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“31 Days to Financial Independence” is an ongoing series that appears every Thursday on The Simple Dollar. You might want to start this series from the beginning! Last time, we talked about something that I referred to as the “big boost“: going through your rarely-used and unused possessions in order to sell them off and use the proceeds to get your bills up to date, build a small emergency fund, and get a head start on your debt repayment plan. …

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If someone gave you a million dollars, you’d never have to work again – but not for the reasons you think. The big leg up that a stack of cash provides isn’t the means to buy stuff with it now. It’s the ability to invest it so that your money works for you, while you potentially do nothing at all. This is called passive income, and you could argue that it’s new American dream. Of course, no one is going to give …

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Two years ago, I wrote an incredibly popular article entitled 26 Favorite Cheap and Easy Meals. The post consisted of a big pile of my favorite inexpensive and pretty easy meals that I’ve prepared for myself and my family over the years. Almost all of them are far below $1 per serving and they’re all quite easy to prepare, too. (In fact, just yesterday, I wrote an article discussing how to use a $1 per meal strategy to save big …

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By Jon Gorey, Drew Housman, and Trent Hamm There’s something beautiful about the idea of refining an experience — that you can take the same walk to work every day, but improve what you get out of it each time. Maybe you learn to distinguish the different bird calls, or you start to identify the trees you see, or you discover the incredible history behind the corner bakery and its 80-year-old owner. The familiar can become new again or reveal even deeper beauty when you …

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Internet access has become such an important fixture in our lives that, in most American households, it’s considered a required monthly utility, along the lines of the electric or phone bill. And as more people cut the cord to cable TV, cable companies are looking to their internet subscribers to make up for lost revenue. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the average cost of broadband internet service has been climbing quickly, approaching $50 a month in 2015.   While that’s not a terrible price …

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A few months ago, I answered a reader mailbag question from Randu about what constitutes a reasonable food budget for a family of four. Here’s Randu’s question and my response: What is the minimal food budget for a family of four? – Ragu The USDA “thrifty” family cost of food estimation for a family of four is $558 per month with young children and $639.60 if you have older children. We have a family of five (two adults, two “older” …

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Everyone starts out with a blank slate when it comes to their credit reports. The trick, of course, if you have never established any type of credit, is to learn how to go from “no credit” to “good credit” in the shortest amount of time possible. How long does it take to build credit? Establishing a good credit history doesn’t happen overnight, of course. But with the right strategy, you can certainly expedite the process. You Don’t Start from Absolute Zero A …

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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. Body wash in foaming dispenser? 2. International stock market index funds 3. Country club membership 4. Inexpensive hobby for kids 5. Time management tools 6. Repeating the same meal plan 7. Pay off which card first? 8. Bean soup? 9. Chicago Cubs 10. Water conservation and money savings …

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With the fall season in full swing, it’s only natural to take a closer look at our financial goals for this year. There are only a few short months left, after all, and those months include the busy – and expensive – holiday season. With a brand new year on its heels, it’s smart to take stock: Did you accomplish everything you hoped? If not, don’t despair. If I’ve realized anything about money over the years, it’s this: Success – and especially …

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As a former professional basketball player who had to buy things in Israel, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Russia, and Germany, I became quite familiar with how hard it can be to find a good deal when exchanging currency. I’m pretty sure I’d be retired right now if I hadn’t been taken for a ride in so many airports exchanging my Shekels for Euros. But when you’re young and dumb, using the high-priced airport exchange kiosks seems like the best option. …

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