Sunday, May 26, 2019

Huge roundup of ways to make money without a traditional job

I apologize that this is in graphic format, so not accessible for someone who uses a screenreader. Please e-mail or comment if you would like me to transcribe.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Free MFA admission with library card during June

The MFA is free during the month of June when you show your Boston public library card. Library cards are available free to Massachusetts residents, and provide access to a ton of free materials and programs, so if you don’t have one, go to a library and get one. 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Quick and simple banana-oat pancakes that happen to be vegan and gluten-free

I made these super quick and easy pancakes using ingredients I got for free. A local organization gave us some basic food packages that contained bags of oats, bags of rice, bags of dried beans, canned tomatoes, frozen fruit, frozen vegetables. (The frozen fruits and vegetables were huge bags with no brand name on them and appeared to be foodservice surplus). So, yeah, these were quite similar ingredients to what WIC gives, so I'm going to tag this as WIC as well, even though we don't currently get WIC.

As usual, I didn't really use a recipe, but I can reconstruct what I did. I put about 1-1/2 cups rolled oats and one frozen overripe banana (thawed first) in a large pitcher, added about a teaspoon of baking powder, then added almond milk a bit at a time until it was the right consistency to pour for pancakes. I mixed it with a stick blender. This is important; if you don't use either a stick blender or jar blender, which makes your oats the consistency of course oat flour, you will end up with something edible, but it will be more like oatmeal cookies with whole rolled oat pieces and it won't puff up and be chewy in the same way that this is.

For syrup/compote/whatever, I microwaved frozen blueberries and sugar for one minute, stirred it, then put it in for another minute. It was boiling by the end of the two minutes. You can do the same on the stovetop. I didn't measure the sugar; you don't need to, and can just do it to your preferred sweetness and consistency. You can also add spices if you like. This technique will work without sugar, though it will be a thinner mixture if you don't use any. Regardless of amount of sugar, blueberries don't have enough pectin in them to gel into a spoonable jam-type mixture, so you won't get anything much thicker than what is shown here. (And I realize I should have used a plate that isn't the same color as blueberries so it's clearer what it looks like, but I was mostly focused on making breakfast, with blogging as an afterthought.) If you wanted this jam-type texture, you would either need to add store-bought pectin, or use half cranberries and half blueberries.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Public Service Loan Forgiveness program not actually geared toward people in low-paying fields

I previously jotted down some thoughts about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program planning to blog about it, but last week a story broke that the program has a lot more problems than I thought. (WSJ seems to have the best coverage; google the topic if you're out of free WSJ articles and you'll find other coverage.)

Still, the thing that stuck out to me is that the program requires employment 30+ hours per week for 10 years (120 payments -- doesn't have to be consecutive) at a qualifying nonprofit institution. There is no way to work part-time and have this prorated to complete the program over a longer period of time. This means that people who work part-time due to parenting, disability, or other reasons just can't do the program.

It also relies on an employment model that shows the people who created the program aren't actually familiar with nonprofits. Many human services, education, and arts jobs pay "per hour" based on the actual face-to-face time spent with a student/client/whoever, with a pay rate that is meant to cover the hours spent preparing, scheduling, traveling, documenting and so forth. My friends who are arts educators at community organizations make an annual lower-middle-class salary based on working 20-25 hours per week. They are of course actually working for closer to 30-50, but their pay is based on the hours they are physically teaching a lesson. The pay stubs and forms they would submit to verify their employment would say they work 22 hours a week, which would mean they wouldn't be considered full-time employees according to this program. My friends who are counselors are paid based on a similar model, paid for each client with pay stubs that say they have about 22 hours.

This would be where I would usually suggest some ways of reforming the program, but based on the articles stating that most of the people who appear to qualify aren't actually having their loans discharged, as well as talk that the orange guy and his buddies are going to cut all these programs anyway, I think I'll just suggest that higher education should be free or close to free like it is in most civilized countries.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

I got just $48.77 for free in less than 30 minutes for messing with some bitcoin thing

I found this over on good ol' Beermoney, tried it, and it works.

You don't have to know anything about crypto or already have any accounts to make this work. Just follow the directions exactly and you'll get free money.

What's the catch?

There's not one. Some investor is starting a new kind of cryptocurrency, and they're giving it away $50 per person in order to have it trading around the internet so it becomes a legit form of currency. As the Reddit poster pointed out, it's already on at least one crypto site that uses PayPal, so you can accept the free currency, send it to the other site, then withdraw into PayPal. Good times.