When I reached my financial bottom in April 2006, one of my first responses was to simply start reading a lot about personal finance. I checked out a pile of books from the library on personal finance and tackled a lot of different suggestions from those books, along with some of my own ideas that I came up with as I went along. One idea that was repeated over and over was how incredibly important and valuable having a budget …

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Earlier this year, I did a very popular series on David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, one that’s still generating a fair amount of email. Given that I personally found at least as much value in Allen’s follow-up, Making It All Work (which approaches GTD a bit more philosophically), I’m wondering if there would be interest in a similar chapter-by-chapter review of this latter book as well. Here’s my review of that book. I really like the “book club” format …

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Save everything. Buy in bulk. Find second uses for everything. These are all powerful frugal tactics and they’ll all save you money. I’ll give you five examples. 1. Got an old t-shirt that’s worn out? Toss it into a “scrap cloth” bin and save it for times when you just need a big piece of cloth to clean up a mess or protect something else from getting too messy. 2. Collect canvas bags whenever you can find them. Take them …

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Five years ago, when I was working at a very stressful job and buried under piles of debt, I felt as though this is what life was going to be for me as an adult – an endless path of making payments to others, keeping my head just above water, and buying stuff I couldn’t afford because it took the sting of it away for a while. Today, I feel completely different about my relationship with money. I no longer …

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If you go home tonight and devote two hours to a big project at home, you’ve got a start. Go home every night this week and spend two more hours and you’ve poured ten hours into that project. Spend four hours on Saturday and four hours on Sunday and you’ve got eighteen hours of project time. You can do something that you didn’t really think you could ever get done. In one week. The rest of this post consists of …

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Reader Mailbag: Friends

August 23 2010

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. GTD for stay-at-home moms 2. Loaning money to parents 3. Prepaying property taxes 4. Emergency fund or debt repayment 5. Starting a Roth IRA 6. Small business encouragement 7. Thinking ahead for college 8. Out of college, no job 9. Apprehensive about mortgage prepayment 10. CFPA thoughts As I’ve mentioned before, …

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Review: The Art of Barter

August 23 2010

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. A while back, I wrote a post called “Askers, Guessers, and Personal Finance” that proposed that bartering and negotiation are much easier for some people than for others, depending on their personality and the culture in which they were raised. I’m very much in the “guesser” camp, which means that I often have difficulty negotiating with others, asking for things, and bartering. After that realization, …

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Tomorrow, several people that matter a lot to me are starting their college experience. Here are five things I’d like to suggest to them that they’re probably not hearing from anyone else who has been giving them advice on college over the past three months. 5 Lessons on Making the Most Out of College 1. You don’t have to know what you want to do right now You’ve probably heard countless people asking what you’re majoring in and so on …

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Monique writes in with a heartfelt observation: The biggest reason I can’t bring myself to actually buy generics when I’m in the store is that I feel cheap and poor when I buy the white labeled knockoffs. I don’t like feeling like that. I like saving money, but when it leaves me feeling like a loser I’d rather spend a little more and get the name brand. It’s marketing at work. Take a look at this Tide commercial. The entire …

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Many newer readers of The Simple Dollar haven’t been exposed to the hundreds of great articles in the archives of the site, so this is a weekly series that highlights the five best posts from one year ago this week, two years ago this week, and three years ago this week. I call it … the Time Machine. One Year Ago (August 15 – August 21, 2009) The Danger of Selling to Your Friends and Family When you try to …

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