Category Personal Finance

What is a normal food budget?

A few months ago, I found this simple calculator on Mother Jones. It compares your food spending budget to what others in your city or in your age group are spending. It also shows you how the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) categorizes your spending. I entered my numbers and here’s what I learned: See […]

Retirement: How much do you need to save?

Based on a report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, over half of 259 American retirees surveyed have $25K or less saved for retirement. The chart below shows the amount of savings that workers think they need for retirement, their “retirement number.” A thousand workers age 25 and over were surveyed. Their answers varied between […]

Every Personal Finance Book I’ve Ever Read

I have kept a list of every book I’ve read since 2008. I wasn’t always a reader. But I made the commitment that year to develop the reading habit. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I also wanted to learn more about personal finance. I read whatever I could find at the public […]

Learning how to spend

Personal finance. Frugality. Minimalism. For me it’s about separating what matters from what I’m told by others to care about… by the media (blogs included), advertising, and strangers and friends around me. The advertising industry is a multi-billion dollar machine designed for you to find new things to want. There is no business model I know of […]

Limit your largest fixed expense with a smaller home

I’m a fan of small housing. Small houses make me feel like I’m camping. They remind me of being a kid and when all I needed was my bedroom (that I shared with my sister) and something to draw with or read to have a blast. Proof: restrictions help creativity flourish.  Small spaces come with […]

Millennials and Money: Why it’s difficult for us to build a financial foundation

The draft title of this post was “It’s not your fault, really: why it’s harder than ever to get control of your finances.” It would still make a good subtitle. I recently read the book Generation Debt: Why Now is a Terrible Time to Be Young by Anya Kamenetz (2006). The author discussed the ways government policies […]

A Basic Personal Finance Game Plan: How Did I Start?

Most of the friends and family I’ve talked to (between the ages of 23 and 35) about their personal finances have at least one financial goal and don’t know where to begin. They want to start families, buy homes, pay off debt or save for retirement. The most common question: How do they start these […]

How do you organize your financial life?

Six years ago I was moving out of a college dorm room for the last time. This one wasn’t the worst move but I had accumulated tons of paperwork from my first credit card, brokerage account, retirement accounts, student loan documents, etc. I wanted to have a better system to organize my “grown-up” financial life […]

Why and how I started learning about personal finance

I grew up in a family didn’t talk about money. But I still saw how stressful life could be if you don’t have enough of it. As a teenager, I watched my oldest sister borrow money from my middle sister (I have two older sisters and am the youngest in my family). When I was […]