Of all the useful specific pieces of information in your car’s manual, the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule is perhaps the most useful. It tells you exactly how often normal maintenance should be performed on your car based on the odometer, and it’s that maintenance that will keep your car on the road without worry for a long time. I can speak from experience on this topic. The very first car I owned was a 1985 Buick Skyhawk. It was a rusty …

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I’ve decided to discontinue the weekly book reviews for the time being. I have reviewed hundreds of personal finance books over the years and, frankly, there aren’t enough new and compelling personal finance books coming out to justify weekly reviews. I’ve read too many books recently that just duplicated stuff said in other books. Instead, I’ll irregularly review interesting new personal finance books on Sunday mornings, and I’ll cap off the series by listing the ten books (of the hundreds …

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Whenever I go get an oil change (often, whenever I find myself with a good coupon to a local oil change service provider), I always notice that little sticker in the corner of my windshield that they affix during the oil change. Usually, it lists the mileage at which I should get my next oil change (according to them) and often lists the approximate date at which I should reach that mileage. The only problem is that, without fail, that …

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Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Mortimer Adler on drudgework I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to work simply for the money sometimes. “Work that is pure toil, done solely for the sake of the money it earns, is also sheer drudgery because it is stultifying rather than self improving.” – Mortimer Adler However, if you’re doing that, …

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Buy the Cheap Gas (33/365)

February 4 2012
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I’ve turned the regular fluctuation of gas prices at the gas station fairly near our home (the one mentioned yesterday) into a game of sorts with my oldest son. Simply put, we’ve started tracking the data. We watch for the price of gas on that sign each time we drive by it, then we mention whether it has gone up or down recently. We remember the record prices we’ve seen (sadly, he’s so young that the lowest price he can …

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Whenever I spend time thinking about my life, I get caught up in a lot of ideals. I think about writing a great novel. I think about some volunteer projects I’d like to work on. I think about the house I’d like to build and the great travel I’d love to do in the next ten or fifteen years. I think about my own physical fitness and I think about riding in RAGBRAI. These are wonderful dreams. I enjoy taking …

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Every weekday, I drive my daughter to preschool. It’s a nice routine, one that gives me a chance to spend some time with her. I make breakfast for her, make sure she’s adequately dressed for the weather, brush her beautiful long hair, and then we’re off to her preschool. Along the path from home to preschool is a gas station. That station has the lowest gas prices within about a ten mile radius, so it’s the one I tend to …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Repeatedly failing to achieve goals 2. Handling bill collectors 3. Rethinking mortgage payoff goal 4. Handling extra cash 5. Paying taxes at year end 6. Online business and credit cards 7. Buying home for parents 8. Heroes 9. Repair or replace used car? 10. Using emergency fund during schooling What does …

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I don’t like high pressure sales situations. Whenever I find myself in a situation where some cheesy salesperson is trying to give me the hard sell on some product, I find myself walking away. Even more so, I usually find myself getting a negative gut impression of the product being sold, one that’s usually reinforced when I go home and do the research only to find that the product is overpriced or underwhelming. Case in point: when Sarah and I …

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Recently, I found out that one of my favorite writers has cancer. That person will announce it in due time if it turns out to be untreatable, but that’s her (or is it his?) decision. When you’re a fan of someone’s work and read it faithfully, it’s easy to get caught up in that person’s work. You want a new book. You want a new blog post. You want a new photograph. You want some detail to be corrected. I …

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