A Guide to Managing Your Fear of Money

Teenager with hand up in the air while on the phone

[Editor's Note: Kristin Wong penned this article on money management tips even through your fears a couple years ago, but it's as relevant today as it was then.]

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.

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More about...Budgeting, Career, Psychology

Gratitude is good for your soul … and your finances

I'll admit it. When I lost work last year, a tiny sense of entitlement crept up on me.

Okay, maybe it was more than tiny. On the outside, I told people: "I just feel like I deserve a good job, you know?" On the inside, I thought: Why the $%^@ don't I have a good job? I'm awesome.

My awesomeness, however, is irrelevant. Sometimes these things just happen. They happen to a lot of people, and, despite kind words of encouragement, they don't necessarily happen for any good reason. It's funny -- when bad things happen to me, I always tell myself that it's only because something better can happen. It's like I think I'm immune to obstacles or something. Oh, this can't possibly be bad. Bad things don't happen to me, I'm Kristin! It's probably just something amazing in disguise. Continue reading...

More about...Psychology

Giving makes us happier, but what if you don’t have much to give?

Maybe it's because I'm getting older, or maybe it's that I'm in a better financial place than I was just a few years ago, but lately, I've been thinking a lot more about giving back.

In recent years, it's becoming more important to me to be socially conscious and charitable. I'm secure, I'm healthy, and I'm free. That contentment seems to urge me to check in on the rest of the world.

Or, maybe it's coming from a more selfish place.

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More about...Giving, Frugality

The cultural shift toward financial security

In the past few months, I've had a noteworthy number of conversations about the trend toward frugality. More of my friends seem interested in finding ways to save, I can't throw a rock at the Internet without hitting a money-saving "hack," and, during a job interview, I had a lengthy discussion about how "personal finance is now trendy."

Get Rich Slowly reader and money blogger Mrs. PoP noticed it too, and wrote about it on her blog:

"Recently I've begun to notice something a bit unusual. An interest in personal finance seems to be becoming more common, and dare I say, trendy… Maybe I'm just drawn to [friends'] comments because of our own interest in personal finance. But maybe, there's also a chance that personal finance -- in a non-gimmicky way -- is actually starting to be 'cool'." Continue reading...

More about...Uncategorized

Overwork and the illusion of a “high-paying” job

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 working 75 hours a week, is your job really "high-paying"?

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More about...Career

5 car maintenance services you can get for free

We get a lot of pitches at Get Rich Slowly. Despite the underlying marketing agenda, sometimes these pitches contain useful information that is worth sharing. Case in point, Pep Boys emailed us a whole array of free services they offer. My ears perked up for a few reasons:

  • I was impressed with just howmany services they offer.
  • It made me wonder about other places that offer free car maintenance services.
  • A Pep Boys shop just opened downstairs from my building (selfish, sorry).

Not every city has a Pep Boys store, I know. But there are a handful of other places that offer free services too. At any rate, I thought I'd find out more and put together a list.

Tire Repair & Rotation

Stacey Hamilton is manager of Pep Boys' Services Sales and Operations. She told me, "Our free tire repair is probably our most popular service."

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More about...Transportation

Credit unions vs. banks: Things to consider

Mother depositing check on smartphone

One of my money resolutions is to switch banks. I've been a long-time customer of a big bank that, in recent years, has stood out among headlines that reveal sneaky and unethical business practices. That's not the only reason I'm switching, but it does help me want to change. So, it has got me thinking bank vs. credit union?

Some people think credit unions aren't terribly convenient -- maybe they don't have online banking, or maybe it's hard to find an ATM when you're traveling. But I've found that, despite the potential inconveniences, there are advantages to consider when it comes to a credit union. Here are a few things I'm keeping in mind as I make my decision.

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More about...Banking

Do expiration dates make us wasteful?

Before I dig into this topic, let me just put this out there: Expiration dates are important and you should always consider them so you don't get food poisoning and end up in the hospital or whatever. Please don't interpret this post as my arguing that expiration dates are total bull.

That being said, expiration dates are total bull. Just kidding! Well, kind of. I recently came across an alarming study from Harvard, which found that Americans waste 160 billion tons [Editor's Note: Kristin pointed out that she should have written 160 billion pounds] of food annually. A similar 2012 study from the NRDC calculated that waste in terms of dollars: We throw out about $165 billion worth of food and beverages each year. On average, that's between $275 and $400 per household.

The Dating Game

The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic titled their study "The Dating Game," and they came to the conclusion that many "sell by" dates don't really have anything to do with safety. Companies mostly determine those dates based on taste tests.

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More about...Frugality, Food

The power of speaking up

Last month, my boyfriend and I took a weekend trip to Seattle to celebrate our anniversary. We got a great deal on a hotel using a discount app. We'd stayed at this hotel before, and the view was gorgeous. The price was also reasonable and the room was clean. We checked in, unloaded our bags and pulled back the curtains, preparing to take in Seattle's beautiful skyline, which we'd flown a thousand miles to see.

Lo and behold, the parking lot. A man getting into his car looked up at us, startled.

"Eh," I said. "We didn't come here to hang out at the hotel."<

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More about...Frugality

How to avoid binge-shopping

It seems contradictory, but I love being frugal and I also love spending money. Over the last few years, however, my love of frugality has outweighed my love of spending -- and it's been good for my savings.

Yes, it's OK to spend money sometimes. If you have it, and you're comfortable with your present and future finances, by all means, spend away. But a lot of us, including myself, spend when we shouldn't spend. It's to be expected, I think, in our consumer culture. I can't walk down my block without being sold something every minute or so, from billboards to petitioners to window sales.

Anyway, a couple of readers requested an article on how to avoid spending sprees. It's something I've been thinking about lately anyway, so this was a great reason to give the subject more thought and put something together.

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More about...Shopping