This week was supposed to be an exciting one at work - I was due to get a new laptop. Being so frugal means I don’t always get to scratch my “new technology” itch at home so these moments are a rare treat for me. When I booted it up for the first time and opened the browser, however, I was in for a not-so-pleasant surprise.
In America, we consume twice as many material goods as we did fifty years ago. Over the same period, the size of the average American home has nearly tripled, and today that average home contains about three hundred thousand items. On average, our homes contain more televisions than people. And the US Department of Energy reports that, due to clutter, 25 percent of people with two-care garages don’t have room to park cars inside and another 32% have room for only one vehicle.
One year ago, I launched Thrifty, a web-based expense and income tracking tool and became the first user. Using Thrifty, our family has logged every penny we’ve earned, paid in taxes, and spent on expenses over the last 12 months.
One of the cooler things going across the interwebs in the last few days has been the #firstsevenjobs hashtag - prompting people to list, in order, their first seven jobs. It’s a great study of seeing where people started from and it’s fun to look back on where you’ve been and what you’ve learned.
Where do you go when you want to know how prepayments would impact your student loan debt? What about figuring out the new payment you’d have if you refinanced your mortgage? Financial advisors can get expensive and google’s not going to cover every scenario. My advice? Get versed in the art of Spreadsheet Fu.