The usual Friday “dinner with my family” post is taking a one week hiatus. I recently had what I consider to be a great idea that I thought I’d share with you while I’m still in the process of implementing it. A few days ago, I was at a food co-op distribution point (I’m not in the food co-op but I’m hoping to sign up for one soon) where I noticed that they had lists of the available items on …

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Sunshine

April 15 2011

Here’s a question for you. It’s more of a thought experiment – I’m not actually suggesting that you go out and do this. Would you be comfortable showing your best friend your entire financial picture? Or, what about your spouse? What about your parents? Some of you will honestly answer this question with a resounding “Sure!” To those of you, I say congratulations. Your finances are in a situation that you’re happy with and that you’re proud enough of that …

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This morning, I sat at the keyboard in our basement, practicing a certain part of a song on the piano that I’d been working on for a while. I had attempted to play it during my last piano lesson, but my attempt at it had completely fallen flat and I was disappointed in myself. So, there I was, working on a few of the rough points in the song. What I realized while I was practicing is that the real …

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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. Bank errors and credit cards 2. DirecTV contract 3. Pay taxes or shore up? 4. Next steps 5. Rental income as retirement strategy? 6. Iowa weather 7. High rate checking account 8. Sweating the small stuff 9. Missing old lifestyle 10. IRA question Several people have asked me if I look …

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A few days ago, a friend of mine told me that she runs a dehumidifier in her laundry room because it gets fairly steamy in there at times when the washer and dryer are both running. She takes the tray from the dehumidifier and adds it to the washing machine in order to save money on her water bill. Right off the bat, this tip struck me as being a bit out of balance. How much water does a dehumidifier …

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Sometimes, companies and media organizations will hire me to write articles for them. I had a long stint writing at OPEN Forum, for example, and I’ve had shorter stints writing for HP and so on. When I’m hired to do such things, they’re hiring me to write about what I usually write about: simplifying personal finance, entrepreneurship, and so on, often by describing examples from my own life. If they want me to write about something else, I usually just …

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As I’ve mentioned several times recently on The Simple Dollar, one of my biggest areas of thinking in terms of personal finance right now is how to create a secure future for myself and my family. Right now, except for our mortgage (which has a pretty low interest rate), we’re debt free. We own both of our cars and they won’t need replacing soon. Our bills are relatively low. We have a very healthy cash emergency fund. After all that, …

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Someone calling you on the phone is urgent, but is it important? Giving your mom a long phone call is important, but is it urgent? Finding that “perfect” pair of pants in your closet is urgent, but is it important? Spending quality time with your daughter is important, but is it urgent? If you really look at that list above and ask yourself which things genuinely matter in your life, you’ll quickly realize that the important things universally trump the …

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The title of this article is my favorite single thing that Dave Ramsey has ever written. The idea here is pretty simple: if you live in a challenging way right now, you’ll be able to enjoy incredible opportunities and advantages later. Almost every person who has accomplished something great in their life went through some very challenging period (or periods) to get there: executing obsessive hours of practice, living in poverty or near-poverty, spending countless late nights building up a …

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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. Overinvesting or saving? 2. Home exercise equipment 3. Little change, big impact 4. Emergency fund or lower expenses? 5. Non-FDIC insured CDs 6. 401(k)s and job concerns 7. Basic home buying finances 8. Obsessing over finances 9. Learning board games 10. Book for younger beginner Where do I want to be …

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