dollar bill on fire - budgeting wasting money

Nobody likes talking about the dreaded “B word.” Just mention the word budgeting in a crowd, and you’ll see perfectly reasonable adults turn into petulant children. After giving you an angry stare, they’ll cross their arms, give you the side-eye, and breathe deeply until the moment passes. Why? Because even responsible and hard-working adults hate the idea of budgeting or planning their spending. They work hard each week, they’ll say, and they don’t want to live life in a cage. And …

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The average American family spends $151 a week on food, according to this Gallup poll. That’s actually quite a lot of money when you consider that the average week contains just 21 meals and that it’s relatively easy to eat a meal that costs less than $1. The truth of the matter is that people often spend far more on their food than they realize and that those food expenses really add up over time. Even if you’re spending just …

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Earlier this month, I was traveling with my family in Toronto. I was waiting outside of the CN Tower for my family to meet up as my parents had gone in one direction, my wife and children had gone in a second direction, and I was using the bathroom, so I was standing at our meetup point. While standing there, I was leaning next to a guy in a Blue Jays jersey who was waiting for the Rogers Centre to …

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You’re probably familiar with the urban legend that auto insurance companies charge higher rates for red cars. In fact, your insurance company probably doesn’t even know what color your car is. But it is true that some cars are cheaper to insure than others. Often, the final determination isn’t even the value of the car — that’s only an important factor if you’re insuring the car against theft. So why are some cars cheaper to insure than others? The Main Factor Is You First, …

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“31 Days to Financial Independence” is an ongoing series that appears every Thursday on The Simple Dollar. Introduction One of the earliest collections of articles to appear on The Simple Dollar shortly after its launch was 31 Days to Fix Your Finances (you can read it in full here), which was a culmination of everything I had learned about personal finance up to that point, organized in a series of posts that walked people through the organization of their finances …

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Side hustles represent the new American dream: making more money, without going through the trauma of the job search process, or retraining for an entirely new career. But not every side gig is created equal. Pick the wrong one, and you could watch your time and money go down the drain, without a thing to show for it except frustration. The good news is that once you know what you’re looking for, most bogus side hustles start to look a …

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The Small Bag Experiment

August 18 2016

For years, I’ve enjoyed the writings of James Altucher (recommended reading: his book Choose Yourself). Although the man has made millions over the years, in part through a very successful web design company, I recently learned that he is now living out of a small bag with about 15 items in it – by choice, not by financial need. He no longer has a permanent residence and is essentially a vagabond, living with friends and staying at hotels and hostels …

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A Roth IRA is one of the coolest parts of the tax code. Basically, you put aside money for retirement that you’ve already paid taxes on. What’s so great about that? Well, you don’t have to pay any taxes on it later, when you pull it out in retirement – and that includes any investment gains you’ve earned along the way. While traditional IRAs give you a current-year tax break when you put the money away, those funds (including investment gains) do get …

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A few days ago, I happened across a wonderful article from Erica Johnston at the Washington Post, entitled How one family is sending 13 kids to college, living debt free — and still plans to retire early. It’s a great article about a family that’s navigated the financial challenges in front of them and been able to find success in the areas that most middle-class families hope to achieve: college education for their kids and stable retirement for themselves: “Rob …

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When it comes to how your credit scores are calculated, there are many factors at play. Credit scoring models consider how well (or how poorly) you pay your bills. They also consider what kind of debt you have, and how much of it you’ve got. The list goes on and on, but if you want to earn and maintain great credit scores, you’ll need to perform well across all of the various credit scoring metrics. That means understanding which factors matter, …

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