The leak in our bathroom ceiling

Ah, the joys of homeownership. Remember the peeling paint in the bathroom ceiling that I mentioned last week? The peeling paint that I felt certain was due to humidity from the shower and lack of adequate ventilation? Well, I was wrong. The paint is peeling because we have a leak in the roof. It seems …

Drama in real life: Making planned gifts before death

My mother’s health has been declining over the past few months, and it’s produced a wee bit of year-end financial drama in our family. (The word “drama” is a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe it’s produced some year-end financial consternation?) As long-time readers will recall, my mother has been in assisted living for more than …

Keeping a home improvement projects to-do list

My Christmas curse continues! You see, for a long time now — almost thirty years — Christmas has become synonymous with home problems for me. This all started in the first home that Kris and I owned back when we were newly married. We woke one Christmas morning to find that the water heater had …

Grading homes: The system I used when picking a new place to live

This morning — because the sky was clear and I hadn’t anything better to do — I let the dog lead me on a six-mile walk. For two hours, we wound our way through the streets of Corvallis. We sniffed drains, barked at squirrels, and in every way had a merry old time. If I’d …

The value of a college degree

I’m a long-time vocal proponent of higher education. For me, it’s personal. I was raised in a poor family with parents who had briefly attended college, but never with any real gusto. (I’m not sure my father had a plan. My mother studied home economics. Not kidding.) My uncle got a math degree from a …

A useful new tool to help you pick a place to live

Every now and then, The New York Times gives us an awesome new personal-finance tool. Back in 2007, they created an amazing rent vs. buy calculator, which they’ve diligently updated and maintained over the past fifteen years. A couple of weeks ago, they unveiled their where should you live? tool. [Warning: possible paywall, which is …

Learning from history: How this all happened

The older I get, the more interested I am in history. When I was young, history and myth seemed to be interchangeable to me. To ten-year-old me, there was little difference between, say, Abraham Lincoln and the Greek gods sitting atop Mount Olympus. All of it was abstract stuff that happened to imaginary people long …

Amazon Brand Detector

Two months ago, The Markup — a big-tech watchdog site — published a piece about how Amazon prioritizes its own “brands” first above better rated (and/or cheaper) products. This came as no surprise to me. I’ve found Amazon increasingly useless over the past few years. Its search results are cluttered with ads. Sometimes my searches …

The long, complicated history of lines at Disney theme parks

As part of my new commitment to just being me, I hope to share a lot more random stuff around here — just like I used to. Instead of waiting for weeks (or months) in order for inspiration to strike for a longer essay, I want to share the best of the interesting money stories …

One thing to my people (A prayer of thanksgiving)

I recently flew to Cincinnati, Ohio to attend the second-annual EconoMe Conference. I had one of the best weekends of my life. I can’t say that the conference itself was the reason for this peak experience. There’s no question that I enjoyed interacting with the speakers and attendees. As the video below demonstrates, the main-stage …

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