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Savings


  • Saving money when you have no time (26 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    A few weeks ago, I participated in an “Ask the Experts” segment on a huge site in the mommysphere, CafeMom.com. The focus of the project was saving, budgeting, and frugality, and my job was simply to answer questions that readers sent in. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, I quickly found that I am no longer equipped to answer many of the inquiries I would have sailed through just a…

  • Preparing financially for a job search (17 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Looking for a new job is a multi-faceted process. Many of the aspects of career-building that I have been discussing recently are applicable even if you are just trying to keep a job you already have. But laying the groundwork for a successful job search is about more than just your reputation. A job search can take months — in some cases, up to a year…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you balance multiple sinking funds? (58 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. About four years ago, Breezy and her husband opened a checking account at their local credit union so they could save for car-related payments – insurance, gas, repairs, and the like. They liked how it allowed them to separate these expenses from the rest of their spending. Soon, they established more funds. Right now, she and her husband have four sinking funds and she is considering adding another….

  • Ask the Readers: Should you transfer a Class A mutual fund savings account to a Roth IRA? (13 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. This week, one of our Facebook readers asked the question: “Is it advisable to transfer money from a Class A mutual fund savings account to a Roth IRA in order to maximize my contributions? I saved money in the past in an American Fund mutual fund; but now I don’t make as much money at work, so I thought I should use my saving to add to the…

  • Which online high-yield money market & high-interest savings account is best? (20 comments)

    Savings Account Rates An online savings account is a helpful tool in your financial life. When you want to set up an emergency fund or other savings account for short-term liquidity, an online savings account usually offers higher interest rates than many brick-and-mortar banks.  In addition, many consumers think online banking is much more convenient. Even though rates are low right now, they will eventually rise as the economy recovers. An online savings account, money…

  • The cultural shift toward financial security (27 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. In the past few months, I’ve had a noteworthy number of conversations about the trend toward frugality. More of my friends seem interested in finding ways to save, I can’t throw a rock at the Internet without hitting a money-saving “hack,” and, during a job interview, I had a lengthy discussion about how “personal finance is now trendy.” Get Rich Slowly reader and money blogger Mrs. PoP noticed…

  • Too much emergency fund? Spend it (76 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Growing up, I learned all kinds of money lessons from my mother. An avid saver, she socked away every cent that she possibly could. She cut coupons, shopped at garage sales, and drove cars without heat or air conditioning. She even paid for our family piano with money she got from refunding (people often earned extra money sending in for small rebates in the ’80s), and paid…

  • Don’t have savings? Quit making excuses (80 comments)

    This guest post is from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes for a number of websites, including Money Talks News and Retail Me Not, and blogs about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. I’m back, and I sound just like your mom: Save that damned emergency fund, already. This week (Feb. 24-March 1) is America Saves Week. And not a moment too soon: As a nation, we’re losing ground. An ASW…

  • Ask the Readers: What was your financial turning point? (47 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. At eighteen, I wanted a pair of hundred dollar Doc Martens. Not only could I not afford them, I couldn’t even afford to look at them. Dr. Marten should not have even been in my broke, teenage vocabulary. That spring, I got my very first credit card offer. I also got my very first pair of $100 Doc Martens. Of course, my parents had no idea. That’s the…

  • 10 tools and tips to save money on legal fees (21 comments)

    This is a guest post from John Corcoran. John is an attorney and former Clinton White House writer, and he advises entrepreneurs and small-business owners on how to use networking to grow their businesses.  In addition to the tips in this article, you can download his free report for an additional 10+ tools to save you money on legal fees. Like it or not, everyone has to use a lawyer now and then. Whether you run your…

  • Ask the Readers: How are you coping with low interest rates? (49 comments)

    These days, seeking a savings account that pays more than 1 percent annually can seem like an exercise in futility. At today’s deposit rates, your savings are unlikely to even keep pace with inflation (currently at 1.5 percent). The situation for those over 50 is, well, abysmal. Despite their age, many of the people in this group have relatively little in savings. A recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey revealed that 39…

  • Reader Stories: How we saved one year’s salary in Roth IRAs in grad school (56 comments)

    This reader story is from Emily, a graduate student living in North Carolina who blogs about transitions in young adulthood and living well on less at Evolving Personal Finance. Some reader 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 to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. My husband, Kyle, and I recently…

  • When is your financial relaxation due date? (48 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. I am perched in the corner chair, cup of Chai in hand, with just hours before the deadline for this post. I have piles and piles of clean laundry that need to be folded. Dishes need to be washed. I can’t recall the last time I’ve dusted any room in the house. My husband has been working 80-hour weeks for a few weeks, so I am doing…

  • Top 10 High Interest CDs that can double your interest income (15 comments)

    This guest post is by Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com. The latest cruel trick played on savers is that while mortgage rates have started to rise, bank deposit rates haven’t budged. If you want higher interest rates on your deposits, you’re going to have to do something about it yourself. According to the FDIC, five-year CD rates (certificates of deposit or CDs) are currently averaging just 0.75 percent nationally. Fortunately though, not…

  • What I learned from losing my emergency fund (36 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. A couple of weeks ago, I sent off my quarterly estimated tax payment. This is never fun, but there’s always a part of me that’s thankful when I drop that envelope in the mail. I’m thankful that I’ve budgeted for this payment. I’m thankful that it’s not coming out of my emergency fund, the way it did a couple of years ago, when I lost all of…

  • No discipline and can’t save? No problem! (30 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joe Saul-Sehy. Joe is the co-host of the relaxed financial podcast Stacking Benjamins, available on iTunes and Stitcher. His Stacking Benjamins blog, where he shares stories and tips about the struggle to earn, save and spend with a plan, debuted on June 11th. Do you lack the discipline to save? So do I, but discipline is nearly irrelevant. When I was a financial adviser, I enjoyed sitting across from…

  • How to save for college, though begrudgingly (39 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. Here’s an idea: Leave juvenile delinquents in a prison for three hours to be harangued by hardened criminals in an attempt to convince the kids to change their ways. That was the premise of the 1978 documentary “Scared Straight!” which won an Oscar and an Emmy. When…

  • Ask the Readers: What will make you feel financially secure? (78 comments)

    If you’re a regular reader of Get Rich Slowly, you are focused on getting out of debt, saving, retirement goals – all of those money issues we all deal with. But at what point would you or do you feel financially secure? I think my own sense of financial security came once I had paid off all of my debts (excluding my mortgage) and had enough money to save a chunk each month. Certainly, having…

  • How my mom inspired me during a savings slump (56 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. I’ve been saving up for a big purchase, so I’ve seriously tightened my budget. Staying within my own strict boundaries has been frustrating. When I get frustrated, I call my mom. Recently, I vented about my finances to her. She reminded me of her story of rising from poverty. Here we go again. She grew up poor in China; saved ten grand working part time at the grocery store. I’ve…

  • Ask the Readers: What will you give up this month to save $250? (101 comments)

    Welcome to February! In early January, we asked people what are their savings goals this year. But reading El Nerdo’s post on Tuesday made me think about how focusing on a short-term goal could help us achieve a long-term goal. So we’ve come up a series of challenges to help us achieve some goals this year. Here’s the February challenge for our GRS community: What will you give up for just one month to save…

  • How Wall Street eats a third of your savings and makes you work longer (35 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. In my post from a few weeks ago, I explained how Wall Street wants your balls – that is, if you compare retirement savings to balls, as I did in the second video…

  • Ask the Readers: What odd things have you done to save money? (254 comments)

    This is a guest post from David Bakke. David is always looking for ways to save money and live frugally. He shares his tips and strategies on Money Crashers Personal Finance. During my journey to escape $30,000 worth of personal debt, I wore my frugality like a badge of honor. I had no problem bragging to people about all the ways I saved money, regardless of their quizzical reactions. I was on a mission, and…

  • Saving for a Big Purchase (86 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Tim Sullivan. I love the jeans I’m wearing. I actually wear them almost four days a week. Chances are that if you see me, I’m wearing these jeans. They’re my only pair. When I bought them, I very gladly put down my $200 cash and left the store with a smile. The jeans I had before them cost the same, and I wore them until they got holes in…

  • Reader Story: Falling in Love with the Freedom Fund (61 comments)

    This guest post from Lisa Mueller 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. When I was in my twenties, I didn’t really understand the point of wealth accumulation. To me, it kind of…

  • How Saving Money Cost Me Money (86 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. I used to have…

  • Reader Story: What Financial Freedom Really Means (50 comments)

    This guest post from Sue 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’ve always been a saver. Even as a child, my pocket money was more likely to end up in my piggy…

  • Saving Without a Goal (206 comments)

    For the past few months, I’ve been in a strange place with my financial journey. My retirement needs are met, as are my daily living expenses, so all I need to worry about is saving for short- and medium-term goals. That’s great — except I don’t have any. I can’t decide whether this is a problem or not. When I was younger, not having financial goals absolutely caused problems. Because I didn’t have anything specific…

  • How Safe Is Your Cash? (51 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. One of oldest adages in investing is “no risk, no return.” These days, that old saying seems literally true, since cash is considered the safest asset, yet it earns virtually no interest. However,…

  • Five Easiest Ways to Save Money (97 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Sarah Gilbert. This is America Saves Week, and I am writing to you sitting next to a jar. This jar is stuffed full (okay, imagine it gently filled — it’s a small jar) of five dollar bills. I do not feel proud that this is the best way I’ve found yet to save money consistently; somehow, having it sit there on the windowsill is a gentle reminder that there…

  • Automating Savings on an Irregular Income (24 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. One of the tenets of personal finance is to pay yourself first. And one of the most sure-fire ways to make sure you do that is to automate your savings: setup your checking account to make an automatic deposit to your saving accounts. Automation has been incredibly effective for me. I have targeted sub-accounts for property taxes, auto repairs, house savings, and more — a tactic I…

  • Spare Change: Submit Your Story Edition (32 comments)

    Like a hibernating bear, I feel like I’m waking from a long winter’s nap. For the past few months, I’ve been dormant, not just at Get Rich Slowly but at my other sites as well. I’ve had so much happening in my personal life that it’s been tough to find the mental energy to write about money (or anything else). Now I’m ready to get back to work. As part of that, it’s time to…

  • Stealth Savings: Sneaky Ways to Fatten Your Account (110 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. Have trouble saving money? Time for some mind games. Hide cash via direct withdrawals. Get free money from banks. Name an account for a goal. Make your savings “one-way,” i.e., really hard to tap. The unemployed and underemployed may feel — with good reason! — that…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should I Save (and What Should I Save For)? (107 comments)

    Many of the reader questions I get here at Get Rich Slowly follow a familiar formula. The person sends me a breakdown of her income and expenses, also sharing how she’s allocating her savings. From these figures, my correspondent wants to know if I’d make changes to her budget. Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to answer questions as specific as these. (And I don’t have time to answer them all!) That said, there are often certain…

  • Ask the Readers: When Is It Okay to Use Your Emergency Fund? (101 comments)

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in want of a good fortune must be in possession of an emergency fund. Hilarious literary allusions aside, the emergency fund — or rainy-day savings, or whatever you want to call it — is one of the bedrocks of basic personal finance. A solid savings account is like self-insurance; it can offer some protection when life seems intent on drowning you with one financial crisis after…

  • Getting Over the Overdraft: How I Started Saving (56 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Tim Sullivan. A few years back, I got a paycheck in the mail and went to deposit it. I left the bank, dropped off a rent check, bought groceries, a sandwich across the street, gas on the way home, and a new album from iTunes to listen to while cooking. I forgot to endorse the check. Normally, this is no big deal for my bank. That day, they decided…

  • 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…

  • Best Savings Accounts for 2014 (104 comments)

    J.D. first posted this online savings account article back in March 2007, when interest rates were well over 1 percent. Since then, of course, interest rates at online banks have run under or just at 1 percent, making it hard for savers to make headway on their goals. Our sister site, MoneyRates.com, does a quarterly analysis of savings rates, called America’s Best Rates, which shows the highest interest rates offered during the previous quarter. The…

  • Ask the Readers: I’m Getting Older — Should I Save or Should I Travel? (112 comments)

    Long-time GRS reader Sheila (aka PawPrint) dropped a line earlier this year because she’s facing a financial dilemma. She and her husband want to be responsible — to save for retirement — but they’re afraid that doing so means they won’t be able to pursue other passions, such as travel. Sheila writes: My husband is nearly 60. As we watch friends and relatives succumb to cancer (mostly) in their late sixties, I wonder about our…

  • Reader Story: Saving the American Way…and the Bulgarian Way (96 comments)

    This guest post from Rya 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. Rya writes a Bulgarian personal-finance blog called kadebg.com. My name is Rya. I’m 25 years old, and I live in Bulgaria. That’s a small…

  • Think You Can’t Afford an Emergency Fund? Think Again! (78 comments)

    This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Once upon a time it was enough to have a three-month emergency fund; now I hear we should aim for enough to cover a year’s worth of food, shelter, and other basics. A swell idea in theory, but this could actually discourage…

  • Old Habits for a New Year (114 comments)

    When I was younger, I didn’t track my spending. I kept a checkbook register, but that was out of necessity; I constantly flirted with a zero balance, and I had to know precisely how much was left in the bank so I wouldn’t overdraw my account. (I wasn’t so good at that game, actually; I had plenty of overdraft fees.) Ah, the good ol’ days… When I decided to get out of debt, I had…

  • How to Save: Putting “Pay Yourself First” into Practice (79 comments)

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

  • Checking Accounts: New Rules, Old Rules, Your Rules (20 comments)

    This is a guest post from Richard Barrington, a freelance writer and novelist who spent over 20 years as an investment-industry executive. Barrington is a regular contributor at MoneyRates. Previously at GRS, he shared how to find the right CD or money-market account, tips for sound saving and investing, and info about energy-efficiency tax credits. Did anyone ever give you a user’s manual for your checking account? Okay, I guess J.D. did with Your Money:…

  • Treasury Department to Help Under-Banked Citizens at Tax Time (48 comments)

    Every week, I’m bombarded by press releases from companies and publications wanting me to share their products and stories. I’d love to be able to pass this info on to you — at least the stuff that’s both relevant and good (actual subject line from one irrelevant press release this morning: “Rev. Jesse Jackson holds Automotive Summit in Detroit Sept. 30 – Oct. 1″ … spam!) — but doing so would be a full-time job….

  • Does Saving Stimulate the Economy More than Spending? (73 comments)

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

  • Why Are Interest Rates So Low Right Now? (and Where Should You Put Your Money?) (72 comments)

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

  • The Incredible Shrinking Emergency Fund (141 comments)

    The polls that appear in the Get Rich Slowly sidebar are far from scientific, and a lot of the time they don’t yield anything interesting. But sometimes they turn out a curious piece of information. At the end of April, the poll question asked, “How many months to do you have in your emergency fund?” This was the same question posed in mid-January. This poll also ran concurrently at Money Rates, a site with a…

  • Grow Your Savings by Paying in Full (63 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. In the past six months, I’ve spent more money on personal development than I have in my entire life. I’ve also spent considerable amounts on laptops and on a holistic wellness program. Now that I’m somewhere in the third stage of personal finance, I see the value in investing, and I’m not just talking about the stock market. What I started to notice was how having…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do You Choose a Savings Account? (45 comments)

    Here’s a little twist to the typical Ask the Readers column. Yesterday, I exchanged e-mail with financial writer Liz Weston. She gave me advice for this Friday’s post, and in return she asked the following question: I’m writing about all the bonuses you can get for opening a savings account or other financial account (like $50 to open an ING checking account, for example). Is this something your readers like to do? How do they…

  • Give Your Wealth Away: An Argument For a Secular Tithe (145 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sierra Black, a long-time GRS reader and the author of ChildWild, a blog where she writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale. Previously at Get Rich Slowly, Black told us about sweating the big stuff and the pitfalls of buying in bulk. My mother’s family is Catholic. They’re working class people from Buffalo: nurses, drugstore clerks, steel mill workers. Even though they never had…

  • Is There a Generation Gap in Saving? (122 comments)

    I’m old-school: I went to the bank to make a deposit today. (I make most of my deposits in person, inside the branch.) While I waited, I chatted with the teller, whom I know from many previous visits. “I’m writing a book about money,” I told him. “What’s the one thing you wish you could tell people about banking?” “Save!” he said. He told me there’s a huge generation gap between savers and spenders. “The…

  • Which Comes First: The House or the Nest Egg? (85 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. It’s also a part of National Save for Retirement Week A few weeks ago, J.D. asked me to consider writing a post on retirement for National Save for Retirement Week. As it was intended, National Save for Retirement Week made me reflect on the state of my and my husband’s retirement accounts. Currently, our retirement savings are a tad pitiful. I have a 403(b) through my…

  • How Much Should You Have in Savings? (117 comments)

    A couple of weeks ago, we had a fine discussion about how much we should save for retirement. But how much should we have saved for today? How much should we have in cash reserves? As I write my own book, I’m reading (and re-reading) dozens of other money manuals. While perusing Bert Whitehead’s Why Smart People Do Stupid Things With Money, I came across his table of “minimum base liquidity”. (Whitehead is a highly-educated…

  • When Is It Okay to Finance Fun? (103 comments)

    At AskMetafilter last week, a user asked a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Now that I have my finances firmly under control, now that I’m building wealth, is it ever okay to finance fun? Here’s the question (with minor edits for clarification): When is it okay to finance Toys? We have a budget, all bills are paid, we are saving $100 every month, the only debt we have is our cars and…

  • 11 Ways to Spice Up Your Emergency Fund (77 comments)

    This article is by Adam Baker, a GRS Staff Writer. In addition to writing for Get Rich Slowly, Baker blogs over at Man Vs. Debt, where he discusses ways to simplify your financial life. A thriving emergency fund is an essential piece of a healthy financial picture. You’ve heard this a million times before. The basics of emergency funds have been covered in depth. We’re used to hearing discussions on why they’re important and how large…

  • Ask the Readers: What Happens *After* You Use Your Emergency Savings? (64 comments)

    A comfortable “rainy day” fund is a key component to most personal financial plans. The experts don’t agree on the exact amount to keep in an emergency fund — advice ranges from three to twelve months’ of expenses — but they do agree everyone should have one. An emergency fund is self-insurance: It’s a way to cope with the unexpected without resorting to debt or other expensive options. But what happens after you use your…

  • Saving for the Short Term (49 comments)

    Dave wrote yesterday with a common question. He’s looking for a low-risk investment with decent returns, but not having any luck finding one. He writes: I currently have a Money Market Savings account and the interest rate has dropped to 1%. It used to be 5%. When it was earning 5%, I had roughly $25,000 in there, and would make something like $60-$90 per month in interest. Now I have $50,000 in there and only…

  • An Introduction to Money Market Accounts & How to Find The Best Rates (51 comments)

    I’ve been moving large sums of money between my bank accounts recently. I’m shuffling funds from my business account to my personal account to my high-yield savings account in an attempt to get each dollar in its proper place. It’s really not as complicated as I make it seem, though it does take a little work. At one point during this process, I ended up with over $25,000 in my credit-union checking account. Most of…

  • The Fall and Rise of Personal Savings (58 comments)

    Americans are beginning to save again, or so the media is reporting. The personal saving rate has jumped from 0.4% in 2007 to a whopping 6.9% in May. But what does that mean? Is it a good thing? And how long will it last? The personal saving rate “Personal saving rate” is an economic term for income that is not used immediately to buy goods and services. It’s money that consumers save for the future….

  • How Much Money Should You Save? (51 comments)

    At CNNMoney, Walter Updegrave hosts an “Ask the Expert” column in which he fields reader questions. (Updegrave is an editor at Money Magazine.) Lionel from San Diego recently wrote in with a question that all of us have: What percentage of income should someone save in order to be considered financially responsible? I’m wary of spending now because of the bad economy, but I don’t know how much I should be saving on a monthly…

  • Oversaving Does Not Lead to Happiness (51 comments)

    I love frugality. Frugality helped me to dig out of debt, begin to build wealth, and find more meaning in the things I already own. But at some point I crossed the line from frugal to cheap. I’ve spent the past few months seeking balance: allowing myself permission to spend on a few indulgences while choosing to cut back in other areas. There’s new research that indicates this sort of conscious spending really does make…

  • The Light at the End of the Tunnel (25 comments)

    This is the third of a five-part series about the “stages” of personal finance. In the first part I described the zeroth stage of money management, in which I was fumbling in the dark, spending compulsively and accumulating debt. Last week I described the first stage, in which I finally saw the light and began to repay my debt. Today I share what happened next. Last night at dinner, my friend Mike told me about…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Prioritize Savings Goals? (72 comments)

    Once you’ve paid off your debt, it’s time to save. But for many of us, it’s difficult to know where to start. Via Twitter (and edited slightly), @funkyknitwit asks: How do you set priorities with savings? I have so many things I want to save for, but I don’t know where to start! What I mean is, how can I decide which thing I should work towards first? My budgeting is already in order. This…

  • Ask the Readers: Two Questions About Saving (93 comments)

    I’ve been swamped lately. As a result, the reader questions have been piling up. There’s a huge backlog. Today I’m going to tackle two related questions at once. Do you have an opinion on the best place to save your money? Chime in below! Where should I start saving? First up, ashleyD commented on my recent post about using financial spreadsheets. She’s beginning to get control of her finances, but she doesn’t know where to…

  • 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…

  • Success Sunday: GRS Readers Share Their Stories (16 comments)

    One of the best parts about writing Get Rich Slowly is interacting with you, the readers. I especially love to read your success stories. For some reason, the past month has been huge for success stories — you guys are flooding my inbox with them. I thought it would be fun to share a few (edited) e-mails. First of all, Marisa wrote: I just wanted to write to say thank you. Your advice inspired my…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • SmartyPig: A Goal-Oriented Savings Account (50 comments)

    Have you ever wanted to pool your money with friends or family to save toward a common goal? While it’s possible to do this with paper and pencil, it’d be easier if there were an online service to automagically track the savings for you. SmartyPig believes it is that service. SmartyPig is a special branded savings account from new type of savings account, with funds held at West Bank of Iowa. It’s specifically created to…

  • 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…

  • Can Saving Prepare Us for the Oncoming Recession? (82 comments)

    “What will it take to make Americans save more?” wonders Michelle Singletary in her latest column at The Washington Post. Singletary points to a recent survey that reveals Americans know they’re not saving but they just don’t care enough to change. (I recommend reading Singletary’s article via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where there are fewer ads and no pagination problems.) What’s the root of the problem? Our homes are more expensive. We’re consuming high-tech gadgets like…

  • 66 Ways to Save Money (12 comments)

    Hidden around the web are lots of little personal finance gems. I stumble across new resources every day — I just don’t have time to share them all! I plan to start sharing more than I have been, however, beginning today with a publication from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Federation of America. 66 Ways to Save Money is a a free 12-page PDF file available from the FTC’S Bureau of Consumer…

  • Real Simple: Save More, Worry Less (14 comments)

    The March issue of Real Simple magazine contains a great article by Elizabeth Fenner about solving your biggest money worries. She writes: For many of us, “manage finances” is right down there with “clean out the basement” on the bottomless to-do list. We put it off until life is less hectic…Well, help is here. Real Simple polled readers on the financial matters that worry them most, then created a completely doable, low-stress action plan for…

  • Daily Links: Tax Deductions, Savings Accounts, and GTD (10 comments)

    I’m another step closer to quitting the day job: today I began to train my replacement. I’ve never actually trained somebody in sales before, so this is a strange experience. It’s almost like the blind leading the blind! I’m hoping to find a quality sales seminar in the Portland area so that he can learn from a professional. Meanwhile, as you’d expect, I’ve accumulated some interesting personal stories to share: “Still believe real estate values…

  • 10 Ways to Build the Habit of Saving Money (52 comments)

    This is a guest post by Mehdi, author of StrongLifts.com. How much do you save? I hope you put money aside. You don’t? Neither did I until a few years ago. How do you become a money saver? I’ll first tell you how you don’t: Not by using discipline or willpower. Discipline and willpower only work in the short-term. What works in the long-term is understanding your spending habits. Once you understand, you can change…

  • Ask the Readers: Am I Saving Too Much? (71 comments)

    George, who has been reading Get Rich Slowly since it was a single entry on my personal blog, writes with a curious question. By adhering to sound personal finance practices, he’s reached the destination we’re all striving to reach. But he wonders if he might have gone too far. If you’re just beginning your journey out of debt, saving too much may seem like a nice problem to have. You’d sure like to have all…

  • Every Penny Counts: Saving for Big Goals (29 comments)

    Get Rich Slowly readers submitted a couple dozen articles while I was on vacation, but one story was mentioned more than any other. Several people sent me a New York Times piece by Christine Haughney called “Every Penny Counts“. Haughney writes about six New Yorkers who scaled back their lifestyles to save for a larger goal: homeownership. Here’s how one couple did it: In a city synonymous with luxury and spending, Ms. Lee, 30, and…

  • Ask the Readers: What’s the Best Way to Save for a Down Payment? (50 comments)

    When I asked recently for topics you’d like to see covered at Get Rich Slowly, many of you expressed interest in learning more about how to purchase a home. Jason sent the following question: What’s the best vehicle to save money for a house? I’m probably more than a year from purchasing my first real estate. While maxing out my Roth IRA and building a nice emergency fund, I need to start saving specifically for…

  • 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…

  • Could You Save Less and Still Retire With Enough? (30 comments)

    Retirement is big business. Financial planners, investment brokers, and accountants are eager to convince you to save big bucks in preparation. There are scores of books packed with advice about finding the magic number, that target dollar amount that will be your ticket to the easy life. All these people have a vested interest in having you funnel money through them. Surely some of what they say is correct, but could they be overstating the…

  • Want to Save Money? Just Ask! (8 comments)

    Wrapping up “ask for it” day, 2 Pennies Earned suggests that if you want to save money, you should just ask! In the last two years, I’ve been given two weeks’ free rent, received several hundred dollars in bonuses from financial institutions, doubled the size of my apartment while lowering my monthly rent, and increased my gross income dramatically. I’m amazed at the things you can get in life by just asking for what you…

  • Reader Story: Ask to Save! (2 comments)

    Jac recently wrote to share a success story — he managed to get a bank to drop some fees simply by asking! I’m currently on a six month exchange in France. I opened a new account with Westpac (Australia) before I left because they offered free international ATM withdrawals with a set of banks. Recently I went through my online statements adding up all the fees I’d been charged, and it came to ~$45 in…

  • 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….

  • You’re Never Too Young to Save (18 comments)

    I went to the credit union today to deposit my Christmas bonus. I waited my turn behind a boy who was about four years old. In one hand he held a wad of cash, and in the other he held his account information. His parents watched from the side of the lobby. “Why, hello,” said the teller when she saw the boy. He walked purposely to the counter. She leaned over and looked down at…

  • Book Review: The Millionaire Next Door (37 comments)

    Some personal finance books promise to show the reader how to become a millionaire. The Millionaire Next Door (by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko) is different. It is built on years of research, on a body of statistics and case studies. It doesn’t make hollow promises. Instead, it profiles people who have already become millionaires. This is a subtle but important difference. Many people who earn high incomes are not rich, the authors…

  • Nintendo Wii: A Study in Planned Saving (12 comments)

    Last May, we held our annual garage sale on the same weekend that the Nintendo Wii was revealed. As I sat in my driveway, selling old stuff, I followed online coverage of the Wii on my laptop. I wanted one. “I’m putting this money in the bank and saving it to buy a Nintendo,” I told Kris. I opened a separate targeted savings account at my credit union specifically for this goal. But I was…

  • Sure-Fire Ways to Jump-Start Your Savings (19 comments)

    You know an article must be good when your accountant forwards it to you. Mine sent me this list of 11 ways to jump-start your savings from Dana Bratch at MSN Money. Bratch writes: The secret of successful savings borrows from the tale of the tortoise and the hare: Slow and steady wins the race. But while it may be a winning strategy, it’s difficult to get motivated when your savings balance is climbing that…

  • What to Do With All Those Pennies (14 comments)

    Over at AskMetafilter, a user wants to know what to do with all his pennies. I have a lot of pennies. They accumulated over the past twelve years. I need a permanent solution to this problem other than a big jar. What do you do with your pennies? My favorite answer so far — because it’s handy and prevents you from accumulating new pennies — is this: Carry around four pennies with you at all…

  • Man Risks Life Savings on Spin of Roulette Wheel (0 comment)

    Here is a man who has a high risk tolerance: Ashley Revell sold everything he had — including his clothes — left his home in London and headed to Vegas. After a little minor gambling, he went to the roulette wheel, placed his life savings of $135,300 on “red”, and won. “It’s really down to my friends and family and Mum and Dad,” he told Reuters Television. “I knew even if I lost I’d always…

  • Prompting Americans to Save (0 comment)

    The New York Times has a piece entitled Looking for the Incentives that Will Prompt Americans to Save More [may require registration]

  • Start Late, Finish Rich (5 comments)

    Just finished David Bach’s Start Late, Finish Rich. At 42, I thought it would be a good intro to Bach’s many treatises on personal finance. I’ll come right out and say I highly recommend this book. It was full of great information, and took an optimistic, yet realistic tone. I’ll try to touch on some key points. Yes, because you started late, you are going to have to work twice as hard to put away…