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 …

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

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

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 …

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

Using Software Development Concepts to Improve Your Financial State

In my previous professional life, I was a software developer. In fact, it was the actual software development part of my work that I truly loved. I enjoyed designing software, figuring out what the customers and stakeholders wanted, thinking about how to make that a reality, and then actually doing it. At various times, I …

Categories: Getting Started

How Your Perspective on Wealth Changes as You Achieve Financial Goals

I still have a big pile of my old journals, dating all the way back to junior high. Those things are literally more than half a lifetime old and, at this point, they’re probably more relatable to my oldest son than they are to me, though I can still see big glimmers of myself in …

Categories: Getting Started

Handling Future Uncertainty

Alex writes in: I am 26 years old. I have paid off all of my student loans and am looking forward to the future. I have some big plans and dreams for my future. I want to eventually start up my own consultancy and have a plan for doing it. Here’s the problem. I know …

The ‘What Should I Major In?’ Question

Every once in a while, I’ll get an email from a high-school-aged reader – or the parent of a high-school-aged student – who is looking for advice on what to study in college and, to some extent, how to pay for it. When I went to college, I followed the simple and straightforward advice of my …

10 Strategies for Handling the Stress of a Financial Crisis

When that moment comes when you realize that you need to make major changes in your life, it’s incredibly stressful. Often, it’s the culmination of a lot of minor stresses building up to one big breaking point, and then suddenly everything rushes through, creating a tidal wave of worry and fear and stress. I know. …

Categories: Getting Started

20 Ways to Make a Great Birthday for Your Child When Money Is Tight

One of the most difficult experiences when you’re a parent is not having enough money to make your children’s special days feel very special at all. For most parents, their child is a key part of their life and it’s not the child’s fault when you don’t have the resources to make their birthday special. …

The Decision Spiral

Most of us are pretty familiar with the concept of a downward spiral of decisions. When we make a bad choice, it puts us in a slightly weaker spot, where our options aren’t as good as they once were. Here’s a good example: you choose to spend $100 on an expensive meal for yourself and …

Categories: Getting Started

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