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Your First Rental Property

It's official: Kim and I have moved from Portland to Corvallis, Oregon. We closed on our home — a 1964 daylight ranch with fully converted basement — at the end of August, and we've spent the past six weeks moving and unpacking. I thought I'd have time to post the gory details of our purchase, but obviously that hasn't happened. We've been too busy!...

We offered to buy a home for $128,000 over list — but it wasn’t enough!

Sunday evening, Kim and I made an offer on a house. The Greenwood Place (as we'll call it) was listed at $649,000. We offered $677,777 escalating to $777,7777; no repairs required; and a $50,000 appraisal gap waiver. Our offer was not accepted. That's right: Two months after selling our home — and three months after beginning to search for the next...

Series I savings bonds: A safe investment with a high return

I get a lot of questions about money. These questions tend to vary based on the asker and her needs, but there's one question I get more often than any other: “What's a safe investment with a high return?” For the past decade or so, I've had no answer to this question. Savings accounts and certificates of deposit are safe, sure, but they're no longer...

We sold our house in this crazy real-estate market!

June has arrived and it's glorious! The sunshine and warmer weather make living in Oregon wonderful this time of year. October is better, but June is a damn fine month here in Portland: wild roses, blackberry blossoms, and strawberries; birds, squirrels, and bicyclists; outdoor dining, evening strolls, and morning coffee on the porch. I've been in...

An uncertain future

On February 17th — in the middle of nine days without power due to an ice storm — we had the foundation contractor out to re-inspect our house. We experienced some settling last fall, and I was worried that might indicate deeper problems. For thirty minutes, the contractor explored the crawlspace while I sat in the living room, fretting. When he finished,...

My new Audible course on financial independence and early retirement!

Nearly two years ago, I received an unusual email at an address I rarely check anymore. The author wrote: I am writing to you today because The Great Courses in partnership with Audible is exploring the possibility of creating a high-quality series on Financial Independence. We believe that you may be an excellent candidate to teach such a series....

The power of low expectations

At the end of January, I had an epiphany. Kim and I were sitting in the living room one evening, relaxed in our easy chairs, both reading books. All four of our beasts were nestled nearby. The house was quiet. For the first time in forever, I felt completely content. For maybe twenty minutes, I paused what I was doing and simply savored the moment....

An ice-cold update

Ah, life. It's funny sometimes, isn't it? On Thursday, I began writing an article about the difference between personal finance in Mexico vs. the United States. You see, last week I spent several days in Mexico with a friend (who also happens to be my accountant). I had planned to finish the article on Friday. I came close. I got the YouTube version...

Becoming a frugalvore: How to eat well for less

Hey hey, y'all. Here's a guest post from former GRS staff writer (and perennial reader favorite) Donna Freedman. This piece about becoming a frugalvore contains material that originally appeared at Donna's site, Surviving and Thriving. It's been modified for GRS. Enjoy! The “locavore” movement is based on the idea of eating only foods grown within...

When rules bring freedom

While I've identified as a writer since I was eight years old, what I've written has changed significantly over time. When I was very young, I was only interested in writing stories. These stories were child-like, to be sure, but they grew in sophistication as I did. By junior high, I was drafting large chunks of fantasy novels (mimicking the books...

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