At long last, work has begun on my first book. The outline is complete, the contract approved, and writing has commenced. It’s a little overwhelming. Writing for GRS everyday has taught me to create short personal pieces on a deadline. But 300 pages? Wow. That’s like Mt. Everest! As clichéd as it sounds, I’m trying to take it one step at a time. I’m breaking things into small pieces. If I can finish three manuscript pages per day, I’m golden.

Speaking of “golden”, here are some great finance articles from elsewhere around the web:

First up, I enjoyed these questions and answers with a lottery winner. This fellow managed to get rich quickly — but he’s being smart with his prize. He won a $30 million lottery jackpot, which netted him $20 million after taxes and fees. He gave a million to each of his parents, gave a million to his sister, and paid off the debt of some of his life-long friends. Determined to avoid the mistakes of other lottery winners, he put it all in a blind trust and has been traveling the world ever since. (To get “just the good stuff”, track the fellow’s answers by his username.)

You all know that I’m a fan of JLP’s number-crunching over at All Financial Matters. Well, he’s done it again. He has two posts that look at the real-life numbers behind our economy. First, he shares the 20-year rolling returns of the S&P 500 from 1926-2008. How has the stock market performed over any 20-year period? You can find out here. He’s also worked up a table showing the history of inflation in the United States from 1920 to 2008. Look at 1973-1981! Wow.

Many GRS readers loved Karawynn’s recent articles during the Staff Writer auditions. I did too. She’s continuing to produce good stuff over at her site, Pocketmint. Recently, for example, she posted “an unflinching look at America’s fascination with cheap“. This is a fascinating article (er, book review). Karawynn fans should look for a guest article from her soon at GRS.

Finally, a reader named AmyJo pointed me to a post at Buttons Magee in which the author describes her efforts to construct a wardrobe using thrift-store clothing. Rachel decided on a look she wanted, inventoried the clothes she already owned, and then created a shopping list for the new items she needed. She made a plan. She says that smart thrift shopping takes work, but can yield huge savings.

This article is about Spare Change