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Repair, Don't Replace

Note: this article was originally supposed to be published earlier today, but I forgot to schedule it.

I hate it when things break. Often it seems like things break at the least appropriate times - when you need them most - doesn't it? Most of the time when something of mine breaks, it feels like there's a great need for it to work right now, and that usually leads to the impulse to replace the item right away. In some cases, this can be the correct course of action, but there are lots of things that can be repaired given patience and careful observation. This has plenty of benefits, not the least of which is cost savings from the replacement of the item, but in the case of electronics and other high-tech products it also prevents possible waste and mishandling of valuable and hazardous natural resources. Because of planned obsolescence and the ever-intensifying push to make goods more and more "affordable", many electronic and mechanical devices are designed without durability and longevity in mind. Most of the time this means that the lowest quality components that meet the minimum specifications are used to build a product, even if it means the product's effective lifetime is cut frustratingly short.


The Obligatory Cable Cutting Article - Part I

I know, I know. I can hear it from here: "Another blog trying to get me to cancel my precious boob tube service?". Oh, come now - you all knew it was coming. But since there are so many articles out there like this already, I'm hoping to provide an article full of not only the reasons you should cut your cable bill, but also the practical alternatives that I've found to be the most easy to get along with. Over the next two posts (this one and a follow-up by Courtney), we'll be going over the benefits of removing television service from your balance sheet and how you can fill the void left by it (hint: it's really not hard). Let's take a look at some of the reasons you may want to oust your cable service in favor of a cheaper alternative:

Credit Card Rules for Modern Savers

Most American young adults have plentiful opportunities to apply for or use credit once - and often before - they're out of high school. In a study published by Sallie Mae polling undergraduate students, it was found that 84 percent of the respondents had at least one credit card. Coupled with the fact that most high school students receive little or no financial education (at least in the classroom), that statistic speaks volumes about why so many in our culture are so deeply indebted to various financial institutions, but by far the most jarring and abhorrible kind of debt is credit card debt. Since I've recently gotten my first "rewards" credit card, I feel like it's a good time to present some of the rules I've put in place for my own use of credit cards; follow these rules, and credit card debt will never trouble you.

Luxury is Your Enemy

[...] luxury is the enemy of observation, a costly indulgence that induces such a good feeling that you notice nothing. Luxury spoils and infantilizes you and prevents you from knowing the world. That is its purpose [...] Paul Theroux

Stay Out of Debt With: The Simmer System

A few years into my first job, I spontaneously developed a new habit: every time I was considering a new major purchase, I'd agonize over whether I really needed to make it. Perhaps it was the perceived scarcity of money after I became the primary income earner in the family, or maybe I'm just genetically predisposed to being a cheapskate. Whatever triggered it, I eventually adopted a set of rules for large purchases, and chief among them was what I now refer to as The Simmer System.

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