Your Debt-to-Income Ratio: What It Is and Why You Should Care

Think back to the last time you financed a purchase — be it a home, automobile, or what have you… You may remember having heard the term “debt-to-income ratio.” Today I want to spend some time going over exactly what this ratio is, and to also touch on how it can effect your personal finances. […]


Save Then Buy vs. Buy Now, Pay Later

Today I want to suggest a New Year’s resolution that is guaranteed to improve your bottom line. It’s a simple concept really… Do not purchase a good or service until you have saved the money to pay for it. Period. So why is this so hard for us to grasp, adopt, and live by? It’s […]


Financial Goals for 2010

Now is the time to outline your financial goals for 2010. In case you haven’t already done this, I’ve put together some ideas to get you started. While I’ve loosely prioritized the main themes, you’ll want to tailor things according to your individual situation. Reduce your debt Debt reduction should, in my opinion, always be […]


Paying for Quality Saves Time and Money

As long as you are not smack dab in the middle of aggressive debt reduction (and perhaps eve if you are), paying extra for quality is rarely a bad idea. Sure, as with anything there are exceptions to the rule, but rather than focus on those exceptions, let’s focus on the rule itself. Quality is […]


Flexible Spending Account – Spend It Before You Lose It

If you don’t spend the balance of you Flexible Spending Account before the ball drops in Times Square, you forfeit the excess and burn up your savings. Don’t squander your FSA! Let’s go spend some money! What is a Flexible Spending Account? A flexible spending account, commonly referred to as an FSA, is an employer-provided […]


How to Ask for Discounts

When’s the last time you asked a seller to reduce their asking price? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been a long time. In fact, maybe you’ve never done it. “Haggling (bargaining) is common in some countries, such as China, Turkey and Egypt. If you don’t haggle, it is highly likely that you will […]


Obesity Costs More Than You Think

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re living in the midst of an epidemic of childhood obesity. And for that matter, adults aren’t doing so well themselves. A couple years back, I got very interested in this topic, so I did some research, and found the answer. It’s a little complicated, but not really. Some of […]


Why We Avoid Black Friday Like the Black Death

Let me start by wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday from all the writers here at FiveCentNickel. Hopefully you’re spending time with family, eating turkey, and falling asleep while watching the Lion’s lose. (I can say that since I live in Michigan and am a long-time suffering fan!) I don’t want to take up a […]


DIY Garage Kayak Racks: Fast, Frugal, and Effective

Today I want to share with you one of my recent home projects… Frugal and effective DIY garage kayak racks. As I’ve continued down the path of voluntary frugality, I’ve gotten more and more interested in DIY projects of all kinds. Whether or not you’re handy around the house, most frugal homeowners eventually jump on […]


How Much Does Your Debt Cost?

Back in April of 2009, I was already mad at my debt. It wasn’t until I conjured up the idea of tabulating how much interest I was paying, however, that my eyes were finally opened to the enormous power my debt had over my ability to retain my own hard earned money! Here is the […]