Confessions of a Professional Blogger – Book Review

Confessions of a Professional Blogger

By: Miranda Marquit

Confessions of a Professional BloggerDisclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Miranda.  My policy on books I receive free copies of is that I don’t review them unless I like them.

How many of us, myself included, don’t jump at the chance to get a little insight into how someone who does something that we want to do for a living, for a living?  I know that when Miranda asked me back at the end of 2013 if I would read her book that I immediately said yes.  It’s been a little while since she first sent over a copy, but that’s totally on me.  I read a lot of books, and somehow hers got lost in the shuffle and ended up at the bottom of the to-read pile.  I wish it hadn’t, but it did.

On to the book.  It’s a short read at just over 100 pages, but it’s chock full of excellent information on becoming a professional blogger.  Miranda leads the reader through the steps of starting out and gaining fans for your blog, or for gaining customers for your freelance writing.  Throughout the book, Miranda focuses quite a bit on the details on how she manages her freelance clients, the way she’s created the “package” of services that she provides, and how she structures it all to the benefit of all involved.

If you’re looking to test the freelance writer waters, Confessions is a quick read that’s loaded up with information on where to start, what you need to do, and how to keep it rolling.  You’ll find the book to read like a lot of Miranda’s articles, smooth and concise.  And who better to learn from than someone who used her freelance writing to become the primary breadwinner for her household?

You can pick up a copy of Confessions of a Professional Blogger at her site, MirandaMarquit.com.

The Walgreens Drugstore Game by Amanda Grossman – A Review

If one of your resolutions for the new year is to save money, you’ll want to check out Amanda Grossman’s new ebook, The Walgreens Drugstore Game:  Strategies to Turn Pocket Change Into Thousands of Dollars’ Worth of Free Stuff.

Grossman is a penny pincher who blogs at Frugal Confessions.  She and her husband knocked out student loan debt when they married and are now living debt free (except their mortgage).  She also quit her job and is now living the dream of working at home.  A look through her blog shows she knows how to save money and get the best deals.

Now, she wants to share those deals with others.

I’ll confess that a few years ago, I played the CVS drugstore game with a fair amount of success.  However, I never conquered the Walgreens drugstore game.  It was just too complicated for me.  In the years since I stopped playing the drugstore game at all, Walgreens has only gotten more complicated (or so it seemed to me) by adding in a new rewards incentive.

However, after reading Grossman’s book, even I feel like I could tackle Walgreens drugstore game.

If you’re paying full price for toiletries and personal care items, you’re simply paying too much.  Grossman will show you how to pay less than a few dollars to get $20 or more worth of merchandise.

A Primer For Those Who Don’t Use Coupons

If you’re not much of a couponer, don’t worry.  Grossman explains in detail the many different kinds of coupons that are available.  She also explains where to find them, including how to get a steep discount when buying the Sunday paper for the coupons and advertisements.

If you’re an experienced couponer, don’t worry.  Simply skip over this section.

Clear Explanations and Examples

Once you understand the basics about coupons, Grossman delves into how to find the best deals for the Walgreens drugstore game.  What I like most about this book is that Grossman doesn’t just explain how to score the deal, she also provides real life examples from her own shopping trips.

In fact, she makes the process seem so manageable, that even I registered for a Walgreens Balance Rewards Cards and signed up for discounted Sunday papers to be delivered to my house.  I’m tired of paying full price for toiletries, and even if I’m only half as successful as Grossman at the Walgreen’s game, I’ll be saving a lot of money.

Advanced Savings Strategies

If you already save a fair amount with coupons, don’t worry.  At the end of the book, Grossman includes advanced savings strategies.  Frankly, at my current coupon skill, these strategies went over my head, but for others who are used to couponing, they could be very helpful.

At only $4.99, Grossman’s book, The Walgreen’s Drugstore Game, should save you enough money that you’ll recoup the money you spent to buy the book on your first trip to Walgreens using her tips.  Everything you save after that in the weeks to come will be extra money in your pocket, which we all can appreciate.

The New Retirement

I recently had the chance to chat with Todd Tresidder.  If you don’t know the name, don’t worry.  Up until about a year ago, I didn’t either.  But, the short of it is that the guy is retired.  In fact, he retired much earlier than most will.  At the ripe “old” age of 35, he retired.  Which must mean he’s off golfing around in the Arizona heat, right?  Or down, sipping OJ at some southern Florida retirement village?  Not likely.

Todd is retired in the sense that he doesn’t report to a boss.  He does what he wants, when he wants to.  One of the things that he wants to do is write books that help people like you and I become better financially.  He’s got several that he’s written so far, and I’m sure he’s working on more.  During that first meeting, Todd and I spoke for a while on retirement.  Speaking with another financially minded person, I usually expect to hear people talk about 401(k)s, IRAs, and stock purchasing.  I don’t discount those tools, but I just don’t feel that, like Social Security, you should be depending on them for your whole retirement.  Surprisingly, Todd agrees.  The longer we spoke, the more we found that we agreed on.  At the end of our conversations, Todd offered me a copy of his book on retirement. I accepted.

How Much Money do I need to retireLong story short, I finally read it.  It took me a while, but I’m glad I got around to it.

If there’s anything that stands out about the book, is that Todd knows what he’s talking about.  He’s got the experience behind him to talk about the subject in an informed and educational manner, and technically, probably knows more about some of his subject matter than I ever will.  He spends the first several chapters of the book dispelling a few myths about retirement, and about the way in which most people tend to think about it.  He then takes off on a few chapters of some of the math and logic behind the different ways of calculating your retirement needs, and calculating that mythical “number” that everyone seems to be seeking out that will indicate that they’ve saved all that they need to save for retirement.  Not only does that one perfect number not exist, he argues, but the calculations that we make to arrive at it are completely flawed.

The rest of the book is focused on what I like to call the New Retirement.  He goes into detail on the ways to properly estimate your income needs for the future, and then into ways that he believes (and I agree) that a properly diversified retirement “portfolio” should be structured.  I don’t want to spoil too much of the book so I won’t say much more.  What I will say is that the book isn’t terribly long.  It’s not a deeply structured manual on all the different retirement accounts.  And it’s not terribly expensive.  It’s $4.99 on the Kindle (free for Prime members), and about $10 in paperback.

Pick up a copy of How Much Money do I need to Retire at Amazon.  You can check out Todd’s site as well as the other books he’s written at FinancialMentor.com.