you get to frugal from where you are?

Look at what you spend. How much do you spend for groceries? How much goes uneaten? How much is your power bill or water bill? Can you find a way to make them less without sacrificing your quality of life? What about clothing and shoes, or gasoline and car maintenance? Eating out and entertainment?

Many people can't figure out how to spend less, so I'm going to do my best to help you. At this moment, do you have lights on in rooms you're not occupying? Do you have sprinklers that run even if it's just rained? Are you spending money for a service that you could do yourself, or even better, be done by robots? (Yes, domestic robots are a thing!)

Now yes, some things are better outsourced. And some things are a big investment up front, but pay big returns over time. So over the coming weeks I'll highlight different ways to be frugal that won't require huge changes in the way you do things, but will make a big difference in the way you live!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TopicSpotter Sold

With the rash of so many other sites, TopicSpotter has been sold and has claimed all the articles for its own, with no way to delete them. Your only hope is to file a DMCA Notice of Infringement and pray for the best.

Unfortunately, writing for article platforms is currently the Wild West, and there is no way to stop the sale of these sites. However, be warned if you buy one of these revenue-producing sites: if the site claims all its articles are by the site owner, be wary and do your research; get the advice of a lawyer on intellectual property rights. You don't want to end up with Federal Trade Commission Complaints, or be sued by authors.

Your best bet is to head over to the Wayback Machine at and look for the Terms and Conditions of the site you are thinking of buying. If there is a revenue split, in all likelihood the authors own their respective articles.

If you buy such a site, be aware that you will have to continue to either honor the original Terms and Conditions, or give authors a chance to remove their content (90 days is about right). Make sure you send an email notice to each author's registered email address.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Value of Passive Income

I just saw a post on a forum, stating that working a week on a project that was going to pay $2.00 per month is not a worthwhile use of time. Yes, that is true for your day job, I'll admit. However, passive income is much different than active income, and its value has to be figured differently.

With interest rates on investments near zero, and not likely to rise fast, the passive income value of a CD with a $25,000 deposit is $325 per year, or $27.08 per month. Most online writers who have been at it a while earn, on average, at least that much, so you can say that their online properties are worth $25,000 in terms of their passive income value.

Now, the question is not how long it would take you to earn $27.08. Most of us can do that pretty easily. The question is, how long would it take you to save $25,000? That's the real value of your online properties.

To put it another way, let's say you work an hour on some passive income-producing property (an article, a graphic, a photograph, &c.). If that article makes you ten cents per month, you feel as if your time has been wasted. But has it?

The first month you've been paid ten cents per hour. After five years you've been paid six dollars per hour. But after ten years, you've been paid twelve dollars per hour (a little better, right?). In addition, used correctly, each property you put online drives sales to your other properties, so in the long run, everything makes more. And that's time you wouldn't have spent on active income in any case, so it's quite likely that you wouldn't have produced any income whatsoever in that hour.

So don't be discouraged by pennies in earnings, especially at first. It takes a while for your work to catch on, and you have to keep at it steadily.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Literally Anything You Write May Earn You Money!

This was such a funny occurrence that I couldn't resist sharing it with all of you. You know how people tell you to write what you know about, or what you're passionate about, and people will search for it? I got proof the other day that it happens to be true.

I was looking at my Wizzley statistics, and here is the screenshot of what I saw:

So yes, it's true. People will search for anything. If you're not earning yet, take heart. Eventually someone will search for what you're writing about!