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2010


This is a guest post from Carl Hendley of The Motley Fool. He’s substituting for Robert Brokamp, the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Brokamp generally contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks, but he’s had the audacity to take a vacation over the holidays, so Hendley is filling in. $132,683 — That’s how much I’m paying for cable. Now, I do have HBO, Showtime, and 386 other…

Pet insurance costs will vary based on the type of pet, its age and other factors, but one national pet insurance company recently quoted us a policy online of $94.54 per month with a $200 deductible for a 6-year-old mixed breed, female dog. That number can go higher or lower depending on the deductible, very much like human insurance. While becoming a more recognizable option, most pets are not privately insured. According to the North…

This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Do women need specialized personal-finance resources specific to our gender? That’s what some financial advice books seem to imply. Slate writer Hannah Seligson points out that bookseller Amazon.com has a “money management for women” category, but no category specifically for men. Some of the cheekier titles in the category include: Shoo, Jimmy Choo!: The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spending Less and Saving More Does This Make My…

This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Two persistent rumors about mystery shopping: It’s a scam. It’s not a scam — and you can get rich doing it! Allow me to set these rumors to rest: Mystery shopping is not a scam. (Well, sometimes it is. More on that…

In last Wednesday’s link round-up, I pointed to an article over at Gen-Y Wealth in which RJ has listed 20 financial milestones you should reach in your twenties. “I like this list,” I wrote, “and I’d actually love to see similar lists for different age ranges. People could use it as a sort of road map to where they ought to be.” What sorts of milestones were on the list? Things like: Pay off your…

This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Not sure what to buy for your loved ones this year? Still singing the recession blues? Consider buying nothing at all. I didn’t buy anything on Black Friday, I didn’t buy anything today, and I won’t tomorrow. This holiday season, I won’t be going near a mall. Under our tree, there will…

This guest post from Jill Chivers is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Hi. My name is Jill, and I’m a recovering shopaholic. On 15 December 2009, I started a challenge to spend a year without…

The holiday season can test a frugal person’s patience: There are so many temptations to spend. Sure, we all want to enjoy the festive nature this time of year, but where do you draw the line? And how fugal is too frugal? Michelle wrote with a terrific question. She has the sort of dilemma I can picture myself facing. Here’s her story: Like you, I am a big proponent of thrift store shopping. It saves…

This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality, intentional living and lifeitsownself at Surviving And Thriving. The Seattle Art Museum is hosting a show called “Picasso: Masterpieces From the Musee National Picasso, Paris” through 12 January 2011. It costs $20 to see the 150 paintings, sculptures, prints and photos. This is an important show and no doubt…

Yesterday, Google opened its ebookstore for business. The search giant joins Apple and Amazon (and Barnes & Noble) in a fast-growing field. Electronic books will never completely replace paper books, but they’re going to make up a sizable portion — and maybe even the majority — of the market sooner than you think. Naturally, more and more GRS readers are moving to e-books. In fact, I’ve had a couple of people ask me about them…

A few weeks ago, I shared a monster list of ways to make more money. These weren’t cheesy chores or slimy scams, but legitimate ways a person could earn extra income if they needed. Most of the suggestions were drawn from GRS reader stories, from my friends’ lives, or from my own experience. They’re ways real people make real money when times are tough. After I posted the list, though, I had a few people…

This guest post from Jacq Jolie is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. You can read more about Jacq’s story at Single Mom Rich Mom. On 31 December 2009, I finished what I hope will be…

I’m a sucker for charts and graphs. I once attended an Edward Tufte course just for kicks. Though I don’t do much with charts and graphs around GRS, I always admire the work of others. For example, last year when I shared my guide to understanding the federal budget (and the follow up on the truth about taxes), I pointed to Jess Bachman’s annual Death and Taxes poster, which attempts to visualize the entire U.S….

If you were building your wardrobe from scratch, how would you do it? Would you prioritize quality? Would you emphasize cost? Or is there some happy balance between the two? That’s what GRS reader author J.D. wants to know. He writes: I’m a 40-something guy who’s lost 40-something pounds over the past year. This is a good thing. But now my old clothes don’t fit. As a frugal fellow, this creates something of a dilemma….

This post is from staff writer April Dykman. When I was a freshman in college, I did two very bad things (ahem — two bad things related to personal finance). Bad thing #1 First, I opened a VISA credit card. There was a guy at a booth on campus, and being too naive and timid to tell him to buzz off, I stopped and listened to his pitch. Next thing I knew I was filling…

USA Today has just published what might be the most irresponsible piece of financial journalism I’ve seen in the past five years of writing Get Rich Slowly. It embodies everything that’s wrong with the popular perception of stock-market investing. Author Adam Shell touts a hot trading trend: Stocks jump on the first day of the month. Shell writes: Stock investors looking for a trading pattern that all but guarantees a profit need look no further…

This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Everyone’s looking for safe investments these days. Unfortunately, there’s a price for security: low returns. A five-year certificate of deposit at a major bank like Ally pays just 2.4% APY today, and a five-year…

Yesterday, GRS reader Mike Robertson sent me a New York Times article about Gordon Murray, the author of a new book called The Investment Answer. Mike writes, “I’m at a point in my investing life where I disagree with the guy, but what an interesting, compelling story.” (For reference, last year Mike shared a guest post about direct stock purchase plans.) What is this interesting, compelling story? It’s about how Murray, who used to work…

This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. The chilly season is upon us. If you live in North America, you’ve probably had at least a few cold nights by now. Up in my neck of the woods — in the Boston area — we’ve had our central heat running for a few weeks. Which means we’re in full swing…

The holiday season is upon us, the time of year for family, friends, food — and wine. Yes, it’s true, I associate the holidays with alcohol. It never used to be this way (probably because I didn’t drink), but for the past five years, I’ve spent late November stocking our wine rack. There are several reasons for this: From mid-November to mid-January, the local supermarkets have huge wine sales. Every winter, Consumer Reports lists holiday…

A reader calling herself Florida Girl dropped a line recently to share her story of financial woe. Though she’s beginning to get a handle on her finances, she’s struggling to cope with the cost of her past choices. She needs help. I’m struggling to keep up with the minimum payments on my credit cards. Unfortunately, I’m paying for past mistakes. I no longer shop and spend recklessly, but the aftermath of my past life left…

On Tuesday, I wrote that I’ve decided to track my finances again. I’m doing fine financially, but after a few months of not watching my income and expenses closely, I feel a little lost. I miss the ability to know exactly where my money’s going. I had intended to install the new desktop version of Quicken, which is what I’ve been using for years. (Before that, I used Andrew Tobias’s Managing Your Money, but that…

A long-time GRS reader named Andy dropped me a line the other day to point out an article on the Forbes website. Forbes interviewed billionaire Mark Cuban (best known as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks pro basketball team) about his secrets to building and keeping a fortune. Andy particularly liked Cuban’s answer to the penultimate question, which is about what to do with a windfall. (Or, I suppose, what to do with a bunch…

A few weeks ago, in my review of Mary Hunt’s Debt-Proof Your Marriage, I mentioned that she advocates building a 3-6 month emergency fund before beginning to snowball your debt payments. That’s not my approach, and I criticized it a little in my review. Several commenters said they agreed with Hunt — that an emergency fund should trump debt repayment. It’s an interesting issue, so I figured I’d explore both sides of it in a…

Though they could fall farther, housing prices are starting to seem reasonable again in many parts of the United States. Mortgage rates are cheap, too. Naturally, that means some GRS readers are beginning to express an interest in buying a home. But prices are still high in a lot of places — including Washington, D.C., which is where William lives. He recently dropped a line to ask for advice: He’d like to buy a home…

Nearly every morning, I get up early to go exercise at the local Crossfit gym. While I wait for it to open at 6:30, I do laps around the cold, dark parking garage with my friend Dan. Sometimes we talk about money and how to make money. This morning, for example, Dan asked, “Do you ever feel like you’re not going to make it financially?” “I used to,” I said, “I worried about it all…

This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. How carefully do you budget? Do you account for every dime, or is there some wiggle room in your spending plan? Since I got on the wagon with tracking my spending, there’s no miscellaneous category in my budget anymore. Every dime of my income is accounted for. I know how much I…

This guest post from Nicole is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Nicole is an active GRS commenter. She’s also half of the blog Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured, where she and her partner-in-crime write about…

Lately, I’ve been more vocal about the importance of looking for ways to boost your income. Cutting costs is awesome — don’t stop — but if you really want to supercharge your debt reduction or your saving, you have to look for ways to earn more money. “That’s great,” some commenters have said, “but how do we earn more money.” That’s a fair question, though it’s much tougher to answer than, “How do I spend…

For many people, saving is tough. Between housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, credit-card debt, student loans, and other expenses, there never seems to be enough left to set aside for long-term savings. And that’s the problem. Most people try to save something out of what’s left over instead of saving first. One of the oldest rules of personal finance is to pay yourself first. All the money books tell you to do it. All the personal…

Editor’s Note: This post on money ‘magic’ is a bit of a departure from our usual fact-based personal finance advice but in the spirit of Halloween, contributor Sierra Black explores folklore and saving money, with a little spookiness thrown in. It’s Halloween, the season of ghosts, ghouls, and witches! To celebrate, I thought I’d share a little money magic with you that really works. It’s an old Southern folk magic spell called Money Stay With…

This post is from staff writer April Dykman. April is writing a series on money monsters for the recently launched Pageonce blog, including fighting zombie debt and how to Frankenstein your savings. There are demons that can suck the life force from you — and you unknowingly invited them into your home. Vampire electronics may not suck your blood, but they’ll drain you of nickels and dimes for every dollar you spend on energy. The…

This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. We can do two things with our money: spend it or save it. (Actually, there are other possibilities — eating it! smoking it! — but we’ll limit our discussion to what sane people do.)…

Coming home after more than three weeks in Europe, our refrigerator was practically bare. Kris and I love food, and our fridge is usually filled to the gills with tons of good stuff, so seeing the vast emptiness was almost shocking. But in a good way. One of the drawbacks to keeping a full fridge is that we sometimes lose track of what we have on hand. It sucks to dig behind the smoked salmon…

When Kris and I traveled to England and Ireland with her parents in 2007, I came home with a financial epiphany. Actually, the trip highlighted a concept that I’d only vaguely understood before: I was a slave to the tyranny of Stuff. I had accumulated way too many things in my life, and this was causing me a lot of mental and physical stress. In many ways, the things I owned actually owned me. Over…

This is a guest post by Tyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology, a blog with resources for extraordinary risk takers. You can follow him on Twitter @tylertervooren. Personal finance is full of confusing concepts, puzzling equations, and no lack of professionals with conflicting advice about what you ought to be doing and how you ought to go about doing it. With all that information swirling around in your head, and mixed with a general uncertainty about…

This is a guest post from Sean Ogle, a former portfolio analyst who is now pursuing his goals of starting a business and seeing the world. You can read more from him at Location180. You can also follow him on twitter @seanogle. Last fall, I quit my job. As nice as it was to have a steady paycheck and the prestige of being known as a “portfolio analyst”, there was one key component that was…

The financial industry generally places more emphasis on style than substance. Because of this, when their work is actually evaluated, results tend to be disappointing. Wall Street’s earnings forecasts? Overly optimistic. Performance of mutual fund managers? Quite embarrassing. You may be wondering: Do Morningstar ratings also belong in the same category? You’re probably familiar with Morningstar and their one- to five-star mutual fund ratings. Many investors rely on Morningstar for stock and mutual fund research,…

This is a guest post from Gail Vaz-Oxlade, the host of the popular Til Debt Do U$ Part on CNBC (Saturday nights at 10 and 10:30). Gail is a columnist for Yahoo Canada, Chatelaine, and Zoomer Magazine and blogs daily at her website, where she also offers terrific tools people can use to dig themselves out of the hole. Gail’s latest book is Debt-Free Forever. Children receive mixed messages about money. At home they hear…

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Ever since I cleaned out my closet, I’ve gotten more and more ruthless, editing more and adding less. The result of deleting items from drawers and hangers is two large brown boxes taking up floor space in the closet, overflowing with castaways. The boxes have grown into mountains, and I can’t walk to the back of my closet anymore. My intention was to sell these items,…

This guest post from Alison is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. This is one of the best reader stories I’ve ever featured. I’m a graduate of the George Washington University, a school now known as…

This is a guest post from Gail Vaz-Oxlade, the host of the popular Til Debt Do U$ Part on CNBC (Saturday nights at 10 and 10:30). Gail is a columnist for Yahoo Canada, Chatelaine, and Zoomer Magazine and blogs daily at her website, where she also offers terrific tools people can use to dig themselves out of the hole. Gail’s latest book is Debt-Free Forever. People are always scratching their heads about where their money…

Did anyone ever give you a user’s manual for your checking account? Probably not. There are best practices in managing a checking account, but even if you learned the rules from your parents or through your own hard-won experience (or if you never did), it may be time for a little checking account check-up. Why? Because some of the rules for checking accounts no longer apply. Financial regulation, market conditions and technological developments have all…

This guest post comes from Kimberly Palmer, author of Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, which hits bookstores today. She’s also the Alpha Consumer blogger at USNews.com. Every time I’ve ever gotten close to a job offer, my Dad sits me down for a little practice negotiation session. He acts like my potential employer, and I act like myself. The conversation usually goes something like this: Dad: “Kim, we…

This story originally appeared on Boing Boing in slightly different form. It’s my favorite article I’ve ever written. I’m not a trained financial professional; I don’t have a degree in finance, and I’m not a certified financial planner. I have no formal training. I’m just an average guy who was deep in debt, and finally got fed up with his situation. After deciding to turn things around, I read dozens of financial books, and used…

This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Got kids? If so, you’re probably hoping to send them to college. And you know it won’t be cheap. College costs are rising faster than inflation, and have been for decades. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford a good education for your kids, even if you have a modest salary or…

Best Books on Investing: My Favorite Investing Authors This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. A few weeks back, J.D. listed his favorite finance books (and encouraged readers to suggest their own). It’s a fine list, full of money-saving, debt-defying, financial-liberating…

This is a guest-post from Tim Ellis, author of Seattle Bubble, a blog and forum dedicated to discussing real estate market conditions in the Seattle area. Tim is a long-time GRS reader. During my last trip to Europe, he shared a controversial article on renting vs. buying. Given the fact that each year around sixteen million Americans move to a new county, it’s likely that at some point in your life you’ll find yourself moving…

For a long time, GRS readers have been requesting a list of resources for low-income families struggling to get by. I haven’t put anything together because I don’t know much about the subject. Fortunately, I know somebody who does. In this guest post, Donna Freedman lays out the nuts and bolts of finding help when you’re in financial distress. Plenty of people who once made a good living are joining the ranks of the poor…

This guest post from Jolyn is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. You can read more about Jolyn’s financial adventures at Budgets are the New Black. My husband and I bought our first home in Las…

This is a guest post from Mike Piper, a long-time GRS reader and the author of Oblivious Investor, where he blogs about such thrilling topics as Roth IRA rules and 401k rollovers. Blogging is often touted as a means to earn some extra income. But many people believe that you need tens of thousands of people reading your blog everyday before you can make any real money from it. I can tell you from experience:…

This is a guest post from Pop at Pop Economics, a great new blog about investing, personal finance, economics, and more. It’s now 9pm on August 30th. I’ll finish this guest post by 11:59pm on August 31. I know this, because if I don’t, I’ll lose $1,000. Call it an incentive. I’ve written about behavioral economics over at Pop Economics for three-quarters of a year now. There are an infinite number of subjects to cover,…

This is a guest post from Beverly Harzog, who writes about credit cards and personal finance at Card Ratings. Harzog is the co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Person-to-Person Lending. When I was in my early twenties, I was a credit card mess. I’d go shopping with my credit card in hand and not worry about how much I spent until the bill came. At that point, though, I’d start worrying a great deal…

There are all sorts of rules of thumb about how much you should spend on a home, but what about that other major expense in your life — your vehicle? Have you ever wondered how much to spend on a car? I’ve thought about this question before, but never really considered that there might be an answer. (Well, no answer other than “as little as possible.”) But the folks over at BeFrugal have put together…

This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently released a guide to help people attack and sell their excess clutter entitled “Sell Your Crap“. Several weeks ago, I wrote about the early stages of my quest to sell a family car. While I had always used either the local newspaper, word of mouth, or Craigslist to help sell my automobiles, I’ve recently run across several stories from people who successfully sold their cars…

This guest post from Mike is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Traveling to exotic new places is a passion of mine. My wife reminisces fondly over a dinner conversation we had about nine years ago…

A few weeks ago I wrote about how money really can buy happiness, but how much money is enough? A big-screen TV isn’t a ticket to happiness, but a vacation might be. Giving your money away can boost your well-being, and so can investing it in time with your family. A new study from Princeton hangs a price tag on that happiness: $75,000 [PDF summary]. That’s the annual household income that gives you the most…

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. When the 2008-09 financial crisis hit, my husband and I were debt-free and building our savings. We were proud of what we’d accomplished, and I used to stare at our savings balance with a smile after every payday. At the time, all I seemed to hear was that we Americans had to spend our way out of a recession, that spending was the key to growth….

This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Unless your last name is Rockefeller, Hilton, or Walton (as in Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart — four of the seven richest Americans are Sam’s heirs) chances are you had to work for the…

This is the third part in a short series about insurance basics. In the first part, I explained how insurance works. In the second, I shared some general tips about how to save on insurance of all types. Today’s article offers info about auto insurance. You’ve had car insurance since you were old enough to drive, but how much do you really know about it? At its heart, your policy probably contains a few basic…

Book Week at Get Rich Slowly comes to a close today. Well, I guess tomorrow’s Ask the Readers is about books, but this is the final review. I’ve saved the best for last. Over the past year, I’ve had a chance to read several titles in the “Skinny On” book series. And although I’ve only mentioned them in passing here at GRS, I love these books. Today I want to tell you about them. The…

My colleague Trent Hamm from may have started his blog six months after I did, but he’s ahead of me in books. He published his first 365 Ways to Live Cheap! [my review], at the end of 2008, and his second, The Simple Dollar, was released this summer. I’m a huge fan of The Simple Dollar (it’s the only personal-finance blog I read regularly besides my own), and I count Hamm as a colleague and…

In June 2008, a Get Rich Slowly reader dropped me a line to see if I’d like to have lunch. “My name is Chris,” he said. “My wife Jolie and I will be visiting Portland next week. Do you have time to meet?” “Sure,” I replied. I was just beginning to meet colleagues and readers for lunch, a habit that has since become the best part of this job. “Let’s meet at my favorite Thai…

“Financial success is more about mastering the mental game of money than about understanding the numbers.” That’s the first tenet of the Get Rich Slowly philosophy. That math of personal finance is simple; it’s controlling your habits and emotions that’s difficult. In Mind Over Money, the father-son team of Ted and Brad Klontz provide a thorough discussion of the psychology of personal finance. They argue that our relationships with money are complex and not wholly…

This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. We hear a lot about the doubts over the future of Social Security. Here are a few I’ve come across: “Three-fourths of those 18 to 34 don’t expect to get a Social Security check…

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. A couple of weeks ago, J.D. highlighted research that showed that rewards cards cost the poor (in higher prices overall) and benefit the rich (who are more likely to use the cards). But what if retailers offered you a discount if you paid in cash? It might not be so far-fetched. In Will Financial Reform Kill the Rewards Card?, Brett Arends writes that a provision in…

This is the second part in a short series about insurance basics. Last week, I explained how insurance works. Next week (or possibly the week after), I will offer some tips on car insurance. Today’s article offers some general insurance tips useful for most situations. All insurance works pretty much the same way: You pay a premium (a set amount of money) to the insurance company, usually on some sort of schedule (monthly or yearly,…

It’s Sunday morning and I should be editing articles in advance of my upcoming vacation. Instead, I just got done playing another game of Starcraft II. Since the game was released on July 27th, I’ve played many games of Starcraft II. In fact, I’ve played at least 150 games of Starcraft II. (I know this because the game keeps track of your record. I played 50 training matches, and have since won 47 and lost…

This guest post from Alissa is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. I like all of the reader stories I publish, but for some reason I particularly like this one. Update: Now with photos! Alissa e-mailed…

Last week, Isaac asked Get Rich Slowly readers for advice on how to handle life after grad school. He’s about to enter the workforce and needed tips on what to do until he gets his first paycheck. Isaac was very pleased with your helpful responses. This week, we’ve got a chance to help somebody even younger than Isaac. Nico is 18, a sophomore in college, and financially clueless. He needs help! Here’s his story: I’m…

Kris and I live in a small, quiet neighborhood south of Portland. When the trolley line ran through here — between 1893 and 1959 — Oak Grove was actually thriving community, with shops and stores and more. (It’s true! I’ve seen pictures!) Now, though, downtown Oak Grove, such as it is, consists of a convenience store, a hair salon, a joint once named “the best dive bar in Portland” — and the home office of…

I’ve been plowing through my e-mail lately in my never-ending quest to reach inbox zero. As a result, I’ve been answering tons of reader questions. And when I can’t answer them (or when I think a colleague can do a better job), I try to refer the question to somebody else. Over the weekend, for example, LP wrote: I’m a college student and have started saving up and setting aside money, and I feel that…

I don’t write a lot about insurance around here. For one thing, insurance is kind of boring. For another, I don’t know a lot about it. Still, insurance is an important part of personal finance, and my silence on the subject hasn’t gone unnoticed. Josh wrote last week to make a request: I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, and I consider it a constant source of valuable information. However, one area…

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Could you produce your birth certificate, car title, or an old tax return at a moment’s notice? You’re supposed to store vital documents in a fireproof box or keep them in a safe-deposit box, but how many of us actually do that? We may not need these papers often, but when we do need them, we really need them. You need vital documents to sell your…

This guest post from Mike Choi is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Almost two years ago, J.D. shared an “ask the readers” column about how to rent out your spare room. In that post, Penny…

This guest post from my wife is yet another installment in her ongoing quest to grow and preserve food for our household. Making jam makes me happy. Okay, that’s only partly true. I’m also happy making jelly, preserves, and syrups — and I’m pretty darn pleased with conserves, marmalades, and most things pickled. No matter that I could never eat everything I make — even with J.D.’s help — the mere process is somehow satisfying…

Isaac wrote recently with a question about how to make the transition from college to the Real World. He has a good degree, but it’ll take him time to find a job, especially since the economy is still sluggish. He’s worried about how he should handle is finances in the meantime. Here’s his question: I recently graduated from college with a degree in electrical engineering. I’m currently living at home with my family while I…

This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. In today’s article, she tackles a topic I’ve been meaning to write about, but haven’t made the time. Contrary to popular belief, money can buy you happiness — if you spend it on the right things. That’s the skinny from the New York Times Business section, which last week took a close…

This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Permit me to introduce a new term into the financial planning lexicon: goals-based budgeting. (Well, a Google search turned up a few other instances of its use, but they’re on government websites, so no…

As you’ve probably noticed, travel has become a priority in my life. There are number of reasons for this. For one, I love it. I love visiting other cities, other states, other countries. I love seeing how different people live, and how they do things. Here in the U.S., we are so myopic — we tend to focus on just our way of life, so that it becomes difficult to imagine that there are billions…

Last Friday, we had a great discussion about the socio-economic implications of credit-card rewards programs (or lack of implications, depending on your viewpoint). The conversation wasn’t nearly as tedious as my description makes it sound. In response to that article, Califia e-mailed: [Could you provide] a quick elaboration of this statement from your recent post: “I’ve gone from anti-credit-card to pro-credit-card — but only for those who can use them responsibly.” How do you define…

This guest post from Bon is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. I’ve always been a bit of a capitalist so to speak, so when I decided to join the Peace Corps several years ago, not…

Yesterday we had a great discussion about some of the financial choices I’m facing, but today it’s time to look at a decision a GRS reader is trying to make. Catherine wrote to ask if it makes sense to sell her home so that she can become debt-free and have the freedom to pursue a simpler life: I’m in my mid-forties, self-employed in a high-cost city where I live in a one-bedroom condo that I…

I paid off the last of my debt in 2007, quit my day job in 2008, and have been working to build wealth ever since. As I wrote early last year, I’m in the Third Stage of personal finance: I’ve paid off my debt, built a cash cushion in savings, and am maxing out my retirement accounts. And after doing all of these things, I have money left over to spend on comic books and…

“How to Build Confidence and Overcome Fear” is a rare GRS re-run; it originally appeared on 17 February 2009. I’m dealing with a family crisis, and haven’t had time to write. Things should be back to normal tomorrow. Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. — Yoda Last week I did something that scared the hell out of me. I stood in…

This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Shopping momentum is the bane of many budgets. You may have a good grip on your money most of the time, but once you’ve opened up your wallet to make one purchase, it’s easy to just keep spending. People sometimes experience shopping momentum during times of stress or transition: when they’re traveling,…

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. One of the fastest-growing businesses on the Web is tracking data about your Internet use — everything from comments you leave on websites to health information and financial status — and selling it to companies that want to target ads to specific customer profiles. Algorithms are even used to make predictions about you based on your profile, from how likely is it that you’ll repay a…

My philosophy on credit cards has changed completely in the last five years. I’ve gone from anti-credit-card to pro-credit-card — but only for those who can use them responsibly. I think they’re a great convenience, and I like getting cash back when I use mine. But not everyone thinks this cash-back feature is a good thing. In fact, my inbox is a-flutter with folks who want me to comment on the recent credit-card study from…

In 2016, who would want a personal finance software package with no online component or support? Apparently many do when it’s completely free. The best budgeting software if often a matter of personal taste and people are still downloading the now-defunct Microsoft Money now that it’s available with no cost or license. Ever since Microsoft quit producing Microsoft Money Plus in 2011, its popular personal-finance software program, they’ve offered a bare bones version in the…

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I’m a fan of unusual homes. From tiny homes to recycled homes, I’m fascinated by unconventional ways one can build houses that save on construction costs and future utility bills. Our own house plans are for plastered walls with straw bale infill, and we’re close to breaking ground. But when I picked up the latest issue of granola crunchy Mother Earth News, for a minute I…

This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Follow Baker on Twitter @ManVsDebt or connect with him on Facebook. Over the last few months, I’ve spent countless hours researching the process of selling items online for a large project I’ve been compiling. It’s taught me that as much as I thought I knew about selling online, there’s so much more that I have no clue about! For example, a family member recently asked for my…

I just returned from my annual weekend trip to Oregon’s Opal Creek Wilderness area. Every year, I join five other friends to hike into the forest, pitch our tents on the banks of the creek, and sit around the fire talking about life. We drank a lot of whiskey this year, and spent a lot of time at the swimming hole. Paul and Tim at rest above the Opal Creek swimming hole This year, we…

I do my best to cover a variety of topics here at Get Rich Slowly. Personal finance is a v-a-s-t topic, and there’s a lot of specialized knowledge. But there’s no question I have blind spots. Because Kris and I have no kids, I don’t write much about children and money. Student loans are another blind spot for me. Still, I know a lot of GRS readers have questions about student loans. You folks e-mail…

This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker previously featured an article on his own blog entitled “How I paid off $15,000 in 9 months by selling my Stuff on Ebay“. There I was, bustling around the kitchen making lunch for my daughter when our late morning routine was interrupted:Boom! Boom! Boom! Milligan and I glanced toward the front door where the thunderous pounding had originated. “Holy cow!” I thought to myself, “There are…

This is a guest post from Jeff Yeager, author of the newly-published The Cheapskate Next Door. Yeager calls himself the Ultimate Cheapskate — and his wife agrees. Yeager is also a contributor at Wise Bread and on the Early Retirement forums. “Sure, we could afford to spend more, but why would we? It wouldn’t make us any happier.” — Those are the words I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years traveling the country to hear. It’s…

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I’ve discovered that one of the biggest benefits to being a full-time freelancer can be one of its drawbacks: setting ones own schedule. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the reason I wanted to get into freelancing in the first place, but I keep wondering if I’m working enough. Am I getting enough done in a day? How often should I take a break, and for how…

Having a simple budget template can help you stay on financial track. Whenever I write about personal-finance programs, there’s always a large contingent of GRS readers who chime in to say they prefer the do-it-yourself method. Rather than go with pre-packaged money-management software like Quicken or Mint, they prefer to track their accounts with a home-brewed spreadsheet. (In fact, my wife is one of these folks, too.) I’ve shared a variety of personal-finance spreadsheets in the…

July 21st was the fifteenth anniversary of my father’s death. He died of cancer at age 49, just ten days shy of his fiftieth birthday. When Dad died, he left behind a meager estate. Aside from the custom box business (which, admittedly, was not “meager”), he managed to leave each family member with $5,000 in life insurance proceeds, and that’s about it. His personal finance skills had never been great, and that included estate planning….

This is a guest post from my wife. It’s been a long time since she chimed in around here. Have no fears: She’s the frugal heart of our homestead, and she’s always looking for ways to grow and preserve our food. As Get Rich Slowly readers know, J.D. and I have a thriving garden with maturing fruit trees, monstrous berry plants, and an annual vegetable garden. Much of the time, I turn the garden bounty…

Ah, relationships. Without other people, money management would be easy! Easy-er, anyhow. But love, family, and business relationships tend to make people do things they know they really oughtn’t. Take Patrick, for example. He fell in love, and it led him to commit a financial faux pas. Here’s Patrick’s l-o-n-g story and his questions: A couple years back, I met a girl, fell in love, and we moved in together. A few months into our…

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