Getting Started

Making a “Daily Practice” Work for You

The single best idea I’ve learned this year came to me courtesy of James Altucher, who I heard as a guest on Episode 139 of the podcast Gweek. On that episode, Altucher talked about his book Choose Yourself, but also elaborated a bit on an idea he called the “daily practice.” Simply put, a daily …

Categories: Getting Started

The Single Biggest Money Mistake People Make

Let’s just cut right to the chase. The single biggest money mistake that people make is that they put too much emphasis on the short term and not enough on the long term. Whenever you splurge, you’re choosing the short term over the long term. Whenever you buy something you don’t really need, you’re choosing …

Categories: Getting Started

Ending the Cycle of Excuses

During my second and third years in college, I made some poor decisions regarding which classes to take. Those poor choices, during a period when I was no longer sure about my major, ended up tacking an extra year onto my college experience. My response should have been to talk to advisors and figure out …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Prevent Financial Relapse

It’s a pretty common story. You have some debt. Maybe some student loans or a big home mortgage. You have a good job, but you want more. So you put some stuff on a credit card. Then some more stuff. Then you get another credit card. You sign up for a fat data plan for …

Categories: 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 …