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On Saturday, we learned how love and marriage caused me to sink even deeper into a financial hole I was digging for myself. I had hopes that as a married couple we would begin to get our financial house in order, but it was not to be. My first big mistake is that I bought wholeheartedly into the “yuppie” lifestyle. We started buying excessively nice furnishings for our apartment: a big television, a new couch, a surround sound system, everything …

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I’m constantly astounded by the huge number of personal finance books that are out there, and it seems like every week I discover a new one or two. How on earth does a person dig through this huge pile of books, many of which offer variations on the same old advice, to find the real gems? To address this, I’m starting a project: 52 Books in 52 Weeks. For the entire next year, I will read one book related to …

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Over several years as a regular but non-professional eBay seller and buyer, I’ve been accumulating a set of “best practices” for online auctioneering as a seller. eBay has regularly published such lists, but these lists are often skewed towards choosing “best” practices for maximizing your profits only when they overlap with eBay’s utility and profits. As for me, eBay and other online auction sites are a tool that enable me to turn over used items that might have value to …

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This week, Google-X is conducting a detailed review of the often-lauded personal finance book The Millionaire Next Door. First published in 1996, the book has held a consistently high level of popularity for more than a decade. What valuable insights does this book contain? By the end of the week, perhaps we’ll discover its secrets. The general premise of the book is that the pop culture concept of a millionaire is quite false and that most actual millionaires …

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Recently, I provided some extensive consultation to a couple looking to upgrade their home computer. They had purchased the machine in 1999 and were looking to buy a replacement machine for it with a budget of $1000, and they wanted my advice on how to maximize their purchase. If you are a techie, please note that I am writing this article for home users who are not strongly adept with computer selection and buying. I am not interested in scaring …

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The next time you fill up, spend an extra few minutes at the gas station performing a simple, free task, and you’ll put a few dollars right in your pocket. The secret is air. Most gas stations have a free air pump for your tires available on the side of the station. A lot of stations will also loan you an air gauge to check the tire pressure. The procedure is very very easy and, if you don’t know how …

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I sat down for my monthly financial review recently to see what sort of progress I’d made in the last month. I generally break things down by evaluating my assets, my debts, and then my net worth, and then using these numbers, I attempt to set goals for the coming month. This is a useful exercise for everyone to do, simply so they can keep tabs on their overall assets. Let’s break it down. Assets: My assets increased in value …

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Yesterday, we learned about my immature behavior in handling a large steady income. I was starting to sink further into debt without really acquiring any assets, and I was building up a lifestyle based around extremely poor spending decisions. Yet, I was about to embark on a path that would make matters much worse. I was about to fall in love. I wound up falling in love with an acquaintance from my high school days. We were in different social …

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We wanted to create a first birthday party for our child that would be full of memories for all of the attendees and would make for a great home movie for him to watch later (as he is too young to remember it himself), but since he is only one, we didn’t want to have to spend a lot on it. How did we do it? Our theme involved participation of all of the guests. Our theme for his first …

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Once every few months, I will purchase an item at the store, take it home, and discover a serious problem with it. The bread has a very odd taste, or the tortilla chips are very stale, or the salsa is very very watery, or the Glade plug-in doesn’t work. Most people I know react to this by simply tossing the product, chalking it up as a loss, and moving on with life, and that’s what I used to do as …

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