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I am proud to say that I’m a millennial who fixed his finances. I went from deep in debt and financially illiterate to debt-free and thriving over the last eight years. Thus, I was intrigued when I came across the book “The Millennial Money Fix,” by the husband and wife writing duo of Douglas and Heather Boneparth. What wisdom did it contain? If I had read this before college, could I have avoided taking on so much debt? Since it …

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During a recent interview I did for an article at CBS MoneyWatch, the reporter took the conversation in an interesting and unexpected direction. She wanted to hear how I defined some terms that are often used in my writing and in the personal finance writing of others. The terms she fired off included frugal, cheap, minimalist, and financial freedom, and she particularly wanted to know what I felt the differences between the terms were. It was a good question, one …

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If you’ve ever worked in a job that feels unrewarding, you already know how draining and soul-sucking it feels to spend hours wishing you were somewhere else. Perhaps you’ve stared out the window, wishing you could walk out the door just to feel the sunshine. Maybe you’ve hid in a break room and cried, or been cussed out a time or two. You’ve probably asked yourself, “How did I get here?” at least once, while pondering your choices in life. …

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A couple of days ago, I decided to simply go through my day and make a list of everything that I did that was “frugal.” By “frugal,” I simply mean that it’s a more inexpensive version of something that I used to do. Whenever I noticed myself doing something “frugal,” I wrote it down in my pocket notebook. I’m sure that I missed lots of little things. By the end of the day, I counted twenty two distinct “frugal” choices …

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Let me make this clear: I am a frugal person. I save vegetable scraps to make broth, and soap scraps to turn into lumpy new Frankencleanser bars. Of 1,095 annual meals, probably 1,085 are made at home, from scratch. I can (and do!) go several years without purchasing any clothing except an annual new-to-me pair of jeans from the thrift store. Why, then, did I drop $40 on Powerade and overpriced over-the-counter medications at a hotel gift shop? Because sometimes it’s …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Retirement plan fees 2. Career in expensive city 3. Market timing issues 4. Supplies for college 5. Net worth and home value 6. Best single tip for success 7. Lacking motivation for financial independence 8. Best free stuff to do 9. Balancing care for elderly parent 10. Little …

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When my husband and I first started building a life together in our 20s, we treated our money the way too many young couples do: We bought what we wanted, made an unenthusiastic effort to save, and crossed our fingers that everything would work out for the best. Not surprisingly, things didn’t always turn out that great. While we were never poor and always earned more than enough to get by, our lack of planning led to less-than-stellar results. Every month, we …

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Kombucha, a fermented tea beverage, has become both a buzzword and a health fad. An essential part of a certain kind of trendy lifestyle, it’s that fizzy drink you might have seen someone sipping as they left Whole Foods on their way to a SoulCycle spin class. It’s also the fastest growing segment of the “functional” beverage market, with sales in 2016 that eclipsed $600 million. Kombucha was first made popular over 2,000 years ago by the Tsin Dynasty in China, where …

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Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson on being yourself “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson I often have this sense that much of the modern world exists to try to shape all …

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Budgets are often presented as being some kind of magical tool that people can use that will transform their day-to-day life from an ongoing slow-motion financial disaster into a debt eliminating and wealth building machine. Quite often, personal finance books and websites buy into this picture, too. They immediately suggest creating a budget for your spending, setting caps on all kinds of spending areas, and then showing that this budget somehow “transforms” your income into covering all of your needs …

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