Childfreelife’s Weblog

{February 4, 2009}   Winning Blog Contests!

I have had considerable luck entering blog contests. Usually a blogger has something they can give away, a book, a computer program, or some article of clothing. The product given is dependent on the type of website. Blogs usually have small readerships, and usually the blogger chooses the winner either based on the quality of the comment entry, or randomly out of a hat. Either way, if you are competing against less than a hundred folks, your chances of winning are pretty high.

Recently I won free tax software from poorer than you And I wanted to send out a big shout out of thanks! This will help put more money in my pocket faster, as well as into the pockets of my two roommates. Cheers, let the money flow in.

I think one of my roommates had planned on going to a tax preparer to have his simple federal taxes done. He is single, with no mortgage or medical bills, and he only had one job per year. These tax preparation places charge upwards of a hundred dollars to prepare taxes. Now of course if you feel over your head and have lots of special deductions, than I understand using a service. Great thing is, this free tax software seems to be the same software some of the tax preparers use. Double win!

Childfree folks have some disadvantages doing taxes, less deductions because no dependents or children. However, don’t short yourself, a lot of the tax breaks that seem like they are for kids only apply to adults too. Do you care for an elderly relative by providing for the majority of their expenses? Are you going to college and paying for it yourself? In both cases, you should investigate possible credits and deductions that might apply to childfree families. Folks making less than 15K a year also might be eligible for earn income credits–although its a benefit usually reserved for childed families, you might be eligible, its worth looking into.

One of my friends survival mamaoften wins these sorts of contests and receives craft products.

I suggest only entering contests for things you really want, for example, often I see contests for finance books, but I only enter the contest if I actually want the book. What is the point of winning something I can’t use? I would rather stay out of it and increase the chances for someone else.

I am currently looking into having one of these sorts of contests myself, I will let you know when I find something appropriate to give away.


{February 1, 2009}   Unemployment and Depression

The feeling of value I internalized from working and earning money slowly deteriorated after several months of unemployment. True, I was working in a hostile environment in the first place, so my self-worth was suffering from the constant abuse from my boss. (I mentioned her earlier, the one that felt volunteering to help a troubled child was immature in comparison to her being a mother…) However, I am dealing with bad feelings after losing my job.

But what is a person to do when the unemployment could loom on for months? In the recession around 2003, my mother and my aunt were unemployed for a year. A friend, I respect, one of the most innovative and hardest workers I know, Taylor Elwood has been out of work for 5 months. I really can’t expect to pop into work any day now. And I have to stave off the feelings of worthlessness if I am to keep positive. Here are some things I am doing to cheer myself up and stay confident:

*Talk to friends. Talking to other people you respect and getting their feedback about their own periods of unemployment can really help me feel like I am not alone. If my mom, my aunt, and my friends have all gone through it–all of which are awesome workers–how can I blame myself for this period without work?

*Do something fun. Sure money is short, but when will I have so much time again? Gas prices are way down, I feel like I have teleported eight years into the past–so driving to the beach doesn’t feel like an expensive luxury anymore. I still plan to conserve and save money, but a nice local road trip can really change my point of view. My brother and I went to a really awesome beach to take in the sites on Friday. No one was on the beach and we also got to check out a covered bridge. Also I saved a stranded cat. It cheered me up immensely.

*Volunteer your time. If you keep busy volunteering in something related to your career you can keep that on your resume as a current position as you continue to look for work. Gaps in work history can be frustrating to explain in an interview and can break my mojo–I would prefer to talk about my awesome volunteer work rather than how I ended my last position.

*Consider taking a job that isn’t perfect but will keep you fresh and teach you new skills. My brother can help find me a job doing some legal work, but it is not in a law firm, nor in any of my favorite areas of law. However, I really enjoy my brother and he loves his coworkers and boss. Working somewhere encouraging could really boost my confidence and give me a great reference to put on my resume as I keep looking for work. Who knows, I might end up loving this are of law!

*Start a money saving or money making hobby. I am planning a little victory garden to help feed my family and to keep me busy. The whole endeavor will only cost about 50 bucks to get started. But making things grow is really spiritually enriching and the added bonus will be super yummy things to eat in a few months. I am also focusing on painting pictures for my friends. A friend commissions the sort of painting he or she wants, and I create it custom just for him or her–and I make a little cash.

I am cheering up after a period of feeling down and out after losing my job. What do you ladies and gentlemen do to keep positive when out of work?

et cetera