An Iterative Approach to Improving Your Finances (and Your Life)

My previous career (before “freelance writer”) was in software development. I worked in a research lab where I wrote custom software solutions for research scientists who wanted nice interfaces to do basic data mining tasks into a pretty large database of scientific information. […]

5 Financial Accomplishments Millennials Can Be Proud Of

Millennials get blamed for a lot of things. Often, they're accused of being spendthrift and irresponsible. Critics assume that Millennials are unable or unwilling to save money or invest smartly. Much of this criticism is unfair. In fact, if you look at what Millennials have accomplished with... […]

Join Our Tweetchat on Thursday 11/15, 12pm Pacific for a Chance to Win Prizes

Join our Tweetchat this Thursday at 12:00 pm Pacific for lively conversation and a chance to win one of two $10 Amazon GCs! Use #WBChat to participate. This week's topic: Having a Frugal Thanksgiving! Learn about saving on decorations, food, drinks, travel, and more! Let us know about your... […]

Challenge Yourself! 12 Simple Frugal Challenges You Can Do This Week

I’m a big fan of using the 30-day challenge to try out a particular daily routine or behavioral change in my life. It’s a big part of how I view life as being something of an experiment, one in which you’re constantly adjusting and trying new things. […]

8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Inspector

It's important to get a home inspection when buying a house. There are many hidden issues that can emerge after you buy a property that are expensive to correct. Spending a few hundred dollars to have a professional home inspection beforehand is a good way to avoid costly surprises with your new... […]

Feeling Rich and Feeling Poor

One question that I left out of the mailbag yesterday is this one, from Dana: I find myself oscillating back and forth between frugality and spending recklessly. After a lot of reflection, I think the reason is that when I buckle down with frugality, I begin to feel “poor” after a while. I feel like I’ve intentionally cut myself off of what life has to offer. […]

Cancer Patients Can Now Defer Student Loans Without Accruing Interest

During the height of my three-year battle with breast cancer, a diagnosis that required one dozen surgical procedures, eight months of chemotherapy, and eight weeks of radiation treatment five days a week, I was scraping to get by on disability payments and whatever odd jobs I completed when my energy allowed. Needless to say, I wasn’t saving a dime for retirement during those three years (which i […]

Ask the Readers: What Is Your Favorite Holiday Dish?

There are many holidays to celebrate during the fall and winter seasons, and more often than not, food is a big part of the festivities. What is your favorite holiday dish? Do you only make it for certain holidays? What's the hardest part about making this dish, and what are your tips for other... […]

How Constant Rejection Can Actually Lead to Success

Rejection is no one's idea of fun. Not only do you have to deal with the disappointment of not getting something you hoped for, but you also have to grapple with the feelings of insecurity that come along for the ride anytime you're told, "Thanks, but no thanks." You might feel like... […]

Questions About Checking Luggage, Funeral Expenses, Altruism, Roth IRAs, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. What is wealth? 2. Logistics of multiple savings goals 3. Cost of unexpected funeral 4. Changing goals 5. Shipping items verus checking luggage 6. “Get what you pay for”? 7. Retire early for altruism? 8. […]

How to retire early: Early retirement by the numbers

More and more, I'm meeting people who want to know how to retire early. There's been a lot of buzz in the media lately about early retirement, and that's led folks to wonder how much money they would need to quit their jobs — or if early retirement is even something they should consider. Why retire early? Well, for most people a job is a necessary evil. We work because we have to. […]

Why I Trust Vanguard With My Investments

Whether I’m opening an IRA, brokerage account, or 529 savings account, or I’m simply choosing investments within a 401(k) or other investment account, I have thus far exclusively chosen Vanguard for my personal investments and I almost always recommend that my clients use them as well. To be sure, I’d be perfectly comfortable using accounts and funds offered by plenty of other companies. […]

Why Real Estate Crowdfunding May Make Sense for Your Portfolio

The following is a sponsored post from EquityMultiple. Maybe you’ve heard of “real estate crowdfunding” and associate the term with Kickstarter and GoFundMe (and investments that don’t inspire much confidence). Perhaps you’re unclear on how the concept differs from REITs. […]

Walmart vs. Whole Foods: Which Is Cheaper for Organic Food?

Organic foods don’t have to be a luxury, but they aren’t always cheaper in stores that typically offer a discount. It’s been roughly four years since Walmart began pushing organic food at its U.S. stores. […]

From Financial Dependence to Financial Independence in Stages

When Sarah and I first started our financial turnaround, our long term goals were clear. First, we wanted to buy a decent house to raise our family in and do the best job we could raising our children with the values and skills needed to be independent. After that, we wanted to achieve our own financial independence as a couple as rapidly as possible. Over the last twelve years or so, since we rea […]

Breaking Out of the ‘Cheap’ Cycle

For the longest time, Sarah and I bickered about my socks. I’m pretty hard on socks for some reason. Maybe it’s just my tendency to keep wearing them too long. […]

American Express® Gold Card Review: The Perfect Card for Foodies?

In late 2018, American Express released a refreshed version of the . While the card issuer bumped the annual fee up to $250 for this new offering, they introduced an intriguing combination of perks and earning categories that could be ideal for consumers who love dining out and eating fancy foods. For example, this newer version of the card lets you earn 4x points at U.S. […]

Prioritizing Savings During the Holidays: Highlights from Our Chat With EARN and SaverLife

EARN and SaverLife joined us for our #WBChat on November 8th to share insights on how to prioritize savings during the holidays. Our #SaverLife #WBChat featured wonderful tips and both EARN and SaverLife's expertise helped our chatters learn more about how to keep saving during the holiday... […]

What Is Wealth in America?

A few readers pointed me to a Bloomberg article entitled How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy in America? and wanted to know my thoughts. Before I dig in, I want to point out that the author of this article, Suzanne Woolley, did a good job of reporting on the results of the survey in question. […]