Getting Started

Spending Time, Spending Money

During a given day, I spend time on a lot of things. I usually spend quite a bit of time doing things to earn an income – writing posts, sending emails, doing research. I spend some time doing household tasks, which generally don’t earn much money but don’t cost much, either. I spend some time …

Categories: Getting Started

Card Tricks and Life

When I was a teenager, I went through a period where I was obsessed with card tricks. I learned a bunch of them – some that relied on preparing the deck beforehand, some that relied on a bit of sleight of hand, and some that relied on mental math. I was always better at understanding …

Categories: Getting Started

What’s Left Behind

Whenever a person makes a significant change in their life, some things are gained and some things are lost. Ideally, the things that are gained outweigh the things that are lost, but that doesn’t mean that the exchange was purely positive. When changing one’s life, there are some things that are left behind. During the …

Categories: Getting Started

Breaking Down Your Dreams

One of my biggest dreams when I was younger was to have a huge house. When I was a little boy, I used to draw floor plans all the time of a huge house that I would live in. There would be rooms for all of my family members, a giant library, an indoor gymnasium, …

Categories: Getting Started

Energy Saving Tips & Mortgages

A casual acquaintance of mine completed an interesting project several years ago: he covered his roof in solar panels with the goal of generating adequate energy for his home. At the time, the solar panels were more expensive than they are right now and they were also somewhat less efficient. At the time he invested …

“Free” Upgrades Aren’t Always Free

A few years ago, I was stuck in a situation where I needed to rent a car. I had a bit of time before I had to rent the vehicle, so I shopped around. I only needed the vehicle to drive myself around, so I honestly wasn’t really concerned about having a giant vehicle. So, …

The Purge, The Splurge, and Back Again

I love attending yard sales. Our town has a yearly community yard sale and it’s fun to spend the day strolling around town looking at the items. Nearby towns have community sales on other days and we often try to make it to those, too. Having done this for several years, I can’t help but …

Categories: Getting Started

Making My Wants Few

“I make myself rich by making my wants few.” – Henry David Thoreau Wants. When we wonder where our money went, it went to wants. When our money trickles away due to stuff we don’t need, it’s all about the wants. When we see a credit card bill start to build up, it’s usually wants …

Categories: Getting Started

Setting Up a Weekly Money Routine

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a weekly routine where I set aside roughly two hours on the weekend to evaluate my to-do lists, take care of some weekly tasks that I’ve overlooked, and do some thinking about my long-term goals and what I’m doing right now to reach them (or not). Naturally, personal finance …

Categories: Getting Started

The Cost of Decompression

If you work for a living, you know the feeling. You finish a day of earning money. You’re tired – mentally and/or physically and/or spiritually and/or socially exhausted. You go home, drop your stuff by the door, and just head to the couch for a while. You sit there in a daze, watching a television …

The Little Perks You Pay Big For (That New Car Smell, For Example)

Several years ago, Car and Driver had an excellent article about how car companies put in a lot of extra effort to engineer the right “new car smell.” The goal? They want that smell to feel both exciting and comforting, encouraging the car buyer to both desire the smell when they’re shopping and to enjoy …

Making Big Financial Tasks Small

My biggest dreaded personal finance task is filing papers. I absolutely loathe it. For starters, it’s a never-ending task. There are seemingly always more papers that need to be saved somewhere. If I happen to get behind a little bit, the pile of papers that need to be filed becomes a small mountain. I just …

Categories: Getting Started

The Allure of “Secret” Advice

I am almost immediately suspicious of anyone who offers “insider” or “secret” advice or information. First of all, if the “secret” or “insider” information were so strong, that person would be utilizing it instead of selling it. If someone is able to use their “secret” technique to turn $10 into $10,000 quickly, why are they …

Categories: Getting Started

Personal Finance 101: Comparing Saving and Investing

Just the other day, I was sitting at my favorite local library (if you happen to go there at the right time, you’ll probably find me sitting at a table with a notebook open in front of me with several personal finance, career, time management, and self-improvement books piled around me). I was browsing through …

The Money Trade

If I had to point to one idea that really shook my financial thinking and showed me the value of turning my finances around, it was the concept of exchanging my life’s energy for money, as explained in the wonderful book Your Money or Your Life. The idea is actually pretty simple on the surface. …

Categories: Getting Started, Money

Projection and the Spotlight Effect

All of us want to be socially accepted. We want to have people respect and like us in the community and we also want to avoid easy criticism. For many of us, the solution to that challenge is to “project.” We spend time thinking about how we appear to others and then look for ways …

The Internal Feeling of Success

I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the world than having succeeded at some large goal. That moment when you send in your last mortgage payment? It’s magic. That day when you sign the papers to get your first novel published? Unparalleled. That day you managed that ten minute or eight minute or six …

Categories: Getting Started

20 Reasons Why You Need an Emergency Fund

At some point in your life, one or more of the following is going to happen to you. There will likely be moments where several of these happen at once. 1. You lose your job and can’t quickly find another one at the same level of pay. 2. The property tax bill you forgot about …

Categories: Getting Started

The Idea Behind Habits

Whenever I want to make a positive change appear in my life, I usually approach it in one of two ways. I either try to get rid of a bad habit or I try to establish a good habit. Habits are at the center of both of those ideas. It’s around that hinge of habits …