Walking The Fine Line Between Frugality And Scarcity

When it comes to saving money, there are many ways to economize.  Taking your lunch to work is a great way to avoid overspending.  Then, there’s finding better alternatives.  A generic store brand is worth a try and may be just as good as a name-brand item.  Ultimately, there’s doing without.  However, the habit of doing without may offer diminishing or detrimental returns.

Frugal, froogal, froot-gle.  Nothing good can come of acting out a word that sounds way goofy.  I’m reminded of 18th-century farm living where vocabulary was as limited as the society’s vocational opportunities.  No one’s saying that you can’t adjust some habits downward, but developing an austerity habit may not help your future as much as you think it will.  Frugalizing to the nth degree can be harmful to your well-being.

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It’s Time To Go Shopping


It’s time to go shopping!  Stocks are on sale!

The bull run is over.  Anyone that was waiting for a correction got what they wished for.  In spite of the  1,175 point loss, it’s still not a “bear market”.  That’s based on the percentages of the Dow Jones and S&P averages and their respective losses.  A bear market would be a result of a 20% drop.  The Dow Jones has only lost 8.5% from its record high, nowhere near 20%.

Don’t wind yourself up into a tizzy over the stock market.  I giggle when I read headlines like, “This pullback is the largest seen in the last 236-and-a-half days.”  There’s always some arbitrary measure of time in an offbeat number of days, weeks or years.  As I write, Marketwatch.com has two side-by-side headlines that contradict each other.  One promises a bear market, the next link calls this slump a correction, not a bear market.

The way I see it, this downturn is taking some of the fluff off the top.  If you bought high, like some Bitcoin investors did, your losses don’t feel so good right now.  But, hopefully you didn’t chase investments that have topped off, hoping that they’ll continue their increase.  That’s Investment Sin Number One: buy-high, sell-low.  If you’ve done this (again), it’s time to step away from the Quotron.

I don’t have any control over the jobs report or the GDP, and neither do you.  But I do know that I can control my reaction.  This is the time to test yourself.  Are you thinking about getting out of stocks? Or are you prepared to wait it out?  Better yet, are you thinking about buying?  My mouth starts to water when stocks go on sale.  When I don’t buy after a price descent, I regret it later.

It’s time to run when companies are buried in debt, when credit dries up, when new trade laws block commerce and when growth has come to a stand-still.  Entire industries can be wiped out based on one piece of legislation.  But if that’s not happening and fundamentals are strong, you’re looking at an emotion-filled selloff.

My best example of this was back in 2009.  I followed a number of stocks, mainly out of curiosity, one being GE.  When stocks were at their lowest, GE’s stock price was below $10.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  There were no bad reports on GE specifically, just an underlying nausea associated with the economy that sent all stocks south.  I knew that GE was here to stay, and that the low stock price was related to the pessimistic aftermath of the near-collapse of the global economy.  I bought 1,000 shares at $7 a share and knew that it was going to double in a very short time.  It never felt more right and within several months, I cashed in my shares at $14.  That money paid off a car loan.  GE went on to move into the twenties.  I was anxious to pay off a debt, but easily could have quadrupled my money.  Even better, I could have bought more using idle cash but I stayed conservative and made it work for me.  As Jim Cramer says, “No one ever got hurt taking a profit”, and “Pigs get slaughtered.”

I’m watching GE again and deciding if I want to grab a few hundred shares.

My plan at this time was to make some alternative investments, but this is a rare opportunity to jump on.  If stock prices get too low to pass up, I may split my cash between some good buys and the TIPS.


5 Things You Need To Know About Bonds


investment allocation

Investing.  The word alone connotes stocks and bonds.  Diversification is the sister term associated with investing.  Subtract your age from 100 to figure out how much of an allocation in bonds you should own.  Why do we need to have bonds? And what makes bonds a necessary portfolio companion?  While trying to understand portfolio allocation a little bit better, I came up with the following five points.




First, Some Basics

Bonds are fairly simple to understand, they’re loans with a specific duration.  They pay interest at stated dates.  There’s an issue date and a maturity date.  The issue date is the beginning of the loan and the maturity date is when the principal is paid back to the investor.  Therefore, unlike stocks that you own forever, bonds are a temporary loan to the issuer.

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Book Reviews: Janesville and Hand To Mouth

financial struggles

In an effort to understand financial struggles, I read two non-fiction works: Janesville: An American Story (Amy Goldstein) and Hand To Mouth (Linda Tirado).


Janesville is an account of the economic adjustments that occurred subsequent to the closing of the local Janesville, Wisconsin, GM plant.  The book documents the shakeout of the newly-unemployed individuals that relied on their financial livelihood from the assembly plant.  To earn their living and raise their families, generations of workers banked on GM employment as a default.  When GM closed down the Janesville assembly plant, it disrupted the economic environment, leaving GM workers, and workers of supporting businesses, without employment.

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Making Financial Change


financial changeToday is as good as any day for making financial changes, but maybe today’s not the day.  Are you truly ready to change?  What’s stopping you?

Instead of thinking about all the reasons why not, take the pressure out of the equation and, well, try.

When I took my Dale Carnegie class, each session involved standing in the front of the room and speaking for approximately three minutes.  The most compelling presentations had a beginning, middle, and end.  What I didn’t know was that this started in the first session.  I thought we would have a warm-up session, not jump right in.  I felt sick to my stomach and barely managed to get through.  Continue reading “Making Financial Change”

Improve Your Financial Knowledge

financial control

When it comes to your financial knowledge, stop pretending that you don’t know what you’re doing.  There are more resources than ever.  If you’re a book lover, read a few on personal finance.  If you’re a net surfer, start Googling up on financial terms.


Answer the following questions and take a few minutes to research anything that you don’t know.  Don’t be afraid, we all have an area that we need to focus on.  These items are off the beaten path, and from what I’ve seen, points that cause confusion.  Some are Yes/No or True/False, while others are thought questions.


I’m all about sharing knowledge.  I learn something new every day and never stop reading.



True or False:  I have a progressive career plan that will increase my earnings within the next five years.


The last time I improved my work skills was ______________.


Related Post: Money Learning Checklist 1         Earning/Saving

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2018: What To Start Doing And What To Stop Doing

2018 leap

I’m revved up for the new year.  I like to think about the books I’ll read, the new projects I’ll work on, and my new financial goals.


What I’ve accomplished during 2017 inspires me to keep it rolling.  I pulled off some difficult projects at work and earned a top evaluation rating and raise.  I finished an 18-credit certificate in Web Programming. I started this blog.  Learning WordPress on my own and customizing the blog page was a challenge, but the struggle stretched my skillset.  Blogging isn’t just about writing. It’s learning about social media, like Facebook, Pinterest, affiliate marketing, guest posting, and commenting on other blogs.  My professional development wasn’t ignored.  I conducted two financial planning workshops and presented at the IRS Practice and Procedures conference with the New York State Society of CPAs.

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Financial Independence Hokey-Pokey


financial freedomI didn’t focus on being financially independent until about three years ago.  I had an idea what my net worth was, but wasn’t fully clear on the exact number.   The lack of a plan made it a nebulous target.


In my 20s at the start of my career, retirement seemed so far away.  I relied heavily on my accounting career to give me financial security.  After all, I chose the career knowing that I’d always have a job.  Consequently, every ounce of my energy went into working.  There were summers that I never saw the light of day. I never knew when I was getting home and I made many sacrifices.  Believe it or not, it was exciting and I enjoyed it.  I latched onto an upward trajectory of promotions and raises.  When I had full autonomy over my position, I liked being relied upon and the responsibilities that went with it.

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