How You Can Support People Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

In support of my readers and fellow personal finance bloggers in TX, I’m deviating a bit from my standard topics. As folks who are responsible with money, we have an incredible opportunity to help those in need. We often think about spending and saving for ourselves, or donating money to charities and causes that we care about. In times of crisis, the need becomes much more real. Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly seen and heard of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, particularly in Houston and other areas of Southeast Texas. The damage is unprecedented; the pictures and videos show the extent of the flooding and damage. Millions of people displaced or effected by floods, […]

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The Most Expensive Vacation I Never Took

You know what’s awesome? Booking a trip to Vegas. Less awesome? Not actually taking that trip. The least awesome of all? That trip you didn’t take (combined with bad habits) landing you into years of credit card debt. I wish I could tell you I was making this up, I really do. But nope – this happened to me back in 2008 and was one of the catalysts to landing me in credit card debt. Mistake #1: Trusting Drunk Dave When I was in college one year, I was living with 5 other dudes. Yes, 5. Three of them were named Matt, and two had the same last initial. It was a very complicated period of time, and we drank. […]

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What’s Going On in the Blogosphere: Episode 8

The personal finance blogosphere - the world of blogs - is vast

Each week I’m going to try to put together a list of 3-5 great blog posts I’ve read from other personal finance bloggers. These posts are a collection of things I find interesting and thought-provoking, and if you like the content I’m posting I’d encourage you to check out some of the posts in this list. There are many more posts I recommend throughout the week on Twitter – if you aren’t following me yet, please head over there and give me a Follow or follow me on Facebook.   Financial Samurai: Stop Frugality From Leading To Lifestyle Deflation Most people are worried about too much lifestyle inflation. It can lead to over-spending and debt. But Sam over at Financial Samurai, being relatively […]

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Too Many Financial Metrics: What Should You Track?!

If you’re just starting to keep track of your own money, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a ton of terms and financial metrics that seem important. Acronyms are rampant and if you don’t know what they are, it can be very intimidating to even try to learn. I’m pretty sure this is why a lot of people just don’t take a big interest in their own financial security. It’s a common thing, actually, called analysis paralysis. When there’s so much to look at and compare and do, it’s easiest to just do nothing. But if you’re serious about taking control of your financial situation and want to start…where do you start? With so many things to track, […]

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Our Solution to an Overstuffed Closet

Clutter can be debilitating. We have been somewhat thankful in that both Kristin and I have moved a fair amount in the past five years. Each time we move, we go through our stuff and pare down what we don’t really need anymore. Having to cram all of your personal possessions into a Hyundai Sonata – twice – really make you think about what things you want to keep and what things you don’t. Clothes, though, always seemed to be a little bit elusive during these moves. Thankfully, we’ve employed the same trick every year to help us keep our wardrobes relatively lean. This helps us free up closet space. Having less clutter in your house has positive psychological effects, […]

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I’m Not Using Our House in “Our Number”, and You Shouldn’t Either.

Understanding “Your Number” is important. Unless you’re developing passive income – and sometimes even if you are – chances are that net worth will probably be the main deciding number used to determine if you can afford to retire or not. General consensus is that you stand a pretty good chance of being able to retire for 30 years if you have a withdrawal rate of 4% of your net worth. If you want to play it safe, lowering it to 3.5% or 3% will give you some wiggle room. But when people figure out their net worth and how far they are from retiring, they’re often quick to throw their houses in there (along with the mortgage, if applicable). […]

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What’s Going On in the Blogosphere: Episode 7

The personal finance blogosphere - the world of blogs - is vast

Each week I’m going to try to put together a list of 3-5 great blog posts I’ve read from other personal finance bloggers. These posts are a collection of things I find interesting and thought-provoking, and if you like the content I’m posting I’d encourage you to check out some of the posts in this list. There are many more posts I recommend throughout the week on Twitter – if you aren’t following me yet, please head over there and give me a Follow or follow me on Facebook.   The Green Swan: The Swan’s FIRE Prowess Gauge This isn’t a new one, but it’s awesome. The Green Swan writes about the ‘FIRE Prowess Gauge’ – a way to take a look at […]

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How a Failed Real Estate Deal Led to Me Getting Married

I’ve talked before about my move to California in my About page. It was May 2013 and it snowed in Minnesota; that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. But truth be told, I was super close to sticking around. In fact, I would have been here permanently starting in 2013 had a real estate deal panned out how I’d originally wanted. In March of 2013 I was on the hunt for a rental property. I’d never been a home-owner, but I wanted to “house hack“: buy a duplex, rent out half, and get a roommate or two to help with the other half. I found what I thought was the perfect place. It was in a decent location, […]

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4 Gift Alternatives That Will Bring Joy to Your Family

Giving doesn't need to mean gifts

My family sucks. Haha, just kidding – we’re actually all pretty dang awesome. But there is something that sucks about us all, and that is we really have a problem when it comes to gifts. Everyone in my family is decently equipped in their own financial lives to purchase things they want, when they want them (within reason). If you’ve ever tried to buy gifts for someone who doesn’t ever want anything, you know the struggle. You either need to find something so awesome that they wouldn’t have thought to get it themselves, or struggle so much that you settle on something that neither party is totally elated by. Recently my family has decided to stop with the gifts, and […]

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The One Thing Every Active Married Couple Needs

When you get married, traditionally there are a few things that are standard. Typically engagements will get kicked-off with a ring. The budget for these varies wildly, from $100 (or less) to tens of thousands of dollars. Sure, the old adage “three months’ salary” may be phasing out, but it’s still there and prevalent. Regardless of what you do for your primary rings, there’s one thing every active couple needs, and that is a set of active-wear rings. Even if you have your rings insured (and you should), if you’re doing something they can sometimes get in the way or just get dirty. Maintaining your rings is an important task, but you don’t need to make it more difficult than […]

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