Philip Brewer's blog

The Second-Best Way to Make your Household More Secure

You already know the best way to make your household finances more secure: emergency fund, insurance, diversified investment portfolio, marketable skills. But once you're doing

New $100 Bill Unveiled

Even though ordinary people hardly ever receive or spend one, with the number of $100 bills in circulation in the billions it's worth putting the effort into making them extreme

Book Review: Your Money—The Missing Manual

Books about managing your money succeed or fail at the point when the author chooses what to present as unbreakable rules versus what to present as hints, tips, suggestions, or

Live Abroad for Less (Also at Home)

All but one of the "live abroad for less" ideas are just as applicable to frugal living in your home country.

If Budgeting Isn't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong

Budgeting should be fun. If you don't believe me, you've been doing it wrong.

Health Care Reform: Good for People Like Me

A long time ago, I had an idea. I was working a regular job, but I realized that what I wanted to do was be a writer. I figured that I could make some money writing, but not necess

Clever Tax Move for the Un- and Under-Employed

There are a lot of people who used to have a good-paying job but who have been unemployed or underemployed for more than a year. If you're one of those people, here's a clever tax

Buy Your Groceries European-Style

Instead of planning a menu in advance, I go to the store and look around to see what looks good. That way, I can get whatever's fresh and cheap.

Live Where the Water Tastes Good

I've lived places where the water tasted good, and a few where it didn't. If you don't like the water where you live, you're all too likely to start buying bottled water or investi

Turn Off Your Air Conditioning

Most people lack the skills for getting by without air conditioning. Here's a quick primer.

USDA Data Visualization Tool

The USDA has just released a cool new data visualization tool called Your Food Environment Atlas. If you're interested in poverty, food security, or the related public policy issue

Can a Little Inflation Be Good?

Let me jump to the end and say right at the start that I don't think so. However, there's a serious argument being made right now among economists and economic policy makers that h

Contingency Plans

Are you assuming that things will go along pretty much okay? Most people do, and they're usually right. Even when they're wrong, it tends to be okay, because the typical household'

Is Just Leaving Some Slack Better Than a Plan?

Are you as tired as I am of personal finance sites saying that you've got to have a plan? If you're a planner, it's unnecessary advice, because you've got a plan. If you're not a

Ruthless Frugality

Put some thought into where really cheap stuff comes from.

Book Review: The Trap

For more than two years now writing at Wise Bread, my whole thesis has been that frugality leads to freedom—if you can live cheaply enough, you can choose whatever work calls you,

Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability

Are strategies like dumpster diving sustainable?

How Debt Fools People

People who have a natural aversion to debt often wonder how some people get themselves into such terrible problems with debt. Don't they know how much it costs? Don't they understa

Contributing to a Roth Versus Paying Down Debt

This post was prompted by a reader question, but it's an issue that many people face—we see versions of it all the time in the forums.

Guest Post: Living off Capital

I have a guest post up on The Simple Dollar that talks about Living Off Capital.