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11/04/16 Travel , Work # ,

How I Side Hustled Across the Country on Fulfilled by Amazon

Amazon

This guest post about making money on Amazon is by Tyler Philbrook, a personal finance blogger at I Am the Future Me who I met at FinCon16 in San Diego in late September. I also wrote a post on his site, so after you read his story here about how he made money to attend FinCon, go over to his site to read my post about what got me to get going on starting an emergency fund.

A little over a year ago I got the opportunity I had been waiting for. I was GIVEN a ticket to FinCon16, a financial blogger conference that I wouldn’t be able to go to.

When given the ticket I became sick to my stomach. I should have been excited, but I knew I was going to have to turn it down.

I have a lot of credit card debt, and didn’t want to go further into debt to travel across the country.

Instead, I committed myself to getting there no matter the cost, no matter the sacrifices I would have to make I would come up with the money.

One of the MANY side hustles I did was sell on Amazon with FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). Continue reading

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08/22/16 Children , Travel , Work # ,

Money Lessons from a Summer Off

Money Lessons from a Summer Off

 

School is back in session in many areas of the country, giving parents everywhere a reason to celebrate the end of summer.

As a freelancer who works from home, I’m about as ecstatic as you can get that my daughter is going back to school — though probably not as much as this guy:

I’m not doing cartwheels yet, or even rolling around on a shopping cart, but not having a child burst into my home office and ask to watch TV, play with the iPod, say how bored she is, or fix herself a sugary snack in the kitchen is enough of a time reward that I can get back to writing for my websites.

I did manage to get some work done for my clients — I tried to work from 9 a.m. to noon on most weekdays during the summer — but now I’m looking forward to writing for my websites after giving them most of the summer off.

It was a fun 10 weeks. We took a few in-state vacations, and I learned a few money lessons along the way: Continue reading

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05/23/16 Travel , Work # ,

Doing Work on Vacation is a Horrible Idea

Doing Work on Vacation is a Horrible Idea

Doing work on vacation can sound like the best of both worlds: You’re relaxing at a beach, for example, while getting some work done on your laptop so that you can afford the vacation you’re on.

It’s also a way to let the boss — if you have one — know that you’re a serious worker who goes above and beyond the call of duty to get work done whenever needed.

If you’re doing some work on vacation you’re not alone. A survey found that 61 percent of people do some work while on vacation. Another survey found that 35 percent of millennials worked every day of their vacation.

As a freelance writer who works for myself, I’ve found other entrepreneurs who take pride in cramming in some work while on vacation. I know a freelancer who is traveling in Europe now with his family while setting aside a few hours each day to work.

There’s always some work to be done, whether you work for yourself or someone else, and time off from work is more time to get work done. Continue reading

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05/09/16 Travel # ,

Westin Gets it Wrong on Vacation Days

Westin Gets it Wrong on Vacation Days

 

I’m a sucker for vacation photos. If a hotel chain puts up a social media post about great spots with a photo of a deserted beach, I’ll likely click on it. My life goal is to be on a perpetual vacation, and this is one way to do it.

Vacation photos and websites for hotels dot my social media accounts, and a sponsored post by Westin Hotels & Resorts in my Facebook feed last week caught my attention for its stupidity:

vacation“You Don’t Need More Vacation Days. You Need More Unforgettable Days.”

Or as Westin’s social media person wrote above a photo of a lush valley somewhere (Hawaii?):

“You don’t need more vacation days, you need better ones.” Continue reading

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01/22/16 Children , Travel # , , ,

2 Worthwhile Splurges at Disneyland

2 Worthwhile Splurges at Disneyland

 

My family recently went on a short trip to Disneyland with another family, enjoying all the Magic Kingdom in Anaheim, Calif., has to offer and all of the expenses that come with it. We saved money in a number of areas, but there were two areas where I thought the splurge was worthwhile.

Even if we hadn’t saved money by staying at a hotel a mile away from Disneyland, or used credit card reward points for a free night, or drove instead of flew the 400 miles from home, or only went for two days — I still would have thought it was worth the extra money to do two things that were high on my list for a Disneyland visit.

For an extra $275, my family of three got dinner and front-row seats to the popular World of Color show at Disneyland California Adventure Park, or DCA, and lunch at the Blue Bayou restaurant in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.

It was an expensive addition to our trip, especially when you consider that it only added up to three more hours of fun — two hours at DCA for dinner and the show, and about one hour at lunch.

Paying for a unique Disneyland experience

I thought both were worth the cost, mainly for a reason I’ve written about before: Fun experiences that you and your children will remember for years are worth the extra cost — if you can afford them. I’m not suggesting that anyone go into debt for such things, but to save and find other ways to pay for whatever extras they think are worthwhile.

A better view for World of Color, as I wrote at another personal finance site I own, was important to me because my wife and I took our daughter, now 11, to see it three years ago but we sat so far at the back of the crowd that we couldn’t see it too well and left early. Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.