Friday, January 8, 2010

Five Ways to Get Rich (or Not) on the Side

I decided to do a different type of entry today. If you're anything like me, then you desperately need more money in life. Even if you're not like me, more money wouldn't hurt. And, even if you're filthy rich (which I doubt) you probably still crave money. So, I've decided to list (in no particular order) five ways to make money on the side, along with my feelings about how effective these ideas actually are.

1. Part-time job
Rating: Good

Reason: The main way to get more money in life always has been, and will probably continue to be, working more hours (at least until giant robots take over the world in 2115). Whether you work as a tutor, a baby sitter, an Ebay seller, a McDonalds burger flipper, or muscle for the Italian mafia, a second job is the best way out there to ensure a reliable source of extra cash.

Cons: Who wants to work at McDonalds? And, even if we did, who has the time? Not I, said the little cat.

2. Couponing
Rating: Average

Reason: If you can't make more money, you can at least spend less money. Milking the system for all its worth isn't going to make you any friends with store owners, big retailers, or dinner party guest who have to eat three month expired salad dressing, but it does cut costs when all else fails.

Cons: I tried this for about a six month period at one point. It's hard. First, you have to have access to lots of coupons, which is not easy. Then, you have to take the time to clip, organize, and match those coupons with deals and freebies (again not easy). On top of that, you have to find a way to use the stuff you buy -- again not easy, especially if you didn't really want any of the stuff in the first place.

3. Blogging
Rating: Mediocre

Reason: Admit it. Everyone on Blogger who has Adsense (like me) and who has spammed for followers/hits on their blog (me again) secretly dreams of striking it rich. What else could be easier? You hop online, type a couple of silly anecdotes a couple times a week, have the one million online fans that know and love you read the story (and click on some ads while their on your site), rack up millions of dollars in your sleep, and retire to Maui while the rest of the poor saps have to work for a living. Sounds easy, right?

Cons: Doesn't work. In my time blogging, I've managed to make a grand total of about $16.49 for six months of work and 40+ blog entries. Why? First off, no one reads these blogs. Think about it: out of your friends, coworkers, family, etc., how many faithfully follow the blogs of some stranger off the internet? Excluding people who live in an apartment with 10+ cats and have stacks of newspapers from 1965, my guess is around zero. And, even if they do read your blog, they never, ever, for any reason, click your ads. Out of the $16.49 I've made, I know for a fact that about $16.45 of it was from clicks by either myself or my close family members.

By the way, if you've read this far in the blog, you could consider taking a hint from the previous paragraph and . . . click. I have them all up there. Don't you want to know what "Male Hair Replacement" or an associates degree from the University of Phoenix can do for you? Then, CLICK!

4. Pay-to-click emails
Rating: Blah

Reason: I once made 25 bucks off this. Hooray -- 25 bucks! I can retire now!

Cons: You're never going to get rich doing this. Actually, in terms of dollars per hour, it's probably not even worth your time.

5. Stock Market
Rating: Excellent

Reason: There are two ways to go with money in life: invest in stocks or work for those who do. Seriously, this is the naugthy little secret of the rich. Stocks have a historical annual return rate of about 11% -- WOW! For those of you bad at math, it adds up to lots of freaking money after a while.

Cons: It takes money to make money. To seriously get involved in stocks, you probably need at least $1000, maybe more, to compensate for brokerage fees. Also, the volatility of the whole thing will sometimes eat you alive (think last year). Still, it's the best way to make money out there -- long term -- that doesn't involve grease fires, burger flipping, and being called pinche gringo by fat guys from Juarez.

Well, there you have it. Take it for what its worth. And, CLACK ON MY AADS!!!!

Give me your feedback. What are some ways you've tried to get rich (or die trying)?

Monday, January 4, 2010

The "Real" Ugly Truth

As I was watching the romantic comedy two days ago "The Ugly Truth", I was struck by exactly how often Hollywood can recycle the same tired stereotypes about dating and relationships. So, I thought that I would post a few of my own "ugly truths" -- just to clear up the places where, once again, Hollywood got it wrong.

Ugly Truths about real life dating.

1. Most people are ugly:

Lets be honest here. None of the people in that movie would have much of a problem getting a date or relationship in real life. Any girl that looked like Katherine Heigl, unless she was a lesbian or wanted her boyfriends to wear diapers and suck on a pacifier when they made out, would have her pick of guys. Same thing for the two guys fighting over, her assistant -- even the semi-bald television producer. If someone has a job, isn't fat, and can read and write past the 5th grade level, they're probably ahead of the curve when it comes to the 40+ dating pool. It's the girls that look like Rosie O'Donnell but who are straight who have a hard time finding love.

2. Beggars can't be choosers

Maybe it's a sign of my sheltered upbringing, but most of the people I've ever met marry one of the first three people they date seriously in life. Unless both sides rich, stupid, or a complete A-holes, relationships where both people like and/or love each other work out in the end -- or at least for a few years. It's only in Hollywood that a non-neurotic woman dating a rich, handsome doctor would ask herself a question like, "Does he love me, or the idea of me." The rest of us have a job, and we can't worry about crap like that.

3. Some women like sex; some men don't.

This is one of the Hollywood stereotypes that always really gets me. I've known women in life that do things with people -- numerous people -- that I never thought were physically, anatomically, or socially possible. Conversely, some guys hate sex, or can't have sex (think Viagra) or just don't care about sex. I wish that, for once, a man in a romantic comedy would be portrayed with a moderate view of sex, instead of so over-the-top.

4. Most people don't make out in public

Hollywood seems to love throwing this stereotype into their movies, a la the hot air balloon ride and the "vibrating panties" scene. However, when you think about it, the whole concept of someone making out in front of you or having an orgasm in public is really kind of gross. Personally, I don't want to share in the sex life of another couple, woman, or even the animals on the Discovery channel. Those things are best kept private.

5. Most relationships don't have a dramatic "falling in love" moment

The formula for a romantic comedy always seems to call for a dramatic finish "falling in love" moment at the end of the movie, interspersed by lots of angst. To a certain extent, I can't completely dismiss this one, if only because movie relationships would be really boring without it -- like the Jim/Pam thing from the office. However, it seems like this is the way a lot of romantic comedies seem to try and save the movie -- a predictably dramatic (or dramatically predictable) finish -- usually leading back to lots of public making out.


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