eBooks: A Frugal Minimalist’s Dream

I didn’t always like reading. When I was very young, my parents couldn’t get me to read. I was behind in the school reading level, and they spent hours with me trying to get me to learn to read. I wouldn’t have any of it, I just wasn’t interested.

I wasn’t interested, that is, until I found out that reading could actually be fun. I was pretty horse crazy as a little kid, and once I got my hands on some “horse books” I went from barely being able to read to a 12th grade reading level by the time I was out of elementary school.

After that, I couldn’t stop reading. I regularly used to get in trouble at school for reading a book during class instead paying attention to the teacher, and my collection of books expanded accordingly.

Things haven’t changed much since my horse crazy days, I still love to read. Unfortunately, I’m responsible for buying my own books now, and with my strict budget and debt repayment schedule, I can’t afford to purchase several books a month to satisfy my reading appetite.

Not only that, but I also have a hard time stomaching spending $20 or so per book. I love reading, but that’s a high cost for something I may very well read only once.

There’s also my minimalist tendencies to consider. I live in a 400 square foot house, with one book case. Needless to say, shelf real estate is at a premium. The poor thing is already heaving and groaning under the weight of all my books, I can’t add any more. I also hate lugging piles of books from apartment to apartment, and since I move fairly frequently, this is a factor that can’t be ignored.

eBooks to the Rescue

I’ve only recently come around to the ebook craze. I was very resistant at first because I never thought I’d be able to get used to reading a book on a screen. I was also deeply attached to the idea of being able to physically handle my books and turn the pages.

Things started to change when I got my smart phone. It was the first device I was able to read a book on, and it’s when my opinion started to turn. I had some books in storage and instead of digging them out, I downloaded their ebook counterparts, which happened to be free because they were classics.

The convenience of ebooks came immediately apparent. Since I was reading them primarily on my smart phone, I always had one with me. I could read my book literally anywhere, without having to lug a big heavy book around in my purse. I could also read it at night, in bed, without having to turn a lamp on. My fiance really appreciated this.

eBooks are a Minimalist‘s Dream

At first the idea of not being able to handle the physical book was disconcerting. I didn’t like the idea of staring into a screen to get my reading fix. Once I actually tried it, however, I realized that the very thing I took to be a draw back, was actually a perk. I could read a whole book without ever having to actually touch a book. That means no extra weight on my shelves, no extra space being taken up in storage, and absolutely no extra boxes to lug into a moving van.

eBooks are Cheaper!

Not only are ebooks easier on my limited space situation, they’re also easier on my wallet. I always had a hard time buying books that were new releases. Most books are offered in hardcover first, which can run up to $30 in Canada. I remember stalking certain books for months waiting for the soft cover to come out, and waiting still longer for that version of the book to go on sale or turn up used.

J.K. Rowling’s new book, Casual Vacancy is available on Amazon.ca for $26.96 in hardcover right now. In the Google Play store, it’s available as an ebook for $14.99. I’m on a pretty limited budget, so a $12 savings (without even factoring in taxes and shipping) is significant enough to make me take notice.

Letting Go of The Old, Embracing the New

Must like making the transition from DVDs to Netflix, switching from real books to ebooks is a strange change. To me though, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, and getting used to making ebooks my primary source of reading material has been a great decision that satisfies both my frugality, and my inner minimalist.

Do you use ebooks?

Do You Want To Be Self Employed?

Yesterday, I made a tweet about how everyone keeps asking me the same question about life after my MBA. “Will you stay in your same position or apply at new companies?” I have been asked this by multiple people online, and ALL of my friends, family and those that I had my MBA classes with.

My plan is to stay at my current position. This also led to the next question that a couple of other people asked me (Such as 20s Finances), which was “Why don’t you go the self employed route?”

Below are a couple of tweets that others said. There are some tweets missing, so they don’t really go in order just if you’re confused.

Do You Want To Be Self Employed?
Do You Want To Be Self Employed?

The girls over at So Over This and Savvy Financial Latina are on opposite ends of the self employment debate as you can see above. I’m still not really sure where I fall. I do think being self employed would be great, but I do like the stability of a constant paycheck. When you are self employed you have to think about things like business VOIP and other home office services.

I think one common misunderstanding is that self employed life would be easier. However, I think it’s the exact opposite of that. You will be taking on all types of roles and doing all types of tasks, which, especially in the beginning, will be very time consuming.

Self discipline is also another big factor when it comes to being able to be successful in your own business. Since you will be your own boss, and you will most likely control your hours and the work that you do take on (and the clients you chose), you have to be able to follow some sort of schedule in order to stay on task. No one will be there to tell you to hurry up or give you a deadline.

Below are benefits of either choice, and yes I do realize that not all are positively true for each situation.

 

Benefits of being self employed:
1. You get to be your own boss. Don’t like working for other people? Well then be your own boss!

2. Your company might be your passion, or something you enjoy doing. I’m assuming that if you start your own business, that it’s not something that you completely hate. It’s either something you like doing, or that you are really good at.

3. You get to set your own hours. I don’t know about you, but I am NOT a morning person at all. Being able to set my own hours or start a couple of hours later would be wonderful.

4. You are in control. This goes hand in hand with the other 3 reasons above, but it’s the truth. You are in control of what you decide to sell, make, market, advertising, and everything else.

 

Benefits of being an employee:
1. You will not bring work home with you. Yes, some jobs require you to bring your work phone and work home, but if you are self employed, you will most likely dedicate much more time.

2. You want steady paychecks. If you are self employed, there might be months (especially when you are first starting out) where your income might not be the greatest. Maybe they’ll never get up to the point where you would like them. With being an employee of someone else, for the most part, you will have stable paychecks.

3. Vacation, health insurance and other benefits. Yes you have benefits if you are self employed, but the costs will be high. With a position at a company, it will most likely be paid for, or at least some of it will be.

4. You enjoy working with other people. If you’re self employed, you will most likely be working by yourself (at least in the beginning). Maybe you like making friends at work and interacting with others. Not saying that you can’t do this when you’re self employed, but you won’t be surrounded by as many people.

Do you want to be your own boss, or have a boss?

My Extra Monthly Income

Today is Wednesday, finally! Anyways, I thought I’d finally give you the details on my extra monthly income.

In my January Goals update, I said:

“Make an extra $500 this month.  PASS. I made over $600 from blog income and surveys!”

After I posted that, I was literally flooded with e-mails from you guys!

I’ve told you guys in this post, my February Goals, and in my goal update post that I would tell you more information about my monthly income. I’m not going to lie, I have been pushing this off because I’m not too entirely sure what to say and I thought this post would be extremely boring. But then I reminded myself that before I was making this extra income, I LOVED (and I still do love) reading about others and how they made their extra income. It’s nice to find out about new opportunities that you may not have thought about.

I am definitely not a blogging professional, so when you read this post, definitely remember that I don’t know everything. This is all just my opinion!  Also, I definitely didn’t get into blogging to make money, I blog to share stuff with you guys and improve myself. I also didn’t think I was ever going to ever make anything. I really hope the ads on my blog don’t turn people away from my blog, but I don’t think they are too noticeable. I usually don’t even notice ads at all. Having ads on my blog are nice though, because making a little money from doing something that I love is very nice.

My main extra monthly income is from my blog. I didn’t really have any ads on my blog until I started noticing that Erika from Newlyweds on a Budget started monetizing. Erika also uses her side income for similar reasons to me, for traveling. By the way, if you haven’t checked out her blog, go over there now!

Traveling is something that I definitely value in my life. I’m always super busy and I need time to relax (by the beach), and with extra income, I won’t feel as bad about spending money on vacations instead of strictly paying off debt.

This is how I made my extra monthly income for the month of January, after fees (these are all guesstimates as I can’t really remember, I need to keep better track):
  • Ads on my blog -$270
  • Sponsored posts -$222
  • Surveys -$33
  • Mystery Shopping -$150
So I actually made around $675 last month!
  1. For the ads on my blog, so far I’ve only gone through Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, and this has worked out great! She has been extremely helpful and does pretty much all of the work with the advertiser. I’m sure I’m not the only one who says this, but she is definitely an inspiration for all of those in the personal finance blogging community (wow that sounded cheesy!).
  2. For my sponsored posts, I used Social Spark for one of them. I get leads sent to my e-mail and then I can say that I’m interested or negotiate the price. I’m still pretty new to the whole sponsored post thing, but it’s not bad. I was also approached by 2 or 3 other advertisers for doing sponsored posts and did those too.
  3. For my survey income, I mainly use Pinecone Research. A lot of you e-mailed me asking how you can join, but I looked it up and they aren’t taking any new people right now. I’m sorry! But it does say that they occasionally have banner advertisements floating around places and if you click on one, then you can typically join through the banner ad. So I would definitely keep an eye out for those! I don’t make a ton of money with the surveys, but the money does add up, and you occasionally get free stuff sent to you also! I’ve gotten many things that I’ve used and are great. If anyone knows of any other survey companies, let me know so that I can tell everyone else!
  4. I’ve talked about mystery shopping a lot, and I mainly use Bestmark.com. This is kind of easy, but the surveys that you take at the end are extremely repetitive and boring. But it is nice to get things for free such as makeup (Estee Lauder), food, and so on.

 

And then of course I use Swagbucks for nice little Amazon gift cards! I’m trying to save these up for little things that I want to splurge on. These add up kind of quickly. I don’t really use Swagbucks a ton anymore, but I probably make around $25 a month in gift cards from it.

I plan on making more money from eBay soon, but I’m not sure how much that will be. I haven’t sold enough yet, but hopefully soon this starts adding up more quickly.

I plan to do more posts that are more detailed about all of this, so that I can better explain everything to you guys. My main tip is to have an “Advertise” or “Contact” tab on your blog. If they can’t contact you, then how can they let you know about any offers? Do you have any specific questions that I should answer in my future posts? Please let me know! I don’t know your questions if you don’t ask.

What things do you do to make extra money? Please share! What do you use your extra income on?

I hope you all can increase your extra monthly income!