How to Make the Best Purchase Considering Quality AND Price

Use My “Product Decision Tool” to Decide Quickly Between Similar Products

Imagine you are looking to buy a refrigerator, a web cam, or a printer. Odds are you will find many products with very similar features. The question then arises: should you buy whichever one is highest-rated, regardless of the price? Or should you buy whichever one is cheapest, regardless of its quality?

I believe that quality and price are both important. And I’ve developed a method for using both criteria to decide quickly which product to buy when comparing products with similar features.

I’ve used this method to decide which refrigerator, washer, or dryer to buy—“big ticket” items where I didn’t want to make a mistake in terms of money or quality. But because the method is so easy, I’ve also used it to decide between “small ticket” items like web cams, printers, and blenders.

Here’s the method, which you can use to make a great purchase whenever deciding between two or more similar products: (more…)

How to Make a Fresh Start

7 Steps to a Life Course-Correction

Do you ever feel off course? Like you’re drifting through life or headed in the wrong direction? Or maybe “wrong direction” doesn’t even make sense because the destination itself has disappeared.

Pointer in the sea on the boat.

If so, you’re not alone. Though it can feel that way sometimes.

The truth is that every person makes course-corrections in life—probably thousands of them. I certainly do.

Navigating life is a lot like driving a car. When driving, you spend almost every second adjusting the direction of the car to the desired course. Most of those adjustments are minor, almost imperceptible. But sometimes you make a 90- or even 180-degree turn.

Oftentimes, the need for a course-correction is forced upon us. Something sudden or tragic happens that demands a response.

But we can also take the initiative. We can be proactive in setting a new direction—in making a fresh start.

Twice a year I make a deliberate fresh start. Doing so helps keep me on—or get me back on—the path I want to be on. And when the inevitable tragedy hits, the reorientation is much less jarring.

In two days (on Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent), I’m going to make another fresh start. Following is the process I am using to prepare for it. You can use these 7 steps at any time to make your own fresh start: (more…)

Which is Better: To Earn Money or to Save It?

This post is from contributing author Matthew Houtsma. Matthew and I have been friends for over 30 years. We attended school together from kindergarten through college, have traveled together in Europe, and co-founded an SAT prep company. Matthew is always looking for ways to save money, particularly when it comes to travel with his wife and three boys. The tagline of this blog is “helping you have more time and money for what matters most.” But many of us overlook key factors in how we value money. In this post, Matthew talks about one such factor and how a proper understanding of it can help you have more money and time.

Would you rather get a $1,000 bonus at work or save $900 on plane tickets for an upcoming trip you have already decided to take? Or, would you be better off earning $1,000 driving for Uber or negotiating with your cable and phone company to save $720: $60 per month for the next 12 months, say?

Man holding glass jar with money in it

While you might think the first option is obviously better in both scenarios, for the vast majority of working adults, the second option is preferable. The reason why is simple but important to understand and keep in mind: (more…)