Why You Must Own a Hickory Handle Hammer, and 123 Other Money-Saving Insights

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Favorite dirt-cheap meals! Why you must quit being an idiot! Tastiest low-budget beers! Lessons learned from spiking your hair into a mohawk! And more.

4 debt-fighting tricks. The term “trick” is used fairly loosely, because the advice is blunt, practical, and straightforward, along the lines of this:

Quit being an idiot. I’m serious. You can’t make stupid money decisions and expect to make progress. No, buying that $30,000 Prius to save a few bucks at the pump is not a smart move. No, you shouldn’t gamble on “just one more hand” of blackjack to win all your money back. And just because something is “on sale” doesn’t mean you have to buy it. I love when people say “I saved $20 on this pair of shoes.” When I’m thinking to myself, “Umm, no. You spent $80 to get them, stupid-face.”

5 things my mohawk taught me about money. Who knew there was such financial wisdom to be gleaned from a punk rock ‘do? But here’s the truth when it comes to personal appearance, and personal finance:

If something makes you happy, do it. You can’t just stop because other people aren’t cool with it. The same goes for saving up your dollars and looking like the village tightwad. Yeah it might be smart for your wallet, but you better believe you’ll get laughed at every now and then. But you know what? Who cares.

5 cheap and tasty beers for football season. Another instance of a term (“tasty”) being used loosely. Regardless, the beverage endorsements include:

Simpler Times: My brother introduced me to this beer. Simpler Times, in a cheery yellow can, is brewed for Trader Joe’s. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, you’ve probably seen it. It’s light-bodied, sweet, and made for easy drinking. Average six pack: $3.99 to $4.99

5 Tools You Really Need to Maintain Your Home. A hammer, obviously, for one, but not just any hammer:

Do yourself a favor and buy a hammer with a hickory or ash handle, since wood absorbs shock instead of delivering it straight to your bones. It’ll look beautiful when you hand it off to your grown child, and your arm will be in much better shape to present your gift.

6 things I learned from refinancing with Bank of America. After a less-than-stellar customer service, here’s the main takeaway:

I’ll never do business with Bank of America again. Period.

Also, this:

Always, always stand up for yourself. It’s your money, it’s your life. If you let people walk all over you and your finances, you deserve it.

6 steps to affordable appliance repair. Starting with:

Contact the Manufacturer. Even if you are absolutely, 100% positive that it is no longer covered under any kind of service warranty, call the company who made it anyway… Often, a company can use a serial number or “made on” date to determine the age of your appliance, and if you are anywhere close to the end of your warranty period, they have been known to extend some kindness and fix the issue.

6 steps to selling an engagement ring. Not something you want to have to do. But if you must, deal with the complications first, like that the ring may not actually be yours to sell:

Some states say that whoever walks away from the relationship forfeits their claim to the ring that symbolized the commitment. Others say a gift’s a gift, so you need to know the rules of the playing field before you make your move. And if you were actually married? The ring may be considered communal property, which means the ring will be included in the division of property during your divorce.

6 ways to find cheap, fun family activities. Bringing the gang to the pawn shop to hawk an engagement ring did not make the list. But this did:

Bank Credit/Debit Cards – Many banks offer discounts and free days at local museums and attractions (like the aquarium and zoo). Check with your bank to see what’s offered.

8 great songs about personal finance. What, no Elizabeth Warren rap? Instead, the selections include this wise ditty about consumption, desires, personal responsibility, and ultimate happiness:

“Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need

9 top ways we waste money. Energy drinks, for instance, which one WalletPop reader ranted about thusly:

“Rockstar, Red Bull, Monster … and so many more. Maybe if people would get off the Internet, stop text messaging incessantly, and go to bed at a decent time of the night, they wouldn’t need energy drinks every day to keep them going, which then end up keeping them awake late into the night yet again and causing a vicious cycle.”

10 mixed-up money messes we need to simplify. So many mixed-up messes to choose from! Including:

Taxes. I read a lot of articles and books about retirement planning. A jaw-dropping amount of advice is about tax strategies. Are the contributions and earnings on this or that account taxable? If so, when and at what rates? Compare income-tax versus capital gains tax rates. Are there estate tax considerations? If I claim Social Security before reaching my full retirement age, how will any outside earnings be taxed?

10 more essential skills you didn’t learn in college. What, you didn’t take a class in college on “Public Discourse 101: How to discuss issues without resorting to name-calling”? Actually, it seems like lots of people didn’t learn this during or after college. But here’s what you should know:

The public arena is filled with incredible viciousness, with people on both sides hurling such hateful terminology at people who merely disagree with them on an issue or two. Discussion and public policy can’t move forward in that state. If more people adopted a more sensible form of public discourse, we could find middle grounds that allow society to move forward. Share the positives of your ideas, not the negatives of other ideas.

10 things that determine happiness. Including the always-important “having a short memory,” and also by defining success in realistic terms:

There’s a saying that no matter how talented or successful you think you are, there’s always someone who’s got a leg up on you. People who compare themselves against those people will always come out the loser, even when the comparison is neither appropriate nor consequential.

14 hottest deal of the day online stores. They’re so hot I’ve never heard of nearly all of them, including this one, given the #1 spot:

Humanitarian shopping sites are a blossoming breed and Roozt delivers social responsibility to the chic shopping masses. Although they deal solely with ethical and eco-friendly businesses, you won’t be limited to hemp clothing or recycled knick-knacks. Past deals include half-off a $50 gift card to Autonomie Project, a sweatshop-free clothing and footwear company, and 50-percent off a variety of designer handbags from “eco-fashion” outfit Make Love Not Trash.

20 favorite dirt cheap meals. Thrif-delicious meals like:

Can of refried beans, leftover meat (best is a leftover chicken sausage), chicken stock, greens thrown in a pot (shared by Barrie) reminds me of our children’s favorite meal, which is literally just leftover taco ingredients mixed together in a bowl and sometimes moistened with whatever stock we have on hand. It’s really tasty.