Author: Trent Hamm

11 Fun Things to Do That Actually Earn Money

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article entitled “40 Free (or Extremely Low-Cost) Things I Genuinely Enjoy Doing – and You Might, Too!” I received several pieces of feedback on the article, mostly positive, but one in particular stuck out at me. Alex writes: Your list of free things to do was cool, …

How Making Meals in Advance Saves Time and Money: Make-Ahead Lasagna

Earlier this week, I spent about an hour preparing four pans of lasagna at the same time, with the intent of eating one pan as a family dinner and freezing the other three for future use. I’ve often talked about making meals in advance and how it saves both time and money, so I thought …

Categories: Meals

10 Tricks Online Marketers (and Other Scammers) Use to Extract Your Money

It’s pretty hard to spend much time online without seeing some pitch or another for some product that you just can’t live without. Maybe it’s a weight-loss kit or perhaps it’s a tool for cleaning your living room, or even something as simple as software for managing professional contacts or a special course to help …

Categories: Shopping

Questions About Tuna, Bicycles, Cruises, Cruel Coworkers 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. Investing and taxes 2. Ethics and class action lawsuits 3. First adult bicycle 4. Cheap versus frugal 5. Disney Cruise suggestions 6. The value of staying …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

11 Strategies to Minimize Shopping or Avoid It Altogether

I have found that, time and time again, the act of going shopping causes almost all of the money leaks in my life. It seems like it’s common sense, but it’s true – whenever I go to a store or visit an online store, I tend to spend money, and it’s often money spent on …

Categories: Shopping

Some Thoughts on the ‘American Dream’

One of the ideals that was taught to me as a child is best expressed today as the “American dream,” that every American should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. It’s a great, flowery idea, but what does it actually mean? Let’s start with prosperity. It’s …

Categories: Getting Started

Why You Can’t Time the Market: Thoughts on Investing in Stocks

Marcus wrote in with a great reader mailbag question that really couldn’t be answered in brief, so I expanded my answer into a post. Here’s what Marcus had to say: There seems to be a consensus right now that the stock market is near a high point and is going to drop in the future …

Running on the Hedonic Treadmill

One of the weirdest phenomena I have ever experienced is when I realized that I get more pleasure out of going to, say, a bookstore once a month than I get out of going to that same bookstore every day. It sounds really weird and counterintuitive, but it’s true. Whenever I go into a bookstore, …

Categories: Getting Started

40 Free (or Extremely Low-Cost) Things I Genuinely Enjoy Doing – and You Might, Too

A reader recently “called me out” via Facebook: I don’t really buy your claim that there are more “free” things to do than you have time to do for the rest of your life. It’s a claim that I make pretty regularly, and I’ll say it again here. There are more free (or extremely inexpensive) …

Questions About Entitled Kids, Trash Bags, Money Belts, Life 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. Ride the investment waves? 2. Trash bags and frugal advice 3. Raising entitled kids 4. Wedding registry mention on invitation 5. Carrying stuff on a bike 6. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

A Detailed Guide for Writing Informative and Entertaining Blog Content

Over the last few years, a handful of readers who contact me regularly have asked for me to write a post about the actual nuts and bolts of writing for a blog and building an audience for that writing. Honestly, most of the same things hold true for things like building a Youtube channel and …

Categories: Careers

How to Save Money on College Textbooks

Over the last few days, I’ve heard from a handful of college students that are facing the start of their fall semester in college and are looking for smart strategies for trimming their expenses when it comes to textbooks. Here’s an example message from Jen: I just priced out my books for fall semester and …

Back to Basics

I am often asked what kind of personal finance lessons I’m teaching my children. I think many people hope that because I’m a personal finance writer who churns out tens of thousands of words a week on personal finance topics, I’ll magically have some special insight that will teach their children how to be financially …

Categories: Getting Started

Anchor Prices and You

Lately, I’ve been thinking about sales and sale prices because of an epiphany I had in a store recently. Sarah and I were shopping for birthday gifts for our daughter. One item that she wanted was colorful earbuds, which seemed like a reasonable gift idea. While we were looking at the display, we noticed that …

How to Build a Strong Frugal Mindset

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a surprisingly strong mindset for making naturally frugal choices, to the point where non-frugal choices often feel inherently wrong to me on some level. For example, whenever I spend money on non-essential stuff that I didn’t account for and budget for, I feel strongly as though I’m making …

Categories: Frugality

How to Coupon at $50 an Hour

In the past, I’ve shared a ton of details on how we collect and use coupons. With that in mind, I thought it might be worthwhile to show off our entire coupon organization system so it’s clear how we do it. Because of this system, the only time we really invest in coupons is a …

Questions About Starter Tools, Rewarding Goals, Tuesday Morning, Hair 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. List of information for survivors 2. Starter toolbox for new homeowner 3. Today’s thoughts on Paperbackswap 4. Being a good sister? 5. Struggling with high professional …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

A Look at Our Inexpensive Vacation in Wisconsin

Last summer, my family went on a rather expensive family vacation in the southeast United States. As is our family tradition, we try hard to balance out expensive summer vacations with much less expensive ones, so this year we planned out a much less expensive vacation. The centerpiece of our vacation saw us camping for …

The Receipt Cycle: How to Keep Tabs on Your Spending and Tax Deductions All at Once

Back in March, I sat down to file my family’s income taxes, both federal and state. Part of that process is taking a serious look at my expenditures throughout the year and figuring out which ones are actually tax deductible. Now, I have a lot of expenses that are tax deductible. I have computer equipment …

Categories: Getting Started, Taxes

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