Four Years of Credit Card Hacking

Since beginning full-time work four years ago, I’ve successfully leveraged the opening and closing of seven credit cards for remarkably cheap travel. I’ve been over the oceans and across the nation, all for a fraction of the cost. And four years later, I’m still going strong. Some refer to this art as travel hacking or credit card churning, for the legal and clever exploitation of airline-branded credit … Continue reading Four Years of Credit Card Hacking

Working With Vicki Robin, Author of Your Money or Your Life

Over a year ago, I created a Resources page to direct people to great books and websites. At the top of my book list was the New York Times best-selling Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence. At the time, I was a huge fan. Now I’m pleased to say I have become so much more. The History … Continue reading Working With Vicki Robin, Author of Your Money or Your Life

The Largest Cause of Financial Distress

I’ve long thought and written about simplicity, minimalism, and essentialism–specifically their ability to challenge my perceptions of wants, needs, and life satisfaction. From material possessions to free time, I resolved to spend the limited resources I have (time, money, energy) in a way that connects my visions with reality. These concepts have forever altered the lens through which I evaluate the world. Remaining disciplined is … Continue reading The Largest Cause of Financial Distress

Low-Cost Furnishing: The Multi-Year Craigslist Experiment

Today, all across the country, people are moving their belongings from one residence to another. Perhaps a new job has them headed for Atlanta, or maybe they’re interested in experiencing the charm of Portland life. Even empty nesters–people that haven’t moved in years–are downsizing. In each of these scenarios, folks decide what material possessions make the cut, and what doesn’t. As I go through the process of leaving my third post-college residence, I can’t help but reflect on my experience furnishing living spaces. Just like books, there are numerous methods to sourcing our appliances, tools, and furniture. After more than two years, I’m here to share the results of my multi-year craigslist experience. Continue reading “Low-Cost Furnishing: The Multi-Year Craigslist Experiment”

Let’s Start Talking About Net Worth

A few months after graduating college, I entered the American workforce wide-eyed and full of wonder. I was receiving a steady paycheck and retirement benefits for the first time in my life, and I mused about the ability to live free of financial anxiety. Or so I thought. I was surprised to learn that earning a living doesn’t necessarily translate to a worry-free middle class existence. In fact, I discovered many of my peers spent a lot of time discussing how expensive life can be, why I should never have children, or oversharing their own financial snafus. It became very clear that everyone wasn’t thinking about debt, savings, and their financial health in a practical way. Knowing this, I took an honest look at my fiscal condition and resolved to educate myself on a few basic principles. My first order of business: eradicating debt. Continue reading “Let’s Start Talking About Net Worth”

Discover Your Local Public Library

I define frugality as achieving similar results, for less. Less money, less time, and less energy. In turn, more of these resources are made available for the important things in life. Driven not by laziness, but optimization. This process of thinking is critical for designing an essential life. For example: how can I maintain my current social life, for less? How can I eat delicious foods, for less? How can I get direct access to the incredible minds of authors from around the world, for less? The last of these can be answered with a wonderful resource known to many, but used by few: the local public library. Continue reading “Discover Your Local Public Library”

My Emergency Fund Paves a Way to Freedom

When The Atlantic’s May 2016 issue released The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans, it made rounds in the world of personal finance. Over the past few years, the US Federal Reserve Board released an annual study on the economic well-being of US households to take a pulse on Americans’ financial health and aptitude. A portion of the 2015 report documents the response to a hypothetical emergency expense of $400. Imagine a failed alternator, freak medical procedure, or laptop going up in smoke. When faced with this unexpected liability, 47% of respondents said they could not pay the expense with cash (or a functional equivalent) or would borrow/sell something to do so. Even more shockingly, 19% of respondents with a household income of $100,000+ fell into this category–too strapped to cover this expense with cash or any form of savings. Continue reading “My Emergency Fund Paves a Way to Freedom”

Travel Hacking

I was 18 years-old the first time I stepped onto a commercial flight. The Boeing 747, a plane impressively regarded as the “Queen of the Skies”, soared for 13.5 hours over Canada, Alaska, and the Bearing Sea before descending into Narita International Airport. My maiden voyage from Detroit to Tokyo forever sealed my wonderment for human aviation. However, there was one small problem: the final price for my first international adventure set me back $1500.

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Credit Scores

Developing an intentional relationship with our finances is critical for crafting the life we want. It gives us the ability to take a resource (money) and transform it into a lifestyle reflective of our values. Whether you make $20,000 a year or $150,000 a year, understanding basic financial concepts is crucial for increasing freedom and lessening fiscal anxiety. In learning more about these topics and living below my means, I was able to save up months of expenses and leave my job that didn’t bring me long-term satisfaction. Continue reading “Credit Scores”