Author: Trent Hamm

Great at Planning, Terrible at Executing: Ten Strategies for Becoming a Doer

Most people are pretty good at coming up with ideas for the future, and many of us are pretty good at developing plans to achieve those things. I know I certainly am. If you were to take a look at my pocket notebook, many of the things in there are ideas for things I want …

Half of Americans Can’t Handle a Small Emergency. Here’s What to Do If You’re in That Group.

I was stunned earlier this week to read in the Report of Economic Well Being of US Households in 2014 that 47% of Americans would experience significant financial distress – taking out debt or selling something – in order to be able to handle a $400 emergency. The survey that the report was based on, …

Categories: Getting Started

Not All Voices Are the Same: Ten Common Personal Finance Disagreements

Spend less than you earn. Pay off your high interest debts. Save for the future. Many of the tenets of personal finance are essentially common sense. They just work in practically every situation. Still, there are some areas where it’s not nearly as clear cut. Different people will make different arguments when it comes to …

Categories: Getting Started

Plan Your Day the Smart Way to Minimize Spending

It’s a pretty simple routine. Almost every morning these days, I spend about 10 minutes planning out the specifics of my day. I pull out my calendar and see what I need to do that day, then start filling in the gaps with things I need to do. I’ll assign a few one-hour blocks to writing. …

Some Thoughts on Privileges and Advantages

The other day, I received a note from a reader who informed me that the only reason that my story of financial recovery was even possible was due to my own “privileges.” So, let’s talk about those. I am a white male. I was born to a family that didn’t have very much money at …

Questions About Homemade Pasta, Birthday Parties, Online Banking, 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. Checking account “buffer” 2. Choosing between many housing options 3. Cheap boy’s birthday ideas 4. Optimizing the “retire early” point 5. Chance to start over 6. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

A Guide to Extreme Food Budgeting

Jeremy writes in: In my current job, I bring in about $780 per biweekly paycheck. I get paid 26 times a year. I make a monthly budget based on two paychecks and use the remaining two per year for an emergency fund and for seasonal expenses like buying Christmas gifts. This means I have $1,560 …

The Daniel Norris Code for Success

“Research the things you love. Gain knowledge. It’s valuable.” – Daniel Norris What would you do if you were suddenly given $2 million? You’d pay your taxes, of course. You’d probably pay off any debts that you had. You might buy a nice home to live in and refresh your vehicles. You might sock some …

Applying SMART Goals to Personal Finance

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with an old friend of mine about personal finance and The Simple Dollar. He was familiar with the site to a small extent, but was still peppering me with a lot of questions about my own financial turnaround and how I built various side gigs (including The Simple …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling

One big treat that Sarah and I enjoy is an annual family vacation. We usually travel somewhere within the United States or Canada as a family, sometimes camping and sometimes staying in hotels. Sometimes we visit state and national parks, while other years involve visits to cities. I’ve been to most of the states in …

Categories: Travel

Why Bother? Digging Into the Purpose of Personal, Financial, and Professional Success

“We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. …

Categories: Getting Started

Questions About Cheap Camping, Office Chairs, Steam, 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. Cheap camping options 2. Diabetic question 3. Water leaking from air vents 4. Handling a medical catastrophe 5. Side gigs at work? 6. Office chair suggestion …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Thoughts on the Parable of the Mustard Seed

Recently, I attended the baptism of a beautiful baby girl. During the reading of the scripture, a passage from the book of Matthew was read – chapter 13, verses 31 and 32 – and it really stuck with me. Here it is, from the NIV translation: He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven …

Some Thoughts on My Father

In the spirit of Father’s Day, I wanted to share some thoughts about my own father and the huge impact he’s had on my life, personally and professionally. I grew up in a single income household. Most of the time, my father worked in a factory making construction equipment, while my mother stayed at home. …

Categories: Family

How to Use a Simple Pocket Notebook to Change Your Life

A few days ago, in Monday’s Reader Mailbag, I made an off-hand reference to my own use of pocket notebooks, where I wrote a paragraph or two about how I used them and suggested that if readers wanted to know more, they should send me a note and I’d write a longer article. I received …

Ceiling Fan Hacks to Save Energy (and Money)

Summer’s just about here, and you’ve probably had to kick on the air conditioning a few times already. For some people, that’s the beginning of a series of very big electric bills. But while a typical central air conditioning unit uses 3,500 watts of energy when running, the average ceiling fan uses only 60 watts — even when …

How Financial Security and Useful Skills Change Your Decision-Making Process

A few weeks ago, an interesting event occurred in one of my old hobbies that sheds a wonderful light on how decision making processes of people change as they achieve success in the world. Bear with me – I have some interesting points that relate to this story. Recently, there was a very large Magic: …

Handling the Hardest Moments of a Financial Turnaround

It’s an experience common to a lot of people. You overspend for years and don’t really think about your finances. Something changes and you begin to take notice. You start turning that ship around. You struggle, and sometimes you succeed and other times you end up reverting back to the same old habits. I was …

Categories: Getting Started

Questions About Fast Casual, Amazon Credit, BPA, 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. Can’t save enough for independence 2. Challenges after quitting 3. Board game box repairs 4. Using Amazon credit 5. Starting a writing career 6. Stipend from …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

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