Freelance writer & indie author sharing thoughts on creativity, productivity and success. https://karenbanes.com

Some are more drastic than others.

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There’s no doubt that attending college can be expensive. So it’s not surprising that many potential students are looking for ways to save money on a college education. There are plenty of small moves you can make to do this, but there are also some more extreme options you could consider. Here are four of them:

Don’t Go

I don’t offer this advice lightly. It’s true that most people think the significant amount of money spent on college is worth it long-term and that the right degree can greatly increase your income over a lifetime. But is college 100% essential for 100%…


Credit card debt is bad. Responsible credit card usage is fine.

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We’re often told to avoid credit card debt, as it’s one of the most expensive kinds of debt there is. That’s good advice that should always be followed. Never run up credit card debt, under any circumstances.

Avoiding credit card debt, however, doesn’t always mean you have to avoid using credit cards. It’s possible to use them without ever going into debt, and if you’re disciplined about it, there are various ways that credit cards can be used to your advantage.

Credit building

There are various ways to build credit. Having a credit card that you use sparingly and pay off every…


There’s more to good personal finance than frugality.

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After years of writing about personal finance, I can confirm something important. Many people strongly resist ‘frugality,’ and some of them have very good reasons. One thing I’ve noticed is that if you grew up middle-class and secure, frugality can seem attractive and fun. If you grew up poor and deprived, frugality can be triggering and traumatic. Shopping second-hand can be a big novelty, and give you a kind of rush if you’ve never done it before. …


Not every hobby can earn you money, but some can.

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Making money from your hobby is a dream for a lot of people, but it’s easier said than done. The old adage to ‘do what you love and the money will come’ is pretty much hogwash. Doing what you love won’t make you money unless you put it in the context of a workable business model. And not every hobby can be monetised, or at least not in the exact form that you enjoy doing it. …


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My theme word for 2021 is simplify. I plan to apply it to every area of my life. But I’m starting with my finances. Running your personal finances in a streamlined, simplified way is a key step on the road to eliminating financial stress and improving your financial position long-term. If that’s sounding attractive to you, here are some of the steps you could consider taking.

Eliminate What You Don’t Need

Many of us have too many financial commitments (especially when it comes to things like subscriptions and membership fees), and that’s a great place to start. But unnecessary outgoings aren’t the only thing you…


And improve your life.

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Not one of these books is remotely in the ‘get rich quick’ category, but if you’re aiming to slowly but surely overhaul your finances and provide long-term financial security and freedom for yourself and your family, I suggest you put these on your reading list.

The Millionaire Next Door By Thomas J Stanley

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers that this one tops the list. I quote from it regularly in my personal finance articles, and I often point out how learning to spend like a millionaire (and think like one) is actually the first step to financial freedom. This book is all about…


Sometimes the little things really do add up.

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I write about productivity a lot, so today I’m just boiling it down to some really simple strategies that (almost) anyone can use to squeeze some extra productivity out of every day.

Get up early (or just earlier)

No, you absolutely don’t have to join the 5 am club (unless that suits you) but getting up earlier than you need is a simple but effective way to find an extra 30–60 minutes of focused work time. Unless you have little kids. Then you’re probably already up at 5 am. I’ve been there. I feel for you. It doesn’t last forever.

Manage your energy

One of the most impactful books…


The top ten majors, ranked by potential future salary.

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I’ve written before about whether going to college is worth the debt that you’ll inevitably take on in order to graduate. The conclusion was that it at least partially depends on the type of degree you get, as that dictates your future salary. So which college degrees lead to financial success? Which majors earn the most money? And do any of them tie in with your talents and interests?

In an attempt to answer the first two of these questions, Payscale puts together an annual College Salary Report. In the 2020–2021 report, there were few surprises with specialist engineering majors…


Defining what your goal is, isn’t enough.

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Setting a financial goal can be simple. You just decide what the goal is and when you want to achieve it by. Done. Goal set. Unfortunately, you’ve only decided what you want to do. Not why or how. Unsurprisingly, your chances of reaching that goal aren’t great at this point. To increase your chances of reaching any financial goal, it helps to have a what, why, and how in place.

What

Deciding what you want to do is the simplest step of the goal-setting process. Maybe, by the end of the year, you want to:

  • Save $10,000
  • Eliminate debt
  • Double your…


The right to own a gun doesn’t make murder legal.

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I came across this comic strip on social media this week. It perfectly sums up for me what free speech is, and what it isn’t. But perhaps doesn’t go quite far enough. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you’re immune to the potentially illegal consequences of what you say. Just because you’re practicing free speech (which is legal) doesn’t mean you aren’t also breaking the law in the way you use it.

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