Month: May 2014

A Sunburn and Two Post-It Notes

This morning, I took all three of my children with me to the grocery store, where we bought food for the next two weeks or so. After I unloaded those groceries and we had a nice family lunch, I took my oldest son to soccer practice, did some household chores, then the five of us …

Sign Up for Automatic Repayment Plans for Student Loans (132/365)

One of the best decisions I made during my years of poor finances after college was to sign up for the automatic loan repayment program that my lender made available. To understand why it was such a good choice, you have to roll back the clock to the situation I found myself in right after …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #73

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. Dr. Seuss on dealing with loss I needed to hear this. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss 2. A World War I canteen …

Ask About Fees When Shopping for Loans (131/365)

On the radio in our car, the first two programmed buttons are set to NPR and to a local talk radio station that features a decent amount of local programming. Over the past few years, on that latter station, there have been quite a few ads for home loans, either new mortgages or refinancing. These …

Categories: Frugality

Generics: Six I Buy, Six I Avoid

Generic and store brand products can be a very nice money saver. If you can save a dollar or two by buying a generic item and wind up with essentially the same item, then it’s a very good financial move to buy those generics. I’ve tried the generic and store brand versions of items I …

Categories: Getting Started

Be Accountable – Use Your Family and Friends (130/365)

When you first make the decision to take control of your debts and your financial situation, the change can be really exciting. You’re personally motivated to turn things around, and each new tactic you discover for cutting your spending seems like a great idea. After a few months, though, the honeymoon ends and you begin …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Hand Sanitizer

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. Gym or home exercise equipment? 2. Mother’s Day the frugal way? 3. Beginning personal finance books 4. Apprehensive about moving for career 5. Tossing a suboptimal …

Categories: Books and Reading

Don’t Sign Up For Store Credit Cards Just for That One Time Bonus (129/365)

A few weeks ago, I had to buy a new belt. My old one was simply on the verge of falling apart and belts are fairly rare items to come across in used clothing shops. I sometimes will buy a belt from a local department store, but I usually find that something goes wrong with …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Sunburn Edition

In the last few days, I’ve attended and coached multiple youth soccer games, taken a group of children to the zoo, entertained a much-loved houseguest, assisted in constructing a building, and organized a complicated trip. I’m sunburnt and tired and my feet hurt. Yet, somehow, I feel pretty good, too. Broken Open to Greatness: Transforming …

Categories: Books and Reading

Use a Credit Card That Actually Benefits You (128/365)

It’s very easy to get into a routine with a credit card. Perhaps you signed up for one in college or took the first offer that comes along when you need a card and that’s the one you stick with for your primary use. In my own case, I stuck with a card that earned …

Categories: Frugality

Unexpected Abundance and Clutter

When I was in high school, my parents wound up with a bunch of cases of Dial soap that they got for free. They filled part of a room with all of the soap and we used it for years. I actually took one of the last multi-packs of it to college with me three …

Categories: Getting Started

Pay Off Your Whole Credit Card Balance Each Month (127/365)

Credit cards are like sharp knives. They’re wonderful tools, but they can damage you badly if you use them incorrectly. Whenever I hear from someone who is having trouble paying their credit card bills and is struggling to keep their head above water, I encourage them to lock down their credit cards. Cut them up. …

Categories: Frugality

Reader Mailbag: Houseguests

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. Junk mail and postal employees 2. Defaulting on national debt? 3. Tax liens 4. Coffee frugality tip 5. Charity calling list removal 6. Worried about retirement …

Categories: Books and Reading

Know Your Credit Report and What It Means (126/365)

First and foremost, ignore those ads from freecreditreport.com and freecreditscore.com and the like. Ignore them. All they do is require you to sign up for a service you don’t want in order to get something that you can already get for free through the federal government. The federal government’s real site for getting your credit …

Categories: Frugality

Three Things

When I was about fourteen, I watched a cancer-stricken Jim Valvano give an amazing speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards. That speech has stuck with me ever since. Here’s the speech in its entirety: The part that always got to me was near the start of the speech: When people say to me how do …

Categories: Getting Started

Try Using the Snowflake Method (125/365)

When most people construct and start executing their debt repayment plan, they get excited. They see the giant iceberg of debt that’s been blocking up the straits of their life slowly starting to melt and they want to see it melt faster. Snowflaking is a simple way to make that iceberg melt a little quicker. …

Categories: Frugality

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #72

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. Emerson on the experiment of life If you never try anything new, you’ll never find out if you’ll enjoy it. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you …

Construct Your Debt Repayment Plan (124/365)

In my opinion, if you’re in a financial hole, constructing a debt repayment plan is the single strongest step you can take. It creates a clear picture of your debt situation, tells you the most efficient way of paying them off, offers you clear steps on what to do next, and can also be a …

Categories: Frugality

The Saving Collective

Recently, I read a wonderful article in The Atlantic entitled How the Other Half Saves: Financial Planning on $2 a Day. The article focused on the financial planning practices of individuals in other nations who earn very little – in some cases, as little as $2 a day. One might think that the life stories …

Categories: Getting Started