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DIY


  • The only two things you need to remember about funeral costs (31 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. When someone has to make funeral arrangements, they often look to the funeral home for help. They select one of the three coffins suggested by the funeral home. Often it’s part of a mid-priced package deal, one that includes pretty much everything you need, and then some….

  • Maximizing your dollar: Renovating a historic house for the rental market (6 comments)

    This story comes from Anastasia Mann. Anastasia Mann is an associate at Trimark Properties, a leading provider of historic house rentals, student housing and apartments in Gainesville, FL. To check out their historic infill developments, visit their website. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success…

  • Before and after: A $6 ceiling fan makeover (46 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. Being a homeowner is expensive. Correction: Being a homeowner who wants to tear out and replace everything in the house is expensive. But my home is also my hobby. It’s one of those expenses that falls into the “needs list” (shelter) and the “wants list” (my complete kitchen…

  • Home remodeling — when you can’t (or don’t want to) DIY (41 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. When my husband and I walked into our last home for the first time, we felt like we were walking right into the ’70s. With disco-era fixtures and old smelly carpet, the four bedroom colonial was quite the sight. Oh, and let’s not forget the orange laminate…

  • 7 Money-saving strategies that can cost you more (44 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. I’m in the middle of renovating a house, a project that started in January 2013 and will end — well, who knows when it will end? We have a lot of plans for this house. Truly, the only reason we’re able to afford this project is because…

  • How to make room for redecorating in your budget (40 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. After living in apartments with white walls for most of my adult life, I was excited to become a homeowner when my husband and I got married. Paint options! Landscaping! Curtains! My house was a blank canvas, just waiting for me to decorate it. Well, the decorating…

  • Should You Buy A Fixer-Upper? (81 comments)

    Fixer-upper (noun). A home you purchase at a reasonable price, but one that requires an unreasonable amount of money in repairs and renovations. Okay, so I made up that definition, and it’s not always true. Buying fixer-uppers can get you more house than you would normally be able to afford at a reasonable price. They can be pleasantly…

  • How I Launched a Successful Kickstarter Campaign (40 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Sarah Gilbert. “You can always back out,” a dear friend who had successfully completed a few Kickstarter campaigns told me a few days into my own campaign. “You just have such a short timeline.” “You probably aimed too high,” said another, just beginning her own campaign, having carefully lined…

  • Reader Story: How I Sold My Condo and Saved $5,000 (110 comments)

    This guest post from Nick Rothacher, the self-taught economist, 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….

  • Reader Story: Making Life Transitions Meaningful (83 comments)

    This guest post from Laura Mezoff Christy 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. Some of…

  • Compound Returns in the Garden: How Long-Term Planning Pays Off When Growing Your Own Food (52 comments)

    A lot of folks have been asking if my wife and I will be doing the Get Rich Slowly garden project this year. That’s the plan! After a one-year hiatus, Kris and I intend to track our spending and our profit for the food we grow on our land. January saw no spending and no…

  • Five DIY Valentine’s Day Ideas for Frugal Sweethearts (42 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Valentine’s Day is a commercialized holiday, but I say, “So what!” Sure, you don’t need a holiday to show appreciation for your significant other, but why miss out on the extra chance to do it? Besides, you don’t have to celebrate the way the commercials tell you…

  • The Joys of Home Canning (53 comments)

    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…

  • Free Money-Management Spreadsheet (21 comments)

    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.)…

  • How to Use a Food Dehydrator to Preserve Your Harvest (36 comments)

    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…

  • Want to Make Something by Hand? Sew Start, Already! (41 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Recently, J.D. wrote about the value in finding something that you enjoy making by hand. As I read his post, I couldn’t help but to think about my mom, who is hands-down one of the craftiest, most creative people I know. (Yes, I’m biased, but everyone who…

  • Made by Hand: In Praise of Amateurs (98 comments)

    Note: I’m afraid this post is long and rambling. So sue me. I’ve been meaning to write about this subject for a long time, and finally felt moved to do so. This article may be amateurish, but that’s kind of the point… My father was a serial entrepreneur — he was always starting businesses. But…

  • The GRS Garden Project: August 2009 Update (41 comments)

    Every month, my wife and I track how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for August 2009. (Here are the results for 2008.) After late July’s blistering heat, August has been relatively cool around Portland. Our fruits and vegetables have been producing excellent crops. Kris is constantly busy in…

  • The GRS Garden Project: July 2009 Update (34 comments)

    Every month, my wife and I track how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for July 2009. (Here are the results for 2008.) Welcome to Oregon, where for the past week it’s been hot. How hot? Here’s the temperature graph from the National Weather Service for Monday, Tuesday, and…

  • The GRS Garden Project: June 2009 Update (27 comments)

    Every month, my wife and I track how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for June 2009. (Here are the results for 2008.) It’s the beginning of summer, and that means our garden is lush and green and growing. It also means there’s nothing exciting to write about. We’ve…

  • How My Parents Saved $14,000 on Home Repairs (35 comments)

    This is a guest post from MLR at My Life ROI. If you like this post, check out his website or subscribe to his feed. One thing I love about reading Get Rich Slowly is that J.D. is always willing to get his hands dirty and throw on a different hat. J.D. is a do-it-yourselfer….

  • 3 Easy and Delicious Ways to Preserve Your Berry Harvest (20 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife, who has her own fan club around here. “You should have a section at GRS called Kris’ corner,” one reader wrote recently. That’s unlikely to happen, but she’s happy to drop by now and then with recipes and helpful hints. Here’s what she has to say about…

  • The GRS Garden Project: May 2009 Update (50 comments)

    Every month, my wife and I track how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for May 2009. (Here are the results for 2008.) What a difference a year makes! Our fruits, berries, and vegetables had a slow start last year (and then were further slowed by a cold, cold…

  • Be More Involved in Your Financial Planning (28 comments)

    This is a guest post from Tough Money Love, the personal-finance blog that doesn’t pull any punches. You don’t have to look far in our economy to find someone willing and able to assist with your financial planning. Bankers, insurance agents, stock brokers, wealth managers, and professional financial planners are everywhere. Advice passed along by…

  • Learning to Do It Yourself (39 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. I am not handy. Given a garden tool or a kitchen gadget, I can usually find success. But I have neither the talent or inclination for wiring, plumbing, or carpentry. I come from a long line of un-handy people, too, so there’s no phoning home when the…

  • The GRS Garden Project: April 2009 Update (36 comments)

    Every month, my wife and I track how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for April 2009. (Here are the results for 2008.) April was a slow month for our garden. We didn’t do much. Part of this is because we’ve become more efficient. But another part is because…

  • The GRS Garden Project: March 2009 Update (34 comments)

    Every month, my wife and I track how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for March 2009, which was written by Kris. (Here are the results for 2008.) In Oregon, the month of March is unpredictable. Every gardener is itching to get outside, but it’s wet and cold with…

  • Start a SwapLuck to Share the Things You Make and Do (25 comments)

    When I wrote about homesteading magazines in February, several people praised Countryside as the best of the bunch. Intrigued, I subscribed. I’ve received my first issue and I have to say: I’m impressed. Countryside isn’t for everyone. It’s very much geared toward those interested in getting “back to the land”. When I read the magazine,…

  • The One-Block Diet (30 comments)

    After our recent discussion about traditional skills and the DIY ethic, reader Kim Cornman pointed me to an interesting project being conducted by the staff of Sunset magazine. While many folks have embraced the idea of a 100-mile diet (eating only food produced within one hundred miles of their home), the folks at Sunset have…

  • Some Thoughts on the Return to Traditional Skills (105 comments)

    I give several media interviews each month. As the economy changes, so do the questions. Recently, as you can imagine, reporters have been asking me what people can do to save money. This question gets boring after a while. There are only so many ways a fellow can say, “Spend less than you earn by…

  • 50 Tips for DIY Savings Around the House (19 comments)

    While researching for our upcoming home repairs, I stumbled upon an article over at This Old House. Josh Garskof has put together a list of 50 nifty tricks for big do-it-yourself savings. What sort of nifty tricks? Tricks like these: Close closet doors to lower the square footage you’re heating (and cooling). Shuttering closets along…

  • Starting Seeds Indoors: Jump-Start Your Garden Today (56 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife, who has received several requests to describe her method for starting seeds indoors. In some parts of the U.S., vegetable and flower seeds can be successfully planted directly into the garden. But in many areas, the growing season is too short to allow this. Cool spring soil…

  • The GRS Garden Project: February 2009 Update (53 comments)

    Every month, my wife and I track how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for February 2009. (Here are the results for 2008.) We spent a lot of time in our garden this month, which was unusual considering that it’s February. In fact, the twelve hours we spent working…

  • Magazines (and Websites) About Homesteading and Self-Sufficiency (107 comments)

    When I was a boy, my father used to buy Mother Earth News from the grocery store. The magazine was filled with stories about self-sufficient country living, the sort of thing my dad aspired to. I’d read the magazine after he was finished, but never really understood the appeal of building your own greenhouse or…

  • Save Money with Regular Home Maintenance (49 comments)

    In 2004, Kris and I bought a hundred-year-old farmhouse. We’d been living in a 1976 ranch-style home that was virtually maintenance-free. We knew that our new house was quirky, and that it needed some remodeling, but we didn’t quite understand the extent to which maintenance would dominate our lives. Every summer, we’ve had a major…

  • The GRS Garden Project: January 2009 Update (40 comments)

    Every month, my wife and I track how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for January 2009. (Here are the results for 2008.) Even with the other stuff going on in our lives, Kris and I found time to begin planning our summer garden this month. Soon the winter…

  • Repair, Restore, Rejoice: Making the Most of Home Appliances (67 comments)

    This is a guest post from Betsy Teutsch, who blogs about sustainable living and socially-responsible investing at Money Changes Things. As any homeowner can attest, appliance longevity is diminishing. For technophiles, the breakdown of electronics can be welcomed as an excuse to upgrade to a cheaper, faster gizmo. But constant breakdowns of household appliances frustrate…

  • 7 Tips for Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden (75 comments)

    Early January. Though it’s the dead of winter, many of us are dreaming about our summer vegetable gardens. The seed catalogs have begun to appear in the mailbox. Kris and I received eight of them today: Images of summer… It might seem crazy to start thinking about a vegetable garden in January. It’s cold outside!…

  • The GRS Garden Project: Winners and Losers for 2008 (37 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. Our gardening for the year came to a close around Halloween. Although we’ll harvest herbs all winter — I’ve started an indoor herb garden with clearance-sale seeds! — the cold and wet Willamette Valley winter makes outdoor work miserable. And this year we’ve even had snow and…

  • The GRS Garden Project: November Update (30 comments)

    During 2008, my wife and I are tracking how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for November. This month’s garden update is small. As winter approaches, there’s less for us to do, and all that we harvest are herbs (and those only occasionally). Our major garden task this month…

  • Plant a Tree to Add Beauty and Value to Your Home (27 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. She speaks for the trees. There’s nothing like a breathtaking autumn to make us notice the trees. And fall is the perfect time to start thinking about adding a tree to your property. J.D. and I are lucky to have many mature trees on our lot, but…

  • From the Kitchen: Pumpkin Butter and Pumpkin Muffins (26 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. Kris has her own devoted following around here, eager for her tips. You probably don’t realize it, but her recipe for baked potato soup is a perennial favorite at this site, and still garners rave reviews. Here are two of her favorite uses for pumpkin. ‘Tis the…

  • Things It’s Cheaper to Do Yourself (97 comments)

    I’m driving down to my mother’s house this morning to work on her roof. Over the years, the shingles have been overrun with moss, so my cousin and I are going to spend a couple of hours scraping the stuff off. We could hire somebody to clean the roof for us, but this seems like…

  • Ask the Readers: Favorite Frugal Christmas Ideas? (124 comments)

    I made a trip to Costco yesterday to buy index cards. (Believe it or not, index cards are the building blocks of this blog.) The store didn’t have any, but it did have four long aisles stocked with Christmas supplies: lights, laughing Santas, and artificial trees. “Are people thinking about the holidays already?”, I wondered….

  • The GRS Garden Project: September Update (62 comments)

    During 2008, my wife and I are tracking how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for September. September generally brings the largest harvests for our garden. That was true again this year, but not by as much as we hoped. The bad weather at the beginning of the season…

  • Making and Doing: The Value of Productive Hobbies (62 comments)

    I spent a couple hours this morning performing what ought to have been a simple home-maintenance task. The light fixture on our front porch had gone faulty, and I needed to replace it. I’ve done enough wiring projects now that the electrical aspect of the job didn’t bother me. But the woodworking? That was frustrating….

  • How to Make Your Own Canned Salsa (16 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. Several readers asked for our canned salsa recipe, so here it is. J.D. and I already have our favorite fresh salsa down to a science, but we only get to enjoy it for a few short months when real tomatoes are in season. In order to see…

  • Quick and Easy Car Maintenance: Change Your Oil and Inflate Your Tires (37 comments)

    “The value of proper car maintenance is priceless,” writes Liza Barth at the Consumer Reports auto blog. “Regular maintenance of your vehicle can save you money on vehicle repairs and keep it running smoothly for many years to come.” In particular, Barth encourages readers to keep on top of two easy (but critical) components of…

  • The GRS Garden Project: August Update (31 comments)

    During 2008, my wife and I are tracking how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for August. The berry harvest continued this month at Rosings Park, our happy half acre south of Portland. Blackberry time is my favorite time of the year. And though August is often too hot…

  • Fix Your Own Printer and Save Money (19 comments)

    Farhad Manjoo at Slate says your computer printer may be lying to you. He bought a cheap laser printer a couple years ago. When the machine decided it was out of toner, it stopped working. But the last page it had printed looked just fine. Manjoo was puzzled: I’m a toner miser: For as long…

  • The GRS Garden Project: July Update (29 comments)

    During 2008, my wife and I are tracking how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for July. It was a berry, berry good month at Rosings Park (as we call our happy half acre). Gloomy June faded into memory, the sun came out, and the berries ripened. This is…

  • Urban Fruit Gleaning: Harvesting Fresh Fruit in the Middle of the City (26 comments)

    Though Kris and I live just a few miles from downtown Portland, we’re fortunate to have three-fifths of an acre of land. This allows us to set aside some large spaces to grow fruits, berries, herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Not all city-dwellers are so fortunate. In fact, millions of people don’t have access to a…

  • Back to Basics: A Guide to Traditional Skills (39 comments)

    Based on reader suggestions, Kris and I made a trip to Costco on Friday to buy bulk yeast and a fifty-pound bag of bread flour. (We’re serious about this whole home-made bread thing.) While I waited for Kris to pick up some other groceries, I leafed through Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional…

  • Gardening Basics: What to Do with All That Extra Zucchini (41 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. I could not have written this — I hate zucchini. Ah, summer. Or, as it’s sometimes known, zucchini season. If you were one of those brave souls that planted zucchini this year, it’s about to start exploding. Or perhaps where you live, it’s already mid-explosion! It’s time…

  • Easy and Cheap Home-Made Bread (62 comments)

    I baked a loaf of bread yesterday. It was delicious. It was easy. It was cheap. Last winter, I undertook a quest to find the best whole wheat bread in a grocery store. I like sandwiches and I like toast, so removing bread from my diet isn’t an option. While trying to balance cost and…

  • The GRS Garden Project: June Update (36 comments)

    During 2008, my wife and I are tracking how much time and money we spend growing food. This is the report for June. It was a miserable June for gardeners in northwest Oregon. The first two weeks weren’t just wet — we’re used to that — they were cold, too. The local media dubbed the…

  • Learn Bike Maintenance from The Bicycle Tutor (11 comments)

    For the past six months, I’ve been applying Get Rich Slowly principles to physical fitness. By making small changes, I’ve lost seventeen pounds since January 1st. I’ve begun lifting weights regularly for the first time in my life. I’m even preparing for an October marathon! I injured myself at the end of May, however, and…

  • How to Make Your Own Small-Batch Strawberry Jam (9 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. Making your own jam doesn’t have to be a big production. While it’s sometimes most efficient to do things in bulk with all the right gear, the small-scale option can be better if you’re just starting out and want to make jam without much initial investment. Also,…

  • Frugality in Practice: Turn Your Junk Mail into Garden Mulch (35 comments)

    In yesterday’s discussion about how to stop junk mail, icup mentioned using junk mail for mulch. Intrigued, I asked for more information. Here’s what he had to say. I’m more interested in saving money than saving the environment, but when I see junk mail piling up every day, it makes me stop to think about…

  • The Bountiful Container: Gardening in Small Spaces (25 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. I’ve been gardening for almost fifteen years. I started with flowers, added herbs and vegetables, then a few fruits, then a lot more. I’ve gardened in plots and pots and raised beds. I’ve drooled over bedding plants, spent too much on whatever was my obsession-of-the-moment (bulbs! daylilies!…

  • Home-Made Treats for Backyard Birds (19 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife. If there’s one area of our household budget where frugality goes out the window, it’s the birds. There’s a large picture window over our kitchen sink, and I love to spend my Saturday mornings standing with a cup of tea, watching our neighborhood avian community. Or I…

  • Minimalist Meals: Fantastic Food in Ten Minutes or Less (38 comments)

    One of the best ways to save money on food is to eat more meals at home. Better yet, eat more meals that you prepare instead of foraging from boxes and cans. With today’s busy lifestyles, this can be a difficult transition to make, especially if you’ve never been much of a cook. But quick,…

  • Frugality in Practice: Home-Made Grape Juice (26 comments)

    Kris and I don’t grow a lot of our own food, but we grow enough to make a difference. In the fall of 2004, the year we moved into this house, we planted a row of grapes. Using only a shovel, I tore into the sod, double-digging a row about three feet by thirty. One…

  • Frugality in Practice: Do-it-Yourself Home Maintenance (26 comments)

    I hate plumbing. Whenever a faucet begins to leak or a drain clogs, my stomach sinks. I know it means hours of frustrating work. It’s not that plumbing is difficult — it’s just that I’m not well-versed in the ways of home-improvement. Somehow I missed that part of Manhood Training. Despite my apprehension, over thirteen…

  • From the Frugal Kitchen: How to Make Bread-and-Butter Pickle Slices (27 comments)

    Here’s another frugal recipe from my wife. This easy and delicious recipe for bread & butter pickles is perfect for a beginner. Regardless of your skill level, you’ll produce canned pickles that you’ll be proud to serve. Because of the high acid level in pickled foods, you can process them in a pot of boiling…

  • 100 Things You Can Make Yourself (9 comments)

    When was the last time you made something? Deborah Ng at Simply Thrifty took it upon herself to make something rather cool: a hyperlinked list of 100 things you can make yourself. Deborah writes: It seems the more we advance, the more stuff is done for us. I don’t mind letting someone else do all…

  • Why I Love the County Fair (9 comments)

    It’s the middle of August, which means that my hometown is playing host to the county fair. I’ve always loved the fair. As a boy, I loved it for the rides and attractions: the Ferris wheel, the Spider, the Fun House, the games. As a teenager, I loved it as a place to take dates…

  • Pick Your Own: A Brief Guide to the Berry Patch (20 comments)

    Picking berries is one of my favorite parts of summer. Kris and I grow much of our own fruit, and we’re snacking from June to September. Our garden includes strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, marionberries, boysenberries, lingonberries, elderberries, currants, apples, prunes, pears, and a whole slew of vegetables. It’s a summertime cornucopia! Not everyone has…

  • Simple Homemade Chicken Stock Using a Supermarket Rotisserie Chicken (27 comments)

    This is a guest-post from my wife. In our house, rotisserie chickens from the grocery store are a time- and effort-saver. A whole fryer chicken usually sells for less than $1/pound. A typical rotisserie chicken is about double the cost, but we often get three weekday meals off it, so it’s worth it to me….

  • Christmas in June: Save Money with Homemade Gifts (17 comments)

    This is a guest-post from my wife. Each December, I put together gifts for friends, co-workers, neighbors and family. My list is long, and I don’t want to break the bank. Homemade gifts go the extra mile to express my affection to the people in my life, while also allowing me to save some money….

  • Easy Ways to Spend Less on Your Computer (52 comments)

    Here’s a guest entry from reader Cliff Barbier, who gives us the low-down on the world of cheap computing. Computers permeate our lives. We bank on computers, we buy with computers, and we communicate using computers. Yet these machines still hold an element of mystery that makes some people apprehensive about how to spend less…

  • Frugality in Practice: Planting Time (11 comments)

    “Wow,” I said to Kris at dinner last night. “This pasta sauce is great.” She smiled: “I made it. From tomatoes we grew last summer.” I give Kris a hard time for all the attention she pays her tomatoes during the spring. She treats them like babies. She pampers them. But if the payoff is…

  • The Blurring Lines Between Amateur and Professional Photographers (14 comments)

    Photography is an expensive hobby. With all the lenses, filters, lighting, software, and tripods, a fellow can find himself in the hole rather quickly. I should know. Photography was one of my last obsessions before getting my finances in order. I spent several thousand dollars on equipment. In retrospect, that was excessive. But if you’re…

  • An Introduction to Square-Foot Gardening (73 comments)

    I grew up in the country — gardening meant a large plot, plowed and raked, and then planted with long, widely-space rows of vegetables. It also meant weeding and hoeing, weeding and hoeing. Gardening was a chore. When Kris and I bought our first home, we both wanted a vegetable garden, but we didn’t want…

  • Gardening 101: Plan Today for Summer Success (44 comments)

    Raising your own berries, fruits, and vegetables is a fun and rewarding way to save money. Our grocery bills drop dramatically during harvest season, and the food cannot be beat. (I love our salsa recipe.) But my wife notes, “February is the time to start planning your vegetable garden.” This post contains her advice for…

  • 15 Tools Every Homeowner Should Own (27 comments)

    Lifehacker points to a MSN Real Estate piece listing the 15 tools every homeowner should own. I’m working on a longer article about home workshops, but this is a good introduction to the subject. If you don’t have a handyman in your family and don’t have a clue where to begin when it comes to…

  • Save Money on Plumbing Whether or Not You Do It Yourself (7 comments)

    A few weeks ago I mentioned Curbly, a new community-based DIY site. Here’s a guest-post from one of the Curbly’s featured writers, Alex Russell. Copper’s proper. That’s the saying, anyway. But the problem now with copper for your plumbing has nothing to do with reliability. It’s cost. Over the past year, the retail price of…

  • DIY Microwave Popcorn (38 comments)

    Back in the Olden Dayes, we made popcorn on the stove. If we were good, then Sunday night before The Wonderful World of Disney, mom would heat some oil in a skillet and pop the corn. It was delicious. Then, of course, came the microwave, and with it came popcorn in a bag. It’s all…

  • Curbly: A Community-Based DIY Site (8 comments)

    Jeff V. writes: I just came across this budget-minded DIY site and I thought you and your readers would be interested in it. Curbly bills itself as a “web community for people who love where they live”. It’s a site designed to help users create do-it-yourself projects to improve their home and environment. In a…

  • Follow-Up: Buying a Part at the Junkyard (7 comments)

    Several weeks ago I shared Matildaben’s question about junkyards. Should I get a car part at a junkyard/salvage yard/auto recycler, and how do I go about it? I need a side mirror assembly for a 1998 Nissan Sentra. Should I get it at a junkyard? Both AskMetafilter readers and Get Rich Slowly readers told her,…

  • Remodeling a Home, part two: A Leak in the Attic (10 comments)

    This is the second in a series describing our adventures remodeling a one-hundred-year-old home. Last week I shared our experiences with a nightmare insulation contractor. This week, we learn that the damage was worse than we had thought. As you’ll recall, when we bought this old house, we paid a company (GCS) to install insulation….

  • Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job (13 comments)

    Wesley writes: I wanted to share a book that really hit home with me in my collegiate days. It’s called Possum Living. Now granted, these folks take living cheap to extremes, but they make good points periodically. I’ve taken their advice, and I’m close to paying my house off at the ripe old age of…

  • DIY: Buying It vs. Making It Yourself (14 comments)

    An AskMetafilter user wonders: What things are worth the time and cost of doing or making myself? For example, tomatoes from the store are miles below the ones I grow in my garden. Fresh-baked bread is amazing. But knitting socks or a sweater seems hardly worth it, despite the fact that I can customize it,…

  • How and Why to Start an Emergency Fund (91 comments)

    “Pay off your debt.” “Max out your IRA.” “Buy a house.” “Get a new job.” Personal finance advisers bombard us with a litany of things we ought to do in order to achieve financial independence. It’s overwhelming. Where’s a person to start? Most personal finance books agree: the first thing you should do — after…

  • 10 Expert Tips for Saving on Car Insurance (18 comments)

    My friend Lynn works for a major U.S. insurance company. I recently asked her for tips to help people save money on auto insurance. I expected maybe a few quick ideas, but she went above-and-beyond with the following detailed list. If you own a car, you should read these tips. For readability’s sake, I haven’t…

  • Cashing in on CDs (20 comments)

    Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are safe, conservative investments. They’re a fine place to stick idle cash, though they can also be used for goal-directed saving. When you open a CD, you deposit money with a bank and promise not to touch it for a certain period of time. Terms generally range from three months to…

  • How to Get Better Customer Service (4 comments)

    I hate dealing with bureaucratic corporations. Their customer service is a joke. Even dealing with small companies can be a challenge. But I’m slowly learning how to coax good customer service out of the companies I call. Here’s a list of my favorite tips. According to consultant Dr. Gary S. Goodman: Customers need to take…

  • Pep Talk: Climb Out of Debt (8 comments)

    A reader at Lifehacker writes: Over the past few years, I’ve accrued some painful, albeit modest, debt. Since I trust Lifehacker readers with my life(hacking), I’d love to hear some tips and strategies for getting out of debt. So, any advice? First of all — and this is important — DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU….

  • How to Haggle (12 comments)

    Some people know how to haggle. They’re able to bargain with shopkeepers in order to save a few bucks on pair of shoes, a book, or a piece of furniture. I’ve never haggled before except at garage sales and in World of Warcraft. Computer games are one thing, real-life is another. Real-life haggling scares me….

  • How to Sell a Used Car (15 comments)

    An AskMetafilter user recently asked for tips for selling a used car: I’m selling my car. Help me not be stupid. What’s safe? How do I handle a test drive? Do I go with them? If they buy, do I insist on cash, or some sort of check? (What sort?) What are the safest ways…

  • Ben Franklin’s Advice to a Young Tradesman (1 comment)

    TO MY FRIEND, A. B.: — As you have desired of me, I write the following hints, which have been of service to me, and may, if observed, be so to you. Remember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour and goes abroad or sits idle one-half…

  • How to Walk for Fun and Profit (14 comments)

    In the United States, we value our cars. We’ve become a nation of drivers. It rarely occurs to us that walking might be an option, even for short journeys. One-quarter of all automobile trips in the U.S. are less than a mile in length; forty percent are less than two miles (one source of many)….

  • Twenty Things Everyone Needs to Know (9 comments)

    The Independent (UK) has a summary of twenty things everyone needs to know, with explanations provided by experts. How to change a tyre (or a tire, for us yanks) How to sleep How to build a fire How to shine shoes How to make a martini (by Dale DeGroff, the ‘king of cocktails’) How to…

  • How to Opt-Out of Credit Card Offers FOREVER (25 comments)

    Get Rich Slowly reader Eric H. forwarded a link to optoutprescreen.com. He writes: This website lets you opt-out for either five years or forever from annoying credit card solicitations by adding your name to the do-not-call/mail lists at the three major Credit Bureaus. This will reduce your junk mail and keep your credit report and…

  • How to Win Something from a Claw Machine (17 comments)

    And now for something completely different… While waiting for my wife to finish an errand today, I found myself staring at a claw machine. You know the ones: brightly-lit cabinets filled with stuffed animals and a dangling claw to grab them. Though I’ve never used one, I began to wonder how you’d go about beating…

  • Ten Garage Sale Tips (17 comments)

    We’re in the midst of the annual neighborhood garage sale, which makes it difficult to find time to post. I have drawn up some garage sale tips, though. This isn’t everything you need to know, but it’s a start: A group sale is better than selling alone. If you can coordinate a weekend with your…

  • How to Dispute Credit Report Errors (4 comments)

    The Federal Trade Commission has many handy publications, including this guide to disputing credit report errors. It’s really just a three-step process: Obtain a copy of your credit report — The Fair Credit Reporting requires that each of the three major credit reporting agencies provide you with a free copy of your credit report once…

  • How to Sell on eBay (3 comments)

    Cribnotes has created a guide to selling stuff on eBay. (Which, in turn, is an outgrowth of his eBay FAQ.) I recently sold a couple of thousand dollars worth of old books and games using the methods he describes here. Selling on eBay or craigslist is an excellent way to simultaneously declutter your life and…