What to Do With Idle Cash

One thing that happens to almost everyone at some point during their financial growth is that they wind up with some significant amount of idle cash on their hands. Sometimes it simply happens as a result of becoming more frugal while also keeping an eye on spending, such that the … [Read More...]

21 Ways I Use Frugal Tactics in My Morning Routine

This morning, when I woke up and went through my usual morning routine that revolves around getting myself awake, getting the kids ready for school, and getting myself ready for working, I noticed that there were little frugal tweaks everywhere. I kept noticing all of these little changes I’d … [Read More...]

Getting Through the “Boring Middle”

Most life changes go through three major steps. At the start is the “honeymoon phase.” You’re enamored with the big goal you’ve set for yourself. You’re having fun exploring all the new changes you’re making in your life. It’s all novel and interesting. … [Read More...]

Frugality, Philosophy, and Time Management

In Monday’s reader mailbag, Eric asked a great question: I find it interesting that you write about things like time management and philosophy on a personal finance site. The connection seems thin at best to me. I’d love to see a post talking about it. My first line in … [Read More...]

The Parable of the Fruit Tree

Imagine two farmers – we’ll call them Adam and Betty – living a couple hundred years ago. Toiling the land was hard work and it took all they had to work their forty acres of land. Adam used all of his forty acres for wheat, and he was able … [Read More...]

From the Life You Have To the Life You Want

Mary wrote in with a great question: Loved your article about personal finance and time and philosophy. I had a question about the last part, about figuring out what you want out of life. I know what I want my life to be like but it feels like an impossible … [Read More...]

Eleven Cookbooks I Keep on My Shelf – And Why

Jamie writes in: What cookbooks do you recommend for someone who is just starting out on their own? I’ve made no secret over the years that I love cookbooks, to the point that family and friends often just find interesting cookbooks (particularly ones focused on more obscure topics) to … [Read More...]

Product Recommendations, Requested By Readers

One of the most common types of questions I get from readers for the Reader Mailbag is product recommendations. People are thinking about making a significant purchase or are rethinking an ordinary purchase they make frequently and they want to know whether I’ve done the research myself on that … [Read More...]

The “Free” Pen Problem

Recently, my family and I attended the Iowa State Fair, as is something of an annual tradition for us. We go for a lot of reasons: the flood of presidential candidates that speak at the Fair every year, the interesting demonstrations, the free concerts (of which there seem to be … [Read More...]

Financial Struggle and Human Instinct

Maria writes in with a great question: I don’t understand why it is so hard to get ahead financially. We live in the most productive and prosperous era in human history. Why are almost all Americans living paycheck to paycheck? I mean, I get the easy answers like student … [Read More...]

Lentil Casserole, Dish Soap, and Frugal Filters

My mother-in-law makes this absolutely delicious lentil casserole. I’m not sure of her exact recipe, but I know from home experimentation that this is a close approximation: Lentil Casserole 1 pound dry lentils 2 cups water 1 large can diced tomatoes 1 cup diced bell pepper 1 cup diced onions 1 cup diced … [Read More...]

Using Serendipity to Maximize Frugality

There’s nothing better than an unexpected positive event happening purely by chance. What’s even better? Serendipity when the price tag is very small or nonexistent, or when you’re able to multiply the value of your dollar enormously. The challenge, of course, is to put yourself in situations … [Read More...]