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Personal Finance

01/20/15 Minimalism , Personal Finance # ,

Being a Pack Rat is Expensive

Being a Pack Rat is Expensive

If you’ve got a few closets, chances are they’re overfilled with things you rarely, if ever, use. You may not consider yourself a pack rat, but those full closets and garage, bulging cupboards and piles of things in every room are costing you money.

Here are a few ways that being a pack rat is more expensive than you might think:

Paying for storage

Even if your home is relatively cleared of excess belongings, if you’re paying a storage company to keep it, you’re paying for stuff that you probably won’t use again so you can keep your house clean.

A non-climate controlled self storage unit costs $1.12 per square foot, according to the Self Storage Association.  A 10-foot by 10-foot unit in the U.S. costs $115 per month for non-climate controlled, and $146 per month if climate controlled. Continue reading

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13/01/15 Debt , Personal Finance #

Put Your Debt Resolution in Writing

Put Your Debt Resolution in Writing

debt resolution

I’m not a big fan of contests, but The Debt Myth has a simple giveaway around the topic of a debt resolution that resonates so well with me as a personal finance writer that I wanted to share it here.

As part of her “Debt is Not Forever” movement, Jackie Beck is giving away $25 in a random drawing to people who write down their debt resolution. I wrote my debt resolution on a post-it note.

The chance to win only $25 isn’t what appeals to me (though that’s a nice lunch out with my wife), but the idea behind putting such a resolution in writing. I’ve shared my note on Twitter, which is one way to enter. You can also share it on Pinterest or Instagram with the hashtag #DebtIsNotForever. Her website also has a widget to enter a photo in the contest. Beck will share them later in a collage.

Living up to your words can take a lot of effort. Writing them down can make them a lot easier to remember and follow through on.

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01/05/15 Minimalism , Personal Finance # ,

Saving Cash With a Dinner Plan

Saving Cash With a Dinner Plan

One of the biggest pulls on my time as a stay-at-home dad is cooking dinner. It includes weekly meal planning, grocery store shopping, farmer’s market shopping, and of course, cooking. Throw in the last-minute rush to the store because I forgot an ingredient, and I’ve spent a few hours a day working on dinner and a dinner plan.

My wife and I enjoy cooking, so that isn’t usually the problem. What becomes a problem, as I’ve come to realize over the years, is that a meal can get expensive if I don’t think ahead and plan it. Without it, we either go out to dinner or I go to the grocery store and buy things I shouldn’t buy. Or at the very least, I’m buying food that I could’ve bought cheaper in bulk at Costco if I had thought ahead.

My dinner plan solution

Two years ago, I found myself running out of ideas of what to cook for dinner, despite having about 100 cookbooks in our home. I was overwhelmed by recipe choices and trying to come up with meals that everyone really enjoyed. I was cooking the same meals again and again. Continue reading

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12/15/14 Personal Finance # ,

Will Apple Pay Users Spend More?

Will Apple Pay Users Spend More?

Having a credit card was once a sign of social status. If you could whip out a credit card to pay for something, you were someone with financial means.

Now, with credit cards easy to come by, buying something with a credit card in public doesn’t hold the same panache it once did. Paying with a smartphone and a mobile payment tool such as Apple Pay may add a little more showmanship, though with almost everyone having a phone, even that technological advantage is moot.

Paying with a credit card, research has shown, results in consumers spending more money than they would with cash or a debit card. A 2008 study by the American Psychological Association found that cash discourages spending, and credit and gift cards encourage it. Continue reading

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11/21/14 Personal Finance # ,

Another Personal Finance Blog?

Another Personal Finance Blog?

As someone who is interested in how to best utilize my time and money, I’ve come across numerous personal finance blogs telling me how to save money, make money and how to stay out of debt.  I’ve written lists for websites on the best ways to save at the grocery store and if an extended warranty is worthwhile (it usually isn’t).

But what I haven’t seen much of online is a discussion of how your money and time are tied together. How being smarter with your money will free up the valuable time you have. There are only so many hours in a day, and you can’t buy more when the 24 hours are up. It’s not a news flash that the more time you spend working so you can earn money, the less time you have to spend it.

That’s the discussion I want to get to here. By being smarter with your money — by how you use it and earn it — you can free up more time to do what you really want. No one wishes they had worked more in life, do they?

Fewer bills, for example, are one way of not having to work as much. Without a cable TV bill, I pay less money for my TV service, and therefore don’t have to work as much to pay those bills. Lifestyle changes are just some of the ways to cut back spending so you can free up more time for other things.

In a way I’m promoting minimalism, which I’ll get into in a few posts. But mostly, I want this personal finance blog to focus on how finding better ways to make more money, and having fewer things to spend money on while being smart with the purchases you do make, is a lifestyle worth talking about. Those goals shouldn’t cancel each other out. Making more money while spending less doesn’t mean you have to work more hours in a day. It just means there are better ways to do things so that you can spend however much you need to meet your daily and long-term goals while having plenty of time left over to enjoy. Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.