strawberries at a farmers market

My passion for farmers markets is part of my identity. I mean that literally: I used to fill out online dating profiles that asked me to list “five things I couldn’t live without,” and I would inevitably write: Basketball, books, farmers markets, family… and then I would be stuck. I’d spend an hour trying to think of something witty for the fifth one before giving up and putting “phone” just like every other unoriginal person. (If you’re a girl, “4th …

Continue Reading

One of the big problems with setting a big, life-altering goal for yourself is the sheer size of it. Often, the distance between yourself and your destination can seem so enormous as to feel impossible, and that sense of impossibility can often leave you feeling hopeless which can lead you right toward abandoning that goal. Perhaps the best single strategy I’ve found for making a goal feel more reachable and approachable is to cut it in half. In other words, …

Continue Reading

Most of us have at least one neighbor who takes yard care to the extreme. They’ve got the perfect lawn, pristine hedges, healthy plants, and an outdoor living space that puts every other house on your block to shame. When a neighbor’s yard looks better than all the rest, it’s tempting to spend, spend, spend in an effort to keep up. But the arms race for the best backyard can get extremely costly. If you’ve ever popped into Home Depot or Lowe’s to look …

Continue Reading

It’s been no secret that over the past few years Sarah and I have adopted a goal of financial independence. Our goal is to reach a point where we can live off of the income from our investments as early as we possibly can. It’s a straightforward goal, really, and it’s one that we work towards by finding additional ways to earn income as well as keeping our spending low. There are two big reasons why we’re chasing this goal: …

Continue Reading

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. Credit lines and credit report 2. Modifying bread recipe 3. Blogging and copyright 4. Mortgage process question 5. APR and APY 6. Basic income 7. Cosigning loan with adult child 8. Debt reconstruction question 9. Paying down townhouse mortgage? 10. Storing emergency fund? 11. Insurance questions 12. Whole …

Continue Reading

I made a lot of waves with family and friends in Los Angeles (and a few online) when I announced that I was moving to Madison, Wis., last year. Some of them just didn’t understand my desire for a slower lifestyle and a more affordable city. I tried to make each and every one of them see that they were the crazy ones for not moving to the Midwest. I did everything short of slap my friends in the face and …

Continue Reading

Your 401(k) is the first place you should look when you start investing. The account is already open, so all you have to do is fill out some paperwork to start contributing (you can ask your human resources representative how to do this). The money gets pulled from your paycheck before taxes, like magic, and you may even be eligible for some free money if your employer offers a match. It’s one of the best and most effective ways to get started, even if you …

Continue Reading

Like every other American family with three children in the home, our family is busy. It seems like there’s something going on practically every night, which means that having a family dinner can sometimes be a struggle. We can usually find a window of opportunity where we’re all at home at the same time most nights, but finding an opportunity for someone to prepare that meal… that ends up being even more challenging. At the same time, our family is …

Continue Reading

Just the other day, a friend of mine argued that building a new home is more cost efficient than buying an existing property. Her new home is almost finished, and will be move-in ready in about three weeks — so she’s understandably excited. Plus, she said, she’ll be saving all kinds of money because she built. While I understood her excitement, I found that part puzzling. Was building a new home really cheaper? Please say it isn’t so. She went on to explain …

Continue Reading

The first thing to know about identity theft protection services is that they don’t actually protect. Just like having AAA doesn’t make it less likely that you’ll get a flat tire, signing up for identity theft protection, even from my top picks  and , doesn’t mean your wallet is less likely to be stolen or a scam email less likely to appear in your inbox. It’s an important thing to understand because that word — “protect” — is one of the …

Continue Reading

Our Featured Contributors

Simple Share Buttons
Simple Share Buttons