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I’ve been writing about personal finance virtually every day for almost 10 years. During that time, I’ve tried countless personal finance and frugality strategies and read an absurd number of personal finance books and articles. After all of that, one might expect that I have some pretty complex strategies for managing my own finances. The truth, however, is held in the title of this website. After all of these years and all of these tactics I’ve tried, I still find it …

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People tend to think of bankruptcy as the financial equivalent of breaking a mirror — seven years’ bad luck. And while bankruptcy is no walk in the park, fear can prevent people from using it as it was intended: as a a tool to get their financial house in order. Make no mistake about it, though: There is life after bankruptcy. Whether or not you should file for bankruptcy is a deeply difficult and personal decision, but you should let the facts, not …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Pricing for a new business 2. Handling windfall 3. Alone and disabled 4. Starting off with poor credit 5. Walking away versus security 6. Frugal fun that isn’t boring 7. Inexpensive shaving without safety razor 8. Cheap stuff scares me 9. Thoughts against the latte factor 10. Using …

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Years ago, when my husband and I were struggling to save, we managed our finances in the exact opposite way we manage them now. It was the mid- to late-2000’s and we were raising young kids and managing full-time jobs. We were busy, so we had scarce time to plan our spending or create a budget of any kind. We paid our bills on time like good adults, and then we spent lavishly on what we wanted. We worked really …

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According to the CDC’s 2015 health report, the top ten leading causes of death among Americans are as follows: Heart disease: 614,348 reported deaths in 2014 Cancer: 591,699 Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101 Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053 Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103 Alzheimer’s disease: 93,541 Diabetes: 76,488 Influenza and pneumonia: 55,227 Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis (kidney diseases): 48,146 Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773 If you separate out deaths due to auto accident, those add up to 30,800, the largest portion of …

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Can you imagine walking through your entire life… in two feet of water? You’re commuting to work in water, walking up the stairs to your office in water, and struggling to take care of your kids and the house with the resistance of water adding stress to your every move. And the only time you get a break is when you lie down – tired from you’re exhausting day. You’re technically able to move forward, yes, but you’re using a lot more energy …

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Things break down. Your car breaks down. Your washing machine starts making a loud “clunking” noise. Your air conditioning fails and the heat starts rising in your home. For the large majority of Americans walking the “paycheck to paycheck” tightrope, such events are incredibly unwelcome. Suddenly, you have a huge expense dropped on your lap that you’re going to have to deal with and, likely, you don’t have the spare cash to make it work. The solution many people use …

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I’m always on the lookout for a good hack. Whether it’s trying butter in my coffee in the morning for sustained energy (didn’t work), writing while using binaural beats for increased focus (kind of works?), or taking a cold shower every morning and then running up a hill in lieu of a longer workout (works, but not for the feint of heart), I am 100% open to trying new things that might improve my life. So, when I heard about a …

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The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite films of all time, and I’m far from alone in that sentiment. It’s been the top rated film of all time on IMDB for years and years and has been endlessly appreciated by both critics and movie fans alike. In my opinion, the film resonates because it’s about a bunch of flawed but likable characters overcoming a very challenging situation, something we can all relate to. The movie manages to create very …

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Recently, I had the pleasure of reading the wonderful book Deep Work by Cal Newport. In the book, he defines what he calls the craftsman approach to tool selection: The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts. What’s the alternative? The Any-Benefit Approach to [...] Tool Selection: You’re justified in using …

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