Challenging Money: Re-launch Edition

One of the good blogging habits I miss from the early days is highlighting other people’s outstanding content. For a while, these posts were known as “What’s Sizzling?” and highlighted some of the best personal finance writing on the Web that week.

I’d very much like to bring back regular links, so I’ve decided that on most weekends (Friday-Sunday), I’ll share a new column called “Challenging Money” with you. I have only two rules:

  1. The post must do an amazing job of making me think, challenging conventional thinking, pushing the boundaries, etc. You get the idea.
  2. I’ll limit myself to no more than 3 links each week. That will benefit the authors (more link quality, spotlight), readers (better focus), and me (I’ll have an opportunity for more editorial comments).

I hope you’re on board, because I’m really excited about it. I’m going to kick things off this week with three amazing posts that made me scratch my head.

This Week’s Features

#1: Man vs. Debt: 24 Quick Actions You Can Do Today That Can Change Your Financial Life Forever. I love posts that deliver specific and actionable steps you can take to improve your money situation—this post is an e-Book length collection of exactly these kinds of steps. For example,

Action #3: Get 1 paying client (15-35 minutes)

Simple steps:

  1. Brainstorm a specific need you can fill – Can you cut grass? Shovel snow? Walk dogs? Provide computer training/support? Tutor? Teach English? Consult on a topic?
  2. Write out three clear benefits to working with you – Pick three BENEFITS of what someone would get out of working with you. BAD: I’ll cut your lawn.  GOOD: You’ll have a freshly trimmed, clipping-free yard by the time you get home.  Three benefits

#2: Get Rich Slowly: Financial Security for Unmarried Couples. It’s fairly clear that there are two dynamics in play on the home front: unmarried couples don’t get the same financial benefits and protections as married couples, and marriage seems to be getting more infrequent and delayed than in years past. Sierra Black writes:

For unmarried partners, it takes careful planning and legal documentation to create the kind of benefits married couples get the moment they say, “I do.”

I invite you to read through some of the suggestions, and browse through some of the interesting and heated discussions happening in the comments section.

#3: Frugal Dad: 15 Things Our Grandparents Lived Without (and We Probably Could, Too): I love posts that take a look “back into history” because I have such respect for my own grandparents and how they deal with money. I’m not suggesting we throw away all of the conveniences of modern life, but posts like these are a good reminder of the luxuries we live with today. One example:

15. Disposable Items. Ziploc bags didn’t really hit the market until the 1960s, although some “resealable bags” were around a decade earlier. My grandparents used to put things in containers (jars, dishes, etc.) and store them. When they used the item, they washed the container and reused.


I’d like to point you to two guest posts I did this week on two different blogs:

  • The Well Heeled Blog graciously hosted my post on alternatives for a cheaper night out. If you like to have fun, but just can’t afford it anymore, you should definitely take a look at some of these options.
  • This month’s post on Lending Tree discusses transportation costs and the effect of where we live on our bottom line.

Finally, I’d like to thank Funny About Money for hosting the Carnival of Personal Finance last week and featuring one of my posts!