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grocery checkout in Iowa

Paper or Plastic? Two Ways to Save Money on Groceries

The average American family of four with two kids under 11 spends somewhere between $647.80 and $1,290.60 per month on food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s quite a spread, and further proof that you can almost spend as little or as much as you want at the grocery store. The thing is, …

Questions About Food Processors, Down Payments, Zillow, and More!

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. Selecting a guardian 2. Is a food processor worthwhile? 3. Down payment savings 4. Positive and negative net worth 5. The “helpful” family 6. Zillow questions …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

10 Things You Should Never Buy Used

Whether you’re trying to save money or be less wasteful in general, shopping at secondhand stores, garage sales, and flea markets is a good strategy. Not only do you get to save an item from the landfill, but you can usually pay a fraction of the retail cost. Of course, some items work better than …

Great at Planning, Terrible at Executing: 10 Strategies for Becoming a Doer

Most people are pretty good at coming up with ideas for the future, and many of us are pretty good at developing plans to achieve those things. I know I certainly am. If you were to take a look at my pocket notebook, many of the things in there are ideas for things I want …

Half of Americans Can’t Handle a Small Emergency. Here’s What to Do If You’re in That Group.

I was stunned earlier this week to read in the Report of Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014 that 47% of Americans would experience significant financial distress – taking out debt or selling something – in order to be able to handle a $400 emergency. The survey that the report was based on, taken …

Categories: Getting Started

Not All Voices Are the Same: 10 Common Personal Finance Disagreements

Spend less than you earn. Pay off your high-interest debts. Save for the future. Many of the tenets of personal finance are essentially common sense. They just work in practically every situation. Still, there are some areas where it’s not nearly as clear cut. Different people will make different arguments when it comes to some …

Categories: Getting Started

Eight Frugal Ways to Unwind

In the crazy, fast-paced world we live in, it’s important to find ways to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, some of the most enjoyable ways to reach peak relaxation aren’t all that cheap. For example, when I think of pure relaxation, I envision myself enjoying a hot stone massage somewhere on the beach. Meanwhile, others relax …

Categories: Frugality, Health

Plan Your Day the Smart Way to Minimize Spending

It’s a pretty simple routine. Almost every morning these days, I spend about 10 minutes planning out the specifics of my day. I pull out my calendar and see what I need to do that day, then start filling in the gaps with things I need to do. I’ll assign a few one-hour blocks to writing. …

What Can I Do If My Credit Card Application is Denied?

If you’ve ever applied for a credit card and been denied, you’re probably wondering whether you did something wrong. Let’s face it – rejection hurts, even if it wasn’t a personal decision. Still, it makes little sense to wallow in embarrassment when you could learn from the situation instead. Chances are, your application was denied for …

Some Thoughts on Privileges and Advantages

The other day, I received a note from a reader who informed me that the only reason that my story of financial recovery was even possible was due to my own “privileges.” So, let’s talk about those. I am a white male. I was born to a family that didn’t have very much money at …

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