All posts by Emily

Emily Hunter owns three websites which are all part of the same motivational coin. These are Three Motivational Quotes, Million Ways to Save, and Eleven Minute Awesome She is a freelance writer, having written over a thousand articles for ghost writing sites like Textbroker, The Content Authority, and iWriter. Currently, she is pursuing more writing opportunities. If you need a guest post, SEO articles, or web pages written, contact Emily at justyammer@gmail.com

The Winning Roommate Experience

On Tuesday night, the youngest of the guys living in our household bailed to go live off on his own. This was a delightful moment, as it represented the fact that he had finally made it out on his own. He was free, and could officially put the crap that he’d been through behind him. He also represented a successful roommate experience.

I consider a successul roommate experience to be one where the roommate:

    Pays on time
    Keeps to themselves
    Cleans their area
    Doesn’t Break Stuff
    Causes No Drama

There are plenty of other qualifications for an awesome roomie experience, but I figure that if you’re living in my house that you shouldn’t put me through drama or make me have to jump through hoops to keep my life quiet. It’s one of those important things – like making sure that you eat your own food and such.

A roomie experience that has no casualties is one where we don’t have to do major cleanup, there’s no money owed at the end, and they’re not leaving us in a yelling or screaming fit. Preferably, they’re leaving because they’ve found love or that they can just move on with their lives.

    No money owed
    No serious cleanup
    No great secrets learned

This one was pretty good, and we’re thankful for the experience. We’ve all had roommates from hell, and there’s a likelihood that we’ve been a roomie from hell in the past, but ending on good notes where bridges are created is the best type of roomie situation.

Having a roommate saves money. You can easily split the rent that you’ve got to pay into halves or thirds, and that makes it a lot easier in the long run as well as making it easier to save some money for future things. We’ve had roommates here for a while just for that reason. We’ve both saved our asses from time to time, and it’s a delightful experience.

I’d love to hear about your roomie experiences. 🙂

Cheap Eats: The One Pot Meal Revisited

My mother recently gave us a crock pot. Occasionally, she hits it out of the park when it comes to stuff I need but won’t buy for myself. I’ve talked about one pot meals in the past, but this particular gift makes it so incredibly easy to cook them.

Crock pots are awesome for cooking soups, stews, and variations on chili. When I first got this gift, I used it for five days in a row, making all of those with varying ndegrees of success. The best recipes were the chili and the spanish bean soup, so I’m including the recipes here.

What I love is how easy the crock pot is to use. You literally throw all of the stuff into the pot before you go to sleep and wake up to whatever you’ve made, cooked and ready to go. This was a serious selling point for me – it’s incredibly simple to blow the diet first thing in the morning from the convenience of the ‘bad’ foods.

One Pot Meal: Chili

2 pounds hamburger – $6
1 medium sized onion – $.50
4 cans kidney beans – $2.40
1 can tomatoes, okra, corn mix – $1.00
1 can diced tomatoes – $1.20
2 small cans tomato sauce – $.75
Chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper – $.25 — Total: $12.10

It works better when you brown the hamburger with the onion before you toss it into the pot. That way, you can get some of the delicious flavors of the meat infused with the onion. You don’t necessarily have to play it this way, though, because my pot came out really really nice.

Makes (at least) 6 servings. Price per serving $2.02

One Pot Meal: Spanish Bean Soup

2 rolls chorizo (these looked like the smoked sausage packaging) – $4
4 cans chick peas – $2.40
1 medium onion – $.50
1/2 head cabbage – $.50
Water to cover everything
garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste – $.25 — Total: %7.65

The spices are all brought out in the chorizo, so you don’t really have to do anything other than let it cook. The nuttiness will come out in the chick peas (garbanzo beans) and infuse the whole dish. To me, this stuff replaces chicken soup as the elixir which cures all of your ailments.

Makes (at least) 6 servings. Price per serving $1.28

When you set the crock pot up, you’re not immediately committed to a meal the rest o your life like you are when you’re making a big pot of something. It’s only 5 quarts of stuff, so if you mess it up, you’re not out the entire budget. I have messed up on chicken soup (it just didn’t have enough depth) and some of the other dishes were just ‘meh.’

Crock pots are pretty cheap – I’ve always equated them with the price of a decent rice steamer. I’m sure, like everything, that there’s a huge gamut of quality out there. But seriously, under $5 a meal is the way to go, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

For more recipes and information about one-pot meals:

65 Cheap Healthy One Dish Meals at Cheap Healthy Good
One Pot Warm Orzo Salad with Brussels Sprouts and Golden Raisins at One Hungry Mama
Crocktober: All In One Crockpot Meals at A Cowboy’s Wife

Find Your Passion: Create a New Income Stream

The first time that I heard the phrase ‘income stream’ was when I was working at my ‘real job’ in a digital library. We had won the contract to operate a paper and digital plan room. We would be sent building plans through various sources, scan them, and keep them on file for contractors who walked in the door. We got paid for holding the plans on file. We got paid for scanning the plans. We got paid for administration of the plans. The powers-that-be were searching for more.

The Chief of Operations was a mellow sort of company man. He had a background at a much larger company, so he’d developed the ability to work with people and bring out the best in them. He asked me what other income streams could be developed within this plan room. I loved the phrase so much that I tucked it into the back of my mind for future reference.

My company didn’t pursue any of my ideas, but it was still enjoyable to come up with them. It was training for me to become more of a businessperson.

Income streams do not have to be wholly and completely separate from the other things you do. In other words, you do not have to run a laundromat, be a bookseller, consult about structural engineering, and be an administrative assistant. Creating income streams runs best when they are all part of the same river of thought.

If you’ve worked for any length of time, you’ve developed some expertise in your field. If you do something for thousands of hours, you eventually become an expert, right? But, that expertise doesn’t have to be used solely for that one business venture. Your attention can be split to generate new streams of income.

Repurpose

Generating an income stream does not necessarily mean that you have to create an entirely new product. For example, the company I used to work for warehoused rolls of paper for the machines that they sold. Roll paper is great to have on hand for ar as well as for those to-do listers who love to make charts. It’s excellent in many situations – not just for architectural and engineering purposes.

Think about the other markets who may wish to use your product.

Reinvent

We’ve all got different ideas about the products which we use. You have the whole world on your side when you decide to reinvent the product that you’re usiing. If you sell old hardware, for example, there are plenty of art themes that you can use with that, or you can use it as paperweights. Your creativity and your skills come inot play, but you’re up to the challenge.

Think about all of the different uses for your product, all of those uses which may be out of the box or outlandish. In there, you might have another income stream.

Repurposing is about using the product that you’ve got for the same purpose across different markets. Reinventing is about using the products for purposes that weren’t originally designed. Through these two methods, you can get a lot more products than the originals, without having to come up with a new product. Through this process, you can come up with many new income streams.

Great Posts for Inspiration

Make More Money with a Little Free Thinking at I’m Bleeding Money
Creating multiple streams of income at The Money Chat
10 Multiple Income Streams You Can Create at The Mogul Mom
Multiple Income Streams: 10 Ways to Earn Extra Income at DoughRoller
Ten Ways to Translate Your Passion Into Additional Income at The Simple Dollar

Writing Advice for Non-Native English Writers

I recently got a comment on my post about Why I Left Textbroker asking for tips on making money online through writing. I have literally made thousands of dollars through writing on Textbroker and other platforms (I’ve recently discovered the joys of Elance, as you know) and, rather than making a short and simple answer, I decided to write a post. Here is some writing advice for the non-native English writer.

First of all, I’m firmly in favor of everyone getting a shot at writing and following their passion for writing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a non-native English speaker or not – I believe that there’s a place for everyone, and that the need for content is such that everyone can be employed. Good search engine optimization and avoidance of Pandalization drives many content seekers to places like The Content Authority, iWriter, Textbroker, and other content mills.

At these content mills, writers can ‘cut their teeth’ on learning the business of writing for profit. There are literally thousands of articles available for individuals to learn the ins and outs of SEO, article directory submission, and more. There are plenty of non-native English speakers which work on those sites, as well as on Elance, Guru, and Odesk. And they’re making reasonable money for their location.

Here are some tactics to boost your writing skills and get the better jobs.

Interaction

Interact with native English speakers and study their mannerisms and patterns of speaking. One great place to do this is at My Language Exchange, where speakers of your language and speakers of English are paired together to work on teaching each other their native tongue. If you are in more urban areas of your country, it’s highly likely that you come in contact with native English speakers. Choose those with whom you feel comfortable, and ask them to help you practice. Another place which is extremely exciting is Duolingo – it’s in beta right now, but it’s going to be a boon for everyone.

Read fiction

Read fiction written by native English speaking authors. By reading this fiction, you will see some of the dialogue which happens between the characters, and get to understand the nuances of the English language. You see, you’re at a disadvantage, just like every person who is learning another language – you might have the basic mechanics of the language down, but nuance takes longer to learn because it comes from cultural indoctrination. Reading English fiction offers a glimpse of this nuance-filled writing in its natural habitat.

Read non-fiction

Look at some of the copywriting books which are available. There are tons of them out there, though I admit a partiality toward Robert Bly’s The Copywriter’s Handbook. For stylistic issues, turn to Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. You can get a good round base of the mechanics of English, subject/verb agreement, and more. The first thing to strive for in the English writing world is the mechanics — then work toward the art and the passion which comes from learning a new language.

Translation

Find an article written in your native tongue that truly strikes home for you. Translate that article into English, and then show it to a native English speaker to see if they were able to get the passion and beauty of the original article through your words. If you don’t have someone available who will read and critique your English writing, I’ll be more than happy to read it over and tell you where the writing could be better.

Persistence

Keep writing. And writing. And more writing. And then when you’re done writing, write some more. Keep submitting that writing to the content mills and see if they will give you a true critique of your work, rather than telling you that you didn’t put a comma here or there. The only way that you’re going to get better, and the only way that you’re going to be taken seriously and make real money within the English article writing world is if you write. If you’re merely after a few bucks, that’s one thing, but if you want to make a real serious go at it, you have to keep writing.

Non-native English speakers have several advantages and disadvantages when it comes to competing against English speaking writers. Because of the cost of living, you can afford to charge content seekers less, but usually your work doesn’t compare in quality to the native English speaking writing. Push yourself into becoming better at English, study mannerisms, and get the technical work down cold. When you advance to the next level, it will be extremely rewarding.

Photo is courtesy of Zoetnet on Flickr, and is used with permission through the Creative Commons Attribution License.

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with others.

How to Save Money the Easy Way

With the economy still struggling and many people still in very difficult financial situations, everybody is looking for how to save money. Unfortunately, many people don’t quite know where to start, as it is very difficult for most of us to prioritize costs and know where to spend, where to save, and where to invest. The good news is that these problems do not arise due to any shortage of opportunity – people who carefully plan and keep their eyes open can find endless opportunities to save in their daily lives. Here are some excellent money-saving tips which will help you keep more money in the bank.

Ignore brand names

This tip can apply to everything from buying new clothes, new appliances, or groceries. Those store brand products are usually just as good as the ‘name’ brands, and often sell at a fraction of the price.

Minimize Your Transportation, Minimize Gas Costs

While the best money saving tip would be to leave the car behind and choose public transportation, this is obviously not a choice which can be made in most areas. When possible, try to use your bike or even your feet. Instead of making the special trip to the gym, take a walk around the neighborhood. Remember, you are trying to save money overall, and every little bit that you don’t spend, you can save for later.

Cut Back on Bad Habits

Bad habits are expensive, and you are spending large amounts of money to sustain those habits. The average price of a 2 liter bottle is $1.50. The average price of a pack of cigarettes is $5. The cost for good alcohol is enormous. Minimizing, or even cutting out altogether, these bad habits will both save money and reduce the instance of the bad habit.

Get Stable Investments

The stock market is a roller coaster. The real estate market is in shambles. Give some thought to investing in gold, a more appropriate and stable safe haven for your money.

Sell Your Stuff

Many people have attics, basements, and storage units that are positively crammed with goods that are just collecting dust. Have a good garage sale, look toward one of the selling sites, or simply sell some of this to friends. You’d be absolutely amazed with the amount of money that you can earn, and you’re clearing the way to a more minimalist, frugal household. If you clear out your storage unit to the point where you don’t have to have it anymore, that’s an additional savings per month.

Keep your eye out for coupons and deals

There is nothing so tasty as a meal which is bought with a coupon. There is nothing which reads better than a book bought at a significant amount off of the list price. Keeping those deals in mind is easier than ever these days – there are sites, apps, the tried and true local papers, and more which have the frugal person in mind. Before you purchase something at retail, think about the deals which you can get on those products.

Photo is courtesy of Epsos.de and is used with permission under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Online Coupons Done Right

Finding the best online coupons is a passing fancy for some, a mission for others. Me? I rarely buy anything more than groceries, but when I do purchase my books, music, or clothes, I buy them from online vendors. While I love supporting local stores, it’s often easier and cheaper to use an online retailer for those extras. Why is it cheaper? Coupon codes are available for nearly every major online retailer in the world, and that can save you a ton of cash.

Where do you find coupon codes?

The largest database of online coupon codes can be found at Coupon Chief. Basically, if you’re wanting to purchase something online and need a coupon code, start with Coupon Chief. It’s likely there’s a coupon for you in their expansive list of stores and listings. You can find offers for free shipping, money off your total purchase, as well as percentage discounts off of your total purchase. There are also a few surprises from vendors, so it’s worth checking out.

I’ve tried some other coupon sites, but they are difficult to muddle through. While they might have the coupon codes available, you have to jump through countless hoops or go through a pesky registration process to get to them. Personally, I see registration, even if the account is free, as a barrier. Coupon Chief is different. While they encourage you to sign up, it’s not necessary to register on the site to receive great deals.

How does Coupon Chief Get Its Codes?

That’s one of the great features. Many coupon places solicit their codes without anything expected in return. Coupon Chief has a program called Pays-2-Share where you can get 2% from any of the purchases that are made from the codes. In other words, if you’re one of those who scours the net looking for the best coupon codes, you can get paid for your efforts with an affiliate program. That’s the part which requires registration, but it’s worth it to get some money out of the deal.

As a result, countless coupon codes are submitted for review from everywhere on the web. When the database is added to, everyone wins. Coupon Chief harnessed the power of social networking in the interests of helping everyone save money.

Are these codes legit?

With such an overwhelming incentive to bring coupon codes to the site, some might get the idea that they can submit false codes in the hopes that they will receive money. Each of the codes at Coupon Chief is rated, commented upon, and thoroughly reviewed by its users. If someone submits a bogus coupon code, or the code goes to a sleazy vendor, it will be quickly caught. They have no tolerance for BS, they just want to bring you the best coupon codes around.

Whether you’re just dabbling in coupon codes, or you have a passion for finding the best deals and sharing, Coupon Chief is the best place to go. I know that I will go there before I shop at any online retailers so I can get a discount on already low Internet prices.

Disclosure

While this is a paid review, the opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by Coupon Chief or any other individual, entity, or corporation. Although I don’t go shopping often, when I pick up something from Amazon or Woman Within, I’ll be stopping there first. Picture courtesy of DMDonahoo on Flickr and is used with permission from the creative commons license.