Where I Got Published Today: Lifehacker

Stop Feeling Bad If You’re Not Saving Every Penny to Buy a Home

If you feel a little behind on your homeownership goals—or if you’re wondering whether homeownership should even be one of your goals—don’t worry. First, you’re not alone. Second, it’s harder to save up for a home than it’s been in a long time.

How to Level Up Your Freelance Income This Year

Your goal is to develop the kind of client/freelancer relationship where they can count on you for work and you can count on them for money. The kind of relationship where they offer you more work before you even have to ask.

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Where I Got Published Today: Lifehacker

Make More Money as a Freelancer by Turning Down Work

In short: if a client offers you a gig and you’re not sure you have time to fit it into your freelance schedule, don’t take on the extra work and run yourself ragged. Tell the client you’d like to work with them but you’re currently fully booked, and see how they respond. 

Try Making Small Tweaks Before Big Life Changes

If you’re not happy with your life, is it better to make a small tweak or a big change?

The answer, of course, depends on what you’re hoping to achieve—and how much risk you’re willing to take to get there.

Where I Got Published Today: Bankrate, Lifehacker

Bankrate: American Airlines and Hyatt Hotels team up for crossover rewards-earning partnership

Good news for American Airlines and Hyatt Hotels loyalty program members: You’ll soon be able to earn World of Hyatt points as a passenger and American Airlines AAdvantage miles as a guest.

Lifehacker: How I Increased My Net Worth by $27,000 in Six Months

I read Financial Freedom three times, cover-to-cover. I did all the exercises and plugged my numbers into Sabatier’s online calculators. I realized that with my current expenses, I could “retire” and live off my investments as soon as those investments hit $750,000—which, at the time, the calculators predicted would take twelve years to achieve.

Of course, I’m not really planning to retire in my late 40s. I’m both a writer and a novelist; we tend to keep working until our final hours. But I’m also realistic. I’ve been a freelancer for seven years, but I can’t guarantee my web writing career will last another seven; even if there’s still the same demand for articles and content, I may start getting passed over for fresher faces with a better grasp of pop/youth culture.

Lifehacker: Change Your Loyalty Program Passwords Now

Hackers don’t just target high-value travel rewards, either. The NYT reports that one man had 9,700 Buffalo Wild Wings points stolen. According to BWW’s Blazin’ Rewards site, that’s enough for nine free lunches (not counting tax and tip) and one free order of street tacos.

A NEXT BOOK Update

I’m at a very strange point in NEXT BOOK.

I had an outline before I started, with some gaps at certain points where I knew that I’d have to get the characters from A to B eventually but didn’t know how they’d get there.

I’m in one of those gaps at the moment, and the way I’m solving it is by, like, literally writing down what the characters do and how they feel about it.

Which is, pretty much, the essence of storytelling.

But it’s not all of what makes a good story.

Here’s what I mean:

So I’ve already told you that this book is a portal fantasy, and because of that it should come as no surprise that my main character goes through the portal. Like, that’s barely even a spoiler.

It might be a bit of a spoiler to say that she goes back into her own world and then has to make the decision of whether to return to the portal world (and for how long, and how often, and whether it should be a permanent transition, etc.).

I know the choice this character makes, but I left myself a gap in “figuring out how she gets there.”

Which means I’ve started writing scenes like this:

The buses began running again on Saturday morning, so Ellen was able to get to the assisted living center without booking a Lyft and leaving a digital trail. Getting to the Banner House would be more difficult; they ended up setting up a new account under Grandma Trudy’s name, Ellen trying to be patient as her grandmother tapped her credit card number into her tablet, hoping nobody she knew would see her. She thought about running down the hall, bursting into Millicent Banner Hayward’s room, saying “guess where we’re going!” She still had to talk to Millicent at some point. Maybe. Once she figured out what to say.

This feels like 70 percent of a story. It tells you what’s going on, it tells you why it’s going on, and it tells you what Ellen is thinking and feeling.

But there’s something missing. Too much logistics, maybe. Not enough sensory detail. The obvious fact that neither Ellen nor I know whether she’ll end up talking to Millicent Banner Hayward (or whether Millicent will end up being a character in the story long-term; she might not actually have a role to play beyond “being the person who did the SPOILER SPOILER thing, fifty years ago”).

Still, I’ll keep writing. I’ve already told myself that I’m going to have to go back and rework a lot of this later, so that means the part of the story I write today can be as tactical and sparse as it needs to be, as long as I keep putting words on the page every morning. ❤️

Where I Got Published Today: Lifehacker

What to Do When You Hate Your New Job

If you hate your new job, should you quit right away—or should you stick it out?

The answer, of course, is “it depends.” Some workplaces are so toxic that leaving as soon as possible can be a wise move. However, if you need the money, want to avoid looking like a job-hopper, and/or want to make sure you don’t inadvertently jump into a job you hate just as much as your current one, it’s worth taking the time to stick around.

At least for a little while.

Where I Got Published Today: Lifehacker

These Are the Only Three Money Apps You Need

How many money apps do you have? Turns out, the perfect number might be three: a budgeting app, an investment tracker, and a credit monitoring service.

At Business Insider, Eric Rosenberg explains that these three apps are “the three most important tools I use to manage my own personal finances whether I’m on my laptop or with mobile apps on the go.”

I also have these three apps, and I agree with Rosenberg—with a budgeting app, an investment tracker, and a credit monitor, you have an excellent understanding of not only where your finances are today, but where they might take you in the future.

Here’s why.

On Following Your Dreams

You know that song I shared in Friday’s Open Thread? One of the handful of songs I wrote all those years ago that I still like?

It came to me in a dream.

Melody, almost in full, and several of the lyrics.

I sang everything I could remember into my phone’s voice recorder as soon as I woke up, and spent the next few days putting the piece together.

The mysterious house at the core of NEXT BOOK was part of a dream, too.

A recurring dream, spent visiting the places in the house that I had grown to love in previous dreams. Attics and basements and secret rooms and staircases that went up and up and up forever.

I hope I end up loving the book as much as I love that song. ❤️

Where I Got Published Today: Lifehacker

How Increased China Tariffs Might Cost You Money

As you might have heard, President Trump just raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods—from 10% to 25%.

Here’s how that might affect you.

Achieve a Personal Goal Before Letting Yourself Make a Big Purchase

The reason this system works, Mr. Money Mustache argues, is because it focuses on other ways you can improve your life—which removes some of the pressure to improve your life with the big purchase.

Where I Got Published Today: Lifehacker, Haven Life

Lifehacker: How to Survive a Freelance Dry Spell

If you aren’t getting as much freelance work as you used to, it’s time to start pitching again.

Trouble is, you can only send out so many pitches in a day. Same goes for reaching out to your network, checking the freelance job boards, asking a former client if they need any help (or know of anyone who might need help), etc. So what else do you do, when you’re in a freelance dry spell?

Lifehacker: Why Low-Stakes Friendships Are So Valuable

If you want to feel like you’re part of a community, it’s time to get to know the people in your neighborhood.

This is hard, for many of us—we’re busy, we’re pretty sure the person standing in front of us at the coffee shop doesn’t want us to introduce ourselves, and so on. But forming casual, low-stakes friendships with the people you interact with regularly is a good way to feel more integrated with the world around you.

Plus, some of those low-stakes friendships could eventually turn into true, close friends.

Haven Life: How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Job

Twenty-four million Americans want to work for themselves by 2021, according to FreshBooks’ third annual Self-Employment in America report.

If you’re already your own boss, you probably want to stay that way; FreshBooks reports that 96 percent of self-employed Americans surveyed “have no desire to return to a ‘regular job.’” In fact, the majority of self-employed people in the FreshBooks study have a better work-life balance now that they’ve switched over to freelancing or small business ownership.

But how do you make the switch? A lot of us can figure out how to start a side hustle, but don’t know how to turn the extra $50 or $150 we earn every week into a full-time income.