Category Archives: Ways to Make Money

Simple Path to Wealth Audio Book #Giveaway

The Simple Path to Wealth is amazing! I learned how to invest without losing my mind!

A little over two years ago, I found myself sitting outside City Hall, feverishly flipping through the pages of a manuscript. I had just gotten out of a meeting about Pittsburgh’s no-cost summer meal program for kids, and was waiting for my husband to pick me up. In true frugal fashion, he was playing chauffeur so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking or public transport.

The manuscript I was reading was for a book by JL Collins. He had asked me to review it because I knew enough about investing to understand its importance and the basics, but not enough to understand advanced jargon. I’ve learned a bit since those days, but ultimately he had me pinned.

I’m normally a slow reader. Super slow. It’s an activity I value, but I won’t be winning any speed reading contests anytime soon. This was different, though.

For one, I had a deadline.

But on top of that, it was the most interesting and simple-to-understand book on investing I had ever read. I didn’t have to go back five times to understand what a passage was saying. I didn’t need a glossary to define industry terms.

I understood what it was trying to tell me, and I was excited about it.

Jim started off writing his blog, and thereafter his book, for his daughter. She also knew investing and money were important, but she didn’t want to spend her whole life obsessing over it. He wrote The Simple Path to Wealth as a guidebook to help her–and anyone else like her–learn how to become financially independent using some extremely simple, nearly set-and-forget-it strategies.

You can read my full review of the book here.

This holiday season, Audible has come out with an audio book version of the tome. JL Collins and Audible have been kind enough to give one Femme Frugality reader a copy, setting you up with investing strategies that could help you build wealth without the complexities that other books on the same topic gravitate towards.

Even better news? If you want to get it as a gift, there’s no shipping involved. I’ll send you the redemption code, and you’ll have your digital copy well before December 25th.

You can use the Rafflecopter below to enter up until 11:59p on December 18, 2017. Best of luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Fifth Trimester & Parental Leave Policies #TotalBossMom

Wow, I didn't realize this. And it's not even paid! Wish more places had parental leave.

Did you know that…

  • Forty-four percent of  of working women don’t qualify for FMLA leave?
  • In a recent survey, 76% of moms say they go back to work before they’re ready?
  • One-third of highly-qualified and well-trained female workers drop out of the workforce after having a child?
  • In addition to the first, second, third and fourth trimesters, there is actually a fifth trimester?

To learn more about all these truths, I interviewed Lauren Brody–former Executive Editor of Glamor and author of The Fifth Trimester. I’m excited to share what I learned with you.

What is the fifth trimester?

We all know about the first three trimesters that happen during pregnancy. Many of us may be familiar with the fourth trimester. This is the period of time a baby should probably still be in the womb, but human brains evolved and grew too big for female human pelvises. So they come out around 40 weeks instead.

But the fifth trimester? What’s that?

“The fifth trimester is whenever a new mom heads back to work,” explains Brody. “For professional American women, that’s often at the three-month mark designated by the FMLA, which gives 12 weeks of unpaid leave.”

“I interviewed and surveyed hundreds of women for my book,” she continues, “and most were back at work between six and 12 weeks postpartum. All of the research shows us that this is simply not enough time, physically or emotionally.”

Why are these women going back before FMLA leave ends? Well, we already saw the astounding number of female workers who don’t qualify for FMLA leave. But there’s another problem: even among those who do qualify, many simply can’t afford to take that much time off of work without a paycheck.

When should the fifth trimester start?

Women are going back to work physically and emotionally drained after going through childbirth. This is not advantageous for the mother, the child or the employer.

So when, exactly, should the fifth trimester start?

“Truly, it should start whenever the working mom feels ready,” says Brody. “Some moms want to go back right away—especially if they are freelancers or run their own businesses. But it would be awfully nice if we all had the option of going back after six months of paid leave. That’s the benchmark at which science shows us that mom is less likely to have a postpartum mood disorder, and baby is more likely to be healthier too.”

She notes that at six months, baby has:

  • Received a few rounds of vaccinations.
  • Started eating solid foods.
  • Started sitting up (in many cases.)

Her research also shows that moms started feeling better physically and emotionally around this same time. At month seven–months after they had returned to work–they started getting seven straight hours of sleep every night.

Why should businesses provide paid family leave?

While conducting her research, Brody talked to many professionals across the board–including a sleep expert. This is how she learned that a sleep-deprived new mother is as impaired at 9am  as someone who is drunk.

Let’s do some math.

Drunk Employee’s Level of Impairment = Sleep-Deprived New Mom’s Level of Impairment

Drunk Employee =/= Ready to Work —> Sleep-Deprived New Mom =/= Ready to Work

Does that mean we should kick women out of the workplace once they’re with child?

Absolutely not.

“One massive international study by KPMG for Vodafone showed that offering six months of paid leave, plus a temporary part-time reentry option, would save private companies $19 billion annually,” says Brody.

If you’re wondering about the math on that one, it looks something like this:

  $47 billion for recruitment and training of replacement employees
-$28 billion for 16 weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers
$19 billion saved across global businesses

Brody notes that it’s not just a financial decision in isolation. Paid maternity leave can be a great marketing tool to help you find some great employees in general.

“Millennials and the Gen Z-ers coming after them value flexibility above almost anything else, and one way to broadcast that humane kind of workplace culture is to offer strong parental benefits for both men and women.”

Yes, you read that right: men and women.

“I also want to add that this is about paid family leave,” she explains. “That’s parental leave for both sexes [or both partners] as well as family leave time for all kinds of other needs–things like
elder care and bereavement.”

“Pregnancy is the most obvious personal life need in the workplace because it looks like a big nine-months- pregnant belly in a work dress,” Brody points out, “but every single person at work– parent or not–has a personal life that is important to them…caring for it fuels them to do better and more passionate work.”

What can businesses do to retain new mothers as employees?

Aside from parental and family leave, Brody suggests businesses provide the following if they want to hold on to their employees and dodge those recruiting and training costs:

  • On-site childcare
  • Flex time
  • Ability to work from home
  • Well-equipped lactation rooms with good Wi-Fi
  • Breast milk shipping for moms who travel for work
  • A lack of 4:30p meetings
  • Equal pay for women and men

She also notes that when companies provide adequate leave policies, those in the upper echelons of leadership–both female and male–need to take full advantage of them.

“If you have the policies on paper and no one feels like they can use them, you’re not getting it right.”

Um, this is great. But I’m not rich and need to go back to work ASAP.

Completely understood. The majority of families currently don’t have the luxury of raging against the machine at this very moment in time. You family just got bigger, and you need a paycheck to provide.

Brody’s entire book is full of tips and tricks from moms who have been there. She shares a few of them with us:

  1. Set up systems ahead of going back for every home-duty you possibly can. Establish a recurring online order of household basics like paper towels and diapers. For things like your phone—which you will be more reliant on than ever as you straddle these two worlds—get a great, easy plan. Total Wireless offers a shared family plan with 25GB for $25 per line for four lines. They have a whole campaign supporting being a #TotalBossMom because they get the juggle. That’s their customer.
  2. If you have a partner who is not able to take as much parental leave as you, see if they can take what’s called “intermittent leave” and have some weeks at home with the baby right when you go back. That can help get the baby to a slightly older age when it’s easier to leave him her at daycare, and—this is huge—it gets your partner up to speed on baby skills that will ultimately help you have a more balanced sense of parenting forever. Side note: For every month of paternity leave a dad takes, the mom’s earnings increase by 7%!
  3. Be as open as you can in your workplace about motherhood…and then push yourself to be 1% more open than that. It will make a difference, even if you’re not in a position to change actual policies. If you are open about the struggle, but then also get your job done, you will change people’s perceptions of motherhood in the workplace. You have to believe that it makes you stronger, even when you’re feeling weak, because it does. Moms come back after baby more efficient, more focused, more able to pivot from task to task, more empathetic. The list goes on and on. And if you believe it, you’ll make others believe it too.

Let’s Celebrate All the Boss Moms Out There

Today is National Boss’s Day, but the company Brody mentioned–Total Wireless–has added a twist.

[They] had the brilliant idea that it’s really Boss Mom Day for all of the ways mothers lead and manage at work and at home,” she says. “I love that.”

I love it, too. Let’s tweet about it and spread the word. #TotalBossMom

How to Negotiate Your Salary As a Woman

Pinning for my next annual review! Great, unique tips on how to successfully negotiate your salary.

Women get paid less than men. It’s a fact.

Part of the wage gap has been attributed to the fact that women don’t feel comfortable negotiating. There is some level of truth in that. According to a study done by Glassdoor, only 32% of women negotiate their initial salary with an employer compared to 48% of men.

But do women have justification for being more hesitant?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. In Glassdoor’s study, only 4% of women secured more pay via negotiations, while men had a success rate of 15%.

Another study–this one scholarly–showed that women are 25% less likely than their male counterparts to get a raise when they request it.

Still others show that not only do women not get the raise, but they’re sometimes punished for asking at all.

But that doesn’t mean all is lost. Today, we’ll get some hot tips from the experiences of four successful women–all of whom have successfully negotiated substantial pay increases.

Have a job offer on the table? Here is how to negotiate your salary.

Negotiating Your First Salary

Being one of the millennials that unfortunately reached career-entry age at the height of the Recession, I understand being hesitant to negotiate with no experience. If you have a job offer on the the table, you don’t want to lose it.

But the year is not 2008 anymore, and the pay at which you enter the workforce compounds over your entire career. Negotiating your very first salary will mean higher pay throughout your working life; if someone wants to convince you to make a lateral move, they’re going to have to offer you more money than your first boss is paying you. The more money your first boss is paying you, the more money you’ll be able to demand for that lateral move.

“I was too afraid to negotiate my salary when I landed my first career-level position,” says Chonce, a current freelance writer who runs My Debt Epiphany. “Now, I regret that because I probably could have earned more money instead of just accepting the raises I was offered.”

Chonce’s regrets are not unique. In fact, only one of our experts negotiated her first salary. She also entered her career in a 1099 position rather than being a W-2 employee.

“I started by negotiating my fee for my first piece of content written for a client,” says Miranda Marquit, freelance writer of Planting Money Seeds. “It went reasonably well, I suppose. I didn’t get what I asked for, but I did get more than they originally offered. However, I didn’t really understand market rates and I perhaps should have done more research.”

Talk to people in the industry to find out the nuances of current market rates. While finding info on the internet is a starting point, it’s unlikely to be completely useful for regional markets or your specialized skill set. That’s assuming the data you find is even current.

Talking to a real-life person is the best way to get an idea of what you should be charging.

If you're good at what you do, use it as leverage to negotiate your raise during the interview.

How to Negotiate a Salary Increase

Are you great at what you do? Then don’t be reluctant to ask for a salary increase!

Natasha, who works in Public Health and owns Inspiring Single Mothers, didn’t feel comfortable negotiating her pay until she was offered her third professional position. But when she did, she went in prepared.

“I became more confident and knowledgeable of salary ranges for various positions,” she says. “I talked about my knowledge of the work, and had a reputation for being the subject-matter expert in that area for the division.”

Even if you know you’re phenomenal at your job, you might still feel nervous asking for a pay bump. Freelance writer Kayla Sloan has a life hack for knowing what to say when negotiating salary–or, in her case, freelance rates.

“I use a script–this makes me less nervous about what to say! I point out our past working relationship, the results we’ve achieved, and how I’ve helped their bottom line.”

She also shares what she’s done to increase her skills and knowledge base since the last time compensation was discussed.

When you’ve been doing everything right in your career, document your efforts. It’s the information you’ll need to convince your client or boss to up your pay, and simply reviewing your experience and training should give you the confidence you need to ask for the raise in the first place.

Let's get into the finer details of negotiating a salary increase.

The Nitty Gritty of Negotiating a Raise

Okay. You know it’s important to negotiate for more pay. And you know you need to have an idea of what others are paid on top of a documented list of what you’ve done to bring value to your employer.

But how do you even bring this topic up? And once you do, how do you exude the necessary confidence  to do this successfully?

“Leverage your annual review if you have an employer,” Chonce advises, “or just reach out to your boss or clients and ask for any feedback on your performance.”

She does so every six to twelve months.

Once you’ve opened up the conversation, Natasha has a specific formula for your conversation:

  1. Receive an offer.
  2. Reply with a counteroffer only.
  3. If the recruiter/manager/boss asks why they should give you the amount you countered with, present the information you’ve prepared on your value and accomplishments, including  formal and informal commendations and awards.

Oh, and that counteroffer? Miranda reminds us to make sure it’s higher than what we actually want. That way if they come at you with another number, you’ll have room to negotiate without going below your bare minimum.

Get a script together before negotiating your salary so you know what to say.

What if I really need this job?

If you can’t walk away from negotiations, it does take a lot of your bargaining power away. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make an attempt.

“If I were in this scenario,” Kayla says, “I’d ask for more than I wanted, hoping that during negotiations the final number would be closer to what I had in my head as “ideal”. For example, ask for 25% if you really want 20%. If you want 25%, ask for 30%.”

If you find you’ve hard-lined yourself into a position where you have to walk or cave, another tactic is to negotiate something other than money.

“In the past I accepted what I had to and actively looked for other gigs that would pay more so that I could quit the lower-paying job,” Miranda recounts. “Another tack is to talk about other benefits, like flexibility or days off, rather than pushing on higher pay. ”

By bringing these other benefits into the picture, you may be able to convince your boss to still give you something–even if they’re unable to give you a raise. This allows you to keep both your job and your confidence as you’re not walking away defeated or empty handed.

If you really need the money and an extra day off just won’t cut it, Chonce suggests taking more on.

“You can also ask that you add an additional task to your workload. That way, you’d get your pay increase, but you’d be doing more or different work. ”

This isn’t necessarily a raise in the traditional sense, but it does allow you to pad your bring-home pay so you can make ends meet. It also provides your boss or client with even more value so they’re not walking away from the meeting with a bad taste in their mouth.

Be Cognizant of the Pay Gap at Your Place of Employment

You may have heard the argument that the gender pay gap only exists because women choose to go into lower-paying fields. While that does have some effect on the overall numbers, it doesn’t account for the entire gap. Women frequently get paid less than men for doing the exact same job.

“Do your research and know your worth,” Miranda advises. “Talk to men in your field to find out what they make. I was shocked when I talked to another writer, and he was charging twice my fee. I was a better writer. I just didn’t realize that I could charge that much. Know the going rate, based on experience, skill, and knowledge, and ask for that.”

Increase Your Negotiating Power with Your Personal Finances

When asked what a woman should do as she prepares to negotiate her salary, Natasha gave sage advice that she should empower herself by getting her personal finances in order.

“She should put herself in a strong and steady position as soon as she’s employed–whether entry-level or mid-range–by staying out of debt, building savings, and forming genuine connections in her field. By doing these things, she is in a stronger position to negotiate or walk away.”




Have you ever negotiated your salary? Share you experiences in the comments!

Pittsburgh Programs Helping Women Get Back to Work

This is such a great resource! List of programs that help women reenter the workforce after a period away or a life tragedy.

There are so many situations that can lead to hardships in returning to the workplace. Divorce, becoming a displaced homemaker, being a single mother trying to decide between childcare or a pay check, or other life circumstances can make it difficult to get things like training, transportation and appropriate clothing to get you that job that you need to get back on your feet.

There are organizations out there that exist to help women get back into the workforce. Here are some of my favorites in the Pittsburgh area.

North Hills Community Outreach

Get scholarships and training to go back to school as a mom.

These people really do it all. They connect you with the programs that will best meet your needs–and they have a slew of programs.

Currently you can get hooked up with WorkAble, a program that helps people get in touch with a career coach.  From there your coach can help you get the training  you need along with information about job openings in the Pittsburgh area.

North Hills Community Outreach also runs Community Auto–a program that helps you get a used car at a seriously reduced price. There is usually a long wait line for this one.

They connect women in Northern Allegheny County with scholarships so they can get the education they need to get that great job.

They provide computer training courses which are particularly wonderful for displaced homemakers or those who may be mature and didn’t get computer training in their traditional schooling.

They can help you set up a basic financial plan so that you can live within budget and improve things like your credit report that will help your lifestyle overall.

Believe it or not, they offer even more resources than the ones listed above.  To check all of them out in depth, go to their website.

Treasure House Fashions

Get help getting clothes to reenter the workforce with Treasure House Fashions in Pittsburgh, PA.

Founded 16 years ago, Treasure House Fashions on McKnight Rd. is a gently used clothes store for women. Slightly more expensive than Good Will, the quality of the clothes is guaranteed and in season.

Anyone can shop here. Absolutely anyone. But the heart and soul of their business is helping women in transition or need.

Places like North Hills Community Outreach often distribute Treasure House gift certificates, which can be perfect if the expense of a professional work wardrobe is the thing holding you back from employment.

If you’re a single mother or a woman who is 55 years of age or older, ask about their SMART card which gives you a 50% discount certain days of the week.

Treasure House Fashions also holds bag sales every February and August–pile as much as you can into a brown Giant Eagle bag for only $20!

Pennsylvania Women Work

Check out these programs that help women in Pittsburgh reenter the workforce.

If you’re trying to get back into the workforce but just don’t see how it’s feasible, Pennsylvania Women Work has you covered in all areas.

First, there’s their New Choices program. This provides training in areas such as reading, math, computer literacy, Microsoft Office and career development. You also get one-on-one career counseling.

There are sites across the whole state, including one in Pittsburgh that will start its new season in the fall.

That’s not all the organization does. They also provide discounted transportation to those seeking employment or who are in career-training.

They have a clothing closet where, once referred, you can get free, fashionable clothing for job interviews.

They’ll help you write  your resume, do mock interviews with you and get you individualized job placement.  Childcare assistance is even available.

I know they’ve hosted a sort of job fair in the past where major companies from the region come with the goal of specifically hiring women. There seems to be absolutely no losing with this organization.

Jeremiah’s Place

Check out these programs in Western Pennsylvania that help women get back to work.

Jeremiah’s Place is a crisis nursery, but you don’t necessarily need to be in the middle of a crisis to utilize it.

Here’s the problem: in order to get childcare assistance, you have to have a job. Getting a job can be a challenge if you are bringing your kids along to interviews.

Jeremiah’s Place solves that problem by providing drop-in daycare services so Mom can go nail that interview.

They also provide services in instances of domestic violence, hospitalization, emergency respite and more.

The United Way

Need help getting back into the workforce in Allegheny county? This list of resources will help.

Check out your local branch of the United Way.  In Allegheny County they are able to provide you with transportation assistance, programs at local colleges that will fund your tuition, programs that subsidize childcare costs and access to even more agencies that will help you on your way to employment.


Know of any other organizations that should be added to the list? Please leave them in the comments!

Making Money as a Rover Dog-Sitter

Today’s post is written by Nat Smith, Rover community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

Holy moly can you earn some extra MONEY by dog-sitting adorable puppies! Signing up for this platform pronto!

Becoming a Rover sitter is a wonderful and rewarding way to make money. As a dog-sitter or dog-walker, you get to spend time with dogs and get paid for it. The best part is that it’s totally flexible! You can easily arrange your side gig around everything else you already do.

What will you be doing?

Play with puppies. Earn extra income.

Owners will pay you money to spend time with their pets and look after their needs. Typically, owners book Rover caregivers when they’re traveling, or they’re away at work all day and want their dogs to have a mid-day adventure. Services fall into two broad categories: overnight and daytime care.

Overnight Care: Dog Boarding & House Sitting

Looking for a side-hustle that pays well? Sign up to be a dog-sitter on this primo platform!

Dog boarding takes place in your own home, and is ideal if you have dog-friendly infrastructure in place. You might want to dog-proof your home, add a doggy door, and make sure you have a secure fence around your yard. If you already have a dog, you’ll need to ensure that they get along with your canine clients, or create a separate space for each pet.

Many sitters prefer house sitting, where they stay in the client’s home. The dogs are already comfortable in their own homes, so the transition can be easier. This is a great option if you’re able to spend your nights away from home.

Daytime Care: Drop-In Visits, Doggy Day Care & Dog Walking

Get paid to play with puppies!

Owners want their dogs to be happy, and sometimes that means extra care during the day. They seek out Rover sitters because of the site’s reliability and the high quality of the care provided.

A client seeking doggy day care might drop off their pet in the morning and pick them up after work. For drop-in visits and dog walking, you’ll stop by to check on the dog and provide exercise, food, or potty breaks.

The beauty of Rover is that you can create a perfect schedule for your own needs, and Rover 101 walks you through every step of the process to create your profile and build a steady client base.

How will you be paid?

Earn extra money by dog-sitting with Rover!

Exact rates vary based on several factors, mainly your location and experience. Check Rover’s site to find out what local sitters are charging. When you start out, set your rates slightly below the local average.

You can raise your rates as you gain loyal clients, five-star reviews of your services, and more experience.

You keep 80% of the rate you set. The rest goes to Rover—covering insurance for booked stays, 24/7 emergency support, advertising, and site features. You earn excellent compensation without having to do the legwork of running a business; Rover makes it simple.

Owners are charged for the stay when they book it. Payment will be released to you two days after the service is completed. This way, the company ensures that both parties uphold their agreements—and that you’re paid promptly.

The Rover referral system is an amazing bonus, too. For each Rover sitter you invite who books a stay, you receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

Dog lovers have great things to say about Rover, and it’s bringing financial independence to women everywhere by providing both part-time and even full-time income to its sitters.


This post about earning extra income is compensated and contributed by Rover.