Author: Trent Hamm

Questions About Radio Shack, Pocket Notebooks, CSAs, Eggs, and More!

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. Fast food after work habit 2. Radio Shack sales 3. Thoughts on micro housing 4. Pocket notebook organization 5. Secret inheritance and executorship 6. Boomers and …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Some Thoughts on the Parable of the Fisherman and the Banker

Over the last week, several people have sent me this story from a bunch of different websites. I’m not sure where it originated, but the first place I saw it was on Financial Mentor. Here’s the parable: The Parable of the Fisherman and the Banker An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in …

Expensive Items and Buying for Life

One common question I get in the reader mailbags concerns buying items for life. Given the prevalence of these questions – and many of the comments I’ve seen about my responses to them and the suggestions from readers – I thought it might make sense to dig further into the “buy it for life” idea. …

Categories: Shopping

Balancing Spending and Time: How ‘Time Frugality’ Can Save You Lots of Cash

I have a number of hobbies that I deeply enjoy. I really enjoy playing board games and am the member of two different board game groups. I love to read. I love doing things with my children. I love tinkering with electronics, walking around my neighborhood, and countless other things. I also love just trying …

The Million-Dollar Retirement Question

One question I’ve received several times over the years is what I’ve jokingly called the “million-dollar question” to my wife. It comes in several variations, but generally boils down to two types. The question is either this one: How much would I need in the bank to live the rest of my life on the …

12 Money-Saving Food Strategies My Family Uses

Over the years, our family has steadily built up a number of little “food hacks” that we use to save money and time when buying food and preparing meals at home. Often, we don’t even really think about them, but sometimes, when we step back and look at our meal patterns, we see lots of …

Questions About Bed Sheets, Used CDs, Health Insurance, and More!

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. Health insurance and job switching 2. Hosting guests at home? 3. Balancing retirement and college savings 4. Wonderful money free weekends! 5. Time to become a homeowner? …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Developing an Internal Yardstick for Fulfillment

The single most powerful personal finance book I’ve ever read is Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life. The book powerfully explains the connection between personal happiness and fulfillment and one’s personal finances. One section of the book that I found particularly powerful begins on page 112 of the most recent paperback …

How ‘Letting Your Money Work for You’ Really Works

Let your money work for you. All of us have heard that saying at some point, but what does it really mean? For some of us, the idea of compound interest makes natural sense. If you put away money for a long time, it’s going to grow slowly at first, but over time it will …

Everything You Need to Know About Listening to Podcasts, My Favorite Free Form of Entertainment

I spend the equivalent of a full-time job working at my computer or laptop, and that’s usually with audio turned on. On top of that, I have my cell phone almost everywhere with me and when I’m in the car; I usually plug it in and listen to the audio through my car’s speaker system. What …

Getting Rich on a Small Salary

Once every month or two, I’ll come across a story like this one that describes how someone on a small salary managed to slowly amass an impressive wealth. This particular story describes how a janitor managed to accumulate $8 million. From the article: Ronald Read, a Vermont gas station attendant who worked in retail later …

Six Common Tax Misunderstandings – and How to Survive Them

During the first few months of the year, I read lots of articles and hear from many readers on the question of income taxes. It’s not surprising since filing income tax paperwork is part of the life of most American adults during these first few months of the year, and it’s always a painful process. …

Categories: Taxes

Questions About Grills, Smoothies, Photos, Debt and More!

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. Frugality and abusing charity 2. Gifts for groomsmen 3. Spending in response to debt 4. Unlimited photo storage with Prime 5. Dave Ramsey’s 12% returns 6. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

How to Retire Quickly

Over the last couple of years, Sarah and I have essentially been living on one salary. We’ve been investing every dime of my income (minus taxes and specific professional expenses) since late 2011 and living purely off of Sarah’s income. I like to think of it as if we’re saving 50% of our income. That …

Categories: Retirement

When Your Reasons Change

I look back on the days when Sarah and I were dating with fondness. We didn’t have much money then but we were eternally optimistic about the future. Our evenings were almost always free and we usually spent them together doing something fun. We didn’t worry about the future because we didn’t feel like we …

Categories: Getting Started

60 Simple Rules of Personal Finance

A while back, I was asked to give an hourlong presentation where I talked about my key principles of personal finance. I chose to give a presentation where each slide was available for about a minute with one simple rule on each slide, giving me a minute to discuss that rule. Thus, I ended up …

Seven Strategies for Haggling at Stores (Even Large Chain Stores)

One of my big goals over the last few years was to improve my haggling skills. In the past, I always felt as though it was inappropriate to haggle in many stores, mostly because the whole process felt uncomfortable for me. Over the last few years, however, I’ve negotiated discounts on a number of items, …

Categories: Shopping

12 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in Stocks

A few days ago, our family was driving to a school event together. We were listening to a podcast over the car’s stereo and the host was talking about how they were worried about the stock market being so high. My children are naturally curious creatures and so they wanted to know why this host …

Questions About Gloves, Castille Soap, TurboTax, and More!

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. Paying ahead on student loans 2. Why does tax deferring matter? 3. Investing in collectible cards 4. Camera and money advice 5. Buy it for life: …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

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