Getting Started

4 Ways to Minimize Your Home Energy Bill This Spring

This post first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. Winter is over! Spring is here! Spring offers many opportunities to save money. Spring makes it much easier to go outside and get some exercise. You can start a vegetable garden. Plus, when you’re outside, you can turn off all of the lights and …

Personal Finance 101: What Is Rebalancing?

Step by Step Guide to Portfolio Rebalancing One topic I see referenced quite often in personal finance books – especially books focused on retirement – is the idea of rebalancing. It’s often discussed as though the writer assumes that the reader knows what rebalancing is, but given the confusion I sometimes see in reader emails, …

An Unhealthy Dose of Optimism

It isn’t very hard to come across stories of people who thought they had everything planned out, only to see everything come apart at the seams. They lost their job. Their car fell apart. Their apartment building burned to the ground. They got sick. Their child or spouse got sick. Someone stole their identity. They …

Wasting Your Life

Every few months, I get wrapped up in a deep melancholy – one might even describe it as something like a mild depression. I become convinced that I have somehow wasted my life, that the thirty five years I have spent on this Earth amount to very little in terms of making the world a …

Categories: Getting Started

The Jar of Life

A new month is about to start. Let’s try something different. This month, get a giant jar along with a notepad and pen. Put it somewhere where you’ll see it all the time. Whenever something good happens in your life, write it down on a piece of paper. Fold it up and put it in …

Categories: Getting Started

Lessons For The Path To Financial Success

When I graduated from college and got my first “real” job, I realized I needed a vehicle of some kind to get back and forth to work. Prior to that, I had been a poor college student – I didn’t own a car and used the bus system to get to my classes and to …

Categories: Getting Started

9 Free Resources For Exercises To Do At Home

My recent article, Five Inexpensive Gym Alternatives for Exercise, resulted in a small flood of feedback from readers offering up their tips for home exercise. I reviewed the many links and ideas that readers provided and found nine really great free resources if you’re trying to get in shape (or stay in shape) at home. …

Making an Unconventional Choice

Currently, we have exactly one television in our home. I use that television approximately two hours a week. If it were solely up to me, I would simply disconnect it and go without a television. To my extended family (and probably to quite a few readers), this is just bizarre. My parents have four televisions …

Categories: Getting Started

Avoiding Doing It Yourself

I like doing things myself, whenever I can do it. Yesterday, when I posted a list of eight DIY tasks for spring, I relish the opportunity to do things like that. Sometimes, I even go beyond what I think I should be doing … in fact, that’s why our basement toilet has the water supply …

Eight Simple Money Saving Do-It-Yourself Tasks to Do This Spring

Spring is here! (At least, according to the calendar. We received about an inch of snow overnight, which I hope will be the last snow until the late fall.) For the five of us in central Iowa, spring means that it’s time to get outdoors again after a long winter. We usually gorge on the …

Little Excuses

I’m not going to set up my Roth IRA today. It’s complicated and I feel kind of tired. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m not going to exercise today. My leg is a little sore and I have this project I’m working on… I’ll exercise tomorrow. I’m not going to shop around for insurance today. I …

Categories: Getting Started

Personal Finance 101: What Is a Dividend?

Understanding The Risks and Rewards of Dividends A few days ago, I was working on an article where I referred to dividends. Since I didn’t really provide any sort of explanation of what dividends were, I went looking for an article where I explained in detail what a dividend actually is and, to my amazement, …

Swinging for the Fences or Settling for a Single

Several different books I’ve read in the last few years – Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers being one – have argued that the best way (without an inherent genetic advantage) to become an “outlier” in a particular skill is to practice a tremendous amount. The number often used is 10,000 hours of practice. If you divide that …

Categories: Family, Getting Started

A Day of Consumption

One of my favorite achievements during my early financial recovery was discovering the power of “money free weekends” and, later, “money free weeks.” Money free weekends are a really powerful way to keep your spending in check – and it’s also a great way to discover free things that you enjoy doing. Here are 100 …

Personal Finance 101: Percentages

Don’t Let Percentages and Math Fumble You Markie writes in: My biggest struggle with personal finance is the numbers. I am terrible at math. When I look at percentages and stuff, I just want to lock down and tune out. This is actually a pretty common thing. One of the brightest people I know – …

Categories: Getting Started

Ten Useful Things To Do With Your Tax Return Money

We try really hard to not get a tax return each year. For the last several years, we’ve usually had to pay some money on April 15, which is fine with us – that means more money for us throughout the year. For many people, March and April means that a sizable check will arrive …

Categories: Getting Started

How I Made a Pocket Recording System Work for Me

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I rely heavily on a pocket notebook for recording ideas and jotting down expenses or things I want to investigate further. At least once a day, I run through these notes and deal with them in whatever way is appropriate for each note. I have found this system invaluable …

On Splurging and Regret

About a month ago, I spent about $150 on a giant pile of used books for a tabletop role playing game. A friend of mine was moving out of the country so I “borrowed ahead” on my personal spending money and dove in headfirst. I deeply enjoy tabletop role playing games and I will likely …

Categories: Getting Started

The Gap Is More Important Than Anything (At First)

Quite a few of the letters in the reader mailbag boil down to figuring out which of two or three options is the highest priority. People will want to compare investing options to paying down their mortgage or whether they should have an emergency fund or pay off a credit card. The reality is that …

Categories: Getting Started