With 2017 coming to end, it just seemed fitting for me to share my 17 most favorite finance posts that I’ve read from the year. Not all of them were published in 2017, but that’s when I read them. These were ideas, stories, and tips that stuck with me, and ones that I either wrote down because I wanted to share them at a later date with you guys, or ones that were so memorable, I knew by heart and didn’t have to jot down to remember! All the posts included are from blogs/bloggers that I absolutely love, and definitely recommend you scrolling through their websites.
If you ever plan to have bills, if you’d like to ever retire, if you’d want to feel like you have more money, or if you’d like to live better, this list applies to you (so yeah, this list applies to 99.99% of the general US population). This list is in no particular order!
“If I cut my hair at home, they might not notice. If I drive an older car, they might tease me a bit about my hooptie. If I cook simple meals at home, there isn’t much to talk about. If our vacations involve a tent, no one will think much of it. If I paid cash for my modest home, they will ask when we are going to move into something bigger.
But in Reality, I’m Killing It.
I’m saving for my kid’s college, and this tribe thinks that’s awesome. I’m taking a year off work, and this tribe sees that I’m living intentionally- fully. I’m buying investment properties and this tribe loves the passive income. I’m maxing out my IRA, and this tribe sees that I’m setting myself up for success.
You can’t pay too much attention to “them.” The ones who love every choice that keeps you in debt and over-committed in payments. They only celebrate choices that steal your Freedom”
“I love saving money! Ask my husband, he thinks I’m crazy- I’d much rather put money into savings than go shopping. I just love finding new ways to make and then put back cash for a rainy (or a sunny) day. What irritates me though, is when I try finding new ways to save up, and I get really lazy advice.
You know the type, advice such as “cut the cable“, “skip your morning latte“, and “walk to work“. This method implies that I haven’t already combed over my budget for holes, which I thoroughly have!
Better yet, I just *love* it when someone suggests taking surveys, or just starting a blog. Surveys don’t pay well, and until you get heavily invested in it, neither do blogs.
I know I can’t be the only one who is already frugal yet looking for new ways to make money to save. And I know that there lots of totally awesome people who 100% financially rely on their minimum wage income, who want/need to build a savings- so regardless of your situation, I hope this helps you!”
“For years I’ve lived with a maxim that brings a smile to my face every time I repeat it to myself. Which is approximately 38 times a day. I’ve kept it in long enough, however, and today I release it to the masses. It’s called “Anyone Can Buy That”, and you remind yourself of it anytime you come across the following situations:
- When you roll up behind a Land Rover/Benz/Bimmer
- When you walk past a mansion/mcmansion/megamansion
- When your colleague rocks anything Coach.
- When you’re actually sitting in coach staring at first!
- When your friends are glued to their 82″ plasmas
- When you overhear how awesome that $100 bottle of wine tasted
When you see someone spending less than they earn
It doesn’t matter if they can afford it or not, or if they paid with cash or credit – the takeaway is still the same: anyone can buy that. Anyone can save too, but unfortunately that’s harder to see on any given day.
So anytime you catch yourself being jealous or salivating over someone else’s awesome things – which, let’s face it, there’s a lot in life that IS! – just remind yourself that you can purchase whatever you wanttoo. You’ll probably have to take on some debt or freeze a handful of your goals in return, but you’re free to pull the trigger any damn time you please. And that’s quite the liberating feeling.
But remember, every time you don’t, you get that much closer to freedom. Freedom from stuff, freedom from your job, and freedom to do whatever the hell you want with your life.”
“I’ve heard a lot of ridiculous statements:
- “I’m sure we’ll find parking.”
- “I’ll just check Facebook for five minutes.”
- “I’ll skip dessert.”
But perhaps the most absurd is the adage: “If you’re a renter, you’re throwing money away.”
You’ve heard those statements, right?
- “I’m sick of throwing money away on rent.”
- “Buying is always better than renting.”
- “Your home is your biggest investment.”
I’m going to explain why these clichés are ludicrous.”
“We all know that we “should” budget. That doesn’t change anything.
We “should” drive the speed limit. We “should” wear sunscreen every time we leave the house. We “should” floss our teeth daily.
Let’s get real.
In this post, I’m going to suggest an alternative for the Afford Anything readers who embrace the reality that they’ll never stick to a budget. It’s my anti-budget, and it’s simple:
- Decide how much you want to save.
- Pull this off the top.
- Relax about the rest.
See how easy that is?
There’s no need to track how much you’re spending on groceries, electricity, restaurants and clothes. You don’t need to line-item your sunglasses, toothpaste, and that time you dropped $80 at the bar.
Let’s face it, you were never going to line-item those purchases, anyway. And you read financial blogs! If you’re not going to do it, who will?
No one. And that’s the point.”
“I worked full-time all throughout my undergraduate and graduate degrees, and still managed to have student loans. I’m going to blame it on the fact that I had to move out when I was 17/18 and I had to pay for myself to live, but honestly, I wasted a lot of the money I made as well.
I spent tons of money on clothes and food. Wes and I were not the smartest with money when we were younger and first moved in together. I will be honest and say that.
The total amount of student loans that I accumulated was around $40,000 after I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. You can read more about my degrees in the post ‘How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500’.
We have had some of the money saved in our emergency fund for quite some time, but I had a hard time parting with it. That is the main reason for why I was able to throw such large payments at my loans every week, and especially the last couple of weeks when I had student loan debt.”
“I see so many people doing so much extra work (and paying so much extra money!) because they don’t understand how credit works. I used to be one of those people! Paying cash is ‘good enough’ right? Right?! WRONG.
I’ve done my research though, and I’ve pulled it all together for your convenience. Here is what I’ve learned (and some tasks I’ve even tested, and proven) about building a high credit score:
- What determines a credit score
- Where can you get a (free) credit report (this IS NOT the same as a credit score)
- Why isn’t paying in cash enough
- Why do you even need good credit
- How will you raise your credit score by a hundred points or more, in less than 30 days
- How will you remove nicks from your credit, even ones that are YOUR fault
Let’s hop right into it!”
“By definition, a cult is a relatively small group of people who have beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.
There is this group of people I know that fit that description.
- First – They don’t work. Many stopped working in their 30s.
- Second – They secretly have a lot of money and people are suspicious of where it came from.
- Third – They may talk about the benefits of their cult and try to aggressively persuade people into it. Although most of the time, they are hiding their participation in the cult from friends and family.
- Fourth – They have a leader with a strange name and he is eccentric, opinionated and charismatic like many other cult leaders.”
“#32 If wealth were redistributed, we’d all be rich.
Imagine this, there’s a small town of 100 people. A handful of people are very impoverished, the majority are middle class, and one man is very wealthy. The wealthy man owns 200 chickens. This man is generous, and divides all the chickens up equally amongst his community. That night, a handful of people eat delicious roasted chicken. The majority enjoy an increase of daily eggs they collect. The initially wealthy man lets his chickens reproduce, not eating the eggs. In a year, he is back to having 200 chickens, and everyone else is back where they started.”
“Surprisingly, it’s not that hard.
It doesn’t require hitting the lottery or inheriting a windfall from ol’ Aunt Myrtle.
Similarly, you don’t have to become a brilliant investor or possess any unusual skill.
Also, the title claimed “anyone” can do it so the strategy has to be repeatable and predictable. We’re talking science – not random luck.
In a word, the answer is “frugality” – extreme frugality by most people’s standards – accompanied by basic investing.
Anyone can do it, but almost nobody will… and therein lies the rub.
Let’s start by proving the theory with mathematics, and then we’ll explore the rest of the strategy in greater depth…”
“Some of us travel for the scenery and the experience while others just can’t wait to try the delicious local food.
Today I’ll talk about the five ways Mr. FAF (Frugal Asian Finance) and I save money on food while traveling.
When Mr. FAF and I went on our first trip as a couple on a student budget, we decided to cut costs by driving in his 1999 Toyota Corolla he had bought for $2,000.
We didn’t want to eat out to save money, so we also brought with us the following items:….”
“If I could boil my entire personal finance ideology into 6 words it would be this: Grow the Gap. Guard the Gap. If I could share a message with families struggling in poverty I would tell them: Grow the Gap. Guard the Gap. If I could share with young adults in college I would say: Grow the Gap. Guard the Gap. If I had a few minutes to talk with middle income and high earners, I would advise them: Grow the Gap. Guard the Gap. If you want to know how to went from from $50,000 in debt to over $500,000 net worth in 15 year on medium sized income: We grew the gap and guarded the gap.”
“What is your Monthly Nut Ratio? Conventional wisdom says your fixed expenses should be under 50%, leaving 30% for flexible spending and 20% for investing. What if you could increase your income or lower your payments? Maybe push your fixed expenses down to 30%, 20% or 15%?
Some people track their net worth, savings rate, or cash flow. Maybe we should start tracking our Monthly Nut Ratio?
It’s a simple formula. Just take your fixed expenses and divide it by your monthly income. Fixed Expenses/Monthly Income x 100 (for the percent)
Every time you pay off a credit card, car loan, student loan, medical bill, or the granddaddy of payments…your mortgage- Your Monthly Nut Ratio will move down.
Every bill you can make smaller – cell phone, car insurance, gym membership – your Monthly Nut Ratio moves down.
If you can add a side hustle, earn a raise, or create some passive income: Down goes your percent.
If your starting at 60%, every 10% drop will feel like a weight is being lifted. At 50% you will breath better. At 40% you will sleep better. At 20% you will feel like a freaking Rockstar.”
“The point is that while huge, uncovered medical bills are inconvenient, they are rare. Therefore, my willingness to pay for insurance against them must have a limit. I’d definitely pay $50 per month for it, but should I be willing to pay $1000?
What about $2000? $4000? $12,000 or $1 million per month? I think that everyone would hit their “Fuck That” point somewhere in there.
And remember, this problem of expensive medical procedures is unique to the US. You can take your dollars almost anywhere else in the world and pay out-of-pocket to get the same (or better) quality care for a fraction of the cost. At some point, a rational person has to be willing to stop overpaying for this inefficient system.
After doing the math, I decided that my limit is definitely less than $1000, which means I should at least consider other options. So I looked into some of them:
- Full Self Insurance
- 2.9 Months per year of Self Insurance (to avoid IRS penalty)
- Medical Tourism
- joining a “Healthshare Ministry” like Libertyshare
- expat insurance like Cigna
- Artificial poverty (reducing my income to a level where we’d qualify for subsidies)”
“…But one of the most interesting articles in recent memory has been making the rounds on social media this month, and it has fired up many Mustachians because it combines just enough spirited and uplifting “Fuck Yeah” insight on the good life, with a well-intentioned but horribly wrong conclusion. It’s well written and very persuasive. With 2.3 million “likes” on Facebook (up from 1.2m last time I checked), it has probably fooled thousands of financially suicidal people into thinking they are not sabotaging their own lives after all. In fact, I suspect that article has gone viral because it tells people exactly what they want to hear: ‘Go ahead, be irresponsible and party on. This is the path to a better future.'”
“One of the hardest things to tackle when it comes to managing your money is trying to figure out how to make ends meet if you’re broke. Creating a budget is even harder when you are behind on bills and don’t know where to start. The basic budgeting steps are the same, but your spending and breakdown of expenses might look a little different. If you are behind on bills, you are going to spend a little more time assessing your situation and coming to terms with how bad things really are.
If you are in this situation and are trying to come up with a money plan, here is what you need to do set up a working budget and get back on track.”
“I want you to pay off your mortgage early. I know many of you are just starting off on your financial journey and you may be thinking along the lines of:
If only I could just get on a budget
If only I could stop living paycheck to paycheck
If only I could just pay off my credit cardsIf only I could save a little more
If only I could…I am here to let you know, that’s not good enough. I promise.”
⁃ Which post is your favorite?
⁃ Are you a Finance Blogger? If so, drop a link to your blog in the comments section, I’d love to read it. You may even find it in my favorite posts from 2018 next year!
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