Getting Started

Some Thoughts on Following Passion

A few weeks ago, Mike Rowe (perhaps best known as the host of the Discovery Channel television series Dirty Jobs) posted an interesting essay on the subject of following your passion. In fact, it was interesting enough that it popped up all over the place on social media sites. His central point is that passion …

If I Can Suggest One Financial Move to Anyone, It’s This

Save for retirement. Period. There are very few adults in the United States that are of working age that aren’t affected in a positive way by saving for retirement. For virtually all of those people, saving for retirement – or saving more for retirement – is a strong positive move. If there was one financial …

Saving Money in Your Startup — Part 2

So you’re thinking about starting a business. Congrats! Now what? Odds are good that if you’re starting a business, you’re a “solopreneur” — meaning it’s just you, and you’ve got some questions about what to do next. Whether it’s your first startup or you’ve been down this path before, identifying and accessing key resources — both …

Nine Strategies for Cultivating a Mindset of Financial Independence

As I’ve stated many times, Sarah and I have a central goal of financial independence at the earliest possible age. Financial independence, to us, means that the requirement of money in exchange for our work becomes entirely optional, leaving us to choose options for our work based entirely on our own skills and personal joy. …

The Missing Ingredient for Change

I’ve had a lot of successes in changing my life for the better. Over the course of approximately five and a half years, Sarah and I managed to pay off three student loans, three car loans, four nearly-maxed-out credit cards, and a full home mortgage, moving ourselves from financial disaster to complete debt freedom. I …

Hacking Six Normal Life Routines to Save Time and Money

In my experience, many of the truly useful frugal tactics come about from little tweaks to one’s daily routine. If you can look at something that you do almost every day and find some little way to shave a minute off of it, you’ve saved more than six hours over the course of a year. …

Emergency Funds on the Path to Financial Independence

One of the first things that’s recommended for people as they start on their journey toward financial recovery is to build an emergency fund. The reason is simple. An emergency fund is simply cash held in a savings account that you can tap when a life emergency happens – like an unexpected death in the …

Hobbies on the Path to Financial Independence

Let me start off by describing several hobbies I’ve enjoyed over the years. It’s not a secret that I’m an avid reader. Once upon a time, I had a large collection of books that I’d purchased in various places. Some of them were cheap as they were bought at secondhand stores or acquired via Paperbackswap. …

Distinguishing Between Luck and Hard Work

You know those moments that happen in life where you wish you had the right words at that moment, but instead they come to you days later? I’m about to tell you about one of those times. An old friend of mine – we’ll call him Jeffrey – has struggled throughout his adulthood with, well, …

Categories: Getting Started

Nine Strategies for Stretching Out a Tiny Food Budget

We’ve all faced it at some point in our life. Your next paycheck isn’t due to arrive for a week or so. You don’t have much in your checking account and there’s not too much in the cupboards, either. You need to put food on the table for the next week but you have only …

How to Use the “Snowflake” Strategy for Debt Repayment

When you’re facing a giant mountain of debt, it feels almost impossible to overcome it. When your total debt exceeds your household income, it can feel like debt is just going to be a part of your life. It can seem as though, in order to live your life, you’re going to have to constantly …

How to Switch to Paying Cash for Your Car

In 2003, I purchased a 1997 Ford F-150 pickup. Given the financial disaster that my life was at the tiem, I “paid” for it entirely with a loan, which saddled me with car payments for the next three-plus years. In 2010, the Ford F-150 needed to be replaced, so we bought a 2004 Honda Pilot. …

Triggering the Spark of Financial Independence and Frugality

Kayla writes in: I’ve never really understood how you could suddenly make the switch from way overspending to actually living on just one of your two incomes and saving half of your income. How does that even happen? As I thought about Kayla’s question, I started writing a list of things that I felt played …

Living Lean Without Being an Outcast

It’s not exactly a secret that the “spend less than you earn” strategy is a little different than how the average American lives their lives. As I’ve quoted many times on The Simple Dollar, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Simply by adopting a “spend less than you earn” mindset and sticking with it …

Categories: Getting Started

Eight Strategies for Buying Clothes Without Destroying Your Budget

At our house, I’m the lucky one. I work from home so it doesn’t really matter too much what I wear most days, so I dress for comfort. Almost every day, you’ll find me in blue jeans and a t-shirt. I have some nicer clothes for social occasions and presentations, but those mostly just stay …

How to Become Your Own Life Coach with Fourteen Simple Strategies

Over the last few weeks, several readers have written to me asking about the value of hiring a life coach. Usually, these people are struggling with a major life decision or finding it hard to break free of a steady grind that they wish to escape. Life coaches can be incredibly useful if you find …

Categories: Getting Started

Our Path to Living Off Our Own Investments

The big financial goal that Sarah and I have in front of us is to reach a point where we can live off of the proceeds of our investments, allowing us to walk away from work. In essence, that’s what retirement is. Between Social Security (which one can see as an investment built up over …

Stuff Won’t Fill the Hole in Your Life

It’s a weird connection on the surface. The more time I spend reading, the fewer books I buy or even think about buying. The more time I spend actually playing games, the fewer games I buy or even think about buying. This phenomenon repeats itself over and over again. When I pay more attention to …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Stop Making Excuses for Bad Financial Choices

Each year, I go to Gencon, a tabletop gaming convention in Indianapolis held every August. Among the major events are two that make it very tempting to open my wallet: a “dealer hall” where various game manufacturers show off their latest wares and an auction house where unusual items are auctioned off to the highest …