Category Archives: Fast Reads
I love playing tabletop games – board games, card games, role playing games, pretty much anything like that. Ever since I was a little kid playing Acquire at my aunt’s house, I’ve loved sitting down at the table with other people and playing a game together. You’ll find me playing games with friends many weeknights and weekend afternoons.
One of the first real lessons that playing games taught me was the difference between tactics and strategy. Let’s look at the definitions of each, pulled from Wikitionary:
Much of our day-to-day lives has personal finance implications. We’re constantly making choices that either directly spend money or use up resources that are going to have to be replaced. When we eat, we shop, we go to work – all of those things, and many many more, have financial impact.
At the same time, humans are routine-oriented people. We like patterns, and it’s not hard for us to get stuck into a daily routine filled with familiar ways of doing things. Even the craziest of lives is filled with little patterns that repeat themselves over and over again, because we tend to just do what’s familiar when it comes to the day-to-day process of living our lives.
For various reasons – marketing, bad role models, an addiction to momentary pleasure – some of the routines we choose in our life aren’t the best ones in terms of our money. Yet, they’re familiar and we understand them, so we keep using them.
What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question.
1. Insurance and breast pumps
2. Donations and religious groups
3. Cosigning on a mortgage
4. Cashing out whole life policy
5. Planning a “national parks” vacation
6. Baby bottles and BPA
7. Contributing to a 529
8. Aggressive salary negotiations?
9. Pocket notebook recommendations
10. Cash-back credit card questions
11. Marrying into money
12. Home development advice
13. Wine and dinner parties
14. Internet without cable
15. Best board games for three?
I just returned home from a long vacation throughout the southwest that involved stops in multiple national parks and forests as well as a stop at Disney World (expect a “frugal notes” article on this vacation as I’ve done for previous summer vacations).
In fact, it was such an energetic vacation that I actually feel more worn out after getting home than I did before I left.
The simple maxim of spending less than you earn stands at the heart of personal finance success. If you can consistently do that one thing, you’re going to succeed when it comes to personal finance. I repeat that idea all the time because it’s so true – it’s the core of everything.
People get into financial trouble when they don’t follow that maxim. If you consistently spend more than you earn, you’re going to dip into financial trouble.
The result of this is that the first financial move people have to make when they’re beginning to turn their finances around is to get a grip on their spending.
One of the most common requests I get from readers is for detailed information on how to start a side business of some kind. With minimal equipment and ample time, how can a person construct a side business in order to earn a little extra money?
This is the first in a series of articles describing exactly how to do this. In each article, I’m going to discuss exactly how to build an income stream on the side, what effort goes into it, and (approximately) what kind of income you can expect from it.
These articles will naturally be spaced out so that I have time to actually construct each side business and keep it going until it earns a respectable income. However, with blogging, I’ve already done this and due to a lot of luck and hard work, it became successful beyond my wildest dreams. You’re reading that blog, in fact – it’s The Simple Dollar.