I’ve tried something new at Get Rich Slowly lately.
Several years ago, my friend Sparky gave some feedback about the site. “There are lots of great discussions in the comments,” he said, “but you never really make that obvious on the blog itself. If there’s a good conversation, you should let everyone know.”
I’ve never done that — until now. And I’m still not really doing what he wanted. What I’ve been doing instead over the past month is posting follow-ups to certain posts. So, for instance, Donna Freedman wrote about having it all, but not all at once, and a great conversation broke out in the comments. So, I responded the next day with an article about how to spend your money, which then prompted a reader story about saving for something close to home.
Or, two weeks ago Robert Brokamp spurred debate by arguing that college is a rip-off. Crystal responded by sharing how she avoided student loans (which caused a debate about what qualifies as a student loan). This Sunday, I’ll post a reader story responding to Crystal. See how there’s a sort of continuity going on?
Anyhow, this is an experiment. It’s not something I can do for every topic. But I can do it for certain topics where there’s a strong reader response. How do you feel about this sort of continuity? Do you like it? Hate it? Not care either way? I think it’s kind of comic-book-y, so I like it. But I can also see how it might get old. Let me know what you think.
Meanwhile, here are some interesting personal-finance stories from around the web:
First up, Jeremy at Gen X Finance explains why you can’t make money in the stock market. It’s the same reason your programmable thermostat doesn’t cut your energy costs. It’s you. Jeremy’s point is that after the crash in 2008, a lot of folks pulled their money out of the stock market. Now they’re putting it back in. This is dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb — with a million dumbs. Folks are selling low and buying high, which is exactly how you lose money at the stock market, not make it. This is a great article. If investing confuses you, read it. If the stock market scares you, read it. Heck, read it even if you do understand how this stuff works.
Moving on, Tracy at MoneyNing lists five of the worst ways to save money. Being frugal is a good thing — but be careful not to take it too far. Don’t rule out the most expensive option, for instance, if it’s also the best quality option. And never sacrifice your health for the sake of saving a buck. For that brief period that I crossed over into the land of cheapskates, I ignored some of these tips. Not anymore.
At Wise Bread, Kentin Waits explains why recycling is his lowest priority. No, he doesn’t advocating just throwing stuff in the trash. Instead, he stresses the importance of the first two parts of the phrase: “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.” The first two have a much greater impact on resource consumption. I agree. In fact, I made this same argument for Blog Action Day in 2007.
Finally, Jason at the Frugal Dad recently wrote about why we crave more Stuff. “The value of having less Stuff to worry about is worth far more than your collection of things,” Jason writes. I was just thinking about this today. What if Kris and I were starting over, moving into a small apartment? What if we had weeks or months to move in? What if we could get the space exactly right by only bringing over the essentials as we needed them? What would we keep? What would end up left behind? Why can’t I leave that Stuff behind now? (Related: Another Kentin Waits story at Wise Bread: The Zero-Accumulation Household.)
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This article is about Spare Change