I ADVISED LAST OCTOBER that loading up on holiday gifts ahead of the main shopping season probably made sense, given problems with the supply chain. Foreign manufacturers were struggling to produce enough goods, plus many items were stuck in ships anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Parents across the country, flush with cash, were frantic about getting their kids the latest hot toys.
What a difference a year makes.
A FAVORITE QUOTE in the world of personal finance comes from Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.”
Money troubles are a common theme throughout literature. Charles Dickens probably summed it up best. In David Copperfield, a fellow named Micawber laments: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds,
WE BUY LOBSTERS from the backdoor of a fisherman who we know here in Maine. On Tuesday, my wife texted him to say she’d left $35 in cash for the four lobsters he’d set aside for us in a cooler. He texted back to say $25 was more than enough.
In a year of spiking inflation, I have a morsel of good news. The wholesale price of lobster has crashed since March, down 45% according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St.
MY WIFE AND I JUST returned from the first extended road trip of our retirement. We were away two weeks, drove 2,800 miles and visited 10 states. The primary reason for the trip was to stay five days on a houseboat on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, with seven friends.
We broke the trip into three phases. The first part took us from New Jersey to northwest Arkansas in two-and-a-half days. Along the way, we stopped in St.
MY WIFE AND I GET together occasionally with our neighbors for a glass of wine. We became good friends with Larry and Kathryn since they moved into our neighborhood. They‘re retirees, just like us.
When visiting them, they often serve cheese and crackers. One day, Larry said to me, “Try one of these whole wheat crackers. They won’t hurt you. I can’t say the same thing about the cheese, though.” He knows I try to eat healthily.
COUNTLESS ARTICLES on HumbleDollar speak of the need to save, especially for those early in their careers, so they can eventually retire in comfort. The powerful effect of compounding means that the sooner those dollars are saved and invested, the greater the sum down the road.
But where can folks find those extra savings? Let me offer a suggestion: learn to cook.
The amount Americans of all income levels spend on eating out,
AS THE SAYING GOES, you get what you pay for. Does that mean a higher price equals better service and quality? When I purchase something, I assume customer service is built into the cost. But maybe I’m wrong.
One of my current life goals is to be one of those “other customers” who are currently being assisted while I’m on hold. When I call a helpline, I’m thinking my call is not that important to them.
I NEVER PLANNED to retire early. But I was toiling away in a job that had nothing to do with my college degrees or my previous work experience, plus it paid 40% less than the post I’d held for the prior 10 years. When my employer offered a meager early retirement package in 2020 to cut labor costs during the pandemic, I took it.
I’ve lived frugally ever since, as I had during the four years in my last,
IT SEEMS ONE IS NEVER enough. I’ve known folks who collect handbags, wine, Mark Twain first editions, pennies, vintage posters, Pez dispensers, old cars, British royal family memorabilia, antique furniture, lunch boxes, motorcycles, Beanie Babies, Portmeirion china and more.
Near where I live is the Barnes Foundation, which houses Albert Barnes’s art collection, with its 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Doesn’t that seem a tad obsessive? Most of us, I suspect, would be content with just three or four Renoirs.
HERE I SIT IN MY local Starbucks, sipping an overpriced iced tea comprised of 50% ice. As I am prone to do, I’m observing the customers in line and what they’re ordering. Yeah, I’m that suspicious-looking old man in the corner with iPhone in hand.
What I observe is a line of young, really young people—like less than age 25. What I see is consistent with many other stores where I’ve loitered, that is,
TRAVELING TO and living in foreign countries has been a big part of my adult life. My wife and I are looking forward to even more travel now that we’re no longer working. In fact, we just spent three months in Europe. It’s our second such trip since retiring late last year.
Over the decades, we’ve given a fair amount of thought to how we can stay safe during our travels. Below are 10 suggestions for those venturing beyond our borders.
ARE YOU READY FOR some football? Autumn is just around the corner and, if you’re like me, you can’t wait for those lazy Sunday afternoons kicking back and watching the gridiron. What about some munchies as you enjoy the on-field action? While the cost of everything food-related seems to be skyrocketing, there’s encouraging news for one popular football snack.
According to data from Bloomberg, wholesale chicken wing prices are down some 60% from a year ago.
IT SEEMS EVERYONE in the personal finance world is flipping out about inflation. Some are lamenting the cost to fill up their F-150—with the optional 7.2kw onboard generator for tailgate parties no doubt. Others are decrying the $6.39 it takes to buy two liters of ginger ale or the $198 million required for a Rembrandt.
Hey, I don’t like higher prices for bourbon, vermouth, bitters and maraschino cherries any more than the next guy shaking a Manhattan,
AS I’VE GROWN OLDER, I have become more willing to open my wallet and splurge. But I still get a thrill from what feels like a bargain. One example: I’ve long been a fan of restaurant happy hours, when you can often get a glass of wine and some appetizers at a cut-rate price.
But I have a new favorite low-cost indulgence. Elaine and I will grab a bottle of vino out of the basement—screw top preferred,
I EXPERIENCED a traumatic event recently: 24 hours without an iPhone. When I left the house, I felt out of touch, incommunicado. What if someone needed me or I needed them? What if I missed the latest Tweet? It was horrible.
My iPhone X was just about kaput, with a cracked screen and a weak battery. On a trip to the mall, I walked into an AT&T store “just to look.” I ended up with an iPhone 13 Pro,