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This week: Understanding the gig economy, when Santa can't bring much, employment rules that make you richer, spying on your spouse and where you should travel this winter.

1. The Gig Economy Is Growing: Should You Dive In?

[Credit.com] “The gig economy, personified by the current army of Uber drivers, attracts a lot of debate among economists and labor rights activists alike. The argument begins with: ‘Is the gig economy really a thing?'”

If there’s one thing we cover thoroughly, it’s the tidal wave of new income-producing opportunities that the internet and the sharing economy have combined to create. (See “50 Ways to Make a Fast $50.”) So I’d say, yes, the gig economy is “really a thing.” This article cites studies about what the gig economy is, who’s participating in it, and some tips for those thinking about it.

2. When Santa Can’t Afford Your Child’s Wish List

[The Dollar Stretcher] “Our family is on a pretty tight budget this year, and we’ve had to explain to our kids that the Christmas gifts will be fewer this year than what they may have received in the past. They all seem okay with this except for our five year old, who has told us not to worry because Santa will bring him his expensive toys.”

Rather than being written by a staff writer, this article features a variety of advice from readers. It includes all kinds of wise tips, from helping kids earn money of their own to explaining that Santa doesn’t have the time to make everything. If things for you and/or Santa are a little tight this year, check it out.

3. New Rules Will Make It Easier for Anyone to Negotiate Better Pay

[Money] “A crescendo of recent changes aimed at closing the gender wage gap has reshaped the compensation landscape for 2017.”

The title of this post is a little misleading. Turns out that Massachusetts recently passed new rules that prohibit potential employers from asking about your salary history, so if you’ve been historically underpaid, it may not impact your next job. New York has implemented similar rules for municipal workers and some other states, as well as the federal government, are considering similar measures. Job-hunting soon? Check it out.

4. Millions of Americans Spy on Credit Card Statements of Others

[Debt.com] “Turns out that 24 percent of both higher-earning and lower-earning Americans are likely to snoop on the credit report of someone they share an account with, according to CreditCards.com. Those who make between $30,000 and $75,000 are only 14 percent likely.”

Actually, the report referred to by this author discusses how likely someone is to check on the spending habits of someone they share an account with, not their credit report. Still, it’s interesting that people of both upper and lower incomes are more likely to snoop. Another interesting tidbit: Republicans are twice as likely to check out spousal spending than Democrats.

5. 6 Luxe Travel Destinations That Are Cheaper in Winter

[Wise Bread] “Just about every vacation spot is mobbed in summer, when families with children are free to travel. If you have the flexibility, enjoy fewer crowds and pay less by visiting these normally expensive spots during winter!”

It’s no surprise that places like Europe will be less crowded and less expensive when it’s cold. Suggestions other than the Continent include Orlando, Yosemite, Iceland, New York, Chicago and Montreal. I’m down for visiting just about any of those places in the winter, except one: Chicago. One of my favorite cities, but in the winter? No thanks.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and reactions in comments below or on our Facebook page!

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

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