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During the first installment, I learned some pretty terrible money concepts in my childhood. I believed that money was the method to buying instant happiness and that accepting free things was wrong. I also missed out on any opportunity to learn about personal budgeting or finance simply because there was no opportunity for it. When I became a teenager, I began to have opportunities to raise money from my own work. I became heavily involved in the Future Farmers of …

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A One Day Commitment

November 1 2006

The hardest part about changing your spending habits is simply getting started. For me, I was in a routine of eating out for breakfast and lunch every single weekday, I would stop all the time for frivolous purchases that I didn’t really need. I knew they were adding up to a lot of money, but I didn’t know how much until I started to really sit down and evaluate things. And it all started with a single day. One …

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Since turning my financial life around, I’ve discovered that frivolous spending really is a psychologically addictive habit. That little rush of buying something enjoyable for yourself or someone else becomes a part of your life, and when you begin to turn things around, it is a very hard habit to break. Over time, though, I’ve found that there are a number of tricks to stopping (or at least slowing) that craving. In many ways, these tricks aren’t all that different …

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CFLs Can Save $100 A Year?

November 1 2006

It seems like a surprising claim, but simply switching your regular lightbulbs for CFLs, even though they have a higher initial cost per bulb, can easily save you $100 a year. Let’s look at them in detail. I took the information off of GE Soft White A19 bulbs in both their regular and CFL form and wrote down some basic information. The bulbs are nearly identical when in the socket (very very close in initial lumens), so what we’re interested …

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I have a little jar that sits on my dresser. Inside it is my pocket change from the last several days. It seems like such a simple idea, but it can be quite powerful if you keep up with it. Instead of dumping excess pocket change into a vending machine, I keep it in my pocket. If I see money on the ground, even if it is just a penny, I pick it up and toss it in my pocket. …

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A wise man once said “The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.” It took me a long time to summon the courage to admit that it was my own mistakes that led me to financial armageddon. It required me to admit that not only had I been making mistakes since my earliest days, but also to admit that many of the ideas I had learned in my life and built through my own experiences were completely …

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After seeing yet another of those ubiquitous CapitalOne “What’s in your wallet?” ads, I decided to write about the one credit card that’s in my wallet (now that I’ve learned some hard lessons about the dangers of them). I route almost every minor purchase I make through a Chase amazon.com credit card for which I pay the whole balance each billing period. The card offers a points program, 1 point for every dollar spent. Every 2,500 points, they turn into …

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Blogging, particularly among a group of bloggers on a specific topic, is a community. We all have the same interests and passions and we find great insight in each other’s thoughts. Naturally, we want other bloggers in this community to succeed, but what can we do to help our brother and sister bloggers? Here are seven tips to make the community stronger. 1. Visit their blogs regularly. I keep a list of about twenty blogs I visit each day, and …

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I grew up in a very poor home. We had so little money that we were required to grow, fish, and hunt for some of our food, and I remember many nights where we had “mystery stew” and other such dishes that were made up of whatever could be thrown into a pot together. To put it simply, there was no money with which I could learn any fiscal responsibility because there was no money, period. I managed to get …

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I used to think that clipping coupons was a giant waste of time. “Coupons encourage you to buy extra junk that you don’t need,” I thought to myself whenever I saw a batch of coupons from the newspaper. Then I had a baby, and I discovered the true value of coupons. Hint: if you buy diapers, baby food, and formula over and over again, coupons for diapers, baby food, and formula are as good as cash. It didn’t take long …

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