Moving after being in our home for 10 years was so painful, but if there were any positives to the whole packing and sorting everything out ordeal a few months ago, it was that we were able to declutter and make some serious cash on stuff that’s been lying around the house. Emma was amazing at selling stuff, posting pictures, responding to requests, and scheduling pickups. She even managed to convince someone to buy our own bedroom furniture set for a hefty sum when he came by to pick up a mattress. That was a godsend because not only did we make the most money with that set, we would otherwise have an extra bedroom furniture set that’s hard to get rid of sitting in our garage of the new house. When it was all set and done, we managed to put $2,800 in our pockets.

$2,800 dollars.

And before you think you need a super seller like Emma, know that anyone can make some money declutter their home. Travis, my friend, also decluttered recently. Here’s his story.
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How far things changed in just a few short months…

With the pandemic still ravaging the economy and the incredible market crash just a few short months ago, it’s hard to imagine that here we are, contemplating early retirement because of strong market performance.

Yet, one of the readers is doing just that. He met his retirement number a month ago. And with the market’s going straight up ever since, he’s now pretty confident that the pot he saved up will last his family for the rest of their lives. He’s only 51 years old though and doesn’t know anyone nearly as fortunate as him so he’s a bit nervous.

If you were him, what questions would you be asking yourself before you tell your boss you’re leaving for good? Here are a few to consider.

Am I going to drive my spouse insane being at home all day?
I put this one up first because it sounds ridiculous, and thus it’s a question that’s often overlooked. Yet, there are far too many people who find out that seeing each other at home all day unbearable after years of having one (or both) spouse(s) out of the house for long periods of every day.

I’m not saying to keep working forever just because you and your significant other can’t work it out, but take the time to talk to your spouse so there’s an understanding that there’s going to be a change. Go to couple’s counseling if you have to. Do whatever it takes, because an early retiree might be spending the next 50 years living together with their spouses and seeing them for 10+ hours each and every day.
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Personal finance experts often warn against “keeping up with Joneses” or splurging on unnecessary items. Latte factor anybody? Stop going to Starbucks and have a million bucks more by the time you retire!

And though this is good advice, what about the other side of the equation?

Do you ever feel guilty for spending money on yourself — even when you have your financial house in order?

When Should You Splurge? When It’s Something You Really Want and You Can Afford It…

I’m now at the point where I have absolutely zero debt, fully-funded emergency savings, and an automatic (albeit small) contribution going into an IRA every month.

Yet, I still don’t feel comfortable allowing myself to spend money. [ continue reading… ]

One of the more interesting things I’ve heard about recently was a piece about how the wealthy think differently than the middle class.

Steve Siebold, the author of the book How Rich People Think, interviewed more than a thousand millionaires and billionaires and came up with some information on the way that the wealthy approach life.

Among Siebold’s most interesting observations is the fact that, in the middle class, many people trade their time for money. Here’s what Siebold points out:

Formal education teaches people how to think and perform in the linear world of commerce, but the rich rarely become wealthy trading time for money.

This made stop and think. Am I trading too much of my time for money?
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Our waitress wasn’t very courteous to us today. We asked for an empty plate and she never acknowledged the request. When she came by 15 minutes later, she just slid the plate on the table without stopping. This got me wondering — do waiters/waitresses always deserve a tip? It’s a widely accepted American standard to at least pay a 15% tip for dine-in meals. Yet, we probably wouldn’t be happy if we went to buy a book and they asked us for a tip. What’s the difference? Someone (or machine) assembles the book, someone might have helped you pick it out, and if none of the above applies, the cashier rang up the register for you. Why don’t these hard working individuals deserve a tip too?

I’m all for paying a tip to a waiter who is polite and treats us well, but why are we forced to pay a tip? I have come across many good waiter and waitresses here in my neck of the woods, but I just feel that if people aren’t forced to pay 15% for the bad ones, the same people can afford to pay more than 15% when they receive good service. Who started this practice and how did we settle on 15%? I know they pay 10% in Canada, and there isn’t a standard in Asia. Why not 12% or 18%?
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My mom used a controversial method of getting us to study. When my sister and I were in elementary school, my mom devised a system where she would pay us $1 for every A, $0.50 per B, nothing for a C, and we owed her money for a D or an F. Report card day was exciting for both of us, as we generally collected a cool $7 or more.

My mom didn’t know that the system never worked since it didn’t motivate us to get good grades. The money was a very nice perk though.

Parents, teachers and child psychology experts are divided on whether or not paying for academic performance is a good idea. On the one hand, some school districts that have instituted payment for book-reading have seen improvement of reading comprehension. On the other hand, students who are paid for good standardized test scores do about as well as they would have without the financial incentive.

So what’s the right way to handle the grade/money connection in your house? Here are some things to think about as you decide if you will be paying Junior and Sis for good grades this school year:
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