Month: May 2014

Fifteen Free Things To Do During A Money-Free Weekend

Yesterday, I wrote a well-received article about having a “money-free” weekend, which outlines the idea that you can not only save some money and entertain yourself by not spending any money for a weekend, but you can actually begin to train your mind to be frugal. In response, “John Wesley” left the following comment: This …

The Frugal Wedding Registry: Wedding Gift Ideas To Help Put That Special Couple On A Sound Financial Path

When we got married, we received a ton of gifts from family members of all kinds, ranging from towels to a weird statue of a hobbit to a knife set to towels to a handmade quilt to towels. Needless to say, we still have plenty of towels. Today, though, there are only a few that …

Categories: Family, Shopping

Challenge Yourself To A Money-Free Weekend

For the last few months, my wife and I have been doing something every other weekend or so that we call a “money free” weekend, in an effort to live more frugally. It’s actually quite fun – here’s how we do it. We are not allowed to spend any money on anything, no matter what. …

The Economy of Melancholy and 10 Ways to Battle It

In the May 2007 issue of Harper’s Magazine (which should be on newsstands shortly – I am a subscriber), a fascinating cover article appears entitled “Manufacturing Depression: A Journey into the Economy of Melancholy.” Written by Gary Greenberg, a psychotherapist, the article’s main idea is that true depression is actually an extremely rare event and …

Organizing Financial Documents In A Filing Cabinet

In the past, I had a pretty effective system for managing my papers, but now that I’m married, we have a child, we’re about to buy a home, we have a second child on the way, and we’re starting to actually have investments to keep track of, the old binder system simply isn’t cutting the …

Categories: Money

Do A Financial Spring Cleaning

Today is a lazy Sunday in the early spring, the first authentic lazy Sunday I’ve had in a long while. The taxes are done and now it’s time for a financial spring cleaning. What’s a financial spring cleaning, you ask? For me, it’s a post tax filing tradition in which I go through all of …

Categories: Money

Rethinking The Costs Of Child Care

My wife and I are expecting our second child in September. As soon as we made the decision to have a second child, we sat down and did a number of calculations on the subject and we quickly realized that the expenses were going to be tremendous. Let’s walk through the expenses just a bit …

Categories: Family, Money

Is Dave Ramsey Making Up Stuff About The Stock Market?

I’ve heard many times that Dave Ramsey makes some very broad generalizations about the broad stock market when convincing listeners of his radio show to invest their money in a broad index fund. I never really paid much attention to this, mostly because if you don’t speak in some degree of generalization, it’s very difficult …

My Company Just Announced Huge Layoffs And I’m Afraid My Position Will Disappear: Seven Things You Need To Do Right Now

A friend of mine works for CitiGroup in South Dakota, which is about to experience some massive layoffs. He’s a bit worried about what’s coming down the pike, and so he asked me what I thought he should do. Here’s my advice to him, as well as anyone else who is facing a potential layoff …

Debunking Henry Blodget

Hopefully that title got your attention. In fact, it’s a variation on the subtitle of an article posted to Slate.com yesterday, Spend Every Dime!, which says that you’ll actually lose money by saving and investing it, so why not spend now? Normally I would ignore such tripe, but this article has been making the rounds …

Review: A Random Walk Down Wall Street

This week, I sat down with one of the modern classics on stock investing, Burton Malkiel’s A Random Walk Down Wall Street. I was already aware of the premise behind the book – the stock market is pretty efficient and most everyone is wasting their time trying to find inefficiencies to exploit – but I …

Categories: Books and Reading

Thoughts On Voluntary Simplicity

Before we even get started, let’s define what I’m talking about. Voluntary simplicity, in its widest context, refers to living an examined life; in other words, one in which you have determined what is important for you and your immediate family and discarding the rest. This can take many forms, but most of them revolve …

Categories: Frugality

The Dangers of Financial Paralysis – And How To Get Out Of The Rut

For several months last year, I was completely in financial lockdown mode. I had figured out that I needed to start saving money, and I also had figured out that I needed to get out of debt, but once I had all of my loans paid off (at least, all of my loans with an …

Categories: Investing

Most Frequently Asked Question: Pay Off Debts Or Invest?

Over and over and over again, readers ask me some variation on this question: I have $1,000 in my hand. I am trying to decide if I’m better off paying off part of my credit card debt or investing it. What should I do? The thing is, my answer is almost always the same, and …

What Is Personal Finance? The Answer Might Be More Than You Think…

This is an interesting question that has been popping up again and again as I continue this blog. It’s becoming clear to me that my definition of personal finance is quite a bit wider than the definition others have of that term, so I decided to explore what exactly personal finance means in my book …

The Four Web Sites That Directly Save Me The Most Money … And Some Thoughts On Other Online Shopping Sites

Who says web surfing can’t directly save you money? First of all, here are five websites I use on a very frequent basis that have directly saved me significant money. Remember The Milk http://www.rememberthemilk.com I wrote ecstatically about this site before, but the same still holds true: I use it to manage my grocery list, …

How To Pick Out A Grocery Store After Moving – Or If You’re Looking To Save A Few Dollars

Where I live, there are no large grocery stores in a twenty mile radius (there are two small “town” groceries that are fine for incidentals, but their prices are rather high and their selection is limited). However, right outside of that radius are several different options for grocery shopping. When I first moved to the …

Categories: Meals, Shopping

Five Things That Seem Expensive – But Don’t Have To Be

While reading through the plethora of comments on my recent post on giving television the boot, I realized that there are many things that I view as inexpensive that others view as being very expensive. Here’s a list of five of these items, along with ways to make this “expensive” thing not expensive at all …

Overcoming The Social Obligation To Keep Up With The Joneses

I received a very heartfelt email from a reader that I’m going to reprint below (with some grammatical fixes). It was written to me in response to my earlier post concerning when frugality finally pays off. I’ve been debt free for five years, I own my own home, and I have almost 200K in investments …