• Reader Mailbag: Fun?

    What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Long term life insurance 2. Preparing for tax bill 3. Dental challenges 4. Fear of switching careers 5. Money from selling household items 6. Haircuts and …

  • Get a Savings Account that Offers Better Interest (49/365)

    Yesterday, I talked about the value of getting a (small) interest rate on your checking account. A similar tactic applies for savings accounts. Getting a good interest rate is money straight in your pocket. As I mentioned yesterday, when 365 Ways to Live Cheap went to press, we were in a bit of a different …

  • Dancing with Tomorrow

    “Your house is paid off and you have some money in savings. Why not live a little?” A friend of mine asked me this the other day when I said that our family vacation this summer was just going to be a camping trip in a national park, shortly followed by a mention of the …

  • Get a Checking Account That Offers Interest (48/365)

    Interest rates are a funny thing. While interest is always a good thing to earn, predicting the exact rate you’ll get is far from an exact science. When I first wrote 365 Ways to Live Cheap in 2007 and early 2008, many checking accounts – even entry-level ones – offered interest. I myself had a …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #60

    Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Jenna McCarthy on what you don’t know about marriage This is a wonderful talk about what actually makes marriage work. I think there’s quite a lot to what she’s …

  • Get a Bank Card with a Very Large Fee-Free ATM Network (47/365)

    For the last few weeks, we’ve been focusing on how to save money on transportation. Now, we’re going to start looking at another potential money sink: banking and investing. There are a handful of tips from 365 Ways to Live Cheap that felt really relevant to my life as I was writing the book in …

  • Jobs and the Entrepreneur Mindset

    I was digging through some old bookmarks recently when I came across this post from Afford Anything on the entrepreneur mindset. I’m going to quote a bit from the middle of the post where she’s discussing a guy who wants a job laid out for him on a silver platter, but the whole thing is …

  • Plan Ahead for a Car Replacement (46/365)

    When Sarah replaced her first car (an old Toyota Celica) with her second car (a Mercury Sable of about 1999 vintage), she was financially unprepared for the switch. She had only the tiniest of down payments and had to take out a very large loan to cover the purchase. We ended up paying about 30% …

  • Reader Mailbag: Novel Writing Update

    What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Recycling 2. Bankruptcy or not? 3. Downsize or not? 4. Praying for money 5. Figuring out down payment 6. How much for extra payments? 7. Distant …

  • Pay for Car Repairs with a Credit Card (45/365)

    The usual personal finance advice tells people to avoid credit cards like the plague. The reason for that is quite straightforward. Credit cards make it incredibly easy to get into debt trouble. When you use a credit card, you’re not directly spending your own money, and that abstraction is often enough to convince people to …

  • The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Politics Edition

    You would think, with the Iowa caucus ending a month and a half ago, that the automated political calls would stop for our family. You’d be wrong. I’m still getting calls from candidates I don’t support asking me to donate to them. I’m getting weird calls from all sorts of action groups wanting me to …

  • Shop Around for Car Repairs (44/365)

    This is one of those tips that you hear and immediately think, “Easier said than done.” Why? Most of the time when you need a car repair, you’re pinched. Your car failed at a bad time, you need to get to work or school, and you’re willing to just throw money at the problem so …

  • Compound Interest, Compound Opportunity

    One of the first topics covered in almost any personal finance book you read is the power of compound interest. Compound Interest 101 You can skip this section if you’re already familiar with compound interest and how it works. I’m including it for people new to the idea. Let’s say you have access to a …

  • Don’t Get Optional Stuff During Maintenance (43/365)

    Whenever I get an oil change at one of those typical oil change places (think JiffyLube or something similar), I’m inundated by requests for tons of optional things. They say things like “you need a new air filter” or “you need a sealant on your windshield” or “you need transmission fluid” and they try very …

  • Reader Mailbag: Writing Focus

    What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Budgeting with bi-weekly paychecks 2. Gross or net income? 3. Investing in this economy 4. Car trade-in time? 5. Blogging workflow 6. Using money before pay …

  • Don’t Speed – Instead, Use Cruise Control (42/365)

    A few years ago, I was pulled over for going 61 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour zone. I mumbled and grumbled to myself as the officer went back to his car and wrote me a ticket. Instantly, over $100 went down the tubes, and that doesn’t include the bump in car …

  • The Different Meanings of Saving for Retirement

    My parents and Sarah’s parents are roughly the same age. Their retirement-age experieces are much different than each other. My parents are both retired in the traditional sense. They have a limited fixed income made up of Social Security and some pension money. Their house and vehicles are long since paid for, and since their …

  • Eliminate One of Your Cars Entirely (41/365)

    Over the last few days, I’ve talked about a lot of options that you can use to get to work and run errands without the use of your own car. Carpooling, riding public transportation, and riding a bicycle can all achieve this goal. There’s still a problem, though. If you use these tactics, you’re leaving …

  • Ten Pieces of Inspiration #59

    Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. J. M. Barrie on work I don’t really think of work as being time spent earning money. Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else. …