Thursday, July 23, 2009


Wealthy or at least well-to-do folks will tell you that one, if not THE key to financial success is multiple streams of income. I know many people are crying hard times and praying for financial blessings but when you hustle, legally of course, multiple streams of income can really make a lifestyle difference.

By definition hustle means to sell in or work (an area), esp. by high-pressure tactics; to be aggressive, esp. in business or other financial dealings. When used in slang we’re looking at: to earn one's living by illicit or unethical means; to cheat; swindle.

I thought about my many ideas and half completed projects and the odds and ends I'd done to make more money when what I could be doing was right in front of me, using the latter definition of hustle. For my NYC dwellers, how many times have you given money to a homeless, blind person on the train? Even better, the white can shaking man who almost yells at you to donate to the UMO - United Homeless Organization (he says there's an office at 42nd Grand Central Terminal but I've yet to come across it.) On top of that are the young folks saying, "I'm not out here selling M&Ms, Snickers, Starbust for no basketball team. I'm out here tryna earn some money to keep me off the streets." I buy a pack of M&M peanuts thinking I'm helping this young brother but after seeing him every morning sell six candy bars in one train and thinking there's 10 train cars in a ride and this young brother spends a total of 2 minutes pitching and selling, he's making $60/20 minutes or $180/hour. Anyone know a better hustle than that?

Then there's the blind man. I've seen him a few times one the A-train. I give him a dollar not because I care about his speech but my cousin is blind and dude isn't raking in the dough (nor begging on trains so whatever).

Let's not forget the break dancers spinning on their heads, jumping on the poles and rolling through the train as triplets. I give up a buck because the boom box belts out It Takes Two by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, which reminds me of my youth. That's a nostalgic dollar.

Saturday past, a dude sang a broke-down rendition of Man in the Mirror using his water bottle. Didn't inspire me so I kept my arms folded. Other folks felt differently. A short while ago, a man played the violin. I recognized his Mozart song but I only had $2 with me and I certainly wasn't about to part with 50% of my cash. That's when it dawned on me that all those dollars I'd doled out over the years, were sincerely given to random people but it's time that the coffers of the Betsy Fund swell.

I'm not a singer nor can I bring myself to concocting a story to beg for change but perhaps selling granola bars and individual packs of nuts will prove lucrative enough to pay my past due cell phone bill. I wish T-Mobile would stop texting me…

Seriously folks, turn that hobby into a legal hustle. I believe when you put effort into things that are close to your heart or you’re passionate about, things would out in your favor.

Lata Lovelies,
-Betsy “Baller” Ice

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


While the Obama administration is pushing for universal healthcare, I was gasping at a recent pharmacy visit. In an attempt to trim my budget, I decided to fill my prescription at Target instead of the small chain pharmacy I used in the past. Within thirty minutes my order was ready. Expecting to pay the typical $20 - $25, the signature pad read, “$50.00” “Fifty dollars!?!?,” I exclaimed. I said it again in pure shock. I’m sure the folks behind me heard as well as the pharmacist standing six feet away.

The customer service rep retrieved the handy ‘info about your medicine’ sheet and pointed out that if I didn’t have health insurance, the prescription would have cost $270. My first thought was that I would have left if right there for the next customer. As I paid for my prescription, I though about all the folks without health insurance and those with downright inadequate coverage. What did they do? Skip paying ConEd and live in the dark to pay for much-needed medicine? As for folks on fixed income, particularly the elderly, how did they manage?

Years ago I interviewed a therapist and something she said remained in the archives of my mind. “In this country, we treat illness. If we focused on wellness, we would eliminate a lot of illnesses.” Looking me directly in my eye, more frequently, my physician asks me if I need anything. If I let him, he would be my licensed pusher. I don’t need prescription for anything unnecessary and sometimes the ‘necessary’ can be treated, or rather prevented with a lifestyle change hence, wellness.

Later that day, I mentioned my hefty prescription cost to a friend who then stated that her husband had the same medical condition. His prescription was $300 before insurance. Despite the final cost, he decline at his wife’s insistence that he used natural remedies, which in his case worked. Since I paid for my medicine already, I intended to use every single drop – even if I had to give some to others!

I don’t if universal healthcare is the solution but as a paying small fortunes to treat illnesses isn’t it either… Your thoughts?

Lata Lovelies,
-Betsy “Baller” Ice