dcsimg

Odds and Ends


  • Cheap ways to enjoy the sunshine (or hide from it) this summer (14 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. “You + me + swimming date at the springs.” That was the text message I sent to my friend Kacey last week. “Are you flirting with me?” she replied. “Let’s make this official.” See, every summer I solemnly swear that I’m going to spend the next several months in the water, yet I never do. (I say several months because I live in Texas, where it’s summer…

  • Speaking of hobbies… (52 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. In my last post, I talked about picking hobbies strategically. There, I suggested that it might be a good idea to choose hobbies that fall into three main categories. Those three categories were: Hobby as side gig. Hobby as “something you have to do anyway so you might as well be good at it.” (I’m nothing if not pithy.) Free or super cheap hobbies. I’d like to take…

  • Spare Change: The no-theme edition (14 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. Normally for these Spare Change posts, I like to collect a bunch of money-related links and group them by theme. But I’ve been too scatterbrained lately to collect or organize anything. Last week a friend of mine, Frank, passed away after a brief illness — one that we all felt sure he’d recover from, especially since he was only 35 years old. (Longtime readers may have read…

  • The Prodigal Son Returns: J.D. Roth Is Back at Get Rich Slowly (62 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. As of last Thursday, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. Hey, everybody. It’s J.D. here. I founded this site, and I wrote and edited the content for many years. Last autumn, I retired from writing here. Today, I’m unretiring — just like a professional athlete. My role at…

  • ‘Gen Z’ is financially-savvy, with one big exception (50 comments)

    If someone handed you $500, what would you do with it? A whopping 70 percent of those in Generation Z say they’d save at least part of it, and among them, 34 percent would save it for college. That’s just one of the findings in TD Ameritrade’s 2nd Annual Generation Z Survey that shows that teens and early 20-somethings* are refreshingly money-savvy. Although they haven’t got it all figured out just yet. Affording higher education Almost half…

  • Odds and ends: GRS news (2 comments)

    As you may know, Get Rich Slowly is part of the QuinStreet family of personal finance websites, which include MoneyRates.com, Five Cent Nickel, Consumerism Commentary and others. We’ve recently launched a weekly newsletter as part of the MoneyRates.com Network. The newsletter offers tools, advice, and our proprietary research on interest rates for savings accounts at a hundred banks (including online banks), among other educational articles. Expert commentary is provided by Richard Barrington, CFA, the senior…

  • Play hooky for money (31 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. We at Fool HQ did it again: We had a company-wide financial health day. As we did three years ago, we encouraged Fool employees to clear their professional decks in order to tackle personal financial tasks. We also held 10 classes — from estate planning…

  • A spring-cleaning discovery (79 comments)

    It’s amazing the number of things we can throw out and not miss. I do not wish to backpack through Third World countries living on a dollar a day, I hate the tiny house fad, and I am staunchly against miserliness, but I have to say: I find the slavery of things to be more of an encumbrance every day. Really. I’ve had it with things, and I’m starting to detest them. Well, almost all…

  • The time I was sent to collections over $4 (32 comments)

    There is an old nursery rhyme about tiny things having major consequences. It’s about a horseback rider who was charged with carrying orders to battle during a war, but the horse’s shoe comes off and the horse goes lame. The end of the nursery rhyme is like this: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost….

  • Party philosophy: When to spend big on fiestas (57 comments)

    I grew up in a family not given to extravagance with regard to birthdays. Not that we could have been extravagant if we would have wanted to. With five children close together in age, a dad who’d pursued ministry as a career (and not one of those relatively lucrative evangelical TV ministries, either), and a mother at home with us, money was tight. As an adult in my 20s, birthday parties meant dinners out at…

  • The Cinnamon Bear: An Old-Time Radio Christmas Tradition (28 comments)

    Because I love The Cinnamon Bear so much, I post this same article every year. This year is no different, except that I’m posting it a couple of days early to give you time to download the files. If you have young children — and even if you don’t — I encourage you to listen to these old radio broadcasts with your family. Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive. Some of the best traditions…

  • Beyond money: How my community saves me, part two (32 comments)

    After I turned in my last article, I thought of so many other instances of how my community pays big dividends: We got a 50-pound bag of free flour when a warehouse had a fire which slightly damaged the packaging At an auction, an acquaintance wanted a single item, but she had to buy the whole box to get it. Inside the box was a bag of clothespins that I’d been looking for. I offered…

  • Mutual mooching: How my community saves me money, part one (40 comments)

    One of the greatest assets in my life is a priceless community made up of my friends, family, and other community members. My community is greater than the sum of its parts. Saving me money is just one benefit. Mutual mooching I first read about mutual mooching in Amy Dacyczyn’s “The Complete Tightwad Gazette,” but I paid little attention to it. Doing favors for people and getting favors back? Mmm, no thanks. I hate feeling…

  • Safeguarding your career switch (44 comments)

    The night before I moved to California, I got a flat tire. The day before I moved to California, someone backed into my car. The first night that I moved to California, I got a parking ticket and my car was towed. So, you know. I was really beginning to question my move to California. I switched careers in 2010. It’d always been a dream of mine to move to New York or Los Angeles…

  • ‘Tis the Season for an Autopsy of Last Year’s Holiday (96 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer 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. With the retailers already selling bones, severed limbs, and other Halloween paraphernalia, it’s only a matter of (short) time until it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I know, summer’s not even…

  • What IS Financial Responsibility? (178 comments)

    This article is from new staff writer Honey Smith. “Be Responsible. Take responsibility for your actions.” It sounds simple, right? But what responsibility means to me has changed over the course of my life. In fact, there are so many definitions of responsibility that Wikipedia doesn’t even have a definition listed on its main responsibility page! There are over fifteen types listed there with links to their respective pages (though to be fair, one is…

  • How Much to Tip (and to Whom) (203 comments)

    Note: This article is a reprint. Several readers have suggested that one way for Get Rich Slowly to retain my voice although I’m no longer a regular contributor is to re-publish old articles like this. This is a keen idea, especially on days like today when the staff writer hasn’t turned in his assignment! Every time I get my hair cut, I’m faced with a dilemma — should I tip the barber or not? I…

  • Reader Story: In Defense of Clutter (117 comments)

    This guest post from Jane 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 with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I recently wrote a comment on a post that seemed to resonate with numerous people. It was in reference to an…

  • In Search of a Financial Theory of Everything (106 comments)

    This article is the first from new staff writer El Nerdo. First things first (and I try to be organized that way): I think my first “official” post for GRS should be a sort of statement of purpose, an outline of what I’ll be trying to accomplish here, as a kind of introduction of things to come. It makes sense as part of the job interview process that I should answer such classic questions as:…

  • How Much Is Your Time Worth? (89 comments)

    This is a guest post by Joel Runyon of Impossible HQ. Did you see the Justin Timberlake thriller In Time last year? Probably not. Nobody else did either. Well, I did, I guess. And while the movie wasn’t very good, it contained an interesting idea that I think relates to personal finance. The movie’s plot revolves around a world where everyone is genetically engineered to live until they’re 25. After that, they have exactly one…

  • Showered With Needs (142 comments)

    Until the end of this week, we’re sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Will Crosswell, who says he’s a young guy who’s made some dumb moves financially. But he wants to…

  • What is Wealth? (56 comments)

    Until the end of this week, we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Ashley Kipp. Ashley’s first audition piece was about her changing her focus from stuff to substance. The…

  • Getting Rich Slowly vs. Taking Financial Risks (37 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Kristin Wong, who also writes at The Heart Beat blog for MSN Living. Her first audition article…

  • The Value of Human Capital (33 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Will Crosswell, who says he’s a young guy who’s made some dumb moves financially. But he wants…

  • What Your Loose Change is Really Worth (83 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Elizabeth Falwell. “You’ve got to look for the date,” my grandfather reminded me as we sorted through…

  • How to Do a Wallet Audit (90 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. On my way to the 2011 Financial Blogger Conference last year I encountered three young men who’d made a non-traditional career choice: mugging tired-looking, middle-aged women pulling suitcases. They got me as I headed for the train to the airport, taking a little over $80 and…

  • From the Trenches: An Update on My War on Stuff (105 comments)

    Though our divorce is final, Kris and I continue to see each other about once a week. We have lunch or dinner together, and sometimes we do chores around the house. One big chore is approaching: We’re going to hold a joint garage sale to purge our lives of some of the Stuff that has accumulated over the years. A few other friends are going to join us (in the hope that we can attract…

  • Professional Sports: A Waste of Time, Money, and Energy? (161 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer 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. You know what I like to do on a beautiful fall day? Sit on a couch and watch other people exercise! Furthermore, I cheer for a bunch of people I’ll never meet, representing…

  • Is Your Spending Normal? (112 comments)

    Over the past year, one of the most popular features here at Get Rich Slowly has been the monthly “how much do you spend on X?” question. I started these informal and unscientific surveys on a whim. I wanted too see what sort of spending ranges we held as a population of relatively money-savvy citizens. In the past year, we’ve looked at the following spending categories: How much do you spend on food? How much…

  • Be a Budget Traveler…in Your Own Town (30 comments)

    This post is by staff writer April Dykman. When I’m planning a vacation, I usually pick up a copy of a “cheap and free” guidebook that lists inexpensive attractions and secret-gem restaurants. A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting my friend Frank, who is a recent transplant to the East coast, and he saw my guidebook. “I need something like that so I know what inexpensive stuff there is to do in my own…

  • Why It’s Okay to Buy a Mega Millions Ticket (Even After You’ve Done the Math) (154 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Recently I outed myself as an occasional lottery player and as a person who thinks that lotteries in and of themselves aren’t so bad. I don’t think they’re good. Rather, I think they’re not-too-terrible in the way that potato chips are not-too-terrible. Enjoy a few every…

  • This I Believe: 43 Lessons from 43 Years (94 comments)

    Because I’m a nerdy kind of guy, I have some nerdy traditions. In the past, one of those nerdy traditions has been to celebrate my prime-number birthdays with a big party. When I turned 37, for instance, I hosted a poetry recital. Two years ago, we held a “bacon bash”, which was a lot of fun. This year, I was going to host a travel-themed party to celebrate my 43rd birthday. Certain major life events…

  • Class Consciousness and Social Mobility (241 comments)

    Kris and I have returned from three weeks traveling in Argentina and Chile with a group from our university alumni association. My favorite parts of these trips are when we get to interact with the locals, not just because I can use my Spanish, but also because it’s a chance to see how they live their lives. I did get to do some of that on this trip, but not as much as I would…

  • Building a Collection Without Breaking the Bank (91 comments)

    Before I moved out of the house and into my apartment, my cousin Nick paid a visit to play board games. After some rousing Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride action, I gave him a brief tour of my geek room, which was home to my board games, science fiction novels, and comic books. “Your comic collection is growing,” he told me. “I know,” I said. We talked about the process of building a collection while…

  • Q&A: My Current Financial State (144 comments)

    Fridays are typically “Ask the Readers” days at Get Rich Slowly, but today I’m doing something a little different. I’ve made a couple of big revelations lately, and those have generated a lot of questions. Today, I’ll answer a handful of these questions in order to give an outline of how I’m managing my money. There’s a lot to be said about the discipline it took to be conscious spender (and saver) even after a…

  • Why Financial Literacy Fails (and What to Do About It) (166 comments)

    One of my resolutions since returning from Peru is that I’m going to be more responsive to requests from reporters. I’ve generally tried to weasel out of interviews in the past because they always made me uncomfortable. I’ve done enough of them now, though, that I’m able to answer questions without having a panic attack. Most interviews are pretty formulaic, really. And my message doesn’t change, so it’s easy to say things like “spend less…

  • Giving Thanks for Small Businesses (50 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family near the Oregon coast this past weekend, and spent nearly the whole day Saturday in blissful cooking mode. It was lovely, but it’s a remote area where the only nearby business is a gas station/convenience store on a highway between Portland and the coast. If one should need a quick shopping trip, the choices, to put it mildly, are limited. I…

  • America’s Love-Hate Relationship with Wealth (187 comments)

    I was on the road for the past two months, first in Chicago, and then in Bolivia and Peru. As always happens, one of the side effects of travel is that I’ve been living in a media vacuum. For the past few weeks, I’ve heard almost nothing of current events. That means I arrived home to find a strange phenomenon: Protestors “occupying” Wall Street. And Oakland. And Portland. And probably many other places as well….

  • Why I Still Pick Up Pennies (168 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. The most-read piece I ever wrote for MSN Money’s Smart Spending blog was an essay called “See a penny? Pick it up!” It got more than 1,657,000 hits before MSN changed blog platforms. After that, the penny essay and most of the other things I’d written…

  • Deciding What to Buy (108 comments)

    For the past five weeks, I’ve been traveling. At the end of September, I packed my bag and I’ve been on the road ever since. I’ve had fun, and learned a lot of Spanish, but to be honest I’m looking forward to seeing cold, rainy Portland again next week. As always happens when I travel, I’ve come to marvel at how little I can live with. I have a hotel room (or a tent) every…

  • A Meeting of Minds: Financial Blogger Conference 2011 (62 comments)

    I spent the weekend in Chicago, meeting and talking with 279 other financial bloggers. After years of saying we should all get together, we finally did (thanks to the hard work of Phil Taylor from PT Money). For three days, we talked about writing, marketing, and monetization. We also talked about how to make our blogs more useful to our readers. I opened the conference by speaking about why we write. Why do we blog…

  • Ask the Readers: How Would You Sell a Collection? (80 comments)

    I am a collector. I always have been. When I was a boy, my parents gave me one closet in the trailer house to have as my very own. They called it the “rat’s nest” because I’d fill it up with all the sorts of things a boy might collect: bugs and twigs and baseball cards and comic books, among other things. As an adult, I’ve remained a collector. It’s both a joy and curse….

  • Old Friends: Scenes from a Class Reunion (52 comments)

    I am getting old, my friends. I am getting old. It’s no longer just a feeling, either. More and more, there are objective real-world reminders that I’m not the young man I once was. Kris and I spent last weekend, for instance, hanging out with other old folks at our 20-year college reunion. We had a blast, of course. Though we don’t see most of our old friends as often as we’d like, when we…

  • Reader Story: Winning the Lottery (120 comments)

    This guest post from Tina 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. If you enjoyed this story, please consider joining our facebook community at our Get Rich Slowly Facebook Page. Although I know the schadenfreude of…

  • Music Videos about Money from Kevin McKee, the Thousandaire (43 comments)

    It’s been a l-o-n-g time since I shared fun finance videos on a Saturday morning. And I’m way behind on highlighting some of my favorite videos from this year’s Get Rich Slowly video contest. Today I’m going to kill two birds with one stone. Back in May, Kevin McKee won the “personal finance tips” category of our video contest with this video, in which he raps about how to save money on cable television: Digging…

  • When Renting Is Smarter Than Buying (96 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. In my article on Spotify last week, a couple of commenters took me to task for suggesting that subscribing to access for music could be better than buying your own permanent copies of the songs you love. A few thought that, as a personal-finance writer, I should be urging people to buy their stuff instead of throwing money…

  • Spotify: The Future of Music Is Here — and You’ll Pay Less for It (86 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. Europe’s hit music-listening service has finally launched in the United States. Spotify is here, and it’s already changed the way I listen to music. J.D. is a huge fan, too. I’m so excited about Spotify that I’m breaking my usual habit of not doing product reviews to write about it. What is Spotify? Spotify is a service…

  • Defining Your Financial Future (34 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kent Thune. Thune urges readers to place meaning and purpose before money and planning at his blog, The Financial Philosopher. For better or worse, language has a significant influences on who we are and what we do in life. What, for example, is the definition of the word retirement? How has this shaped your life? More importantly, is this definition yours? Or is it shaped by conventional wisdom? If…

  • The Basic Allowance for Housing: Helping Military Members Afford a Home (58 comments)

    Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a federal holiday to commemorate U.S. soldiers who died while in military service. This is a guest post from Chris Birk, a recovering journalist and the director of content and communications for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading dedicated VA-approved lender. Birk writes about mortgages and military home buying for a variety of sites and publications, from the Huffington Post and About.com to Mortgage News Daily…

  • A Penny Saved is a Penny Spurned? What to Do with Pockets Full of Change (174 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. I regularly empty the change from my wallet. Pennies, nickels and dimes go into a pink piggy bank. Quarters go into “Mr. Nest Egg,” a bank shaped like Humpty Dumpty. The quarters are for when I finally get around…

  • Follow-Up: Mason Shoe Company (15 comments)

    I get a lot of requests for follow-ups to reader stories and reader questions. People want to hear how things turned out. Because I want to know how things turned out, too, I’ve started a semi-regular feature at Get Rich Slowly. Whenever I hear back from a previous poster, I’ll share an update so that we can all know what happened. Last October, I shared a comic book ad from 1956. The ad explained how…

  • The Lottery: An “Investment” for Fools (with Bonus Lottery Simulator!) (162 comments)

    Over the years, I’ve done some foolish things with my finances. I’ve squandered money on comic books. I’ve speculated on risky stocks, hoping to make a quick fortune. I’ve paid a gazillion dollars — or something close to it — in credit-card interest and bank fees. I spent large windfalls on the latest technological gadgets. No, I’m by no means perfect with money. One trap I’ve managed to avoid, though, is the lottery. Playing the…

  • 42 Goals in 42 Months (118 comments)

    I’m not big on holidays. They seem fabricated — an excuse to sell stuff. Thanksgiving is a big exception. So too are birthdays. I think everyone should celebrate birthdays in a big way. For me this year, that means commandeering Get Rich Slowly to go a little off topic. I’m not writing about money today. I’m writing about personal goals and self-improvement. Success Junkie I’m obsessed with self-improvement. For good or ill, all my life…

  • Affirm Your Way To Wealth (79 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. This morning, I did something unusual. After I brushed my teeth, I looked in the mirror and recited: “People love to give me money!” “I am rich and wonderful.” “I am now earning a great big income doing what satisfies me.” I admit, I felt silly. I love a lot of New…

  • Developing Systems That Work (75 comments)

    In my fantasy life, I’m an organized guy. In the real world, that’s just not the case. I do my best to stay on top of things — I make lists, use a calendar, ask Kris for help — but there always seems to be something slipping through the cracks. Before we left for Africa, for example, I hid my wallet. I always do this when we go on a long trip. (I don’t use…

  • Gaming Without Breaking the Bank (59 comments)

    Though J.D.’s back on the blog, he’s still a bit behind — so much e-mail! — so here’s a guest-post from Tim Ellis, who writes Seattle Bubble when he isn’t glued to a screen, zoned out on video games. You can find him playing as “TH3 T1M” on Xbox Live and on PSN. I’ve been an avid gamer ever since I bought my first Nintendo Entertainment System when I was ten. Today I have a…

  • Redbox vs. iTunes vs. Netflix vs. Blockbuster (92 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Sometimes I think that Netflix was the best thing to ever happen to me (er, besides my wonderful husband, of course). You see, when I was a Blockbuster customer, I was notoriously bad about racking up late fees. I would flat-out forget I even had a movie to return. There’s no telling how much money I wasted in late fees. So when Netflix came on the scene,…

  • All I Want for Christmas (34 comments)

    This has been the most Christmas-y Christmas season I can remember in a long time. Usually Kris and I downplay the holiday. I know that Christmas is important for many people, but there are other holidays (like Thanksgiving) that we value more. This year, however, we seem to have some of that old-time Christmas spirit, and I like it. What makes this year different? I’m not sure, but it may be because: We’ve been listening…

  • Finding My Spending Identity (31 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Do you have a Spending Identity? You do, whether you know it or not. It’s as real as the data on your driver’s license, but if you’re like most people, you’ve probably never given it much thought. Your Spending Identity dictates who you are as a consumer: Are you frugal or extravagant?…

  • Are E-Books Cost Effective? The Pros and Cons of E-Books (143 comments)

    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…

  • Three Posters About Personal Finance (16 comments)

    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….

  • The Cinnamon Bear: An Old-Time Radio Christmas Tradition (7 comments)

    Because I love The Cinnamon Bear so much, I post this same article every year. This year is no different, except that I’m posting it a couple of days early to give you time to download the files. If you have young children — and even if you don’t — I encourage you to listen to these old radio broadcasts with your family. Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive. Some of the best traditions…

  • Advice from a Billionaire: What to do With a Windfall (42 comments)

    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…

  • How Would Panhandlers Use Free Credit Cards? (44 comments)

    Have you ever wondered what the panhandlers you see on the street would do if you actually gave them a bunch of money to spend? Like many people, I generally give my pocket change to anyone who asks. I figure that if they have to ask, they probably need it more than I do. (Yes, I know that there are just as many folks who think this is ridiculous, and who never give anything to…

  • How to Replace Six Vital Documents (29 comments)

    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…

  • Talking About Money with Family and Friends (47 comments)

    What does a blogger’s spouse do while the blogger is out of town? Hang out with other bloggers and their spouses, of course! While Chris Guillebeau was off playing with the tigers in Thailand, his wife Jolie spent some time with Kris and me. Last Friday morning, we picked peaches (and then Kris and Jolie canned them). In the evening, the three of us had dinner with Erica (from erica.biz) and her husband Richard. As…

  • Save Money on Shipping with Free Boxes from USPS (55 comments)

    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…

  • A Simple Question to Jump-Start Your Finances (57 comments)

    This video post by staff writer Adam Baker is the last of a four-part series. Baker previously featured a post on his own blog entitled, Debt Tsunami: The Ultimate Method to Paying Off Debt. Courtney and I have recently stumbled upon a new hurdle in our personal finance journey: complacency. You see, we’ve experienced just enough success to make us feel comfortable, but not enough to be even close to accomplishing what we want. We…

  • The Personal-Finance Continuum (52 comments)

    This is a guest post from Paul Williams, a fee-only financial planner and the founder of Provident Planning, Inc. He regularly writes about personal finance from a Christian perspective at Provident Planning. About a year ago, there was nearly an epic battle between Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich and Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar. Ramit is firmly in the “earn more” camp of personal finance, while Trent tends to…

  • How I Survived the Computer Castrophe of 2010 (115 comments)

    Sometimes I feel like I’m cursed. Computers hate me. I don’t think I’m particularly rough on them — I don’t toss them around or poke at the screen or douse them in water (though, on occasion, I do forget to close my window here at the office, and my printer gets rained on) — but for whatever reason, my Macs all seem to die after a couple of years. Maybe this is because I use…

  • Money Myths and the Importance of Thinking for Yourself (136 comments)

    When I sat down to write Your Money: The Missing Manual, I knew I wanted to start with a chapter on happiness. (Well, to be fair, I was going to conclude the book with this chapter; my editor suggested moving it to the beginning, which was a stroke of genius.) In particular, I wanted to make the point that money doesn’t buy happiness. Because we all know that’s true, right? Well, not so much, as…

  • 8 Financial Deadly Sins (83 comments)

    I did a lot of stupid things with money when I was a younger. In fact, I still make mistakes. We all do. But some mistakes are worse than others. This morning’s USA Today features an article that highlights eight money missteps that can really hurt you financially. Author Kathryn Canavan highlights eight economic deadly sins: Raiding your retirement accounts. I get a lot of e-mail from readers who want to generate quick cash by…

  • Calculating Your Life-Time Income (30 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently released an online guide entitled, Unautomate Your Finances. J.D.’s note: According to Facebook, today is Baker’s birthday. Happy birthday, Adam! In continuing celebration of Financial Literacy Month, my GRS contributions throughout April are covering basic techniques to raise your financial awareness. Last week we covered a few methods of getting to know your debt. This week we’re going to attack the income side of the…

  • What Do Ancient Spice Traders and the Modern Financial Industry Have in Common? (22 comments)

    This is a guest post from Chett Daniel, who writes about improving your life through personal fitness and personal finance at 5k5k.org. Last year, Chett shared what fourth-graders “know” about money. What role do financial professionals have in our personal finance lives today and in the future? Are they still the gateway to understanding financial info that’s too difficult for the common person to grasp? Or have they created a profit-producing “need” that is slowly…

  • March 20th is the National Day of Unplugging (45 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker, who recently shared “3 Lesson I’ve Learned in 3 Years of Marriage.” Technology is a double-edged sword: It has the power to revolutionize our productivity and allow us to achieve feats previously thought to be impossible; but it also has the ability to drain our focus and squander our attention. As a blogger, I’m usually a strong proponent of gadgets that plug in and turn on. These…

  • The Consumerism Commentary Podcast (6 comments)

    It looks like The Personal Finance Hour, my weekly podcast with Jim from Bargaineering, is on permanent hiatus. Both Jim and I have other work that has consumed our attention over the past few months. If you’re craving a similar financial podcast — and aren’t opposed to higher quality — check out the Consumerism Commentary podcast.

  • How Much Stuff Does One Man Need? (158 comments)

    It seems like every time I travel, I come home committed to win my war on Stuff. This time was no different. I lived out of a single carry-on bag while vacationing in Belize last week, and even that felt luxurious. Now I’ve returned to a house packed with doodads and gewgaws, knick-knacks and baubles. The more I purge Stuff from my life, the more I travel, and the more I see (and read) about…

  • Outsourcing Life: Unconventional Advice for When You’re Financially Secure (309 comments)

    This is a guest post from Erica Douglass. After selling her online business for a million dollars at age 26, Erica “temporarily retired”. She now writes an online business blog at erica.biz. This is very much an article about advanced personal finance techniques, and doesn’t necessarily reflect my own philosophy. You’ve pulled yourself out of debt, are saving a reasonable amount of income for your retirement, have built an emergency fund, and your daily needs…

  • Learning to Use Money as a Tool (82 comments)

    It’s pretty clear by now that I have a different relationship with money than when I started Get Rich Slowly. I’m by no means perfect with the stuff, but I’ve become firmly entrenched in the camp that sees money as a tool. (I used to see it only as a means to instant gratification.) Here’s a tiny example. Taking a page out of Trent’s book, Kris has been on a crock pot kick lately. This…

  • Are Americans Ready to Ditch the Dollar Bill? (143 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker is a founding member of Untemplater.com, a new multi-author blog focusing on personal finance, entrepreneurship, and life design for people in their 20′s and 30′s. Americans have been fairly resistant to the introduction of a coin form of our dollar currency. We have them in circulation, of course: The Presidential Series and the Sacagawea gold coins are both currently being minted. You can also occasionally bump…

  • A Brief Guide to Holiday Tipping (95 comments)

    I’m getting more requests this year for holiday tipping info than ever before. For example, Nina wrote: “Can you provide some guidelines for Holiday Tipping Etiquette for the holiday season? I’m at a complete loss…” To be honest, I don’t know much about holiday tipping. It’s not something I was raised with. I covered it briefly in my guide to how much to tip, but I’m basically as in the dark as Nina is. To…

  • Comics and Cons: Adventures on eBay (58 comments)

    If you follow me on Twitter, you know that between writing chapters for Your Money: The Missing Manual I’ve been wrestling with eBay “customer service”. Note the quotes. It’s difficult to tell the full story in 140-character chunks, though. Since Robert started the day with a post about his adventures on Craigslist, let’s end it with with one about my adventures on eBay. I’ve been using eBay since September 1998. I’ve bought and sold items…

  • Furniture and Scambags: Adventures on Craigslist (99 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I’ve already told you how the wife and I weed out our closets every summer and have a yard sale with the results. Last weekend, we did some big off-season pruning because — in…

  • The Cinnamon Bear: An Old-Time Radio Christmas Tradition (12 comments)

    Because I love The Cinnamon Bear so much, I post this exact same article every year on the 29th of November. This year is no different. If you have young children — and even if you don’t — I encourage you to listen to these old radio broadcasts with your family. Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive. Some of the best traditions don’t cost anything at all. When I was a boy, Christmas meant…

  • Obsessive Consumption (17 comments)

    To take control of your spending, you must first be aware of your spending. This mindfulness can be difficult for many people to achieve. GRS reader (and awesome artist) Tsilli pointed me to the work of Kate Bingaman-Burt, who has a unique way of being mindful of the money she spends: She draws it. Bingaman-Burt teaches graphic design at Portland State University, but for the past eight years, she’s also been documenting her spending habits…

  • The Guilt of Wealth (167 comments)

    Yesterday I shared a guest post from Leo of Zen Habits. His guide to minimalist money was a sort of overview of good financial skills, useful information for those in the first stage of personal finance. But some long-time GRS readers couldn’t relate to Leo’s post. Today’s post goes in the opposite direction. It’s a meditation for those in the third stage of personal finance (or beyond), and it’s probably going to seem foreign to…

  • Gone Phishing: How To Avoid Being Caught By Scammers (44 comments)

    This article is by Adam Baker, a new GRS Staff Writer. In addition to writing for Get Rich Slowly, Baker blogs over at Man Vs. Debt, where you can find his personal background story and read more of his writing. Last week, I adjusted several preferences on my PayPal account. I added and verified a new e-mail address and swapped my linked bank account. Shortly after finalizing the changes, I received a brief e-mail from PayPal…

  • A Tightwad’s Lament (and Daily Links) (36 comments)

    Ah, the tribulations of a tightwad — they are many. On Monday, I walked a mile-and-a-half to the hardware store to buy some 1/2-inch washers, nuts, and bolts. (Remember: I’m trying to walk 5-6 miles per day now, so I usually walk for all of my errands.) Every month this hardware store mails us the same coupon — $5 off a $25 purchase — so I took it with me, just in case. But my…

  • The Seven Enemies of Financial Success (55 comments)

    Earlier today, I wrote about Brett Wilder’s The Quiet Millionaire. It’s different than most personal finance books I’ve read. It’s targeted at those who are further along their financial journeys rather than at those just starting out. Still, there are bits and pieces in The Quiet Millionaire that are applicable to everyone. I particularly liked Wilder’s list of the seven enemies to financial success (which is my phrase, not his). Over the past few weeks,…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 17: What I Did On My Summer Vacation (2 comments)

    We’re back! After a six-week hiatus, The Personal Finance Hour returns Monday afternoon with an easy-going episode in which Jim and I discuss what we’ve been doing since you last heard from us. (Short answer: Jim’s been trekking across Europe; I’ve been walking and biking all over Portland.) We would love to have you call with questions and share your own experiences! What have you been doing lately to improve your financial position? Have you…

  • How to Shop at an Estate Sale (38 comments)

    At 10am yesterday morning, Kris and I climbed into the Mini Cooper and to head for the county fair. We’d only been driving for a few minutes when Kris pointed at a sign. “Look! An estate sale,” she said. “Let’s stop.” Kris and I like estate sales better than garage sales because they usually feature nearly everything a person has ever owned — not just the cast-offs. Family members have generally pulled the plum pieces,…

  • MousePrint.org Exposes the Pitfalls in Fine Print (16 comments)

    Does fine print drive you crazy? Like me, do you find yourself wading through 63-page credit card agreements — trying to understand the legalese but often failing? Don’t you wish there were a site that highlighted the lunacy of this stuff? Well, there is. Mouse Print is a blog devoted to “exposing the strings and catches buried in the fine print” of all sorts of offers and agreements. Here’s what Edgar Dworsky says about his…

  • How Money-Transfer Scams Work (45 comments)

    I’ve been half-heartedly looking at bicycles lately. Part of me pines for a new city bike, but the rational side of my brain knows that I have two decent bikes already. Still, I’ve killed a lot of time by paging through the Craigslist bike ads. At the top of every ad is the following warning about scams: I’ve always wondered exactly how these scams work, but I’ve never taken the time to look it up….

  • The High Cost of Laziness (66 comments)

    Last month, Forbes published an article about all the ways your laziness is costing you. As a semi-reformed layabout (Kris would say I haven’t reformed at all!), I read the article with interest. I recognized some of my old money habits — and some I still have. Author Daniel Adler writes: These days countless businesses make hay by taking advantage of our collective indolence — everything from not bothering to spend 15 minutes surfing the…

  • The Ascent of Money (31 comments)

    Beginning tonight, public television stations in the United States will broadcast a four-part series from economist and historian Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money. This is an expanded version of a documentary that first aired in January. Here’s a description of The Ascent of Money from the official site: For millions of people, the recession has generated a thirst for knowledge about how our global economic system really works, especially when so many financial experts…

  • The Land of the Free (28 comments)

    It’s Independence Day in the United States, and that means time with family and friends. I don’t have any financial tips from the Founding Fathers today. Instead, I have three fine performances of the U.S. national anthem. First up, a traditional rendition from Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. (This group is virtually forgotten today, though popular enough in their day. Have I mentioned I have vast collection of music from before 1950? Yet another hobby.)…

  • Why Pursue Financial Freedom? (58 comments)

    Your financial choices do not stand in isolation. They have a cumulative effect. As you pay off debt, as you save for retirement, as you reduce your spending, you are creating a snowball of right action. Or, to use a better metaphor, each smart choice you make creates ripples throughout your life. As you work toward financial freedom, you make it easier for yourself to accomplish other goals. With the help of my Twitter followers,…

  • What Makes Us Tick: A Short Film About How the Stock Market Works (from 1952) (15 comments)

    It’s been several months since I’ve discovered a new money movie to share with you. I love these things, but I’ve exhausted most of my sources for Public Domain material. However, while browsing the Prelinger Archives again the other day, I discovered a little gem that had slipped my notice before: “What Makes Us Tick”, a short cartoon from 1952 that describes how the stock market works. Note: The Prelinger Archives offer hours of amusement…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Handle a Windfall? (79 comments)

    It’s been a while since we touched on the subject of windfalls: money that unexpectedly falls into your lap. It’s been so long, in fact, that I’ve started to receive questions about them, including this one from Aaryn: I wanted to get your advice as far as the distribution of windfalls. Would you put a certain percentage in a savings account? Invest it? Keep some in your regular checking account? What is your recommendation? Would…

  • Daily Links: Housekeeping Edition (27 comments)

    A few quick housekeeping things this afternoon. Please let me know if you have feedback on any of these items. Scheduling First, I’m thinking of breaking out of the somewhat-rigid schedule I adhere to with 5am posts every weekday. Originally, I published articles when they were ready. Sometimes that was late in the day, sometimes that was early. I think returning to this would give me some additional flexibility. Earning extra money Second, I don’t…

  • Should You Write ‘SEE ID’ or Sign Your Credit Cards? (153 comments)

    Last week I had lunch with Hardy, a Get Rich Slowly reader here in Portland. We chatted about life (and personal finance) over burgers and fries. He generously offered to pay the bill. When the waitress returned with the credit card slip, she asked to see his driver license. “What was that all about?” I asked. “Asking for my ID?” said Hardy. I nodded. He flipped over his credit card and showed it to me….

  • The Boat Experience: The Means Justify the Ends (42 comments)

    This is a guest post from Michael H. It’s the story I alluded to when I first wrote about the third stage of personal finance. I was afraid to run this story when Michael submitted it last year. I thought it encouraged foolish behavior. Now I understand that it does no such thing. Instead, it points to goals, and the reasons for our frugality and saving. For the past 10 years, our family has gone…

  • How to Live a Rich Life — On a Budget (23 comments)

    This is a guest post from Philip Brewer of Wise Bread. For today only, Wise Bread is giving away $15 Ebates bonuses and a chance to win one of five Flip Cams with the purchase of their new book 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget. A bon vivant is a person who lives well — someone who enjoys the best things in life, especially with regard to food and drink. The stereotypical…

  • The Miser’s Peril: Why You Should Save for Tomorrow AND Enjoy Today (55 comments)

    I recently dropped in to speak with my accountant (who is also a good friend). We chatted about my finances, and we spent a little time discussing Get Rich Slowly. Somehow the conversation turned to frugality, and he told me a little story about one of his clients. A true story Like many of us, Mr. and Mrs. Smith were careful with their money. Mr. Smith handled the family finances — the income, the investing,…

  • The New Age of Thrift (68 comments)

    Over the past few months, the mainstream media has been filled with stories about the New Frugals and the return to thrift. People who once lived beyond their means, financing their lifestyle with debt, have “found religion”. They’ve begun to embrace frugality, and have discovered the joy that can come through spending less. The new age of thrift Not everyone is happy about this. The March issue of Redbook contained an article called “The Upside…

  • Want to Spend Less? Carry Bigger Bills (44 comments)

    In a study that will appear in December’s issue of the Journal of Consumer Research (but which was published online last month), Priya Raghubir and Joydeep Srivastava argue that “the denomination effect” makes us less likely to spend large denominations (a $20 bill, for example) than small denominations (such as twenty $1 bills): The results suggest that the denomination effect occurs because large denominations are psychologically less fungible than smaller ones, allowing them to be…

  • The Lean Dog of Despair Never Follows a Man with a Bank Account (18 comments)

    One of the fun things about writing a blog is getting to know readers a little better, and them getting to know me. One reader recently gave me a Mini Cooper — a remote-control model Mini Cooper, that is. Others have sent me bacon-flavored stuff. Many have pointed me to comic-book/personal-finance crossovers. Last weekend, Robert M. forwarded another little something for me to enjoy: While looking through some old newspapers I found an interesting bank…

  • Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems: Why Pro Athletes Go Broke (23 comments)

    Last week’s issue of Sports Illustrated featured a fantastic article from Pablo S. Torre that describes how (and why) athletes go broke. Generally, it’s for the same reasons that people like you and me go broke: they don’t know enough about money. But pro athletes are also besieged by many people who are eager to help them “invest” their fortunes: “With athletes, there’s an extraordinary metamorphosis of financial challenge,” says agent Leigh Steinberg, who has…

  • Continuous Service? Dumb Moves from Smart Money (314 comments)

    As part of my ongoing effort to bring you interesting and informative personal-finance information, I subscribe to several magazines, including Smart Money. Smart Money isn’t my favorite money magazine, but it has some useful articles. In 2005, I paid $20 to subscribe to Smart Money for two years. In 2007, I paid $20 to subscribe for another two years. Today I received my latest issue, which included this wrap-around “cover” announcing that “as part of…

  • Bad Money Advice (37 comments)

    Last Tuesday, I published a guest post from CJ at Wise Money Matters. The story contained an embarrassing error about taxes, one that CJ should not have made, and one that I should have caught. As penance, I wrote an explanation of how marginal tax rates work for Wednesday. Meanwhile, Frank the “curmudgeon” at Bad Money Advice picked up on the error and justifiably posted it as an object lesson. I’m mortified that Get Rich…

  • Kansas or Bust: Considering Cost of Living (98 comments)

    I called my little brother yesterday. He lost his home to foreclosure last fall, and things have only continued to get worse. He and his wife are doing the best they can, but they feel overwhelmed. “What’s the latest?” I asked. Tony gave me an update. We talked about his problems with insurance, and with the bank, and with the debt settlement service. We talked about his options for the future. “All things considered, I…

  • 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 reducing unnecessary expenses.” Lately I’ve been trying to spice up interviews by promoting what I call “traditional skills”. When I…

  • Safe Money in Tough Times: Questions and Answers with Jonathan Pond (58 comments)

    My wife is a public broadcasting fanatic. I recognize its value, but mostly I just tolerate it. (I often joke that NPR is “noise pollution radio” — I can’t think when it’s on.) Usually the television pledge breaks annoy me, but one night last week, the local station employed a clever tactic. They had a financial expert answer viewer questions between pleas for more money. Jonathan Pond bills himself as “America’s financial planner”. He runs…

  • The High Cost of Cats and Dogs: Are Pets Worth the Money? (235 comments)

    Kris and I don’t have kids. We have cats. We have four of them.    Our “children”: Nemo, Simon, Maxwell, and Toto. We’d have more, but Kris won’t allow it. She says I’m in danger of becoming the Crazy Cat Gentleman. On the whole, I cannot imagine my life without these animals. They bring us joy and fulfillment, and the cost is minimal. Under normal circumstances, our four cats cost us a total of about $750…

  • Tip’d: A Community for Financial News, Ideas, and Tips (7 comments)

    Writing Get Rich Slowly is a lot of fun. I used to worry that I’d run out of ideas, but that’s never going to be a problem. It’s true that there’s only a finite number of personal anecdotes I can share (those are my favorite articles to write), but between the stories sent in by readers and those I find on my own, I could sustain ten personal-finance blogs for decades. No joke. For a…

  • Best CD Rates – Certificate of Deposit Rates (96 comments)

    Version of Original Post Below The Online CD rates (certificate of deposit) on this page are updated as of dates noted below. Certificates of deposit (often simply called CDs) are time deposits. You give your money to a bank and then promise not to touch it for a specific length of time. In general, the longer you agree to let the bank keep your money, the higher the interest rate you’ll receive. And historically, the…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do You Organize Your Account Information? (86 comments)

    Between my personal accounts, my business accounts, and the joint accounts I have with my wife, it’s difficult for me to keep track of my essential information. As we’ve been working to refinance our house, for example, there have been several times I’ve had to dig for needed account numbers and statements. I’m not the only one with this problem. Earlier this month, Meghan wrote to ask: How do you compile a comprehensive list of…

  • How I Cut My Television Bill in Half (145 comments)

    I’ve had several requests lately to update my two-year quest to find cheap alternatives to cable television. In March of 2007, Kris and I were paying $65.82 for a deluxe digital cable package that we rarely used – money that could have been used to pay down debt or increase the balance on my savings account. “$65.82 a month isn’t a fortune,” I wrote at the time, “but it’s a lot of money to pay…

  • Ask the Readers: Is It Unethical to Work a Second Job? (212 comments)

    To build wealth — or to get out of debt — you must create a positive cash flow. That is, you must spend less than you earn. One way to do this is to cut costs. Another is to increase your income. Because it has worked so well in my own life, I encourage people to boost their income whenever possible: ask for a raise, make money from hobbies, change careers. For many, the most…

  • How to Save $5000 a Year — As a Homeowner or a Renter (63 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Alison Wiley, who writes about more joy and less consumption at Diamond-Cut Life. Friendly married couple, both professionals in sustainability, seeks one competent, friendly person to serve as Home & Garden Manager in exchange for free rent. That’s the opener to the Craigslist ad that has saved us about $5,000, turned our weedy front lawn into a beautiful garden, and freed up six hours of…

  • Three Legislative Proposals That Could Have Major Consequences for Your Finances (20 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This guest post comes from DR of The Dough Roller, a money management blog. Previously at GRS, he shared the seven habits of wealth. Amidst all the financial turmoil on Wall Street and in the credit markets lately, one could easily forget about money-related legislation that is quietly pending in Congress. Ranging from credit card reform to foreclosure assistance to identity theft prevention, these legislative initiatives could have major consequences for…

  • Ask the Readers: Are Local Banks Better Than Big Banks? (109 comments)

    Personal finance is about more than just money. People make financial choices because of emotion, of course, but they also make decisions based on their principles. Some people are guided by their faith. But that’s not the only way a person’s conscience can guide him. Josh recently wrote with a question about finding a bank that better matches his personal philosophy: I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the economic crisis, and about the…

  • The Cinnamon Bear: An Old-Time Radio Christmas Tradition (39 comments)

    Because I love The Cinnamon Bear so much, I post this exact same article every year on the 29th of November. If you have young children — and even if you don’t — I encourage you to listen to these old radio broadcasts with your family. Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive. Some of the best traditions don’t cost anything at all. When I was a boy, Christmas meant The Cinnamon Bear. During the…

  • Grocery Shopping in New Delhi (26 comments)

    This is a guest post from my friend Kris, an American writer living in India. She and her husband are in New Delhi to participate in an educational exchange program. The juxtaposition of cultures has been interesting. When you think of grocery shopping in New Delhi, please don’t imagine your local Safeway or City Market, with aisles wide enough for two pushcarts passing as shoppers stroll, browse, select. Our grocers — or rather, “departmental store” — is…

  • Three Reasons Cash is King (53 comments)

    This is a guest post from Danny Kofke, author of How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher’s Salary. Times are tough. Many are finding it more difficult to stretch their dollars. I know this first-hand because I am a school teacher, and my wife is a stay-at-home mom with our two young daughters. Despite earning a modest income, we have managed to own all of our possessions (including two cars!) except our house,…

  • Personal Finance in Japan: An American View (30 comments)

    This is a guest post from Steve in Bibai, Japan. He’s offered, several times, to send some interesting tidbits about how money is handled differently in Japan. Our recent discussion about stashing cash finally prompted him to follow through on his “threat”. One Japanologist said a mouthful when he tried to point out the quintessential difference about Japan — every country knows it is unique from other countries, but the Japanese pride themselves on being…

  • The Kiplinger’s Personal Finance 2008 “Best List” (23 comments)

    Fast on the draw, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance published their “2008 Best List” earlier this month. While this is a quick and easy read in magazine form, the Kiplinger web site makes it almost impossible to peruse on the web. I’ve mucked through the lousy popup slideshows to find direct links to the individual parts of this report: Best financial services. I was surprised to see the Kiplinger’s pick for “best online savings account”. Though FNBO…

  • Bookkeeping and You: Personal-Finance Propaganda from 1947 (28 comments)

    “Let’s look in on a high-school bookkeeping class,” begins this short film from 1947. And when we do, we’re introduced to a variety of students who have decided that bookkeeping is just what they need to get ahead in life. This film argues that bookkeeping knowledge is important for everyone. It’s like a propaganda piece for the subject. Bookkeeping is useful, it says, for a variety of reasons: If you plan to go into business….

  • Phishing Scams in Plain English (32 comments)

    Internet con artists are clever. Even smart people can be duped sometimes. Even those who keep active watch against scams and schemes can make mistakes. As I checked e-mail this morning, I was baffled by a notice from Paypal. “Your eCheck payment of $29.90 USD to jdroth@xxxx.com has been deposited into your recipient’s account,” the message read. But why would I be paying myself? “Do you know what this is?” I asked Kris. “Why are…

  • Practice, Passion, and Patience: The Secrets to Successful Blogs (117 comments)

    In his new book, Blog Blazers, Stephane Grenier interviews 40 prominent bloggers about their secrets to creating successful — and profitable — blogs. Some of those who participated include: Asha Dornfest from Parent Hacks Jessamyn from librarian.net Penelope Trunk from Brazen Careerist Ramit from I Will Teach You to Be Rich Trent from The Simple Dollar Steve from Micro Persuasion The ever-popular Seth Godin I also took time to respond to Stephane’s questions. Here, with…

  • My Family Financial History (As Told by My Mother) (28 comments)

    I’m giving a presentation at 1 p.m. this afternoon at the main downtown branch of Portland’s Multnomah County Library. I plan to cover a bit of my personal history, share some of the things I learned along the way, and offer some book recommendations before taking questions. As part of my preparation, I asked my mother for a brief family financial history from her perspective. (I never trust my own memories — are the “facts”…

  • Can You Recommend Some Great Audiobooks? (164 comments)

    When I was working at the box factory, I had a half hour commute every morning and every afternoon. I used this time to listen to audiobooks, going through about two per month. Apparently, last winter I signed up for a one-year account at Audible. (I don’t remember doing this!) Since I haven’t been driving to work, I haven’t been listening to audiobooks, but now I have 18 credits that expire in ten days! I…

  • Drama in Real Life: Burgled Again (203 comments)

    Four years ago — soon after we moved into this house — somebody broke into my car. We only have room for one vehicle in the garage, so I park on the street. One foggy February morning, I walked to my Ford Focus as usual, opened the back door, and put my stuff on the seat. But when I slammed the door closed, a shower of glass fell to the ground. Somebody had smashed the…

  • 2008 U.S. Election Results (19 comments)

    Courtesy of Google Gadgets, here’s a little election-tracking widget. I’m posting this more for my own edification than anything. All of the other sites and widgets are painfully slow to load. Kris and I are hosting a small election party, and I’m not finished writing for tomorrow. The morning post may become a mid-morning post!

  • Back Up Your Computer to Save Time and Money (112 comments)

    Here’s a public service message: Back up your computer regularly. This has more to do with your pocketbook than you might think. Not only was I sick this week, but the hard drive on my laptop crashed. It’s gone. The Apple Geniuses (that’s what they call themselves!) cannot salvage it. I was able to pull the single most important document (the GRS spreadsheet) and a few posts-in-progress, but I lost a hell of a lot,…

  • Faces of World Poverty: 20 Arresting Photographs (34 comments)

    What do we picture when we think about poverty? What stereotypes do we have about what poverty looks like? What do they mask from us? What do they keep us from seeing? While putting together my two main posts for Blog Action Day, I came across a number of arresting photographs depicting poverty around the world. It became clear to me that poverty takes many forms — poverty has many faces. These are a few…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Cash Do You Stash? (260 comments)

    “How much cash do you carry in your wallet?” my friend Michael asked at lunch last Sunday. “I don’t know,” I said. “Somewhere between $40 and $100, I guess. That’s how much I take out of the ATM when I need it. Why do you ask?” “Well, I read something the other day that said the average person keeps about $175 on hand. That seems like a lot.” “That does seem like a lot,” Kris…

  • Burn After Reading: The $22 Movie (157 comments)

    I’m going to sound like a crotchety old man for a minute here — but it’s my blog and I can write what I want. Movies are too damn expensive. One of the luxuries of working from home is that when a friend calls me at 2 o’clock to go see a movie, I can do it. So when Paul called yesterday to ask if I wanted to see Burn After Reading, I said, “Sure.”…

  • The Millionaire Quiz (46 comments)

    How much do you know about millionaires? Kris recently had dinner with her friend Linda, who is a high school social studies teacher. As they ate, Linda bemoaned the lack of personal finance and economics education in the United States. She mentioned that every year she gives her economics students a short “Millionaire Quiz” to see just how much they know about wealth and where it comes from. They do poorly at it, which surprises…

  • Which Personal-Finance Magazine is Best? (70 comments)

    Beth wrote recently looking for help: I’m a public library worker, and my library needs personal finance advice! We feel strongly that we need to keep a personal finance magazine in circulation, but the ones we’ve subscribed to in the past have been met with the deafening silence of complete disinterest. We’ve had Money for a year with no checkouts; before that, we had Fortune for two years with no checkouts. We’re thinking about replacing…

  • Simplify Your Life with a Stuff Replacement Fund (42 comments)

    One thing that prevents me from getting rid of more clutter in my life is the worry that someday, for some reason, I’ll want it again. Maybe I don’t use the rice cooker now, but what if I need it in the future? It’s thinking like this that keeps me from achieving the simple life I long for. After writing about the idea of having recently, I decided to re-read Your Money or Your Life,…

  • Why I Don’t Track My Net Worth (59 comments)

    Earlier today I described net worth, and asked if it were the most important number in personal finance. Many people believe that it is. For them, it acts as a motivator, a sort of “life scorecard”. For others — and I’m one of them — net worth is just another number. As I do my finances, Quicken computes my net worth, but it seems largely irrelevant to me. I don’t even know what the number…

  • The Best Salesman in the World (39 comments)

    In yesterday’s links roundup, I shared the story of Joe Ades, the gentleman grafter. Ades sells vegetable peelers on the streets of New York City by day, but goes home at night to a three-bedroom Park Avenue apartment. According to a 2006 Vanity Fair profile: Then it’s out again for an early dinner in a style unheard of in London Labour. Six nights a week, accompanied by [his wife], he hits some of the biggest-name…

  • EARN: Helping Low-Wage Workers Learn to Save (25 comments)

    It can seem impossible to get ahead when you’re earning minimum wage. The idea of an emergency fund is nice, but to save for one, you must have money left at the end of the month. MarketWatch recently published a story about a San Francisco program that helps low-wage workers begin to save and develop better money skills. The Earned Asset Resource Nework (EARN for short) is a non-profit organization providing financial assistance and education…

  • This American Life: Something for Nothing (20 comments)

    Kris called me down to the kitchen this morning to listen to This American Life. While she baked a molasses cake and canned applesauce, I sat at the table and took notes on the show, which featured four stories about people trying to get something for nothing. Hands on a hard body The first story was about a “free” truck. Each year, a car dealership in Longview, Texas gives away a vehicle in a one-of-a-kind…

  • How to Win the Lottery (128 comments)

    Ray Otero cannot buy a break. For the past three years, he’s spent $500 to $700 a week playing the lottery, but he’s only won big a few times: $1,000 once and $2,000 twice. Still he keeps playing. He’s sure his luck is bound to change. Otero’s story, told in a recent New York Times article, is simultaneously funny, poignant, and exasperating. This New York City building superintendent simply wants the “easy life” for his…

  • Marvelous Magazine Ads from 1904 (33 comments)

    This post contains many scanned images. Click on any detail to see a larger version. I believe that one of the best ways to reduce spending is to limit your exposure to advertising. Marketers employ powerful persuasive techniques to circumvent our rational minds, encouraging us to spend our hard-earned money on things we don’t really need. This isn’t anything new. Advertising has been a pervasive part of American culture for more than a century. I…

  • Ads Are NOT the New Online Tip Jar (37 comments)

    Seth Godin wrote today that ads are the new online tip jar. “If you like what you’re reading, click an ad to say thanks,” he says. On the surface, this seems like a nice gesture. Underneath, however, it’s a bad idea. When people ask me how they can support Get Rich Slowly, I intentionally steer them clear of clicking on ads. Sure, I get a nickel or a dime or a quarter every time somebody…

  • 8 Tips for Saving Money on Hobbies and Pastimes (67 comments)

    Lee wrote with an innocent question about photography equipment yesterday. Little did she realize I’d already been thinking about the broader issues of her dilemma. Here’s an abridged version of her message: A friend asked me about cameras. He went shopping last weekend and saw lenses that ranged from $200 to $700. He felt that the lower-end lenses would not work for him, but he wasn’t prepared to spend $700, so he went home. Now…

  • Earn Quick Cash by Participating in Medical Research and Marketing Studies (54 comments)

    I made $120 for one hour of work last week. On Tuesday, I participated in a neuroeconomics study at a nearby university. For sixty minutes, I lay inside an MRI scanner while answering questions about money. When I had finished, the researchers paid me $120. In cash. I admit that with the four hour round-trip and the half hour of wait time, my hourly rate drops to something nearer $20, but that’s still not bad….

  • Cleaning House: When Little Messes Become Big Problems (129 comments)

    Kris and I drove down to clean Mom’s house last night. Over the past decade, her place has gradually been overtaken by Stuff and clutter. Since Mom is still in the hospital, we figured this was a great time to tackle some of the mess. After three hours of cleaning clutter and sorting Stuff, there’s no mystery about where I acquired my compulsion to buy. I come by it honestly. But while I’ve managed to…

  • The Best Advice I Ever Got: 40 Great Money Tips (28 comments)

    CNNMoney has posted a gallery of money tips from 40 “great minds”, ranging from Derek Jeter to Tim Ferriss to Burton Malkiel. Each participant provided an anecdote about the best piece of financial advice they ever received. I’ve listed some of the highlights below. Remember: this is the best advice given to these people. It’s the financial advice they feel has made the biggest difference in their lives. Dean Kamen, Segway inventor: “Find work in…

  • Randy Pausch and The Last Lecture (32 comments)

    Last summer, Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, learned that the pancreatic cancer he was fighting had metastasized, and that he only had months to live. A few weeks later, he delivered his “last lecture”, a talk meant to impart the wisdom he’d gained during his lifetime. Pausch’s presentation, entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” was a huge internet phenomenon, and was downloaded more than 10,000,000 times. Many Get Rich Slowly readers sent…

  • Stale Checks: How Long Can Someone Wait to Deposit a Check? (79 comments)

    While running errands this afternoon, I stopped by the bank to deposit a check. All of the tellers were occupied with difficult clients. (I’m old-fashioned and go inside to make deposits for my business finances.) While I waited, I eavesdropped on the nearest conversation. A woman was frustrated because she’d just opened a checking account a few weeks ago, and now it was overdrawn. She couldn’t understand. “I don’t see how that’s possible,” she said….

  • The Economics of a POW Camp (15 comments)

    In a 1945 issue of Econimica, R. A. Radford wrote about the economic organization of a P.O.W. camp. Radford spent at least two years (the timeline isn’t clear) as a prisoner in Italy and Germany during World War II. He used his experience as the basis for a paper about “financial” transactions among his fellow inmates. He found that although economic activity as a prisoner is severely curtailed, the ideas and habits of the outside…

  • Financial Success Stories for the Fourth (63 comments)

    Tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States, a time for friends and family to gather and enjoy the early summer. I’m taking a l-o-n-g weekend, and won’t return until Monday. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a chance to play in the sprinkler. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to devote a thread to financial success stories. People send me e-mail all the time to say how they’ve taken control of their…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Cope with Financial Disaster? (22 comments)

    The floodwaters in Iowa have crested and begun to recede, but they’ll leave a swath of devastation in their wake. Trent at The Simple Dollar — who lives near the flooding — recently shared a list of seven things you can do to help flood victims. But Elisabeth wants to know what these people can do to help themselves. She writes: I live in eastern Iowa (yes, you’ve seen my town on TV recently), and…

  • The Benefits of Barter (24 comments)

    This is a guest post from Andréa Coutu. So you’ve got big ideas but no way to pay for them: a home renovation, weekend getaway, successful business, dream dinner date, leaner body, new bedroom suite…the list goes on and on. Maybe your bank account has seen better days, or maybe you just don’t want to tie up more money in pursuing a dream. Well, money is just one medium of exchange. By using barter, you…

  • Talking With Friends About Money (47 comments)

    We had dinner last weekend with our friends Pierre and Marcela. The food was fabulous. The conversation was good, too. Much of the time, we talked about money. If I were a rich man “If we were rich, I wouldn’t change a thing in my life,” Marcela said. “Except the food. If we made ten times what we make now, I’d keep everything else the same, but I’d eat like this every night.” The rest…

  • Guarding Against the Invasion of Stuff (58 comments)

    Since August, I’ve been on a quest to reduce the clutter in my life. Back when I was a spendthrift, I bought a lot of Stuff. Stuff comforted me. When I was buying things (even on credit), I felt wealthy. Stuff doesn’t make me feel wealthy anymore — it makes me feel cramped. With time, Stuff simply becomes clutter. Slowly but surely, I’m banishing excess belongings from my household. I still sometimes buy more than…

  • Share a Dream, Win a Thousand Bucks (4 comments)

    My colleagues Mark and Tim at Soul Shelter are holding a contest. They’re giving away $2,000 in prizes to people who share real-life stories about balancing fortune and fulfillment. Here’s more information: All entries must be nonfiction and 400-1,500 words in length. Essays should tell a true story based on the author’s personal experience and relating to the Soul Shelter theme of “balancing fortune and fulfillment, or getting a living while having a life.” We’re…

  • Current Deals and Contests from Online Banks (41 comments)

    The Get Rich Slowly online banking thread lay dormant for several weeks, but recently has bubbled back to life, with plenty of comments and feedback regarding the best internet banks. Because interest rates are now so closely packed now, the banks are resorting to contests and incentives to differentiate themselves. Some are temporarily boosting yields to attract new customers. Here’s a rundown of current deals. ING Direct’s Automatic Saver Sweepstakes Since January, ING Direct has…

  • Richer Than Rockefeller: Putting Wealth in Perspective (64 comments)

    This is a guest post from Bob at ChristianPF.com. Bob writes about personal finance from a Christian perspective. John D. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil company in 1870. He was the first American billionaire and one of the richest men to ever live. I am sure many people today wish they could have walked in his shoes. If, somehow they could, I think some would find it to be eye-opening. Are you richer than John…

  • Five Tips for Effective Consumer Complaints (26 comments)

    I hate big corporations — they’re bureaucratic nightmares. Three years ago, Verizon claimed that our family business had signed up for a $37.20 monthly listing in their telephone directory. We had not. I spent nearly six months battling their customer service department to get the charges removed. I made phone calls and sent registered letters, but still they insisted we’d signed up for service we’d never requested. Eventually, through internet sleuthing, I found the e-mail…

  • Twelve Top Personal Finance Podcasts (38 comments)

    Update: I really have started my own podcast! I’ve joined Jim from Bargaineering to launch The Personal Finance Hour. Please stop by and give it a listen… Occasionally I toy with the idea of creating a Get Rich Slowly podcast. (A podcast is like a short internet-based radio program. Think of it as an “audio blog”.) I think it would be a great way to explore topics in greater depth, and in ways that print…

  • The Outrageous Cost of Storing Stuff (110 comments)

    I have too much Stuff. Odds are, you do too. In fact, Americans own so much Stuff that they don’t have room to store it all. Our basements and attics are full. Our garages and workshops are overflowing. Our passion for Stuff has spawned a growing industry devoted to providing space for all of the crap we own. This afternoon on NPR, Marketplace featured a story about the recession-proof self-storage industry. Reporter Andrew Phelps originally…

  • Money and Values: The Ecology of Commerce (66 comments)

    Over the weekend I posted a flippant note about saving money on milk. I hoped to spur conversation about unit pricing, but it led instead to a comparison of milk prices around the U.S. and Canada. This discussion was more interesting than the one I had intended. “Wow,” I said to Kris after reading some of the comments. “Can you believe anybody would pay $6 a gallon for milk.” “But it’s organic milk,” Kris said….

  • Ask the Readers: Energy Conservation Tips? (76 comments)

    Dan wrote with a question unlike any I’ve received before. He lives in Alaska, where the residents of Juneau have been confronted with a sudden energy crisis (more here). Here’s Dan’s story: I am facing a unique energy situation. I live in Juneau, Alaska. Last Wednesday, we had an avalanche which affected the electricity generation within our community. Our energy costs went from $0.11 per kilowatt-hour to $0.50 per kilowatt-hour instantly. Imagine your electricity bill…

  • Ask the Readers: What If Somebody You Know Steals Your Identity? (111 comments)

    Recently in the Get Rich Slowly discussion forums, SouthernGent posted a perplexing problem. Here’s his story: My wife and I have been debt-free for over three years now, meaning no credit card debt and only our mortgage. When I ran our credit report the other day (which I do annually), I noticed three cards under my wife’s name with balances of $2,000, $3,000, and $12,000. This shocked and worried me for obvious reasons. My wife…

  • Negotiate Once, Save Thousands Every Year (22 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jason, who is the author of World Fitness Network, a blog that will teach you how to lift weights, live strong, and change the way you look and feel. Sometimes a few simple actions can save you money year after year. The negotiation process is definitely one of those times. Negotiating works especially well when you deal with a salesperson who is paid by commission. These salespeople often have…

  • How to Turn $500 into $7 the Hard Way (91 comments)

    Back in our young and foolish days, Kris and I bought an encyclopedia set from a door-to-door salesman. This was in 1995, at the very cusp of the digital age. We had been on the internet for about a year, but we had no way to know that one day very soon the World Wide Web might make printed encyclopedias obsolete. So we bought an encyclopedia set. Naturally I charged the $500 to my credit…

  • A Meeting of Minds: Ten Personal Finance Bloggers Talk About Money (15 comments)

    Yesterday I attended a workshop in San Francisco devoted to personal finance and personal finance tools. This gathering — sponsored by Strands, Expensr, and NetworthIQ — brought together a handful of bloggers to discuss the financial challenges our readers face, and the things they’re looking for in a personal finance tool. (Thus my question on Thursday.) Though I’m interested to see what sort of application these three companies eventually produce, the highlight of the event…

  • When the Going Gets Tough, Get Back to the Basics (29 comments)

    I’ve posted several stories about national economic woe recently. In real life, I’ve had conversations with a few of my friends about the mortgage mess, about recession and a possible bear market, and about the nature of poverty. The economy is sour in the United States (and elsewhere in the world), and this frightens many people. I don’t buy in to the forecasts of economic doom. I’m an optimist. Things may get rough, but they’ve…

  • An Introduction to Time-Banking (75 comments)

    In this guest post, Loretta B. describes a unique way to build social capital and to save money. Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I enjoyed a rare night out on the town. We dressed up in our best clothes, had dinner at a special restaurant, and headed off to the symphony. This was my first time at a symphony, and we had a fantastic time. Our tickets were worth $75 a piece. Make no…

  • Possessed: People Who are Ruled by Stuff (38 comments)

    When I was a boy, I hoarded Stuff. I had what my parent’s called a “rat’s nest”, a closet full of the Stuff I’d gathered. Why did I hoard Stuff? Was it because we were poor and I wanted to own things? Or was it something deeper? As I grew older, I became more discriminating. I didn’t hoard everything — just certain things. Books, especially. But it was difficult for me to throw anything away….

  • The Official GRS Referral Swapping Thread (379 comments)

    For the past year, I’ve maintained a list of the best online high-yield savings accounts. (I just updated that article with several new banks and with current rates, by the way.) Active participants in that thread — which now has over 550 reviews of various banks — have been asking for a place where they can exchange referral links. I’m not opposed to this, but I don’t want it to clutter up actual discussions. Based…

  • 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 keep an eye on the flight activity while I do the large-batch cooking that will see us through the week….

  • Energy Star: Saving Money Through Energy Efficiency (12 comments)

    If you’ve bought a major appliance in the U.S. during the past decade, you’ve probably noticed the government-issued Energy Star certification. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Their goal is to “help us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.” But Energy Star goes beyond simply recommending energy-efficient washers and dryers. The web site offers a number of…

  • How to Handle a Door-to-Door Salesman (182 comments)

    On Saturday morning, a young man knocked at our door. He wanted to sell us new windows. Kris tried to brush him aside gently, but he was persistent. He didn’t leave until he’d scheduled an appointment to give us an hour-long in-home presentation about his company’s product. “We do need storm windows,” Kris told me after he’d gone. “That’s true,” I said. “But I don’t like buying from door-to-door salesmen.” The worst job I ever…

  • What To Do About Stolen Mail? (104 comments)

    When I came home on Wednesday, there was no mail in our mailbox. That seemed strange, but it happens sometimes. I didn’t think much about it. Tonight, though, we realized we were missing our latest Netflix movies. We checked the web site, and sure enough — they should have arrived Wednesday. “Uh oh,” I said. “This could be trouble.” “We mostly get catalogs and personal finance magazines,” Kris said. “We don’t get checks in the…

  • Super Tuesday Election Results (23 comments)

    It’s a huge day in the United States: the biggest day in the primary election season, “Super Tuesday”. It’s fascinating that there can be such huge swings in voter opinion from state to state. (Compare the Republican results between Massachusetts and Arkansas.) My inner stats geek wants to crunch the numbers in greater detail. One thing’s certain, though: Google does a fine job of presenting the results in a readable format. Meanwhile, Oregon’s primary won’t…

  • Ads I Hate: Athletic Clubs (81 comments)

    For the past few months, a gym to which I used to belong has been sending me “special offers” in an attempt to entice me to return. Because I’ve begun focusing on fitness, these almost work. But so far frugality has prevailed. It bugs me, though, that the “limited time offer” isn’t so limited. First it expired at the end of November, then the end of December, then the end of January, and now the…

  • “Simplify, Simplify!” — In the Footsteps of Thoreau (19 comments)

    This is a guest post from Mark Cunningham, one of the co-authors of The Prosperous Peasant. Cunningham is a member of the Woodstock Writers Guild, the monthly writing group to which I belong. In my twentieth year I packed a large cardboard box with belongings and headed east by train to begin my artistic life in Massachusetts, 3,000 miles from California, where I’d been born and raised. I wanted to live near Walden Pond and…

  • Money Talk at the Barber Shop (24 comments)

    I went to get my haircut yesterday. Wayne, my regular barber, wasn’t in, so I drew the new guy, Richard. “So what do you do?” Richard asked as he tied the apron around my neck. I smiled. “I’m a writer,” I said. I was trying the label on for size, curious to hear how it sounded. “A writer, huh? What kind of books?” “No books. Not yet, anyway,” I said. “I write about personal finance….

  • The Cinnamon Bear: An Annual Holiday Tradition (38 comments)

    This is a rare “re-run” at Get Rich Slowly. Because I love The Cinnamon Bear so much, I plan to post this every year on the 29th of November. If you have young children — and even if you don’t — I encourage you to listen to these old radio broadcasts with your family. Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive. Some of the best traditions don’t cost anything at all. When I was a…

  • Day of Thanksgiving: Holiday Thoughts from 1951 (4 comments)

    It’s Thanskgiving Day in the United States — my favorite holiday. Here’s a video from 1951 that celebrates Thanksgiving. While it’s a little schmaltzy — and filled with lots of not-so-subtle “I’m glad I’m not a communist” sentiment — it does a fine job of conveying the mood and meaning of the holiday. I’m in Central Oregon visiting family for the next few days. I encourage you to spend time with your family and friends,…

  • Brief Thoughts on Modern Entertainment (30 comments)

    Over the past week, readers have sent me a lot of comments and questions related to a trio of products: the Amazon Kindle, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, and the Wii Virtual Console. Though none of these is itself worth writing about, taken as a whole they make an interesting combination. They represent part of a paradigm shift, a move toward on-demand digital entertainment. Amazon Kindle Earlier today, Jeff Bezos announced the Amazon Kindle, the latest…

  • Ads I Hate: Life Takes VISA (71 comments)

    My first two “Ads I Hate” posts seem to have struck a nerve (1, 2). You folks really hate the consumerist mentality these ads promote. From the e-mail and comments I received, it seems that you especially loathe the “Life takes VISA” ad campaign. Nick pointed me to this ad featuring the New Orleans Saints: I think the point of is pretty clear: all the hip folks use VISA, and only the outdated preppy man…

  • Beating the High Cost of Weddings: How We Did It, and How You Can Too (95 comments)

    Think you need to spend a fortune to tie the knot? It’s just not so. Kris and I got hitched for a couple grand in 1993. In this guest post from JerichoHill, he explains how he kept costs down for his wedding last summer. Weddings are expensive affairs. Couples often spend tens of thousands of dollars for an event that lasts only a day or two. I know, I know — the memories last a…

  • Beware of Citibank’s Retroactive Late Fee (46 comments)

    Here’s one way for banks to compensate for their losses during the subprime lending debacle: screw their other customers. GRS reader Morydd shared a scary story in the discussion forums. His wife has a student loan through Citibank, which this month decided to charge a retro-active late fee without any explanation. Here’s Morydd’s tale (as originally posted at his blog): When I went to check the statement on my wife’s student loan through Citibank for…

  • The Costco Trade-In and Recycle Program for Old Electronics (17 comments)

    I used to collect computer components. While doing computer consulting in my spare time, I accumulated a room full of hard drives, computer cases, video cards, and monitors. At first it made me feel wealthy to look at all the computer parts I had. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this junk was precisely that: junk. Eventually I recycled all of this stuff, but I had to pay to do it. I…

  • Using Quicken to Analyze and Correct Bad Spending Habits (33 comments)

    Comic books have always been one of my money demons. Geeky, but true. I used to buy the actual comic magazines: Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men. As an adult, however, I graduated from spending just a buck or two for a comic to buying hardbound compilations and trade paperbacks costing $20, $50, or more. No matter how smart my money choices, I’ve made it a priority to keep detailed records of my finances. Tonight I dug through…

  • Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty (30 comments)

    “Poverty does not belong in a civilized human society. Its proper place is in a museum,” writes Muhammad Yunus near the end of Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty. “I want to see a world free from poverty.” If anyone else made such a pronouncement, you might be justified in dismissing it as idle fantasy. But after reading 250 pages describing Yunus’ thirty-year micro-lending project, the reader knows that he…

  • Classic Cat – The Free Classical Music Directory (6 comments)

    When I was a boy, my father liked two types of music: Neil Diamond and classical. Unsurprisingly, as an adult I’ve come to love both. Classical music can be expensive, though, especially if you don’t know what you like. During the 1990s, I spent a small fortune acquiring a library of Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms. The latest issue of Newsweek notes that the classical music industry is at the forefront of online distribution. This is…

  • An Introduction to Financial Archaeology (37 comments)

    Despite past financial failings, I’ve always had at least one good habit: I save every receipt, bill, statement, invoice, and memo that I receive. For nearly fifteen years I’ve used the same low-tech system. At the end of the week, when I do my finances, I tuck my paperwork into a shoebox. When the shoebox is full, I place it in storage and start a new one. I now believe this system is flawed. I’d…

  • Ads I Hate: Good Parents Buy (28 comments)

    Like everyone, I see a lot of ads. Some are obnoxious, but I try not to let them bother me. I was reading an article at USA Today earlier in the week, though, and the following ad made me blow a gasket: I’ve obscured the advertiser’s logo. This message is followed by one that reads: “Bad parents don’t.” Yes, I know the ad is trying to be funny. Yes, I know it’s trying to pretend…

  • 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 and to hang out with friends. But as an adult, I love it as a showcase of the skills and…

  • Purge Clutter with a De-Accumulation Bag (35 comments)

    Megan P. dropped me a line over the weekend to follow-up on our discussion of Stuff, writing: Raised by a packrat, Stuff drove me crazy. Until a few  years ago, this was the solution: keep a bag of “de-accumulation” and fill it as full as possible every week. Give it to charity once a month. All four bags. It quit working for me when I began watching TV and reading fashion and home decor magazines. …

  • The True Cost of Souvenirs (65 comments)

    As you read this, I’m wending my way back from New York to Portland. I probably have some souvenirs with me. In this guest-post from Nina at Queercents, she discusses why souvenirs aren’t a good idea. “Souvenirs are perishable; fortunately, memories are not” — Susan Spano Last weekend, Jeanine and I cleaned the garage. We still can’t get two cars in the two-car garage, but it’s a two-part project to be continued this weekend. We…

  • What Developing Nations Can Teach Us About Personal Finance (117 comments)

    This guest post from Terry M. contains strong language. Most readers of this blog are from the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom. We have an extraordinarily high standard of living compared to most of the world, and I feel there are a lot of lessons to be learned from how people live in developing countries. I have traveled a bit, mainly in Latin America, southeast Asia, and India. In most of these regions,…

  • Small-Town Personal Finance (35 comments)

    I’ve been saving this post for several months, waiting for a time to share it. After Penelope’s guest-post yesterday about moving to a smaller city, I figured now was the time. I grew up in a small town. Canby was a rural farming community when I was a boy. People made their livings from selling produce, raising livestock, and, especially, growing nursery plants. After college I returned to Canby. Over the next ten years I…

  • Why Religion is an Important Part of Personal Finance (211 comments)

    This is a guest-post from Free Money Finance. J.D. is on vacation in Europe. This guest-post has had some very passionate comments. I felt it appropriate to reference J.D’s thought on the matter included in this article “I’ve intentionally kept my political and religious leanings obscure at Get Rich Slowly — they have no bearing on personal finance.” However, FreeMoneyFinance disagrees and took time out from their very busy schedule to post a very lengthy…

  • Some Brief Thoughts on Life and Death (31 comments)

    My cousin Ron died of cancer last Sunday. He was 47. I spent much of the past two days preparing a video presentation for this afternoon’s memorial service. After scanning and processing scores of photographs, and after talking with family members at the funeral, I’m reminded of three important points. This advice is trite, but it’s important. Create a will. I know you’re young, and I know you’re not going to die any time soon,…

  • Make Mine Freedom: Economics Lessons from 1948 (4 comments)

    Zaphod passed along an old John Sutherland propaganda film extolling the virtues of capitalism and the evils of socialism. It’s my patriotic duty to post it today. This is more about politics and economics than personal finance, and it vastly oversimplifies things (it is propaganda, after all), but it’s fun to watch from an historical perspective. But wait! That’s not all! From 1940, here’s a short film called Your Town: A Story of America. This…

  • The Debt to Pleasure: What is the Cost of Fun? (50 comments)

    Last weekend, I played paintball for the second time in my life. I had great fun charging through undergrowth, hiding behind logs, and shooting my friends at close range. Paintball is a blast, but I’m amazed at how much it costs to play. We each paid $25 to use the field and an additional $25 for paint. The total cost was $50 for about five hours of playtime — roughly $10 an hour. On the…

  • Carnival of Personal Finance: Greatest Hits Edition (69 comments)

    Welcome to the second anniversary edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance! Howdy, all you crazy cats. This is deejay J.D. coming at you with all the latest, greatest sounds on wax. I’ll be spinning the platters this morning in a special edition of your favorite musical merry-go-round, the Carnival of Personal Finance. As you know, each week we count down some of the hottest hits in the world of personal finance. Today, I’ve got…

  • Convenience Store Economics (64 comments)

    I stopped by the 7-11 yesterday for the first time in years. I was thirsty and wasn’t willing to wait until I got home for a glass of water. I grabbed a $1.59 bottle of Aquafina and headed to the checkout stand. A woman and her two teenage daughters were in front of me. They were purchasing three Big Bite hot dogs, a Slurpee, and a couple pieces of candy. From the way they acted,…

  • How Class Works (31 comments)

    Are you upper-class or lower-class? Someplace in between? The New York Times has an interactive graphic that explains how class works. While there are many characteristics that could be used to describe a person’s class, among the most influential are the person’s occupation, education, income, and wealth. Below are different ways of looking at class using these factors, as well as an examination of how mobility has changed in recent decades. The fourth tab presents…

  • The Problem with the Bank of Mom and Dad (39 comments)

    An anonymous poster at AskMetafilter wonders should parents finance grad school? Should parents help their children pay for grad school if they can afford it? My parents are divorced, but both are in households considered in the top 1% of the US in terms of income and net worth. After limited financial assistance from them during undergrad, I am getting no help at all for grad school. Am I out of line to expect that…

  • Personal Finance on Film: The Farmer’s Wife (34 comments)

    “It makes me feel so greedy and selfish to see these people struggling, almost losing it all, over a $100 debt, and I go out and spend $100 on yarn.” — Kris, while watching The Farmer’s Wife last weekend Since starting Get Rich Slowly, I’ve been searching for movies and television shows that highlight the financial struggles of real Americans, shows about personal finance “in the wild”. The first one that I can recommend without…

  • Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future (9 comments)

    Here is a guest-post from RH Bee of Finance for Fun. In the forums, RH asked: “How come I rarely come across posts that have to do with the ecology in the personal finance blogs I read? I mean they talk about growing their own food, and spending less on doodads, but none of them mention that this is a way to save the planet.” My response was: “Write something and I’ll post it!” So…

  • More Money: 5 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in Your Spare Time (67 comments)

    The discussion yesterday about how to earn money when you’ve lost your job got me thinking about ways to earn extra income outside regular employment. None of these are quick fixes, but they’re ways to generate cash in your spare time. Get a second job vslide_var1 = ‘vslide-extracash’; A second job can be an excellent way to earn extra money if you have the time and energy. Why have a second job? To pay off…

  • No Impact Man: Save Money, Save the Earth (24 comments)

    Maybe it’s because I grew up poor in rural Oregon. Maybe it’s because I love adventure fiction (you know: “man against nature”). Maybe it’s because I have a lot of my father in me. For whatever reason, I’ve always been fascinated by people who go “off the grid“. In the GRS forums, Benbr pointed to No Impact Man, a blog run by Colin Bevan, who describes himself thus: A guilty Liberal [who] finally snaps, swears…

  • Financial Tips for Overseas Travel (45 comments)

    Kris and I will make our first trip overseas later this year; her parents are taking us to England and Ireland. We’re excited, but also a little apprehensive. For one thing, the exchange rate isn’t exactly in our favor right now. And how much do we pay our housesitter? Will we be able to prepay all of our bills? Yesterday I was browsing Ask the Advisor and discovered a list of 27 personal finance tips…

  • Free Paper Shredding Tomorrow (Saturday, April 28th) (7 comments)

    In the forums, Brad points out that Shred-it, a document shredding company, is offering its services for free at dozens of sites around the U.S. tomorrow. According to the company’s site: Shred-it®, Office Depot® and Crime Stoppers USA® are helping consumers fight identity theft by organizing the 2007 USA National Community Shred campaign. Community Shred events will be held at 100 Office Depot stores across the country on April 28, 2007 from 10 a.m. to…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should I Spend on an Engagement Ring? (177 comments)

    Jim N. writes with a question that most frugal young gentlemen eventually face. How much should I pay for an engagement ring?  I realize that the ideal answer is, “Don’t spend a lot on the ring because she shouldn’t need material objects to realize you love her.”  I agree, but that’s not very realistic.  I want to buy her something very nice that she’ll be proud of, but I don’t know if I should try…

  • Common Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them (3 comments)

    Everyone makes mistakes — it’s a part of being human. But it’s those who learn to minimize their mistakes who are able to fight debt and to build wealth. Paul L. forwarded a Reuters article by Linda Stern that explores common money mistakes and gives advice on how to fix them. Stern warns that if you have chronic money problems, you’re basically subsidizing those that don’t: Not everyone handles their money badly. [...] But some…

  • 7 Essential Skills to Protect Yourself from Scammers (19 comments)

    Sabino sent me an MSNBC article about the unfolding subprime lending crisis. The piece provides a glimpse at the deceptive practices used to prey on people like Kerrie Russo, who chose to refinance her mortgage on a promise of lower payments. When she failed to read her loan documents closely, she found herself deep in expanding debt. Though the mortgage broker lured her into this loan, she signed the papers. Because she didn’t know how…

  • What Should a Billionaire Give, and What Should You? (56 comments)

    “Why is it that giving money is good?” Plonkee asked in the newly-revived Get Rich Slowly forums. Brad replied citing a December 2006 article from the New York Times Magazine: “What should a billionaire give — and what should you?” (If this is behind a paywall for you, try this mirror.) In this essay, philosopher Peter Singer discusses the magnitude of recent donations from the two richest men in the world: Warren Buffet contributed $37…

  • ING Direct (now Capital One 360) Financial Literacy Writing Contest and Grants (3 comments)

    Chris wrote to tell me that ING Direct has launched two programs designed to increase financial literacy. One of the programs targets writers, the other targets teachers: The Adventures in Saving writing contest invites aspiring authors of all ages to create a children’s story with a savings theme for the chance to win $1,000 and be published. The Planet Orange Financial Literacy Awards will offer $100,000 in grants to kindergarten through eighth grade teachers to…

  • Dumb Things I Sometimes Do (34 comments)

    I’ve made great progress with my personal finances over the past year. I am paying off debt. I established an emergency fund. I even opened a Roth IRA. But I’m not out of the woods yet — I still do stupid things from time-to-time. Spending for the sake of spending For example, I just returned from a trip to the bank. I deposited a couple of checks which caused my balance to increase to what,…

  • Which Online High-Yield Money Market & High-Interest Savings Account is Best? (1761 comments)

    Savings Account Rates Updated Version of Original Post Below The rates on this page are current as of the dates specified below. Rates are low right now, but they’ll rise as the economic crisis eases. For more information about these banks, please see the 1,700+ comments that follow this list. I’ve heard a lot of people mention their online high-yield savings account, but I’ve never bothered to look into them. It occurred to me today…

  • The Secret of Wealth and Happiness (18 comments)

    It’s a beautiful day here in Portland. The sun is shining. The camellia and magnolia are in bloom. The cherries are resplendent in white and pink. The birds and squirrels frolic in the yard while the cats watch from afar. A hummingbird is flitting among the flowering quince. The air is filled with the scent of fresh-mown grass. A neighbor is blaring classic rock while he works on his car. Kris is at the picnic…

  • Reader Story: Tackling Debt Through Volunteer Work (8 comments)

    An anonymous reader sent the following story about the approach she is taking to tackle her debt. First I need to point out that this won’t work for everyone. I only have a two-year degree from a community college, so my total school loans were only up to $10,000 — a drop in the bucket compared to some people. After making regular payments for a couple years I was left with a little over $8,000…

  • The New Math: Cheap Alternatives to Cable Television (148 comments)

    Here’s one of my dark financial secrets: even as I write about saving money by asking for rate reductions or cancelling services you don’t use, even as I post guest entries about the evils of television, I am paying $65.82 every month for cable TV that I rarely watch. The High Cost of Cable Our cable television bill is $65.82 per month. That’s $789.84/year. Comcast divides these charges as follows: $9.95 for a Digital Classic…

  • WeJustGotBack: A Site for Travelers (11 comments)

    Lori wrote to point out a site designed to help people save money on travel: I’m always on the lookout for ways to save money on travel, since I have three kids and, while we like to get away, it isn’t always easy to save. I just ran across a great article at WeJustGotBack.com called “5 Genius Travel Buys” — the idea is that sometimes you have to buy something small to save big. The…

  • Don’t Watch the Super Bowl Just for the Ads (23 comments)

    Super Bowl XLI will be played in south Florida this Sunday. Millions of Americans will watch the game on television — more than 90 million people tuned in last year. But not all of them will be interested in football. The television commercials have become as much an event as the game itself. Every year at Super Bowl parties, non-fans crowd around to watch the ads during commercial breaks. People even rate their favorites. This…

  • A Brief History of Money (1 comment)

    Rhetorical Device has published an article entitled “A Brief History of Money” which answers some questions I’ve had lately. The piece provides an overview of the history of financial exchange, including: Bartering at Mesopotamian markets and the limitations of this system (“for a trade to occur each person must have something the other wants, and must have it at the right time”). The introduction of the “Barley Standard”, which is similar to the modern gold…

  • Custom Movie Listings with RSS (15 comments)

    Kris and I went to see The Queen yesterday at a local second-run movie house. It’s an older theater, and it reminds me of the places we used to go when I was a kid. It’s clean, cozy, and the snacks are reasonably priced. Parking is easy. “Why don’t we come here more often?” I asked after the film. “I don’t know,” she said. “I guess it’s because we never know what’s playing here.” She’s…

  • The Cost of Customer Loyalty (21 comments)

    For the past few months, I’ve made a point to buy gas at a nearby Chevron station because they gave me a customer loyalty card. After I fill up my tank ten times, I’ll receive a free “gold” car wash (a $5 value). By my calculations, this loyalty card ought to save me $.50/tank, or roughly five cents a gallon. But I noticed something yesterday. While this Chevron is charging $2.66/gallon for regular unleaded, the…

  • Carnival of Personal Finance: Financial Superheroes Edition (42 comments)

    Greetings, true believers! Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to read these exciting tales of adventure from your favorite financial superheroes. Ninety-two people submitted money tales to astonish even the bravest reader. Not all of them survived. Gape as Lulugal faces down the monster of debt! Thrill as the Savvy Steward creates a budget! Tremble as the Money Tortoise explores the mysteries of behavioral finance! Marvel as the Super Saver takes apart…

  • Win a Free Consultation with a Financial Planner (0 comment)

    Ben from Money Smart Life is holding a contest. He’s offering a one-hour consultation with a certified financial planner, which is the perfect way to kick-start your 2007. I teamed up with a financial planner, Kristine McKinley, to offer professional financial advice to the winner. Buying financial advice for someone else is my charitable contribution to the blogosphere for 2006. She is a great advisor and is giving me a break on the price in…

  • What’s Up 2007: 365 Days of Skywatching (1 comment)

    In September, I wrote about getting started with naked-eye astronomy, a fantastic cheap hobby. I mentioned a free eBook containing things to see on every night of the year. The new edition, What’s Up 2007: 365 Days of Skywatching, is now available — it’s still free, and it’s still great. It’s especially nice for dark and stormy nights like this. It rans often in the Pacific Northwest, but even when I can’t see the sky…

  • Manage Your Finances Like a Professional Gambler: Small Things Add Up (60 comments)

    Here’s a guest entry from Tynan. This is the first of a series of posts about how a professional gambler looks at money. Look for additional installments in coming weeks. I was eighteen, and a freshman in college. For the past few years I’d been making a few hundred dollars a month selling Palm Pilots on eBay. It was a lot of money for a teenager with no real expenses, but of course I spent…

  • Reduction Quest: How to Save at the Money Game (9 comments)

    Darin has made a game out of saving money. Twice a year he sits down with his bills and tries to see how much he can save. Here’s his story. Each year between Christmas and New Years Day, I sit down with my bills and undertake a Reduction Quest: my twice-yearly process (I also do it around the 4th of July) to contact service providers, and to look for opportunities to reduce my family’s costs….

  • The Night That Mama Cried While Angels Sang (1 comment)

    Here’s a guest-post from my cousin, Mrs. Darling. She previously shared information on how to raise a family on one income (part two). This story is set ten years after my aunt’s six-dollar Christmas and involves the same family. It was the year 1968. That year was an exceptionally hard year in every way. Pop was laid off due to too much snow in the woods. He was a logger. Roads were impassable and snow…

  • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (6 comments)

    I first heard this story when I was a young boy, sitting in church on a Christmas morning. It left a lasting impression. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times…

  • Should You Invest Like Your Congressman? (9 comments)

    Do you believe that politicians act in their own best interests? Do you believe that they’re likely to implement laws that help their aims rather than hurt them? What if you knew in which companies your politicians invested? How would that affect your own investments? Dave C. forwarded several links to opensecrets.org, which bills itself as “your guide to the money in U.S. elections”. This site is run by the Center for Responsive Politics: The…

  • The Cinnamon Bear: A Christmas Tradition (18 comments)

    Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive. Some of the best traditions don’t cost anything at all. When I was a boy, Christmas meant The Cinnamon Bear. During the weeks before Christmas, a Portland radio station (KEX) would broadcast a fifteen minute episode of this story every night. The Cinnamon Bear chronicles the adventures of Judy and Jimmy, and their fantastic trip through Maybeland as they search for the missing Silver Star that belongs atop…

  • Free Foreign Language Courses (15 comments)

    Dumb Little Man points to a source of free foreign language courses online: FSI Language Courses [is] the home for language courses developed by the Foreign Service Institute. These courses were developed by the United States government and are in the public domain. This site is dedicated to making these language courses freely available in an electronic format. It is an independent effort to foster the learning of worldwide languages. The site contains a discussion…

  • Be Thankful for Your Wealth (3 comments)

    Thanksgiving is a day to pause and reflect upon the blessings in your life. It’s a day to consider just how fortunate you are. Make no mistake — if you’re reading this, you’re among the world’s wealthy. Vintek wrote to pass along a site that makes this clear, saying: It’s a good time of year for all of us to think a little bit about how rich we all already are, and to put things…

  • Reader Survey: How Do You Cope with a Limited Income? (42 comments)

    Most of us have been there at one time or another: stuck at minimum wage, hog-tied by a fixed income, or working a crap job fresh out of school. Some find themselves living in a city where the cost of living is out of sight. It can be a nightmare trying to make ends meet when you’re barely earning enough for necessities. What use is worrying about retirement when you don’t have enough for rent?…

  • Personal Finance Breakdown: New iPod (24 comments)

    Personal finance is a journey. Each of us makes wrong turns along the way. Nobody’s perfect. We all have weaknesses — one of mine happens to be technology. Yesterday I succumbed to a long-term urge: I bought a video iPod. I had been resisting this impulse for months. I don’t need a new iPod — my old iPod mini works fine (though its battery life is rather weak). But when my wife said she wanted…

  • Off-Topic: Favorite Book Openings (7 comments)

    And now for something completely different… JLP posted a fun question at All Things Financial: “Is there an opening paragraph or two of a particular book that stands out to you?” JLP cites the intro to M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled as his favorite: Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once…

  • AskMetafilter Roundup (1 comment)

    It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of AskMetafilter. Many AskMe users post money questions, such as this recent batch: Total beginner to investing and finance, researching how to start investing maybe $2K each year, mostly in socially responsible mutual funds — and how a young, healthy person should balance retirement investment with other kinds of investments. (I’m coming from a low-income background, so I haven’t watched people invest or had people talk to…

  • A Collection of Reader Contributions (1 comment)

    I have several reader-submitted items languishing in my mailbox. Rather than let them grow stale, I’ve grouped them into a single entry. Sean Blanda at College v2 is starting his “College Money” series. I’m soliciting all tips and tricks you use to make your life financially stable. How do you manage your bank accounts? Do you invest? How much money do you spend on food? fun? Topics to be covered include: personal finance blogs, an…

  • Follow-Up on Casey Serin, the Man Who Would Be Rich (33 comments)

    Last Friday I wrote about Casey Serin, the young man who is deep in debt because of risky real-estate investments. He’s blogging about his predicament at iamfacingforeclosure.com. Casey stopped by Get Rich Slowly yesterday and had this to say: I don’t see why a person CANNOT get rich quick… but still do it in an honest and safe way. Whenever you hear “Get Rich Quick” you think somethhing bad. And yes, if you read my…

  • A Little Halloween Treat (3 comments)

    I wrote previously about my love for The Teaching Company, an outfit that provides college-level lectures on tape and compact disc. If you’re curious about the company, but want to know more, here’s a chance to sample a free lecture from one of its best courses. To commemorate Halloween, The Teaching Company is proud to present one of Professor Robert Greenberg’s lectures on Hector Berlioz‘s Symphonie fantastique. You may access this free lecture online any…

  • Open Thread #2 – Extreme Money Stories (12 comments)

    Enough about me — let’s hear about you. I want you to tell your most amazing money story. Be anonymous if you must. Have you ever won the lottery? Sold encyclopedias door-to-door? Met Warren Buffet or Bill Gates? Worked for a dot-com? (Did you get out before the bust?) Have you gone to great lengths to save two bucks at the grocery store? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done for money? Have you ever…

  • Are You Normal About Money? (13 comments)

    How much do families spend on food? How much has the average person saved for retirement? Do others balance their checkbooks every month? Every week? Every day? When shopping for homes, how much time do people take? I recently spent $4 on a book that answers these questions and others like them. Are You Normal About Money? by Bernice Kanner purports to offer a statistical representation of the financial lives of normal Americans. While I…

  • Basic Tips on Tipping: How Much and To Whom? (464 comments)

    Every time I get my hair cut, I’m faced with a dilemma — should I tip the barber or not? I usually get my hair cut in a small-town shop. I tip $2 on a $12 haircut. If I get to hear stories about Vietnam or histrionic political rants, I tip $3, even if I don’t agree with the barber’s viewpoints. (I tip because I’ve been entertained.) Sometimes, if I don’t have enough cash, I…

  • O, Cruel Fate, Why Do You Mock Me? (17 comments)

    In a twisted irony, the CD drive on my PowerBook just choked. The machine is two years old. I don’t have an extended warranty. Some sort of gasket inside the slot-loading drive seems to have come loose and worked its way inside with the CD that I was using to install a wireless keyboard. Now I may need to have this machine repaired. Will the repairs cost more than the extended warranty would have? Possibly….

  • Open Thread #1 (13 comments)

    It’s a busy weekend for me — let’s experiment with an open thread. Anything goes. Here are some quotes about money to stir the juices: “You cannot motivate the best people with money. Money is just a way to keep score. The best people in any field are motivated by passion.” — Eric S. Raymond “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin “The only certain means of success is to render…

  • Fortune’s Fools: Why the Rich Go Broke (0 comment)

    Have you ever wished you were rich? Have you ever believed that your money problems would disappear if you had more money? Have you ever told yourself that you’d be able to shake your debt, shake your bad habits, if only you won the lottery, inherited money from Aunt Madge, sold a screenplay? It ain’t necessarily so. Even the rich have trouble with money. Several GRS readers (including Vincent and Jeff V.) sent me a…

  • Are We Set Up for Financial Failure? (15 comments)

    Amber at Yellow’s Green worries that her generation is “set up to fail financially from the get-go”. She believes a variety of factors stack the odds against today’s youth: A lack of financial education. “We are not educated about financial matters in our school systems anywhere, unless you choose an optional money management class while in college (when it’s already late in the game).” The cost of education. College costs are escalating, so that only…

  • The $20 Theory of the Universe (7 comments)

    In his most recent I Will Teach You to be Rich newsletter, Ramit Sethi shared a link to an article entitled “The $20 Theory of the Universe” [pdf | html]. Author Tom Chiarella’s premise is: A twenty, placed in the right hand at the right moment, makes things happen. It gets you past the rope, beyond the door, into the secret files. The twenty hastens and chastens, beckons and tugs. The twenty, you see, is…

  • The Boing Boing Digital Emporium (0 comment)

    Pop-culture megablog Boing Boing has launched an interesting venture: the Boing Boing Digital Emporium. This site features low-cost digital products with no digital rights management. One of the first offerings is Mister Jalopy’s Pocket Guide to Life & Death with Modest Automobiles. Mister Jalopy has condensed a lifetime of experience working with used cars into a single page PDF document called Mister Jalopy’s Pocket Guide to Life & Death with Modest Automobiles. It’s truly the…

  • An Introduction to Homesteading (74 comments)

    I am a huge fan of simple living and of the do-it-yourself ethic. It’s no surprise then that I am fascinated by homesteading, the lifestyle of “agrarian self-sufficiency”. This article was written for Get Rich Slowly by Phelan, host of A Homesteading Neophyte, a blog about learning to homestead. Phelan is a regular commenter to this site. Modern homesteading is a great way to save some of your hard-earned cash. That is if you are…

  • Interviewed by the Money Blogger Podcast (2 comments)

    I’m pleased to be this week’s guest on the Money Blogger Podcast. (What is a podcast?) In the interview, host Scott Ahlberg and I discuss personal finance, including the history of debt in the United States, and what can be done to educate kids so that they’re better prepared to meet the Real World. Take a listen: This is Ahlberg’s 35th podcast episode, and I’ve listened to all of them. Each interview is interesting in…

  • Where Were You When You Heard About 9/11? (30 comments)

    There’s no way I can write about personal finance today. My mind won’t go there. It’s stuck in remembrances of five years ago. It was about 7:10 a.m. Pacific. I had just arrived at work. One of my brothers came into my office. He looked glum. “What’s wrong?” I joked. “Did you have a fight with your wife?” “A plane hit the World Trade Center,” he said. “It just collapsed.” I laughed. “Right,” I said….

  • The American Dream (10 comments)

    Couple Dreaming of Their Future in the Stars by Constantin Alajalovcover to The Saturday Evening Post, 15 August 1959

  • Cheap Hobbies: Getting Started with Naked-Eye Astronomy (6 comments)

    We lived in the country when I was a boy, far from the city lights. My father would take me outside at night and point to the stars. “That’s Orion,” he’d say, and he would help me trace The Hunter’s outline. “That’s the Big Dipper. The Big Dipper isn’t really a constellation, but it’s like one. And do you see that big red star over there? The one that doesn’t twinkle? That’s the planet Mars.”…

  • An Introduction to Beekeeping (10 comments)

    I accidentally posted this fun little entry for a couple hours last week; it was meant for today. My wife and I grow vegetables, fruit, nuts, and berries. We’ve considered getting goats. And deep in my heart, I think it’d be fun to keep bees. (My dad kept bees for a time when I was a boy — I was awed by his white beekeeping outfit.) The Make Blog points to several web resources on…

  • Money and Values: Voting With Dollars (12 comments)

    My high-school history teacher refused to buy bananas. We thought he was crazy, but he didn’t care. “You don’t understand the conditions bananas are picked under,” he told us. “Those people are like slaves.” This was my introduction to “voting with dollars”. As part of the personal finance Question of the Day Marathon, Penny at Money and Values asks: Do you involve your values in your money decisions? If so, what are some examples? If…

  • The Politics of Personal Finance (8 comments)

    Thrift, frugality, and investing are pursuits that cross political, religious, and social boundaries. Regardless of your ideology, sound personal finance habits can help you live a better life. There seem to be three distinct classes of personal finance books: Those with an overt religious-based foundation for thrift. Dave Ramsey bases the ideas in The Total Money Makeover on his Christian faith. Miserly Moms takes its cues from Christianity, too. Those espousing a “reactionary” back-to-the-earth philosophy….

  • Get 10% Off New Books While Helping Charity (0 comment)

    Last month, Get Rich Slowly readers pledged $964 for First Book, a charity that gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. First Book wrote to share another way to help: Thank you very much for raising money for First Book in the Blogathon! I was wondering if you would be willing to help First Book again by promoting our current fundraiser on your blog. August 26 and…

  • How Bartering Can Save You Money (6 comments)

    When I was a boy, we had a parrot. Sammy was a yellow-headed Amazon and quite a character. He had a wide vocabulary and an uncanny intelligence. He was a rascal. During one particularly bleak period in the early eighties, my parents traded Sammy to the local barber. They exchanged him for one hundred haircuts. This was an excellent deal for everyone involved: my parents, who were struggling financially, didn’t have to pay for our…

  • Make Some Noise to Save Some Money (6 comments)

    This is a guest post from Stephen A. Smith. When I was hired as a sales clerk in a record store, my boss said something to me that I’ll never forget. “Nobody has ever been fired from this company for being too lenient with a customer.” Not every manager has the wisdom to tell his employees that fact, but it’s generally true throughout the retail industry. Hence, the controlling principle of customer service: The squeaking…

  • Ain’t We Got Fun? – The Dawn of the Age of Credit (11 comments)

    Have you ever wondered how we became a nation of debtors? When did credit become something we take for granted? Here’s a passage from a book called Ain’t We Got Fun? that reveals how credit rose to prominence. I’ve annotated the passage with links to supplementary material. [During the 1920s] an ever-increasing proportion of the population became urban dwellers, leaving behind the isolation and grueling routines of farm life. Spread out before these workers in…

  • Beggars on the Streets of San Francisco (42 comments)

    We were walking up Columbus to breakfast this morning. As we came to a corner, a well-dressed Asian man came out of a coffee shop carrying two steaming cups. A gaunt beggar stepped toward him and held out his hand saying, “Can you lend me some money for breakfast?” The Asian man threw back his head and laughed loudly. “That’s funny,” he said, striding away. He laughed again. “I hope you’re never poor and hungry,”…

  • Frugal Tendencies on Vacation, Day One (21 comments)

    I’m in San Francisco. This is the first vacation I’ve taken since developing a frugal mindset. It’s tough for me to let loose. My pennypinching ways are causing me pain. For example, we drove to San Francisco because (a) I love to drive, and have never had a chance to do a long trip like this; (b) having our own car would allow us greater flexibility; and (c) I believed it would save us money….

  • Carnival of Personal Finance #60 (20 comments)

    Get Rich Slowly is proud to host the sixtieth Carnival of Personal Finance. The Carnival is a digest of personal finance blogs. A different site hosts the event each week. Writers submit their best entries, and the host publishes links to them (with brief commentary). In this way readers find new blogs, and blogs find new readers. There are some great submissions this week. For each entry, I’ve indicated the general topic, and have provided…

  • 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 some responsibility for the quality of the service they receive. And if they want better service, they should try becoming…

  • GRS Reader Success Stories (5 comments)

    I love financial success stories. It’s fine to read about Warren Buffett, but I get more excited when I read about people like you and me who are shaking off debt, starting businesses, or learning to live frugally. These personal success stories from average folks rock my world. Tom sent in this photo, writing: “Slowly but surely, we move off the grid.” Way to go, Tom! Keep up the good work. IMG_0587.JPG Originally uploaded by…

  • Revenge of the Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder (1 comment)

    Several weeks ago I mentioned the Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder, which highlights the best offers from freebie sites around the web. Andrew Cantino reports that he’s made some updates: Freebie Finder has evolved significantly since you wrote about it, and so I thought your readers might be interested in taking another look.  Freebie Finder still aggregates freebies from across the web while filtering out scams and referral pyramids.  It does this by detecting links that…

  • 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. Recently, I’ve stumbled upon several stories about haggling. An AskMetafilter user writes: I’ve heard that it’s okay to negotiate the…

  • Ten Financial Urban Myths (33 comments)

    MSN Money has a list of ten financial urban myths. Do you believe any of the following? If so, it may be time to change your mind. You can float a check longer if you use red ink. The color of ink makes no difference. Besides, if the bank can’t read the check, it’ll be returned an you’ll be charged extra fees. You don’t have to pay income tax — it’s illegal. I’ve heard variations…

  • The Hidden Fee Economy (11 comments)

    The Boston Globe published an interesting article on what they term “the hidden economy”, the proliferation of unexpected charges that catch consumers unaware. [The printer is] one of the most common peripherals in the computer age and so cheap — at first blush, anyway — that stores often give them away when you buy a PC. Yet how many people realize, when they walk out of CompUSA, a nice $99 inkjet model tucked under their…

  • Plan for Saving One Hundred Thousand Pounds (1 comment)

    (by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1756) As I spent some weeks last winter in visting my old acquaintance in the Jerseys, great complaints I heard for want of money, and that leave to make more paper bills could not be obtained. Friends and countrymen, my advice on this head shall cost you nothing; and if you will not be angry with me for giving it, I promise you not to be offended if…

  • Spend Less and Live More with a Volunteer Vacation (7 comments)

    At Yahoo!Finance, David Bach (author of Start Late, Finish Rich) offers four tips for vacations that give more. According to nonprofit consumer education organization the Myvesta Foundation, the average American planned to spend $2,249 on his or her summer vacation last year. Taking the average family of four to the archetypical American vacation spot — Disney World — can cost $3,000 to $4,000 or more by the time you figure in the cost for flights,…

  • Personal Finance Mags for Twentysomethings? (7 comments)

    Two recent AskMetafilter questions wonder where the hip personal finance magazines are. One poster asks: I was wondering if anyone knows of any magazines that are about money and investing for people who are younger or else just getting started in investing. Readers suggested the standards: Money, Smart Money, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, but none of these are ideal solutions. Each is a fine magazine in its own way — which is best varies based…

  • More Cheap Travel: Where the Hell is Matt? (2 comments)

    As a follow-up to the recent reader question about cheap world travel, check out Where the Hell is Matt? Matt is a 29-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. He achieved this goal pretty early on and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he…

  • Ask For What You Want (0 comment)

    Ramit at I Will Teach You to Be Rich writes about a friend who saved on ATM fees just by asking: I was just talking to my friend, who recently moved to New York [...]: She’ll be there for a few months and didn’t want to open a bank account, but instead of just shrugging and saying “Damn that” she actually called her bank. She just asked them if they would waive the ATM fees…

  • Parent Hacks (1 comment)

    Are you frugal? Do you have young children? Could you use some tips on how to make parenting less work and more fun? Parent Hacks is a “collaborative weblog of practical parenting wisdom”. In other words, it’s like Lifehacker for moms and dads. Parent Hacks is a collaborative weblog that collects parents’ tips, recommendations, workarounds, and bits of wisdom — their hacks — in a single pot so we can all partake. Here’s the stuff…

  • Free Comics from the Federal Reserve (3 comments)

    Many frugal folks are geeks at heart. Now you can indulge both sides of your personality with comic books from the Federal Reserve Bank! The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been publishing educational cartoon-style booklets since the 1950s. “The Story of the Federal Reserve System” is one of ten titles currently available. The comic book is intended for the general public, especially students in high school and introductory-level college economic courses. Up to…

  • Choosing an Internet Bank (5 comments)

    Many people have begun switching some or all of their accounts to online banks. This AskMetafilter user is looking for a great internet bank. I have an account with ING, and they’re fine, but I’d like to find an online bank that has a decent interest rate but 1) doesn’t hold your deposits forever before they’re available and 2) can transfer money back to my checking account rather quickly. Does anyone have good experience with…

  • 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 apply lipstick How to negotiate (by Donald Trump) How to scramble eggs How to hang a picture How to ask…

  • Spare Change #4 (1 comment)

    I’ve gathered several good stories during the past week, not all of which are related to personal finance. I don’t have time to write about them all — I’m suffering from an embarrassment of riches thanks to reader-submitted ideas (keep them coming) — but these are each worth reading for one reason or other: In response to an earlier Get Rich Slowly post on cheap world travel, Mapgirl wrote to share the New York Times’…

  • Reader Question: Cheap World Travel? (20 comments)

    In a recent entry on life after graduation, one tip was to “see the world”. A Get Rich Slowly reader commented: I belong to that 93% of students who wanted to study abroad but didn’t. I’d love to have a gap year to travel — but where are grads expected to get the money to afford it, if they haven’t already worked for a while to save up? This is a subject with which I…

  • Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder (3 comments)

    The absurdly cool freebie finder is: …an automated free stuff aggregator. I’ve designed it to collect free stuff offers from top freebie sites, while filtering out most scams and referral pyramids. This site is in beta, and so your suggestions are always welcome. Listed below are the most recent offers found, with their sources to the right. Remember to bookmark the site, it updates every few hours! Please only request freebies you actually need 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 it. The internet has an answer for everything. photo by spookyamd Here’s an actual guide to winning something from a…

  • The Frugal Photographer (6 comments)

    Expensive hobbies and a frugal lifestyle can be tough to balance. Few hobbies are more expensive than photography. So what’s a frugal photographer to do? The three best cheap things you can do to improve your photography skill are: Learn your camera. Read your camera manual, and carry it with you. This is the cheapest improvement you can make. Learn what your camera can and cannot do. Make a lot of photographs. Take a class…

  • Couples and Their Cash (0 comment)

    What do couples fight about more than anything else? Sex. But what’s a close second? Money. USA Today is running a seven-week series of articles about relationships and finances. Each week the paper profiles a different couple, examining their relationship with money and then asking a financial planner to offer recommendations for improvement. For example, this week’s couple — Willie and Jennifer Jackson — have good incomes, but are burdened with debt and a late-start…

  • Spare Change #3 (0 comment)

    There have been many great personal finance bits on the web the past few days. Here are a few of my favorites: My wife succumbed to a high-pressure car salesman when I was out of town. Help me get some or all of my money back! Also: What car should I buy? [from AskMetafilter] What not to sell on eBay. (Part two of a series that I mentioned in my eBay method.) [via lifehacker] How…

  • Women’s Institute of Financial Education (1 comment)

    If you liked the yesterday’s post about 12 Financial Tips for Women, check out WIFE — the Women’s Institute of Financial Education. Women face tremendous challenges as they move through life’s transitions, from childhood to adult, from college to career, from single to married, to widowhood or divorce, and into the retirement years. And women are concerned about the financial well-being of their families as well as themselves, making sure that those they love are…

  • Protect Yourself from Spam and Phishing (0 comment)

    Here’s a tip to help keep your money safe. Do you know the difference between e-mail and spam? Can you spot phishing scams? Most of us think we can, but we’re actually quite poor at it. John Graham-Cumming has created a site at which he asks users to identify whether e-mail messages are genuine or spam/phishing attempts. SpamOrHam.org is a web site where you can help anti-spammers by manually sorting email. In order to accurately…

  • My eBay Method: 13 Steps to Profitable Auctions (72 comments)

    A few weeks ago I linked to Stephen Smith’s guide to selling stuff on eBay. Today I’ll share some tips of my own. In February I sold $1500 of geek goods to raise money so that I could make accelerated debt payments. My auctions consistently fetched more money than concurrent auctions for similar items. Something about my method works. I recommend the following steps: Research the hell out of each item you post. Dig through…

  • 10,000th Shoplifter Gets a Parade (1 comment)

    Here is one way not to get ahead: shoplifting. A Dutch store owner, sick of shoplifters, decides to give the 10,000th shoplifter a big prize, including party hat, cake and an in-store marching band. Get rich slowly through legal channels, please. [via The Consumerist]

  • 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 neighbors, you will draw more traffic. Our street has a sale every May. My neighbor Al places an ad in…

  • Coins Cost More to Make Than Face Value (4 comments)

    I guess this news shouldn’t be surprising. It had to happen sometime. For the first time in U.S. history, the cost of manufacturing both a penny and a nickel is more than the 1-cent and 5-cent values of the coins themselves. Skyrocketing metals prices are behind the increase, the U.S. Mint said in a letter to members of Congress last week. The Mint estimates it will cost 1.23 cents per penny and 5.73 cents per…

  • Ask SmartMoney: Rollover IRAs, Auto Leases, Kids’ Savings (1 comment)

    The latest Ask SmartMoney column features a set of interesting questions. First: I have $10,000 in an old 401(k). I’d like to roll over the account to an IRA and then maybe a Roth. What should I look for in an investment company? SmartMoney recommends investing the money in a no-load, low-fee mutual fund family. It also provides advice for ensuring a smooth transition. The second question is: I am way under my car’s allotted…

  • Spare Change #2 (0 comment)

    A quick round-up of personal finance articles from around the web: How to buy a cheap seat in first class Ten ways to protect yourself from high energy prices How to survive having your identity stolen Getting to done: spring cleaning From Oprah: America’s debt diet See you tomorrow!

  • Money Changes Everything (2 comments)

    Yesterday’s New York Times style section featured an article by Jennie Yabroff entitled Money Changes Everything (NYT registration may be required). If, as Samuel Butler said, friendships are like money, easier made than kept, economic differences can add yet another obstacle to maintaining them. More friends and acquaintances are now finding themselves at different points on the financial spectrum, scholars and sociologists say, thanks to broad social changes like meritocracy-based higher education, diversity in the…

  • Oregon Master Gardeners Plant Sale (2 comments)

    Just a reminder to all Portland-area readers that the Oregon Master Gardeners will be holding their annual plant sale this Saturday and Sunday. Every spring [we hold] a spectacular garden fair at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby. It is held on the weekend before Mothers Day. Last year we had over 15,000 people show up and that number increases every year. There will be vendors selling hanging baskets, bedding plants, annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs,…

  • Forever Stamps (4 comments)

    The US Postal Service has proposed a stamp rate increase that would increase the cost of a first-class stamp from 39 cents to 42 cents in the spring of 2007. That’s not surprising. What is surprising is that they’re also proposing a “forever stamp” that customers could use as a hedge against future rate increases. The forever stamp would help soften the blow of a rate increase by allowing customers to stock up. As originally…

  • Free User Manuals For Electronic Equipment (1 comment)

    Users Manual Guide is an on-line database of hundreds of user manuals for electronic devices: Panasonic air conditioners, Sharp microwave ovens, CASIO calculators, Motorola phones and more. The next time you have a problem with an electronic device, check here first for a downloadable PDF of the user manual.

  • 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 generate a little extra cash. Selling does require an investment of some time and energy, but since eBay allows you…

  • Ten Steps to Greater Happiness (3 comments)

    Money can’t buy you love. It can’t buy you happiness either. Hedonistic Adjustment and Seattle Simplicity have linked to a wonderful paper outlining the road to happiness. This paper is from an investment strategy company, but guess what? They admit that money isn’t the answer. If you are after specific investment advice, stop reading now. We seek to explore one of Adam Smith’s obsessions: what it means to be happy. We also discuss why that’s…

  • Spare Change #1 (0 comment)

    Here’s a brief roundup of some personal-finace related stories: Maxed Out is a new film that explores America’s addiction to credit cards. Newseek takes a look at the movie and talks with the filmmaker, James Scurlock. PracticalMoneySkills.com is a free site intended to help teachers, parents, and students learn life-long money management skills. The site boasts an impressive array of resources, including financial caluclators, school lesson plans, games, and a banking tutor. This project has…