Philip Brewer's blog

Live Where It's Cheap

More effective than giving up luxuries, using coupons, or buying in bulk, the most powerful enabler of frugal living is to live where it's cheap.

New Tools for the Unbanked

Lack of access to the banking system has been an expensive burden on the poor. Just recently, a surge in new financial products make it a lot less expensive to be unbanked.

Building a Credit History

A good credit history can save you a small fortune over a lifetime. Here's how to build one.

Are Your Finances Fragile?

Many households are just one layoff, one illness, one interest-rate hike away from financial catastrophe. Follow these strategies to avoid being one of them.

Stalemate on the Debt Ceiling?

People are speculating about the result if there's a stalemate on the debt ceiling. I know what would really happen, because I live in Illinois.

Energy Price Spikes

There are several ways to help deal with spikes in energy prices, but the main one is simple: Get used to it.

The Limits to Just Not Buying

Some expenses can't be eliminated, but several can be removed temporarily. Knowing when to start buying again can be as important as when to stop.

Book Review: Debt Free for Life

There's a lot to like about author David Bach's two-step approach to paying down debt.

Peak Debt and Income

When stimulating the economy, is it better to invest in the rich or the poor? Learn whether supply- or demand-side techniques are best.

Book Review: The Road Out of Debt

The classic story of victory over debt is success through work and frugality. But real life is not always so positive, and that's why this book is so useful.

While Waiting for Rates: I-Bonds

You could reach for yield by taking on more risk, or you could suck it up and wait for rates to go up. If you prefer to wait, consider I-Bonds.

Bohemians Then and Now

Whenever people try to support themselves through their art, the bohemian lifestyle appears out of the resulting poverty and freedom.

Choosing a Luxury Eccentricity

A useful tactic for dealing with those who think you need to spend more, a luxury eccentricity helps deflect criticism while allowing you to indulge.

How to Really Save Money When You Shop

There is a great way to save money when you make a purchase, but it has nothing to do with store sales or having a coupon.

Who Cheated Us Out of Our Amazing Future?

In the 1950s, people said automation would create a future where we'd only have to work 20 hours a week to support ourselves. What happened?

Book Review: Off the Grid

I've always used the term "off the grid" in a literal sense — not being connected to power or other systems. Nick Rosen means more than that.

That Sneaky Bank Almost Got Me

Rule number one for avoiding bank fees? Pay attention. (But it also helps to have a little luck.)

Why I Still Write Paper Checks

I know people who never write checks, but I'm not one of them. Here's why.

Book Review: Early Retirement Extreme

Think you can live on one-tenth of your current income? If you're ready to downsize, this book can help you retire long before you ever thought possible.

Choosing Local Businesses

The big-box stores might have everything you want at what seems to be a better price, but there are good reasons why you should buy local.