Getting Started

Balancing Spending and Time: How “Time Frugality” Can Save You Lots of Cash

I have a number of hobbies that I deeply enjoy. I really enjoy playing board games and am the member of two different board game groups. I love to read. I love doing things with my children. I love tinkering with electronics, walking around my neighborhood, and countless other things. I also love just trying …

The Million-Dollar Retirement Question

One question I’ve received several times over the years is what I’ve jokingly called the “million-dollar question” to my wife. It comes in several variations, but generally boils down to two types. The question is either this one: How much would I need in the bank to live the rest of my life on the …

12 Money-Saving Food Strategies My Family Uses

Over the years, our family has steadily built up a number of little “food hacks” that we use to save money and time when buying food and preparing meals at home. Often, we don’t even really think about them, but sometimes, when we step back and look at our meal patterns, we see lots of …

Five Money Moves No One Should Ever Make… Ever

Donald Trump is famous for much more than his popular television show and confusing hairstyle; he’s also famous for being very, very rich. Of course, he wasn’t always as rich as he is now, and his businesses have even filed for bankruptcy a handful of times. Still, most people would say he knows a thing …

Categories: Getting Started, Money

Developing an Internal Yardstick for Fulfillment

The single most powerful personal finance book I’ve ever read is Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life. The book powerfully explains the connection between personal happiness and fulfillment and one’s personal finances. One section of the book that I found particularly powerful begins on page 112 of the most recent paperback …

How ‘Letting Your Money Work for You’ Really Works

Let your money work for you. All of us have heard that saying at some point, but what does it really mean? For some of us, the idea of compound interest makes natural sense. If you put away money for a long time, it’s going to grow slowly at first, but over time it will …

What Is Index Investing and Why Does It Work?

There are an almost infinite number of ways to approach investing, but my personal favorite is called index investing. It’s a simple strategy that can yield remarkable results. I use it myself and it’s the strategy I recommend to clients who come to me for investment advice. My goal in this post is to explain …

Everything You Need to Know About Listening to Podcasts, My Favorite Free Form of Entertainment

I spend the equivalent of a full-time job working at my computer or laptop, and that’s usually with audio turned on. On top of that, I have my cell phone almost everywhere with me and when I’m in the car; I usually plug it in and listen to the audio through my car’s speaker system. What …

Getting Rich on a Small Salary

Once every month or two, I’ll come across a story like this one that describes how someone on a small salary managed to slowly amass an impressive wealth. This particular story describes how a janitor managed to accumulate $8 million. From the article: Ronald Read, a Vermont gas station attendant who worked in retail later …

When Your Reasons Change

I look back on the days when Sarah and I were dating with fondness. We didn’t have much money then but we were eternally optimistic about the future. Our evenings were almost always free and we usually spent them together doing something fun. We didn’t worry about the future because we didn’t feel like we …

Categories: Getting Started

60 Simple Rules of Personal Finance

A while back, I was asked to give an hourlong presentation where I talked about my key principles of personal finance. I chose to give a presentation where each slide was available for about a minute with one simple rule on each slide, giving me a minute to discuss that rule. Thus, I ended up …

12 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in Stocks

A few days ago, our family was driving to a school event together. We were listening to a podcast over the car’s stereo and the host was talking about how they were worried about the stock market being so high. My children are naturally curious creatures and so they wanted to know why this host …

Simple Steps to Avoid Identity Theft

Over the last three days, three different readers have written to me in a panic, concerned that they may be the victims of identity theft. At least one of these readers clearly was a victim of such theft – the other two may have had their identity stolen, but it hasn’t been used yet. First, …

Categories: Getting Started

Four Specific Strategies I Love for Saving Money on Food Items

Food is a major part of our family’s budget. With three growing children at home, we go through a lot of food, and with our desire to make sure we all have reasonably healthy and reasonably balanced diets, the food costs can really add up. Over the years, I’ve come up with a number of …

Categories: Getting Started, Meals

How to Find Your Money ‘Leaks’ (and How to Plug Them)

One of the most challenging parts of getting a grip on your finances is finding your money “leaks” and plugging them up. It was easily the most difficult part of our financial turnaround and it took a long time before we really got this under control. Let’s start with the basics. What’s a Money ‘Leak’? …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Tell If You’re on Track for Your Financial Goals

One nugget of personal finance information that I’ve seen repeated over and over is the notion that if you have a year’s salary saved for retirement at age 35, you’re on pace to retire very nicely at age 65. It actually turns out that the statement is more or less true, if you assume, of …

The Five Most Important Factors for Your Investment Success

If you’re new to investing, it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed. There are strange words to figure out, complicated ideas to understand, new decisions to make, and plenty of conflicting advice about all of it. It’s almost enough to make you want to avoid the topic altogether. But here’s the truth: It doesn’t take a Ph.D. …

It’s All About the Choice

Sometimes I have the privilege of talking to a reporter or a radio host or a television personality regarding some particular personal finance story they’re working on. Most of the time, the story they’re doing is a good one, focusing on how people are choosing to be more careful with their money or how people …

Categories: Getting Started

My Five Worst Money Traps – and How I Handle Them

As proud as I am of our positive financial progress over the last several years, there are still big areas of my life where I don’t always make the smartest spending choices. Even with all of the mental preparation and good choices that I do make, there are still times when I will choose to …

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