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Self-Improvement


  • The Happiness of Pursuit (28 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. Historically, personal development has been a big part of Get Rich Slowly. Back in 2012, founder J.D. wrote, “I’m a firm believer in personal development. Self-improvement is part of living a rich life. In fact, when I started this blog … the self-improvement category was one of the first I implemented.” But not so long ago, I’d never read a self-help or personal development book. In fact, I…

  • Ask the Readers: Are you reaching your goals? (44 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Remember when 2014 was new? I’d rather not think about it, but more than half the year is behind us already and we’re moving into fall fairly quickly. For me, that’s a good time to start thinking about whether I’m reaching my goals for the year and what I need to do to correct my course. I would like to be in a position to tackle a “single…

  • Using “Decisive” for your decisions (29 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. The older I get, the more complicated my life gets — and the harder it is for me to make decisions. Do we have anything in common there? By far, the most complicating factor has been having children. Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s not bad, just … complicated. And since we just added another child about two weeks ago, we’re adjusting to less sleep and…

  • Weird ways our brains control our money habits (22 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for money psychology studies. And it’s not just because I write about money. On a sheer curiosity level, they’re fascinating. But they also serve as a great reminder that money is more about mind than it is about math. It’s interesting to see exactly how our brains work when it comes to habits like spending and saving. And not only is it…

  • Our brains on scarcity: The trap of not having enough (Part I) (36 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. (This is a two-part series. Part II is “Our brains on scarcity: Breaking out of the trap.”) I recently discovered the book “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.” To be honest, I don’t even remember how I came to find out about the book. Maybe someone recommended it; maybe I read about it somewhere. Lately, I’ve been overwhelmingly busy, and, as a result, my short-term…

  • How to negotiate when you hate negotiating (19 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to go negotiate. In an ideal world, the weather would be perfect, there would be no war, and your employer would simply say, “Hey, your value to our company has increased. Here’s ten thousand dollars.” If only, right? When it comes to earning more, negotiating is usually a necessary part of the equation. The negotiating masters among us have a serious leg…

  • Teaching life skills to your children (22 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. While I’ve tackled many kid-centered topics, like how to save on kids’ clothes, should you buy your kid a car, or pay for your child’s college, you know what is really important to me? Helping them learn to be responsible and self-sufficient, so they don’t need me (except for moral support, of course). So while I often hear that I am a mean mom, and no other kids have to…

  • A guide to managing your fear of money (23 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. My first year of high school, I was looking for an easy, goof-off elective — a class that would allow me to take a break in between Geometry and English, and maybe catch up on some magazines or take a quick nap. “Debate” sounded right up my half-assed alley. On the first day of class, I was told we’d have to attend tournaments, in which we’d debate…

  • Overwork and the illusion of a “high-paying” job (68 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I recently read a short article in The New Yorker titled “The Cult of Overwork.” In it, James Surowiecki writes: “For decades, junior bankers and Wall Street firms had an unspoken pact: in exchange for reasonably high-paying jobs and a shot at obscene wealth, young analysts agreed to work fifteen hours a day, and forgo anything resembling a normal life.” Reading that, I had a thought. If you’re…

  • The Second Annual Chautauqua on Wealth and Happiness (10 comments)

    Hey, everybody. J.D. here. Last September, I traveled to Ecuador to participate in a good old-fashioned chautauqua. Near Otavalo, I joined Mr. Money Mustache, Jim Collins, and Cheryl Reed to share what we knew about wealth and happiness. Twenty-two smart Canadians and Americans joined us for a week of workshops, one-on-one meetings, and excursions into the beautiful Ecuadoran countryside. What’s a chautauqua? In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig writes that a…

  • Pick your hobbies strategically and save (73 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith. For the most part, we think of hobbies as activities that we naturally gravitate toward. The idea of being strategic in our selection of hobbies may seem contradictory to their very nature! However, I think that being strategic in the selection and pursuit of hobbies isn’t mutually exclusive with enjoying yourself. What’s more, you have options in how to strategize. The hobby-as-side-gig option One obvious method of making…

  • On a time crunch? Squeeze more out of your day (50 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. When I (or others) want to improve our financial situations, most excuses involve time. I am too busy to take on another job. I don’t have time to start that business I’ve wanted to start for the last three years. I wish I could really get my financial ducks in a row, but I feel like I’m already using every spare minute of my days. While time budgeting and money budgeting…

  • Heal your money shame in 3 simple steps (22 comments)

    This guest post is from Kate Northrup. Kate is the author of the new book, Money: A Love Story. She’s leading a live online event called A Course in Having Enough with guest teachers Marianne Williamson, Barbara Stanny, and Amanda Steinberg. This course is free when you purchase Money: A Love Story. Get details at www.moneyalovestory.com. It’s no mystery that the road to wealth can come with some emotional turmoil. Anyone who tells you that…

  • 4 steps to finding financial improvement (33 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. The two worst years of my financial life were 2007 to 2009. Before 2007, our income was low, but our expenses were low, too. We didn’t save much, but we didn’t spend more than we earned, either. Then we saw our dream house. And we bought it while we still owned our first house. For two years, we had two mortgages. Suddenly, even though our income was…

  • You Are the Boss of You: How to Find Success with Life and Money (71 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. It marks his return as a contributor to this site. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. “What do you think is the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people?” an interviewer asked me earlier this week. “Well, I don’t like to make generalizations,” I said, “but I’ve thought about this question a lot. While there are certainly…

  • The high cost of saying ‘no’ (25 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Before I became a full-time freelancer, I worked in the communications department at a large non-profit. The organization hosted several events every year, from small local workshops to huge statewide conferences, and we always needed to fill some holes in the event schedule. This was never easy. Many times it was on my department to come up with extra presentations. That meant that my three bosses always…

  • Should you ever work for free? (42 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. I lose count of my “jobs” these days: my literary writing (that theoretically pays, or had better one day or else), a nonprofit board on which I serve as president, and the magazine I started last summer. While I certainly put the same intensity into everything, I can definitely say that I work more hours for free than I do for pay. So when I got the advice from a…

  • Reader Stories: How I built up the courage to quit a promising career with a six-figure salary (42 comments)

    This reader story is from a longtime GRS reader Sumitha, who blogs at afineparent.com. 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. I said goodbye to a promising career with a six-figure salary last month. I have dreamed about this moment for over…

  • Financial advice for my former self (80 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Holly Johnson. This year, our office welcomed a 24-year-old professional into our tight-knit group. Aside from making everyone else in the office feel really, really old, it’s been fun and exciting learning what the younger generation is into these days. Let’s face it — her life is much more exciting than mine. On weekend evenings when I can be found bathing my kids, making meal plans, and doing…

  • 9 traits of underearners (75 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. I just read Barbara Stanny’s “Secrets of Six-Figure Women.” I was happy to find that I share similar traits to the 150 women she interviewed. But there was a section that stood out to me, mostly because I didn’t expect it to stand out to me. We previously reviewed Stanny’s book “Overcoming Underearing.” Guest reviewer Jeremy M. wrote: “[Stanny] learned that the big difference between highly successful…

  • Friends and philosophies of personal finance (32 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. Recently one of my bridesmaids came to my city to attend a professional conference, and we were fortunate to be able to spend some time together as well. This is not a friend I had talked about money with before, despite having known her for over 15 years. It came up on this trip because she just quit her job in Boston to move to Atlanta with…

  • Building a life we value (57 comments)

    The reason why I think “earn more” is better than “spend less” is not simply because more money gives us more options to amass a positive net worth, or because I don’t like to spent my time transporting my garbage to somebody else’s trash dump. I think this way mainly because I cherish human work and creativity, and I see wealth as the accumulated expression of this work. This deep appreciation of human activity is…

  • Ask the Readers: What are your favorite personal finance blogs? (159 comments)

    Of course, you’re a loyal reader of Get Rich Slowly – and we certainly appreciate it! But what other blogs do you read, and why do you like them? Many readers have mentioned Mr. Money Mustache as a new fave. What do you like about his style? What have you learned from him? Then there are the long-time PF sites like WiseBread, Consumerist, Consumerism Commentary, Money Crashers, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and…

  • My New Year’s resolution: lowering the bar for happiness (68 comments)

    A blog to which I contribute recently won a contest, and upon finding out, my boyfriend suggested that we celebrate. “Oh, no, it’s not a huge deal,” I told him. “It was just a small contest.” He responded, “But if you wouldn’t have won, you’d be upset, right?” “Yeah,” I admitted. “So why not be happy now?” My friends, I have set the bar for happiness way too high. I’ve made happiness an emotionally expensive…

  • The morality of personal finance (80 comments)

    I was running last Sunday night. I had waited too long to start my run, and it was dark. I’ve taken to using my iPhone to track my runs, because I’m very motivated by the additive nature of all my runs over time. (I’m over 900 miles!) But I don’t like to use the earbuds when running in the city, especially at night, because of the need to stay alert for those pesky fast cars;…

  • This year, switch and get things done (28 comments)

    Friends: this is only an arbitrary calendar, but still, it’s a nice mental paradigm to start counting again from day one. Don’t forget to write the correct year when you write your next check! (That is, if you still write checks.) Speaking of checks, and balances, I don’t have a crystal ball, so at the time of writing this I don’t yet know if by the time of publication we’ll have gone over the “fiscal…

  • Take a deep breath: Letting go of financial stress (31 comments)

    I’ve been reading through some of my old posts and thinking about what I wanted for this, my very-end-of-the-year statement on money. And what I saw was a lot (a lot) of angst and worry and stress. It was appropriate, as I’d spent most of the day in a kind of crazy wound-up worked-up state, getting ready for what should be a lovely, restful retreat with a few friends from my writer’s group. Part of…

  • Getting rich slowly on my own terms (47 comments)

    Over the last six months, I have had several articles published at Get Rich Slowly. However, I have never had the pleasure of formally introducing myself. My name is Holly Johnson, and I am a 32 year-old wife and mother of two young children. I work alongside my husband at a small family owned mortuary in the rural Midwest. I began my own journey out of debt a little over two years ago, and it…

  • More fun with life and death (29 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. I’ve always assumed that I’m screwed, longevity-wise. With a father and a grandfather who had heart attacks in their 60s and an uncle who had a stroke in his early 70s, I figured the genetic cards were stacked against me, at least when it comes…

  • When you just can’t get the important stuff done (38 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. This post is not for those of you who have focused minds and empty “to do” lists. Nay, not for those rarefied people who go to bed knowing that they got just about…

  • Ask the Readers: Do Your Morals Cost You More? (163 comments)

    This is a guest post from personal finance writer Gwendolyn Pearce. I’m considering building a chicken coop. I’m thinking about this choice because paying over $5 for a dozen eggs seems ridiculous. Especially when compared to the carton of bleach-white generic eggs beside them for $1.04. But I take the $5 eggs every time because they are free-range and organic and (despite the debate on whether organic is actually better) I feel they are worth…

  • The Power of Personal Tranformation: Change Your Self, Change the World (116 comments)

    Note: On July 8th, I gave the closing keynote at World Domination Summit 2012. After listening to Brené Brown talk about vulnerability, Susan Cain talk about introversion, Scott Harrison talk about building wells in Africa, and Chris Brogan talk about bravery — after listening to all of these professional speakers, I took the stage. I’m just an average guy. I shared what I’ve learned about how to change your life. This is the text of…

  • World Domination Summit 2012: Community, Adventure, Service (66 comments)

    Last June, I helped nine friends do something crazy. With the help of a few dozen volunteers, we staged a conference at the Portland Art Museum. We called this conference the World Domination Summit. After a year of planning and tons of work and worry, five hundred people came together and…well, the experience was truly awesome. This year, we repeated the experiment but on a larger scale. Last weekend, this same group of ten people…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Do You Spend on Self Improvement? (160 comments)

    I’m a firm believer in personal development. Self-improvement is part of living a rich life. In fact, when I started this blog six years ago, the self-improvement category was one of the first I implemented. Over the years, I’ve published dozens of articles on the subject, including: Getting to now: How to beat the procrastination habit The power of yes: A simple way to get more out of life Luck is no accident: 10 ways…

  • The Power of Community (65 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 Meagan Van, a long-time GRS reader. Sitting on my computer is a Post-It Note that was supposed…

  • Just One Thing: A Simple Way to Make Changes to Your Life (46 comments)

    As part of my recent vow to do what I love, I’ve been spending a lot more time with friends. Lately, for example, my friend Castle and I have been meeting once per week to hike though Portland’s Forest Park. One bond that Castle and I share is a desire to improve our lives. Just as I’ve lost fifty pounds over the past couple of years, she’s in the middle of a weight-loss journey. But…

  • 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…

  • Time Sinks and Passion: More Thoughts on Time Management (46 comments)

    One advantage of bringing back the short afternoon posts here at Get Rich Slowly is it’ll give me a chance to carry on more of a dialogue with you, the readers. For instance, there was a good conversation over Friday’s post about how I’ve become a magician of time. One reader, Alex, is a college student, and he wants to know how to tell is something is a waste of time. He wrote: I was…

  • A Magician of Time (92 comments)

    It’s strange sometimes to see yourself through other people’s eyes. Others see things — both good and bad — that you don’t see in yourself. “I see you as outdoorsy,” a new friend told me the other day, which caught me off guard. I’ve never thought of myself that way. Or a few months ago, a friend told me, “Every time I see you, you’re doing something amazing.” Me? I love my life, but much…

  • Kickstart New Habits with a 30-Day Challenge (52 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. I never make New Year’s resolutions. I’ve got nothing against them, but I’m usually already working on resolutions made throughout the previous year. I’m too impatient to wait for an arbitrary day to start changing something in my life. One example? Less-than-healthful holiday eating habits. I’m a health nut by nature — I crave kale, and soft drinks have zero appeal. But on December 25, you can…

  • Want to Save Money? Slow Down (94 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. About a year ago I sprained my ankle pretty badly. It happened as I ran out of a burning orphanage, carrying half a dozen toddlers. Okay, that’s a lie. But it sure sounds cooler than the truth, which is “I was woolgathering and fell down some…

  • Empower Your Willpower (23 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 my fundamental beliefs about money is that it mostly comes down to self-control: Making yourself do the right things and preventing yourself from doing the wrong things. I’ve discussed this before…

  • Finish What You Start (57 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Last week I realized something: I’ve been playing piano consistently for more than one year. That’s a feat considering that I’ve wanted to play for as far back as I can remember. I’ve started and stopped lessons countless times (since fourth grade), bought a few “10 steps to playing piano” type of books, and have had a piano in my house for more than eight years, yet…

  • How to Know When to Quit (62 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Before I became a full-time freelancer, I worked for a couple of different companies. Both times I started a new job, it started out exciting and fun. Great benefits! Cool perks! Interesting work! After a year or two, it got harder to get up in the morning and face an eight-hour day of doing whatever it was I was hired to do. By years three to five,…

  • Overcoming Uncertainty (43 comments)

    I met an old friend for lunch the other day. Andrew and I have known each other since the first day of first grade — way back in 1975. “You know,” he said as we slurped down Asian noodles, “when I first reconnected with you fifteen years ago, you were pretty much the same guy you were in high school. Even five years ago, you were still that same J.D. But now you’re different —…

  • How to Learn a Foreign Language Without Spending a Cent (88 comments)

    Last week at Far Away Places (my new travel blog), I shared some tips on how to learn Spanish fast. The short version: Hire a tutor. But what if you can’t afford a tutor? What if you don’t want to spend money but still want to learn a language? In this guest post from Benny Lewis, the Irish polyglot, he shares tips on how to learn a language on the cheap. For more info, visit…

  • Paying for What You Could Get Free (57 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Each month I pay about $400 to reach personal goals. These are goals that won’t make me money, and they certainly aren’t saving me money, but nonetheless, they are important to me. That’s a lot of money to spend on hobbies and recreation, especially considering that I could probably make headway on my goals on my own — for free. For example, there’s my yoga practice. I’ve…

  • Ask the Readers: When Is It Not Your Fault? (256 comments)

    In popular American mythology, the rich work hard for their wealth. They’ve earned it. They deserve it. While this is often true, everyone can cite instances of people who have money due to fate and circumstance, not because of hard work and perseverance. The same holds true for folks at the opposite end of the spectrum. Yes, there are plenty of people who are poor or in debt due to their own bad choices. But…

  • What Do You Care What Other People Think? (181 comments)

    Yesterday afternoon, I shared a biking vs. driving calculator that tries to show how much you could save if you gave up your car in favor of other forms of transportation. Whenever I post a story about biking more and driving less, some readers feel judged. They worry that those of us who drive less think we’re somehow better than they are. Yesterday, for instance, Elaine wrote: I must say that articles like these bruise…

  • World Domination and the Pursuit of Happiness (67 comments)

    My friend Chris Guillebeau never rests. Over the past few years, he’s written a best-selling book, visited every U.S. state and Canadian province (except Nunavut, but why quibble?), and traveled to more than 150 countries — all while maintaining a popular blog. Not one to rest on his laurels, last summer Guillebeau hatched a plan to bring a bunch of dreamers and writers and entrepreneurs and travelers to Portland for a convention. He wanted to…

  • 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…

  • The Power of Patience (57 comments)

    When I was young, I had no patience. I wanted everything, and I wanted it now. No wonder, then, that I found myself with over $20,000 in credit-card debt just a few years out of college. I was spending to obtain a lifestyle that I wouldn’t be able to afford until I was older. Much older. I’m not the only one with this problem. Many young adults graduate from college or leave home, and suddenly…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should You Spend on Self Improvement? (89 comments)

    Ah, it’s good to be home and finally getting back into something of a routine. As part of that routine, I’ve been reading hundreds of e-mails, including quite a few reader questions — like this one from Annie. Annie writes: I’m 25, and starting to take personal finance seriously. I’m in graduate school, and am very fortunate to have an educational trust that allows me to do this without loans. Knowing how lucky I am,…

  • 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…

  • Calling the Shots: How to Be the CEO of Your Own Life (31 comments)

    This is a guest post from Flexo, creator of Consumerism Commentary, one of the first independent blogs to focus on personal finance. During the 1990s, my financial life was like a Caribbean cruise ship during hurricane season: I was in a cabin at the center of the ship, unaware of the storms approaching from the horizon. By 2001, I’d wandered onto the deck in the midst of Hurricane Debt and Failure; I found myself in…

  • The Importance of Salary Negotiation (76 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. I have a good friend who recently graduated from MIT with a PhD in something I can’t even pronounce, let alone do. Even in this rocky economy, he has competing job offers. That’s a great position to be in, and I’m happy for him. But when he told me about his options,…

  • One Problem, One Correction: How to Set New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep (54 comments)

    A new year is coming, and for many people that means it’s time to make a list of resolutions. I used to be one of these folks, carefully cataloging the faults I’d like to fix every winter. Not anymore. It’s not that I’m perfect — as my wife would attest, I’m far from it! — but I’ve learned that a long list of resolutions was a sure path to failure. There’s a reason you see…

  • In Praise of Work-Life Balance (47 comments)

    I went running with my friend Dan the other day. As we ran, we chatted. “You know, J.D.,” he said. “It seems like you have the perfect life.” I laughed. I think that Dan seems to have the perfect life — funny how the grass is often greener on the other side of the fence. “My life is good,” I said, “but it’s not perfect. Besides, I’ve had to work hard to get things where…

  • Productivity Hack: Using the Web to Minimize Internet Distractions (55 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. There have been days when I’ve wasted an embarrassing amount of time mindlessly surfing the Internet. While I try to make that the exception rather than the rule, it’s a massive time suck that usually puts me behind on things I actually needed to do that day. Obviously the web makes life easier in many respects. We have virtually every type of media, every bit of information,…

  • What to Do When You’re Completely Unsure (26 comments)

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

  • Welcome to Generation App (51 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joseph D’Agnese who, with his wife Denise Kiernan, wrote The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed, which sets forth a personal finance system for people with not-so-regular jobs. You can follow them on Twitter: @The_Money_Book. Hey you! Yeah, you hunched over the smart phone. How about giving the opposable thumbs a rest and joining the real world? No, I’m not advocating renouncing your phone forever. (God knows,…

  • How to Use a Commitment Contract to Change Your Habits (45 comments)

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

  • Action Not Words: The Difference Between Talkers and Doers (104 comments)

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

  • How to Build Confidence and Overcome Fear (36 comments)

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

  • Productivity Lagging? Take a Siesta (35 comments)

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

  • Downshifting: The First Day of the Rest of My Life (76 comments)

    “This is it,” I told my wife last Monday. “This is what?” Kris asked. “This is the first day of the rest of my life,” I said. She knew what I meant. For the past few years, I’ve been living in a self-created whirlwind of busy-ness. I know a blog like this often seems calm and quiet on the surface, but underneath there’s usually a flurry of turbulent activity. “Look,” I said, showing her my…

  • Patience and Personal Finance (29 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I used to describe myself as impatient as though it were a trait of which to be proud. While I still have a long way to go, I think back on that and have to smile and shake my head. Impatience is the quickest route to misery. I recently read an article by Eknath Easwaran, teacher, author, and founder of Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, called…

  • Social Capital: More Valuable Than Money? (63 comments)

    I’m back! After ten days boating through southeast Alaska (and two days of recovery), I’m ready to think about personal finance once again. Actually, it’ll probably come as no surprise that I never stopped thinking about personal finance. Even while we were skirting among ice floes, pulling up prawns, and admiring whales, my mind never strayed far from the topic of money. (I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it’s the truth.) It’d…

  • Struggling with Time-Debt (51 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. I recently found myself, late one night, staring at my computer screen with a sinking, hard feeling in my stomach and a bad taste in my mouth. A familiar bad taste. The taste of debt. But I wasn’t looking at my bank statement — I was looking at my calendar. I’d borrowed…

  • Spend Based on Who You Are, Not Who You Want to Be (110 comments)

    Last Thursday, on April Fool’s Day, I wrote about my obsession with gadgets and how much that’s cost me over the years. As always, your comments and stories were more entertaining (and instructive) than the post itself. In fact, a comment from chacha1 gave me a flash of insight. She wrote: The thing that’s a *headdesk* for me is the digital piano in my dining room. It’s an excellent instrument, but at the time I…

  • A Two-Step Approach to Breaking Bad Money Habits (20 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Bad money habits, like other bad habits, can be tough to break. Relying on willpower alone to stop cold turkey makes us long even more for the Stuff or the behavior that we’ve forbidden ourselves. The focus becomes solely on what we can’t have, which sets us up for failure. We’ll lapse, feel guilty, and the cycle repeats. Think about people who lose 70 pounds on…

  • Book Review: The Other 8 Hours (75 comments)

    Before I started Get Rich Slowly, I was a slacker. I’d get up in the morning and drive to a job I hated where I gave almost no effort. When I came home in the evening, I’d fritter away my time: I watched TV, played Magic: The Gathering, and — most of all — whiled away the hours with World of Warcraft or other computer games. As I started my financial turnaround, I made a…

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

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

  • Resisting the Time Suck (93 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I usually have an idea of what I want to accomplish once I get home from work. It goes something like this: Practice yoga. Get some writing done. Make a fabulous, healthy dinner. Work on my business. Read something thought-provoking. But I never seemed to accomplish all I set out to do. Sometimes I’d accomplish none of it. Other activities would get in the way, and my evening…

  • The High Cost of Clutter (81 comments)

    This post is from new staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Last week, J.D. wrote about Stuff; today, Sierra shares her thoughts on the costs of clutter. Do you have piles of papers lurking on your desk? Mountains of laundry looming beside your bed? Shelves double-stacked with knick-knacks? I have a bit of a clutter problem myself. The other day, I spent…

  • Book Review: The Happiness Project (47 comments)

    One of my core beliefs is this: It’s more important to be happy than it is to be rich. My personal experience bears this out (though I’m fortunate to be both), as do the anecdotes I receive from GRS readers. In fact, of all my fourteen philosophies, this one is most important. It’s so important that I chose to open Your Money: The Missing Manual with a chapter on happiness. No surprise then that for…

  • Should You Really Be Reading This Post? (54 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. Let’s say it’s 8 p.m. on a weekday. Or 2 p.m. on a Saturday. Or maybe 3 a.m. in the middle of a night when you can’t sleep. Whatever time it is, assume it’s…

  • What We Know, Don’t Know, and Never Knew (49 comments)

    One of the toughest parts of writing Your Money: The Missing Manual (and writing Get Rich Slowly every day) has been the constant feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m an accidental personal finance “expert”. I have no formal training in this stuff; instead, I’ve just read tons of books, blogs, and magazines, and have listened to other people’s stories. I know the things I’ve done worked for me, but how can I…

  • Take Control of Your Finances by Building on What You Already Know (26 comments)

    This post is from new staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra has provided several great guest posts over the last few months, so I asked her to come aboard as a semi-regular staff writer. Good thing, too. I’m swamped with final book preparations, so my post for this morning wasn’t ready to go! Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. The most important trick to managing your finances…

  • Great Lessons from Great Men (67 comments)

    Because I write a personal finance blog, I read a lot of books about money. I’ll be honest: they’re usually pretty boring. Sure, they can tell you how to invest in bonds or how to find the latest loophole in the tax code. But most of them lack a certain something: the human element. Recently I’ve begun to read a different kind of money book in my spare time. I’ve discovered the joy of classic…

  • Break Out of Your Comfort Zone to Achieve Success (44 comments)

    This is a guest post from Flexo of Consumerism Commentary. Flexo is embarking on a ten-day, ten-blog tour. Previously at Get Rich Slowly, he’s shared how to be CFO of your own life. Humans are wired to seek comfort, and as a result much of daily life is focused around familiar patterns and habits. When something threatens to break those habits, we feel uncomfortable and nervous. These negative feelings are easily avoided by continuing to…

  • Notes on Self-Study from a Killjoy Perfectionist (35 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I have a friend who just doesn’t see himself. He has declared bankruptcy twice and alcohol abuse landed him in jail for the past year. Despite losing almost everything, when he was released he was talking about how much money it would cost to get his iPhone back in service. To make the situation more frustrating, he largely blames others for his circumstances. We all know someone…

  • Happy New Year! My One Goal for 2010 (73 comments)

    As an amazing 2009 fades into the sunset, it’s time to review my progress and look forward to the year to come. Am I a better person than I was a year ago? (I believe so.) How can I be even better at the end of this year? As in 2008 and 2009, I’m not setting resolutions for 2010. I’m setting goals. When I set goals, I don’t feel like I’m trying to become somebody…

  • Action Beats Inaction (50 comments)

    This article is the 13th of a 14-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. Five years ago, I was a different man. I had no savings, retirement or otherwise. I was literally living paycheck-to-paycheck on $42,000 a year. (Meaning: I had between $0 and $20 every time I got paid.) I was over $35,000 in debt. I had a job I hated because it had no meaning in my life. I…

  • Failure is Okay (55 comments)

    This article is the 10th of a 14-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. Yesterday, for the first time in my 40-1/2 years on this earth, I went ice skating. Initially, I was scared to try, but I eventually gave in to the taunts from my eight- and ten-year-old friends. I love roller skating and I’m not too bad at it, but the ice skating…well, it sucked. It took me eight…

  • Don’t Just Thank…Act! (15 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker has recently come to realize that there will always be an excuse not to give if you look for one. As the holiday season approaches each year, we’re reminded to reflect on those things we’re most thankful for. Some of these remain consistent from year to year. Occasionally, a dramatic life experience — either positive or negative — will stir things up, adding new items to…

  • Knocking Out the Beliefs That Hold You Back (69 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. A college professor once told my journalism class that freelance writing is something you should do on the side. It’s not anything you could make a living at full-time.  I graduated and worked at an office job until I decided I wanted to become self-employed and do something that would give me more free time to write. A real job and a writer on the side,…

  • Happier (79 comments)

    “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” — Aristotle For a long time, I was unhappy. I used to think that this was because of my overwhelming debt. I believed that if I were debt-free, happiness would come to me. It didn’t. After I paid off my consumer debt, I was still unhappy. “Maybe it’s my job,” I thought. I’d always hated working for the…

  • Lighting a Fire: How to Overcome Procrastination (49 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. This article is particularly relevant to my own circumstances as I begin work on my book project. I’ve been procrastinating. A lot. In fact, I liked April’s piece so much I’ve delayed my own article that I had scheduled to run this morning. I like to say that I write well under pressure, and to a degree, it’s true. Nevertheless, most writers would agree that writing…

  • What’s the Difference Between High-Income Earners and Low-Income Earners? (232 comments)

    In June, a user at Ask Metafilter wondered: What are the differences between someone who makes $100,000/year and someone who makes $30,000? As you might expect, this question generated a lot of discussion — all of it interesting. Many commenters noted that, from their experience, high-income earners generally exhibited several of the following traits: They maintain a strong work ethic. They don’t watch the clock. They seek to improve their skills. They do quality work….

  • Discovering (and Challenging) Your Financial Values (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Karawynn, who writes about personal finance at Pocketmint. Karawynn is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. In her first article, she visited the Island of Misfit Foods. Karawynn has been blogging since before “blogging” was a word. My parents taught me nothing about money management. My dad opened a checking account for me in high school and showed me how to use the checkbook register. Beyond that,…

  • Failing Forward: Transforming Mistakes into Success (22 comments)

    Sometimes the best personal finance books aren’t about personal finance. In June 2006, for example, I shared a brief review of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Ostensibly this book is about creativity and overcoming procrastination, but I found its lessons valuable for pursuing my financial goals. Last year I read Mastery by George Leonard. On the surface, this book has nothing to do with money, yet it’s one of the best books about money…

  • 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…

  • Have More by Choosing Less (27 comments)

    As I search for simplicity in my life, I’ve realized that it’s not just about purging Stuff. Stuff is simply the physical representation of an overall pattern of clutter. In order to accomplish what I want to accomplish, I need to sort and purge the mental mess, too. Over at Unclutterer yesterday, Erin shared her guide to “having it all”. She explains how she’s able to lead a full life without getting bogged down by…

  • Financial Serenity – The Missing Ingredient (24 comments)

    This is a guest post from Neal Frankle, a Certified Financial Planner and the blogger at The Wealth Pilgrim. Please stand up if you read Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. Now sit down if you work less than 40 hours per week. Still standing? I thought so. Me too. Tim’s book is great, no question about it, but let’s face it: we already know just about everything we need in order to be financially successful….

  • Further Research on Money and Happiness (53 comments)

    Recent research confirms what many GRS readers already know: money doesn’t buy happiness. At the University of Rochester, psychology professors Edward Deci and Richard Ryan and graduate student Christopher Niemic spent two years tracking recent college graduates to determine the effects of various “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” goals. According to the official press release: Aspirations were identified as either “intrinsic” or “extrinsic” by asking participants how much they valued having “deep, enduring relationships” and “helping others…

  • Where We’re Starting From (30 comments)

    Each of us has a unique relationship with money. Some have always used it wisely, have saved, have avoided debt. Others, like me, have struggled. I carried consumer debt for 20 years. I didn’t open my first savings account until I was 36 years old. But now, after just over four years of intense effort, I feel financially secure. I still make mistakes (boy, do I!), but my momentum is leading me in the direction…

  • Book Review: Overcoming Underearning (15 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jeremy M, who writes about experiencing a full life at Lucid Living. When I asked GRS readers recently which books they’d like to see revieweed here, Overcoming Underearning was near the top of the list. Jeremy volunteered to review it, so I sent him a copy! Barbara Stanny’s Overcoming Underearning is not what I expected it to be. When I read the title, I expected a book about how…

  • How to Build Confidence and Destroy Fear (102 comments)

    Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. — Yoda Last week I did something that scared the hell out of me. I stood in front of nearly 200 financial planners and I talked to them about why financial blogs are a good thing. I’m a confident writer. I’ve been doing this long enough that I know my strengths and my limitations. I’ve…

  • George Kinder: Three Questions about Life Planning (31 comments)

    I spent last Tuesday at the mid-winter conference of the local financial planning association. I was there to give a one-hour presentation about financial blogs, but I had a secondary motive. I wanted to hear the keynote speaker, George Kinder. George Kinder takes a unique approach to financial planning. He moves beyond the numbers and tries to address the goals and values of the client. Kinder calls this method “life planning”. From his website: Life…

  • How to Make Your Own Luck (86 comments)

    The current issue of Newsweek (cover-dated 02 February 2009) has a fantastic article from Ben Sherwood entitled “What It Takes to Survive”. Ostensibly, this piece is about how people handle crises. Why do some people panic, some people lead — and most people stand around in a daze? This larger topic is fascinating, of course, but even more interesting is the article’s sub-theme: some people are lucky and some are not. But what we think…

  • How to Replace Bad Financial Habits With Good Ones (51 comments)

    This is a guest post from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. His first book, The Power of Less, was recently published by Hyperion. It was Aristotle who said, “We are what we repeatedly do … Excellence is therefore not an act but a habit.” If that’s true, it makes sense that if we’re having financial problems, they probably stem from our financial habits. Bad financial habits lead to overspending, too much debt, a house full…

  • Commitment Contracts and StickK.com (21 comments)

    It is not difficult to change for a day. But it can seem almost impossible to change for a year — or a week. Though 2009 is only eight days old, I suspect that many folks are already struggling with their New Year’s resolutions. This problem is the driving force behind StickK.com. StickK helps users to set — and stick to — “commitment contracts”. Here’s how it works: After signing up with stickK, you will…

  • Book Review: The Power of Less (31 comments)

    Today I am reviewing new books written by two colleagues: Trent from The Simple Dollar and Leo from Zen Habits. As you read these reviews, please remember that I am friends with both authors. Zen Habits is one of my favorite weblogs. For the past two years, Leo Babauta’s exploration of productivity and simple living has helped me make the most of my time. (Plus sometimes, like yesterday, he just hits it out of the…

  • How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick (77 comments)

    Yesterday a GRS reader named “P” pointed me to a New York Times article from Alex Williams, who writes that change isn’t easy. Williams notes that about 80% of those who make resolutions on New Year’s Day fall off the wagon by the middle of February. The article isn’t as depressing as that opening might lead you to believe. It offers glimpses of why people fail to keep resolutions — and offers tips for how…

  • One Year Later: Checking My Goals for 2008 (55 comments)

    Last year, I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I set goals. “I don’t like long lists of resolutions,” I wrote. “You need focus to achieve a goal. If you set too many goals, it’s difficult to keep them all in mind. When you lose sight of a goal, you begin to drift.” At the start of 2008 I shared three goals for the year: To save a $10,000 emergency fund. To lose 40…

  • What’s Your Why? The Importance of Finding Meaning in Your Life (28 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Jeremy Martin. You’ve heard the phrase, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” I’ve often wondered about that — should we really settle for half the return just to have a sure thing right now? It could be argued, and convincingly, that our love of immediate gratification is why so many people have so much debt now. Of course, what are…

  • Book Review: Work the System (9 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation. This is a guest post from Winston, the Get Rich Slowly “intern”. Sam Carpenter has written an intriguing book about how his approach to owning and managing his telecommunications company in Central Oregon has changed dramatically to positively impact his life, both in immeasurable and measurable ways. Work The System: The Simple Mechanics of Working Less and Making More takes the reader through the first 15 years of Carpenter’s chaotic and…

  • Finding Time to Pursue Your Dreams: Free Up 750 Hours a Year with One Simple Change (91 comments)

    This is a guest post from Erica Douglass. Erica sold her successful business and “temporarily retired” at age 26. Having made over $1 million online, she is now sharing her business knowledge with over 10,000 people every month at erica.biz. There is one reason most of us don’t learn how to invest, start a business, or even can our own food — we just don’t have the time to do those projects. Between jobs that…

  • Museum Day 2008: Free Museum Admission This Saturday (14 comments)

    Looking for some frugal fun this weekend? Saturday is Museum Day in the United Sates — a chance to get into local museums for free. This event is presented by Smithsonian Magazine and a handful of sponsors. According to the magazine’s website: Enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to hundreds of museums and cultural venues nationwide Saturday, September 27, 2008. Present the Museum Day admission card to receive free general admission at…

  • Warren Buffett’s Ten Secrets to Wealth and Life (46 comments)

    Warren Buffett is the richest man in the world, yet his reputation for frugality, folksy wisdom, and straight talk make him seem like just a regular guy, like he might be the billionaire next door. He’s one of my heroes. Several Buffett biographies have seen print over the years — The Making of an America Capitalist, The Good Guy of Wall Street, etc. — but at the end of September, author Alice Schroeder will publish…

  • Financial Success Comes from Within (36 comments)

    This is a guest post from Flexo at Consumerism Commentary, the granddaddy of personal finance blogs. Previously at GRS, he shared how to be the Chief Financial Officer of your own life. Success, financial or otherwise, comes from within. According to studies by psychologists and researchers, people with an internal locus of control are more apt to plan for long-term goals, delay gratification, and accept more risk for the promise of more reward. These qualities…

  • The Psychology of Happiness: 13 Steps to a Better Life (104 comments)

    We think we know what will make us happy, but we don’t. Many of us believe that money will make us happy, but it won’t. Except for the very poor, money cannot buy happiness. Instead of dreaming of vast wealth, we should dream of close friends and healthy bodies and meaningful work. The psychology of happiness Several years ago, James Montier, a “global equity strategist”, took a break from investing in order to publish a…

  • The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing It All Gets Nothing Done (62 comments)

    Multitasking has killed my productivity. At this moment, on this computer, I have: Five open browser windows with a total of 59 open tabs (in Safari) 79 open text documents (in BBEdit) — I am not joking 14 open images (in Photoshop) 55 unread messages in my mailbox (and 48 additional unread Get Rich Slowly comments) Three open chat sessions Seven open word processing documents (in Microsoft Word) And ten other open applications That’s 227…

  • Reader Success Story: How I Gave Myself a Raise (20 comments)

    Jon wrote yesterday to share a success story of personal finance principles in action. Here’s a slightly modified version of his e-mail. I’ve been a reading personal finance blogs for some time now, and one thing I’ve seen repeated over and over is: if you are looking for a raise, the easiest thing to do is to ask for one. I was skeptical of this advice until this last week when I made it work…

  • The Key to Getting Things Done (19 comments)

    This is a guest post from Philip Brewer of Wise Bread, a personal finance and frugality blog. Philip is one of my favorite personal finance writers. Today, however, he’s sharing about productivity. I spent many years working for various companies that, like most businesses, were more or less dysfunctional.  They were places where priorities constantly shifted, where every day brought a new emergency, and where managers and peers might show up at any time with…

  • Use Written Goals to Pursue Your Dreams (22 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jim, my friend and colleague at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. A few months ago, my wife and some of her friends decided to start a book club. They recently held their second meeting, at which they discussed Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. My wife and I both attended Carnegie Mellon University, where Professor Pausch taught. He was very well known even before his Last Lecture, and so my wife…

  • Dangerous Norms: When a Treat Becomes a Routine Matter (54 comments)

    This is a guest post from Trent Hamm, who writes about frugality and fighting debt at The Simple Dollar. When I was young, going out to eat at a restaurant was a rare treat, something to anticipate and savor. About twice a year, we would go to an elegant buffet restaurant called Johnny’s Supper Club in a nearby town. I looked forward to eating at Johnny’s for days in advance, plotting all the different delicious…

  • 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…

  • Network Your Way to Job Security (42 comments)

    This is a guest post from Brandt Smith, who writes for Wealth and Wisdom, a blog focused on helping you achieve wealth and life balance through entrepreneurship. I was stunned but not surprised when Don wouldn’t meet my eyes that morning. I had grown suspicious when he started passing me over earlier that week while handing out new projects. I was responsible for 40% of the workload in a three man group — why else…

  • The Nonconformists’ Guide to Personal Finance (84 comments)

    This is a guest post from Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Non-Conformity. It’s long. It’s good. If you can’t read it all now, bookmark it and come back later. It’s worth it. Earlier this week, Chris released a short (and free) e-book called A Brief Guide to World Domination. It’s all about rejecting mediocrity and pursuing a higher purpose. I recommend it highly. My short life as a daytrader In my second year of…

  • 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…

  • Closing the Gap Between Dreams and Reality (32 comments)

    While sorting through reader e-mail yesterday morning, I began to detect a subtle recurring theme. People were writing because they had a goal in mind, but their present circumstances seemed to be far from their intended destination. These two points were so far apart, in fact, that my correspondents were afraid to begin moving. Because the distance seemed overwhelming, they were paralyzed. The importance of action I used to feel this way, too. I would…

  • A Rather Obvious Metaphor for Personal Finance Couched in a True Story About Physical Fitness (8 comments)

    This piece originally appeared at Andrea’s Consultant Journal in a slightly different format. Exercise is a funny thing. When you start a fitness regimen, you feel awful, especially if it’s been months (or years) since you’ve been physically active. The first couple of weeks can be grueling. But once you make it a habit, once you find the groove, exercise can become exhilarating, even addictive. During the summer of 1997, I lost 40 pounds. My…

  • RescueTime: Free Time-Management Software (28 comments)

    “How much time do you spend blogging?” people often ask me. “I don’t know,” I say. “A lot. Probably forty to sixty hours a week.” I’ve always wished I could provide a better answer to that question. Now I can. During his recent “fireside chat” with Google, Tim Ferriss mentioned a new application he’s been using called RescueTime. He didn’t elaborate, only mentioning it in an off-hand sort of way, but I was intrigued. It…

  • Life After School: Advice for New Graduates (50 comments)

    On Tuesday evening I gave my first-ever presentation about personal finance. I spoke to a group of about 70 graduating seniors from Western Oregon University. My talk went okay. It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t good. It’s a start. I learned a lot, and I’ll do better next time. I was the fourth and final speaker of the evening, though. Before I talked about personal finance, three WOU alums spoke about life after college….

  • Some Thoughts on Goals and Adult Education (44 comments)

    Last night, Kris and I had dinner with Craig and Lisa. Craig is an architect. Lisa is a technical writer who has spent the past few years as a stay-at-home mother. (Lisa contributed two GRS guest posts last year: How to find great deals on eBay and Career advice for the college graduate.) Now that their children are a little older, Lisa has the itch to return to the workplace, to find some non-motherly pursuit…

  • Seven Traits of Successful People (45 comments)

    This is a guest post from Pinyo, author of Moolanomy, a personal finance blog about money, wealth, investing, and more. Ever wonder why some people can never do wrong? I have been observing successful people around me, and experimenting with different ideas. Here are the seven traits that I’ve found work well for me in many situations. I think they will make you richer and more successful in many ways. Successful people know what they…

  • The Magic of Thinking Small (41 comments)

    There’s an old man who lives down the street. I don’t know his name, but every day I see him walking up and down the road with his cane. He moves slowly. He always wears the same thing: faded denim pants, a lightweight tan jacket, and a bright orange cap. For one hour every day — rain or shine — he walks up and down the street. Every day. We live on a steep hill,…

  • Luck Is No Accident: 10 Ways to Get More out of Work and Life (44 comments)

    Some people are luckier than others. How many of you believe this? Why do you believe it? Are you one of the lucky ones? Or does luck seem to pass you by? And just what is luck, anyhow? According to John D. Krumboltz and Al S. Levin, there’s no such thing as luck. In fact, they shirk the use of the word in their book Luck Is No Accident: Making the Most of Happenstance in…

  • The Number One Impact on Your Investments is YOU (18 comments)

    This is a guest post from Kent Thune, The Financial Philosopher, who applies timeless wisdom and inspiration to investing, personal finance, and the economy. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” — Reinhold Niebuhr Recent volatility in the financial markets and a weakening US economy have tested the resolve of even the most patient of investors,…

  • Uncommon Lifestyles and the Truth About the 4-Hour Workweek: An Interview with Tim Ferriss (41 comments)

    One of the fundamental premises of the Get Rich Slowly philosophy is that by making sacrifices and smart moves now, you can create a better life in the future. It’s a philosophy of deferred gratification. But what if you don’t want to wait to enjoy life’s rewards? What if you want to take advantage of opportunities while you’re still young? Is there a way to do this while still maintaining a smart approach to money?…

  • Word2Word: Free Online Language Tools (7 comments)

    Browsing through a collection of old bookmarks recently, I stumbled upon Word2Word Language Resources. Word2Word is a collection of links to free language tools around the web: This site is dedicated to breaking down of language barriers and assisting the users who have the desire to learn a language, a need to communicate between languages, and for those who work with languages as a profession. Don’t let the interface fool you — there’s a lot…

  • Making Progress: An Update on My Goals for 2008 (31 comments)

    On New Year’s Day, I shared my three primary goals for 2008: To save a $10,000 emergency fund. To lose 40 pounds. To write a book about personal finance. Some readers thought setting only three goals for the entire year was “pretty weak”, but this has enabled me to remain focused, and to spend a little time every day working toward each objective. How am I doing? Let’s find out. Save a $10,000 emergency fund…

  • “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…

  • Five Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires (42 comments)

    Several people forwarded a recent Reader’s Digest article about the secrets of self-made millionaires. It’s a quick and inspiring read. “Many modern millionaires live in middle-class neighborhoods, work full-time and shop in discount stores like the rest of us,” writes author Kristyn Kusek Lewis. “What motivates them isn’t material possessions but the choices that money can bring.” She goes on to describe five millionaires and the lessons that can be learned from them: Set your…

  • Some Final Thoughts on Work, Education, and Fulfillment (10 comments)

    I’ve been pleased with our discussion here over the past couple days. Many of you have contributed valuable insights about education and careers. I always tell people that Get Rich Slowly has the best readers — your thoughtful comments continue to impress me. Thank you. Other people have made fine additions to the conversation at their own sites. At All Financial Matters, Meg argues that loving your job is overrated. I believe that she’s correct,…

  • My Three Goals for 2008 (and How I’ll Tackle Them) (55 comments)

    On Monday I suggested that instead of resolutions, you should set goals for the new year — a subtle but important distinction. I also recommended that you keep your list of goals small and manageable. When you set too many goals, you can lose focus, and are more likely to miss your mark. This year, I have three primary goals: To save a $10,000 emergency fund. To lose 40 pounds. To write a book about…

  • The Benefits of Looking Ahead: Success Tips from 1950 (10 comments)

    Happy New Year! As we say “good-bye” to the old year and “hello” to the new, it’s a great chance to look ahead to our plans for the future. I believe that the road to success is paved with goals. Who are the people who are most likely to succeed? What’s the secret of their success? Let’s see if Nick Baxter can help us to find the answer in this short film from 1950: “To…

  • Don’t Make Resolutions — Set Goals for 2008 (42 comments)

    With Christmas past, most of us have begun to focus on our plans for the coming year, making lists of resolutions to improve our lives. But Chuck Jaffe at MartketWatch suggests that this year you ditch the resolutions to focus on goals instead: Concrete goals don’t evaporate in the face of adversity, hardship or laziness. Resolutions are broken — and usually abandoned — with one misstep; goals are such a long journey that bad footwork…

  • The Architecture of Personal Finance: Choosing the Right Materials (14 comments)

    Nearly three years ago, in the original Get Rich Slowly post, I compared smart personal finance to building a house. This is the first part in a series that will explore that analogy. In his excellent Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, Gerald Weinberg describes a simple metaphor for the writing process. Writers, he says, gather fieldstones (ideas) and use them to construct walls or buildings (finished stories). But each stone is different, and so…

  • Clark’s Option Theory: Making the Most of Opportunity (12 comments)

    This guest post from Tim Clark is a response to an “Ask the Readers” segment from two weeks ago. Tim is one of the authors of The Prosperous Peasant. Two Get Rich Slowly readers recently asked whether education is always a good investment. Lisa and Jethro are pondering their futures and wondering whether they should borrow money in order to go back to school. Both Lisa and Jethro seem to be looking at the decision…

  • The Prosperous Peasant: Five Secrets of Fortune and Fulfillment (116 comments)

    One night each month, I meet at a local restaurant with a group of friends. We are the Woodstock Writers Guild. Mostly we eat, drink, and chat, but we also take turns sharing the stuff we’ve written: fantasy novels, horror stories, and even some literary fiction. Though most of us are only aspiring amateurs, we do have one real writer in the group. Mark has published two novels: The Green Age of Asher Witherow and…

  • The Pastoral Lifestyle: A Life Removed from Day-to-Day Concerns (21 comments)

    This is a guest post from Karl Staib. A few months ago, J.D. wrote an interesting review of Voluntary Simplicity, a book dedicated to living a stress-free life. What I found most interesting was not the review, but J.D.’s introduction: For years, one of my goals has been to achieve a “pastoral lifestyle”. This amuses my friends, but it’s true. By “pastoral lifestyle” I mean that I want to create for myself a life that…

  • The Hidden Costs of Stuff (59 comments)

    This is a guest post from Amanda, a Colorado tech writer and an activist for children with congenital heart disease. For a couple of years I’ve been learning the “tips and tricks” to saving money. I’ve read about freezing your credit cards, paying yourself first, the “latte factor,” etc., but the most important thing I’ve learned, I learned from myself: to change the way I live, I had to change the way I think.  …

  • Zen to Done: The SIMPLE Productivity System (27 comments)

    Deep in my heart I want to be organized. Somehow, though, what’s on the inside never manifests itself on the outside. My office is filled with stacks of personal finance books, money magazines, and scribbled notes. My e-mail box is packed with questions from GRS readers, guest posts, and correspondence from friends — sometimes I have time to read this stuff and reply to it, but mostly I don’t. For years, I’ve been searching for…

  • Understanding the Seven Habits of Wealth (38 comments)

    This is a guest post from Dough Roller, a Washington D.C. blogger who writes about building wealth, one dollar at a time. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle We tend to define our lives by the big events: graduation, marriage, children, a big promotion, retirement. What often gets neglected are the little things we do every day, the little things that make the big…

  • Better Use of Leisure Time: Self-Improvement Tips from 1950 (18 comments)

    I’ve written before about how profitable it can be to use your free time to engage in money-making hobbies. But even if your hobbies don’t earn you money directly, you can still use them to develop useful skills, skills that may help you earn more down the road. From 1950, here’s a short film describing the advantages of making better use of leisure time: Time. Leisure time. Did you ever stop to think how much…

  • Museum Day: Get Free Museum Admission This Saturday! (2 comments)

    Jonathan from Deal Locker wrote to tell me that this Saturday is Museum Day in the U.S. — a chance to get into local museums for free. This event has been put together by Smithsonian Magazine and Hyundai. According to the magazine’s web site: Museum Day is a nationwide event taking place on Saturday, September 29, 2007, where participating museums and cultural institutions across the country offer free admission to Smithsonian readers and Smithsonian.com visitors….

  • Getting to Now: How to Beat the Procrastination Habit (82 comments)

    I am a procrastinator. I always have been. It’s a character flaw, and I admit it. I’ve tried all sorts of things to beat the habit — Getting Things Done, e-mail reminders, dozens of list systems — but the only thing that seems to work is to: Do it now. This is blindingly obvious, I know, but many people lose sight of this fundamental skill. It’s not that we don’t know that we should do…

  • 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…

  • Live Simple: A Free eBook About Simplifying Your Life (30 comments)

    Earlier today I reviewed Duane Elgin’s Voluntary Simplicity. I was not impressed. I had hoped it would provide more actionable suggestions and less philosophy. Fortunately, I’ve found the sort of book I wanted, and it’s available for free on the web. John December has published a hypertext ebook entitled Live Simple: Radical Tactics to Reduce the Clutter, Complexity, and Costs of Your Life. This book isn’t about ideas — it’s about real things you can…

  • How to Read a Personal Finance Book (20 comments)

    I read a lot of personal finance books. I do this because I learn best by reading, and because I like to review the available literature for readers of this site. When I recommend a book, it’s because I think there’s something valuable there, maybe not for everybody, but for most people. Books are only valuable, though, if you are willing to do your part. Be an active reader You, as the reader, must be…

  • Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek (59 comments)

    When I picked up The 4-Hour Workweek, I was worried it was some sort of “get rich quick” book. The first few pages didn’t do much to change my mind. The author, Timothy Ferriss, makes a lot of bold claims, such as: “How do you create a hands-off business that generates $80,000 per month with no management? It’s all here.” But something happened during the first few chapters. When I read a book, I use…

  • The Tyranny of Stuff (103 comments)

    “Did you learn anything in England and Ireland?” a friend asked the other day. I brushed the question aside; I didn’t have a good answer. But I’ve been thinking about it. Maybe I did learn something: being gone for three weeks taught me that I have too much Stuff. I’ve always been a packrat. When I was a boy, I had a closet that my parents called my “rat’s nest”. I stashed anything I could…

  • What I’m Doing Right (140 comments)

    Today’s guest post comes from M, a blogger and writer living in San Francisco. She keeps a fascinating personal blog, as well as Bay Area Love Letters, a site devoted to San Francisco and Northern California. Decide how much to save in an emergency fund…Research how to determine amount of life insurance coverage needed…Brainstorm ways to save on health insurance costs…Increase 401K contributions to take advantage of company match… All these items and more are…

  • Mining YouTube for Personal Finance Gold (14 comments)

    I waste a lot of time on YouTube, watching videos like old Whose Line Is It Anyway? skits (warning: time sink!) and Gnarls Barkley played on the theremin. But YouTube isn’t just a place to goof around. There’s a lot of useful stuff there, too, including videos on personal finance and self-improvement. I’ve already shared Michael Fischer’s series on Saving and Investing. I’ve recently begun to unearth other useful personal finance videos: Michelle, The Wall…

  • Developing Self-Reliance: Personal Empowerment Lessons from 1951 (12 comments)

    Recently I wrote how I’ve been able to live a more fulfilling life by saying “yes” to opportunities and experiences instead of being afraid of them. Another way to look at this is that I’ve developed self-reliance — I’ve learned to take responsibility for my own happiness instead of being passive, leaving my happiness in the hands of others. Here’s a short educational film from 1951 that explores the subject of self-reliance. “If you’re not…

  • The Power of Yes: A Simple Way to Get More Out of Life (130 comments)

    For much of my adult life I’ve been shackled by fear. I’ve been afraid to try new things, afraid to meet new people, afraid of doing anything that might lead to failure. This fear confined me to a narrow comfort zone. Recently, however, I made a single small change that has helped me to overcome my fear, and allowed me to get more out of life. Last fall somebody at Ask Metafilter posted a question…

  • Clutter’s Last Stand: The Cost of Buying Things You Will Not Use (59 comments)

    During the 1990s, I used credit cards to fund my every whim. I bought books and games and computers and gadgets. Now, ten years later, I’m still carrying a lot of that debt in the form of a home equity loan (into which I rolled all my credit cards several years ago). I also still have a lot of the crap I bought. I have a plan for getting rid of the debt by next…

  • Commandment #4: Be Frugal (20 comments)

    Last night while cleaning the house, I found some old papers. Among the many memories, I found a document entitled “J.D.’s Ten Commandments”. I can’t tell exactly when I wrote this, but I’d guess it was back in 1992 or 1993, just after I’d graduated from college. My ten commandments were: Be physically fit. Be attractive. Don’t waste free time. Be frugal. Maintain the automobile. Be curious. Be loving. Be productive. Have fun. Be rational….

  • There is No Secret: The Myth of the Law of Attraction (343 comments)

    This review was written several weeks ago, but I shelved it for fear of making anyone cranky. Things have changed. The Law of Attraction cultists are out in force, and they’re gunking up my site with comment spam. Now I’m having my say — I’m fighting back. The Secret is a best-selling motivational book (and DVD) published last fall. I didn’t hear about it for a long time because I live in an intentional media…

  • Introducing: Fiscal Fitness Journals (1 comment)

    Several years ago I discovered John Stone Fitness, a site that documented the life of a man whose body looked like this: as he undertook a journey to make his body look like something else entirely: Stone had a problem, and knew it. He educated himself, discovered a solution, and applied himself to achieving his physical fitness goals. We can learn some valuable lessons from Stone, and not just about health and wellness. Stone’s example…

  • More on Goals and the Meaning of Life (13 comments)

    Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has an excellent personal blog in which he pontificates on life, the universe, and everything. GRS readers frequently send me Adams’ nine-step guide to personal finances. It’s good, and someday I’ll post it here. (I haven’t found the time yet.) Yesterday Adams wrote about his Happiness Formula: Happiness = Health + Money + Social Life + Meaning He noted that each component of the formula could be reduced further. For…

  • 101 Things in 1001 Days (31 comments)

    After writing that the road to wealth is paved with goals, I realized that my own list of goals looks a little ragged. Some of the goals are outdated. Many have been met. And I’ve developed new priorities for which new goals should be set. I recently discovered an old internet meme that involves setting goals: the “101 things in 1001 days” list. Participants make a list of 101 things they’d like to accomplish over…

  • The Road to Wealth is Paved with Goals (39 comments)

    Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, recently shared his thoughts on a New York Times profile of Russ Whitney, a real estate mogul who charges thousands of dollars to learn the secrets of his success. (Whitney helped inspire Casey Serin’s foreclosure odyssey. John T. Reed has extensive information on Whitney, not all of it negative.) Ramit’s post prompted me to read the original New York Times article. I began the…

  • Book Review: Acres of Diamonds (2 comments)

    One recurring theme of personal finance books is that it’s easier to accumulate wealth by working for yourself than by working for others. Many have heard this maxim, but few have heeded it. Some want to, but don’t know how to begin. A century ago, Russell Conwell was famous for his traveling lecture in which he encouraged listeners to find the “acres of diamonds” in their own backyards. Conwell was born in Massachusetts in 1843….

  • Golden Goals Interviews at Zen Habits (5 comments)

    Leo at Zen Habits is conducting a series of blogger interviews this week, learning “how they achieve their goals, their most important habits, their productivity systems and more.” I’m honored to have been included today. I felt my responses went well. A sample: What are the essential habits that you’ve formed to help you achieve your goals? Hard work! [...] I write nearly every day, often for several hours. I read constantly. I’m always absorbing…

  • Take Back Your Brain! (4 comments)

    I recently wrote about the insidious power of marketing, about how advertising is used to make you want, need, and buy Thneeds and Zizzer-Zoof Seeds, and all sorts of things you don’t really need. During the past week I’ve found a couple sites that actually advocate advertising. They advocate advertising to yourself! Over the weekend, Lifehacker pointed to an article describing how to make a motivational collage. Yesterday Rock Hymas shared his thoughts on advertising…

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People (23 comments)

    There’s a famous story of a young woman who dined with William Gladstone one evening, and with Benjamin Disraeli the next. (Gladstone and Disraeli were prominent British statesmen of the nineteenth century. They were bitter rivals.) Asked her impression of these two powerful men, the young woman replied, “When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr….

  • Procrastination Can Cost You Money! (26 comments)

    As I was driving home from work yesterday, I passed a police officer. When his car pulled onto the road behind me, I thought nothing of it: my vehicle is in good repair and I was obeying the traffic laws. In fact, when the police officer activated his flashing lights, I pulled to the side fully expecting him to whiz by me on the way to some emergency. He didn’t. He, too, pulled to the…

  • How a Wellness Coach Whipped Me Into Shape (41 comments)

    Three months ago I wrote about the high cost of being fat. I had spent $4500 over four years because of my weight. The problem wasn’t just costing me money — it had caused sleep apnea, a torn ACL, and mild depression, three conditions which eroded my quality of life. Then a reader issued a challenge. Lauren Muney wrote to provide her services as a wellness coach free for one month: “I’m offering this to…

  • Facing and Fighting Financial Trolls (18 comments)

    Money is more about mind than it is about math — that’s one of the fundamental precepts of this site. If you improve your self-esteem, if you improve your mental attitude, if you improve your knowledge, you will improve your finances. To this end, it’s important to avoid negative messages about money. It’s difficult to improve your mental attitude when you’re besieged by financial trolls. What are financial trolls? In a recent article, Steve Pavlina…

  • Ask the Readers: Best Tools for Tracking Resolutions? (19 comments)

    Kathy W. writes: Do you know of any websites to help track progress on financial (and other) New Year’s Resolutions? These sites would be excellent for tracking goals in 2007: General Joe’s Goals is an east-to-use goal-tracking app. It lets you track positive and negative goals, and keeps a daily record of your progress. It’s free! 43 Things is a social-networking site where users can create lists of goals and dreams and share them with…

  • Throw Away your TV and Save a Bundle! (49 comments)

    Guest-writer Paul Gonzalez believes that giving up television can save you big bucks. Paul and his wife run One Year Exit Plan, which provides coaching and personal project management services to people seeking long-lasting change. Going “NO-TV” can save you money. In our “Your Relationship with Money” workshops, we advocate living without television. There are many benefits to NO-TV. There are obvious benefits to personal growth (better self-esteem, more time for family and friends, etc)….

  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (72 comments)

    Initially, T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth seems cast from the same mold as Loral Langemeier’s The Millionaire Maker (my review): full of vague promises, unsupported claims, and thinly-veiled sales pitches for products and seminars. It’s true that Eker is guilty of some of these faults. But ultimately I could not help but like the book once I stopped thinking of it as a personal finance guide…

  • 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…

  • Getting Things Done: How to Take Control of Life (48 comments)

    Taking control of your finances is easier when the rest of your life is in order. If your mind is swamped with worries about work, or home improvement projects, or obligations to friends and family, personal finance can become a low priority. You have other Stuff to worry about. David Allen’s Getting Things Done provides a system for tackling all of the Stuff in your life. I’ve avoided mentioning Getting Things Done before today. But…

  • The High Cost of Being Fat (53 comments)

    I am fat. I am fat, but I am not obese. I do not pause to catch my breath when climbing stairs. I do not avoid hikes or sports for fear of failure. But — no mistake — I am fat. I am far above my normal weight. I carry 205 pounds on a frame built for someone forty pounds lighter. [PDF: Body mass index and health, from the USDA.] How does this relate to…

  • An Expanded List of Personal-Development Sites (15 comments)

    In June I posted a list of excellent personal development sites. Today I have more to share. These sites offer real, practical information that you can use in your everyday life. They motivate you to be a better person. I find these sites inspirational, and I read them regularly. They’re not directly related to money, but the skills they impart will certainly help you in all aspects of your life, including personal finance. Of the…

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

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

  • DailyLit: Books Delivered to Your Inbox (15 comments)

    There are few perfect sites on the internet. DailyLit is one of them. If you are like us, you spend hours each day reading email but don’t find the time to read books. DailyLit brings books right into your inbox in convenient small messages that take less than 5 minutes to read. This works incredibly well not just on your computer but also on a Treo, Blackberry, Sidekick or whatever the PDA of your choice….

  • A College Education for $10 a Course (17 comments)

    Here’s a tip for getting a variety of college-level courses for cheap. Dirt cheap. This may be the best tip I have ever shared. I encourage you to read the entire entry. The Teaching Company The Teaching Company produces college-level courses from renowned instructors and sells them via catalog. We bring engaging professors into your home or car through courses on DVD, CD, audio, and other formats. Since 1990, great teachers from the Ivy League,…

  • Pep Talk: The Courage to Succeed (3 comments)

    I had planned to write a traditional review of 50 Success Classics, but instead I will share some wisdom from its pages. This is an excellent book. I recommend it highly. Personal finance is not its focus. It’s about success. (For a description of the book, read my first impressions from last week.) Success is the courage to live out your dreams. Living out your dreams is scary, dangerous because it’s not routine. We’re scared…

  • A List of Excellent Personal-Development Sites (43 comments)

    I recently polled Ask Metafilter for the best personal development sites: I want to compile a list of personal development and productivity sites. I’m looking for sites with real, practical information that you can use in your everyday life, sites that motivate you to be a better person, to try new things. Examples: 43 Folders, Steve Pavlina. Please point me to your favorites! The suggestions included: Lifehacker — The 300-pound grandmother of productivity blogs (and…

  • 50 Success Classics: Winning Wisdom for Work and Life (3 comments)

    I don’t often feel compelled to recommend a book before I’m even a quarter of the way through it, but for 50 Success Classics, I’ll make an exception. I’m an avid audiobook listener. I commute half-an-hour each way, which gives me five hours of “reading” time each week. In the past, I’ve stuck to classics and to nautical fiction (I’m a huge Patrick O’Brian fan), but recently I decided to check Audible‘s stock of self-development…

  • Use Your Hobbies to Bring You Wealth (22 comments)

    Yesterday I shared the most important money tip: to gain wealth, you must spend less than you earn. Get Rich Slowly has covered many ways to reduce the spending side of the equation. But how can a person increase the earning side? Consider an entrepreneurial endeavor. Start a small business based around one of your hobbies. It’s not difficult to earn a couple thousand dollars each year doing something you love in your free time….

  • What Do You Want to Do With Your Life? (3 comments)

    Here’s a piece of inspiration from the mind of Greg Knauss. It reminds me of Action Girl’s Guide to Living: What do I want to do with my life? That’s easy — or, rather, it’s easy to answer. I want to create something, build something, make something, with my hands and my brain and whatever tiny bit of passion I can muster. It doesn’t even matter what, really: cool things; fun things; interesting things; silly…

  • 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,…

  • The War of Art: How to Defeat Procrastination (0 comment)

    Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art isn’t just a book about defeating procrastination — it’s a book about defeating all the things that prevent us from fulfilling our dreams: procrastination, fear, rationalization, self-doubt. Pressfield calls these dream-killers Resistance. Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever…

  • Live Simple – Tactics to Improve Your Life (0 comment)

    Are you facing the need or desire to simplify your life? You might be newly laid off, retired, or a student, homemaker, or entrepreneur who has to make do with less. This ebook can help you restructure your life.— from Live Simple John December took a year off from life to write a book that he describes as “my Walden“, a book about living simply, about learning to make do with less. Live Simple: Radical…

  • Action Girl’s Guide to Living (7 comments)

    Sarah Dyer‘s Action Girl isn’t a superhero in the traditional sense. She has her own comic book, sure, but her super power is the ability to help people take charge of their own lives. Dyer has a personal agenda, and she’s pleased to share it with the world. Here is an abridged version of Action Girl’s Guide to Living (follow the link for Dyer’s extended version):

  • Cheap and Effective Ways to Make Life Easier (7 comments)

    “What are some cheap and effective ways to make life easier?” asks a Metafilter user. I only buy one kind of socks. This means I don’t have to match them up when doing laundry, never stress about where the extra one in a pair went, and getting dressed is easier in the morning. I also switched to using plastic cups for nearly all beverages. Since most of the time I was running the dishwasher it…

  • 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’…

  • Workshops and Craft Rooms (0 comment)

    Phil at the Make Blog is hosting an informal best workshop contest. There’s a Flickr pool for submitting workshop photos. Natalie, Make’s “crafts maker”, also found a set of craft room photos. These pictures are fun to browse — it’s great to see what other people build and create. Frugal folks love to make things. Learning to do-it-yourself is an important part of living with less. My workshop doesn’t get as much use as it…

  • Life After Graduation (7 comments)

    David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire, has some tips for a great life after graduation. Choose your life — “You don’t get what you wish for in life, you get what you go for.” Make things happen. Choose your life — don’t let it happen to you. Be responsive. Follow your plan — “Don’t blindly follow the expectations of your parents, professors, or mentors. Their beliefs are based on their life experience, not yours….

  • Procrastination is the Enemy of Life (0 comment)

    Ramit at I Will Teach You to Be Rich has a fantastic post about the difference between: loving something, and loving the idea of something. It’s easy to read about personal finance (or any other area of self-improvement) and to say to yourself, “Yeah. That sounds nice. I really should drive less. I really should stop buying so much at Starbucks. I really should open an IRA.” It’s easy to say these things to yourself…

  • The Secret of My Success (5 comments)

    I found a piece last week that addresses an important facet of personal relationships. Michael Hyatt is often asked, “What’s the secret of your success?” His answer: “Responsiveness.” So many people I meet are unresponsive. They don’t return their phone calls promptly. They don’t answer their emails quickly. They don’t complete their assignments on time. They promise to do something and never follow through. They have to be reminded, prodded, and nagged. This behavior creates…

  • 21st Century Decluttering (3 comments)

    Creatrope, a site about “21st Century Decluttering”, is a new weblog perfect for packrats. It’s full of suggestions for purging all that junk you’re keeping in your life. I am this site’s target audience. There are entries on: Decluttering your library Books and resources about decluttering Collectibles that never are Valuing items for sale, donation, or junk This is good stuff. I look forward to reading more in the future.

  • Six Steps to Learning Difficult Subjects Quickly (5 comments)

    Throughout our lives we encounter situations where we need to acquire new skills. Sometimes it’s nice to have a method for acquiring the basics quickly. Paul’s Tips has a technique for learning difficult subjects quickly. Here’s a strategy I’ve found useful for learning dry and difficult material quickly. At various times, I’ve used it to build up my knowledge of subjects like economics, investing, writing and computer programming languages. Some people have been surprised at…