Take 5: A Roundup of Reads From Around the Web

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This week: How to work smarter, not harder, how to survive on minimum wage, why you should work for yourself, how to stop selling off your life, and how earning $5 can change your life.

1. If You Can Earn $5, You Can Change Your Life

[PT Money] “Set aside, for a moment, thoughts of bringing in thousands or securing the perfect new position. Instead, consider the various ways that you can generate a very small sum – say, a mere $5 – with a sliver of effort and ingenuity.”

The idea behind this article is that it’s better to think of ways to earn a few bucks than get stuck focusing on how to earn a lot. It’s something I can relate to. When I started this website, I was just looking for a little extra money to supplement my television news operation. Now it employs five full-time workers, including me, and lots of part-timers.

Sometimes when you start small, you get big.

2. How Much of Your Life Are You Selling Off?

[Raptitude] “When you compare the amount of happiness we actually derive from our unnecessary spending habits to the amount of happiness that can be derived from years of paid-for freedom (not to mention a clear and secure financial position the whole way there), most of those consumer habits come to appear glaringly absurd.”

This rather long post articulates a thought I voiced in my first book, “Life or Debt.” The idea is simple: to spend as much of your life as possible doing what you want to do, rather than what you have to do. The path to get there is by deciding what makes you truly happy, then only spending money on things that make the list.

This is good stuff. Check it out.

3. 5 Reasons to Consider Working for Yourself

[Save Outside the Box] “Working for someone else for 50 hours a week for 50 years is just not my cup of tea. Any of you ever feel like that? If so, here are five reasons to consider taking the risk, striking out on your own, and working for yourself.”

I got my last salary paycheck in the spring of 1981. Although self-employment was something I wandered into rather than planned, I can certainly endorse the reasons provided in this post. They include control, money and freedom. Check out the article for more.

4. When Finances Hurt: How I Survived on Minimum Wage

[The Empowered Dollar] “It’s a choice no one should ever have to make, a question I should have never had to ask: Do I buy a bus pass to help me get to work or do I pay for my prescription?”

This story is about a woman who graduated from Boston University with $30,000 in student loan debt and an income of $8 an hour. It’s a stark look at the challenges of survival on minimum wage, but it’s not a hopeless tale. In fact, it’s both practical and inspiring.

5. The 5 Best Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

[Wise Bread] “It’s a cliche, but one that most smart people aspire to. Reason being, working harder is … well, harder. Working smarter requires a lot less effort, while also making you a shining diamond in the eyes of supervisor and colleague alike.”

Working smarter means working less — always a good thing. If that sounds like something you’d like, there’s lots of stuff in this article that will help, from paying attention to your body to prioritizing your goals.

What do you like?

We’re always on the hunt for talented personal finance writers and interesting sites. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know below or on our Facebook page! You can also talk to us about anything you’d like simply by hitting “reply” to your daily email update. (Not subscribed? Fix that right now!)

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

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Read Next: Ask Stacy: What’s the Best Way to Borrow?

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