Getting Started

Wants Don’t Last

In 2011, I sat down with my two oldest children and the three of us each made a list of things that we wanted for Christmas. I used it as a way to get some ideas to share with grandparents and aunts and uncles, but more than that, it was a way to get them …

Categories: Getting Started

Figuring Out the Path Forward

Most of the questions I get from readers about their finances have some things in common. They’re at a crossroads of some kind. Whether it’s triggered by a major life change or not, they have a sense that their current direction in life isn’t perfect for where they think they want to be going. They …

Categories: Getting Started

Zenhabits’ Leo Babauta on Mastering the Art of Change

I recently got the chance to sit down and talk to Leo Babauta, the creator of one of my favorite blogs, Zenhabits. We got to chat about habit change, debt, procrastination, and the common root of all of our problems, among other things. Leo is living proof that we can control our lives and change them for the …

Warren Buffett’s Two Lists and Your Money

A few weeks ago, there was a pretty great story going around various business and finance websites about Warren Buffett. According to the story: One day Buffett went up to his pilot named Steve and jokingly said to him that “the fact that you’re still working for me tells me I’m not doing my job.” …

25 Smart Ways to Handle a $1,000 Windfall

A tiny windfall is pretty easy to spend. If you find $10 or $20 on the street, you can just use it to help pay for groceries or some other regular expense to give yourself just a bit of breathing room in your budget. A huge windfall – like an inheritance or a legal settlement …

Categories: Getting Started

The Parable of the Whopper: The Big Impact of a Little Treat

When I was a college student, I lived for about a year with a few other people in a shared apartment. None of us had much money at all, so we basically packed as many people in there as we could get away with to make the rent cheap. For me, that meant that the …

12 Common Money Mistakes New College Graduates Make

Life after college graduation can be an overwhelming experience. Your whole world is changing. You may be both thrilled and sad to be done with your college days, excited for the new beginning, and nervous about what the future holds. College may have been the first time you were somewhat on your own financially. But now …

How One Simple Change Spreads Throughout Your Life

To me, personal finance is about far more than just dollars and cents. Not only does the money you earn open a lot of doors and give you a lot of opportunities, those things are connected to almost every element of your life. It’s not surprising, then, that making a change in one little part …

Categories: Getting Started

20 Financial ‘Rules’ I Hope to Instill in My Children

I relish being a parent. For me, it is deeply satisfying to see children develop from infancy to toddlerhood to childhood and onward through the teen years and into adulthood. I love having conversations with them as they figure out their own morality and sense of right and wrong. I love watching their faces as …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

The Pajama Principle

Most of the time, when I’m sitting in my home office writing something, I’m either wearing pajamas – usually an old tee shirt and a pair of sweat pants – or an old tee shirt and ragged, comfortable blue jeans. I’m not worried about appearances. I’m not worried about anything, honestly, other than personal comfort. …

Categories: Getting Started

Saving Money in Your Startup — Part 5

Have you ever written a check and paused for a moment to mentally check your bank account to make sure there were sufficient funds in the account for the check to clear? I have, and I’m guessing you have too. Keeping accurate accounting records is important — especially for your business. Accounting provides you and your …

Creating Motivation and Discipline for Change

As I mentioned in yesterday’s article, I’m currently rethinking my plans for how I save up for large personal “fun” expenses. My first trial run with this is saving for a trip with friends next August. What I’ve decided to do is use this trip as a motivating “carrot” to strongly push myself to get …

Categories: Getting Started

Confronting Your Worst Money Fears

A tornado sweeps through your town and leaves nothing but death and destruction in its wake. An electrical fire burns your house and everything in it to the ground. A hacker steals your identity and runs up tens of thousands of dollars in debt before you realize what’s happened. Or, a distracted driver gets into a severe, life-changing accident …

Ten Red Flags of Financial Infidelity and What to Do About It

Financial infidelity is one of the most dangerous things that can happen in a marriage. When one spouse is making significant financial moves without the knowlege of the other, it endangers the financial future of both people and exhibits a disregard for the most fundamental parts of a healthy marriage: trust and communication. Financial infidelity …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

Wine, Blind Taste Tests, and Your Money

You’re standing at the grocery store looking at a large selection of wines. You know you want a red wine to go well with your pasta meal this evening. One is $5.99 per bottle. Another is $19.99 per bottle and has a little tag bragging about the score it received in some wine magazine. Which …

Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Purchase

There are few things that leave me feeling worse than an impulsive purchase that wound up being a piece of junk or wound up sitting in the closet gathering dust. Not only am I frustrated with the item itself, I’m also frustrated with me. It was my own personal choice to go ahead and make …

15 Money Principles for the Newly Self-Employed

Being an entrepreneur is scary at times. Income fluctuates, there are no guarantees, and only about half of all small businesses even make it to the five-year mark. But that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing this path if it’s what you feel called to do. While there’s no way to guarantee that your business will flourish into the …

It’s Not a Competition

Several months ago, my sister-in-law took over a small business in her community. She had been working there as an employee, but the business owner was making some life changes and they came to an agreement that left both of them happy. Since then, she has been working her tail off trying to bring that …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Use Technology to Start Saving More

The numbers on who is saving money in America — or more commonly, who isn’t — may shock you. According to a survey by Bankrate, 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. The survey unfortunately reports that 50% of Americans have less than a 3-month cushion in their savings account and 27% have no savings account …