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...]

Handling Melancholy Without Buying Stuff

Like a lot of people, I sometimes fall into periods of melancholy. I don’t view it as anything like actual depression, which is a serious mental health condition that deserves proper treatment by professionals, but it’s a sense of feeling sad about my life. I tend to let … [Read More...]

Our True Taxes

[T]he taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, … [Read More...]

A Tale of Five Lamps

A few weeks ago, the desk lamp I use at my standing desk went on the fritz. I thought at first that it was just a bad light bulb, but I quickly figured out that there was something fundamentally wrong with the lamp. At that point, I had some decisions … [Read More...]

Books with Impact: Atomic Habits

The “Books with Impact” series takes a deeper look at specific books that have had a profound impact on my financial, professional, and personal growth by extracting specific points of advice from those books and looking at how I’ve applied them in my life with successful results. The previous entry … [Read More...]

What Are Stocks? What Are Bonds?

Max writes in: Can you explain what the difference between stocks and bonds are? Tried to read up on this on Wikipedia and other sites but it’s not clicking. I’ve explained what a stock is in the past, but it never hurts to dig into a core idea … [Read More...]

Feeling the Burn Rate

When I was a little kid, my family really didn’t spend much money at all. We raised a lot of our own food with two huge gardens (and a lot of canning), my father’s side gig as a small-scale commercial fisherman, and a lot of chickens in … [Read More...]

The Marathon

The other day, I read a brilliant little article by Seth Godin called The Solo Marathon. Seth’s entire site is worth reading, but this one is particularly good: The usual marathons, the popular ones, are done in a group. They have a start time. A finish line. A way … [Read More...]