Personal Finance 

Roundup: Living Without Money

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The last few weeks, the frugal world has been buzzing about how Mark Boyle lived an entire year without cash. It’s was more about sustainability and reducing waste than living without cash, but I think it’s was a pretty valuable social experiment. It reminded me of a more “important” Super Size Me type of experiment.

If we grew our own food, we wouldn’t waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn’t throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we probably wouldn’t contaminate it.

Interesting stuff… here are a few more interesting things I read the last few weeks:

  • Briana at Bargain Briana shares some tips on how to freeze peaches, something we did right before our Lake Tahoe trip when we realized we weren’t going to be able to eat our Costco-size box of peaches. We just cut them in half, removed the pits, and froze them, Briana’s way is much better.
  • Mike at Oblivious Investor talks about the new Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 and wonders why there’s a $3,000 minimum. It seems a little silly but there has to be a reason behind it… I mean the thing has an expense ratio of 0.19%, how do they make any money?
  • With used car prices up 10%, some are now calling last year’s Cash for Clunkers program a clunker. Perfectly good cars were shredded or crushed… you gotta love unintended consequences.
  • GenY Wealth asked a few financial planners for advice for Gen Y’ers and received a lot of good responses that almost anyone can use.
  • Kiplinger looked up a bunch of freebies in a bunch of categories from free car repair to treats to a diamond ring inspection! 🙂
  • 25 Things Chefs Never Tell You is a fun and educational read.

Have a great weekend!

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “Roundup: Living Without Money”

  1. Traciatim says:

    Cash for clunkers sole purpose was to remove cars that had crazy high emmissions . . . things that didn’t have catalytic converters, and things along that line. It had nothing to do with used car prices.

    • Well, there are conflicting ideas of what a “perfectly good” car is, and that’s the core conflict. Some people consider a car with bad emissions to be perfectly fine … as long as it still gets them from point A to point B.

      But I agree with you. Getting these “perfectly good” cares off the streets wasn’t an unintended consequence – it was the primary focus of the bill. Agree with the bill or disagree with it (I personally think the method for determining compensation was a bit flawed) – but it did what the authors of the bill were trying to do.

  2. zapeta says:

    Interesting discussion of the Vanguard minimums. I wonder if this is why almost all of their funds have a 3000 minimum…to guarantee a certain level of income for each person invested in the fund.

  3. FlyFisher says:

    Great stuff. The Kiplinger freebies are very useful!

  4. ziglet19 says:

    Thanks for the link for how to freeze peaches. My sister in law brought me over a GIANT bag from her tree, and I was just thinking about freezing or canning some. Freezing sure seems like a quicker project. Thanks.

  5. Mike Piper says:

    Thanks for including my post about Vanguard’s new fund.

    I think I might be able to go a year without cash. A year without plastic or online banking, however, is another story. 🙂 While I could never do what he did, I have a great deal of respect for that level of independence and conservationism.

  6. Wilma says:

    Wow. Nice free stuff article. The freezing peaches article was good but when I free my peaches I want to be able to throw them in a blender for smoothies while they’re still frozen. Can’t do that with a block of ice peaches. I cut them into slices, lay them on a cookie sheet and then freeze them. After freezing I place them into a zippy bag or container. They’re all separate and ready to blenderize into your favorite smoothie combo or to snack on while they’re frozen. Kids love them. =)

  7. Dave Lichtman says:

    If we all grew our own food, we would have an agrarian economy like the one that existed before the industrial revolution. Whoopee!

  8. live green says:

    I am all for growing produce on our own or getting them from a local farm. The produce that is sold at grocery stores is both expensive and who knows what kind of pesticides were used on it. Going the organic route is great, but can be way more expensive and the produce still had to travel thousand of miles.

  9. Xander says:

    Vanguard makes money from Target Retirement 2055 because it’s just a container to hold other Vanguard funds. The 0.19% charge is on top of the fees that the other funds charge (which is cleverly hidden from you by lumping them into the composite fund.) All targeted retirement funds work like this at every mutual fund company, it’s just a way for them to generate extra fees.

    The cheapest way to invest in the funds if to only buys those that directly own their underlying securities. At Vanguard I like the Wellesley Income Fund (VWINX) and Long-Term Investment-Grade Fund (VWESX). Both of these are heavy on bonds and pay high dividends, which makes them great for a long term tax advantaged account.

    I buy the ETF version of VWESX in an IRA that is a normal brokerage account. I like the Vanguard finds but I like have 20% in physical gold/sliver via the CEF and Vanguard just doesn’t offer anything like that.

    • Mike Piper says:

      That’s actually not true about Vanguard’s target retirement funds having an additional layer of costs. 0.19% is the total expense ratio. You can check in the prospectus if you’d like (p 67).

      Though you’re right that many fund companies do charge an extra layer of expenses for their “funds of funds.”

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