Category: Money

How We Accidentally Saved $5,000 on Cell Phones

How We Accidentally Saved $5,000 on Cell Phones

If you’re looking for the “save $20 on Google Fi” link, it’s right here!


I’ve been hearing complaints from a lot of people about their cell phones and/or cell phone service. Most recently, it was from the guy fixing my fireplace. Turns out he is spending way more on his phone and phone service than I am, and he isn’t nearly as happy with it.

I’m not sure why it’s not already common knowledge, but more people should know this: cell phones do not need to be expensive.

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Teaching Your Employees How to Ask for a Raise

Teaching Your Employees How to Ask for a Raise

I believe that we should be teaching our employees how to be successful – not just in their specific roles in our business but also in their own career paths as the professional men and women they are. This means they need to know how to ask for raises and negotiate pay.

I don’t do raises or performance reviews just because another calendar year has passed. I meet with my employees when I need to or want to. I have an “open door” policy that allows my employees to schedule time to meet with me when they feel the need. This has worked well for my particular business.

I want my employees to love their jobs. I want to empower them to ask for the things they want out of their job, including raises.

The instructions below were written with the help of an excellent employee of mine who has been with me for four years.

Here is what I ask my employees to do when they feel they have earned a raise:

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Fancy Family Vacations and Other June Spending

Fancy Family Vacations and Other June Spending

A quick reminder: these spending reports are an effort to keep myself accountable to the idea that doctors do not have to spend a totally ridiculous amount of money to live well and love life. We’re trying to do these spending reports for every month of 2018.

As I have mentioned before, we do not do traditional budgeting. You absolutely should do traditional budgeting if that works for you as a way to control your spending.  More on this topic here.

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FAQs on Student Debt, Loan Forgiveness, and Refinancing

FAQs on Student Debt, Loan Forgiveness, and Refinancing

Okay friends, I’m starting to get questions about student loans pretty frequently from my fellow doctors. It’s some version of “Good for you for getting your student debt under control and all, but WTF am I supposed to do about mine?”

Usually the more detailed questions go something like the following, so let’s go through them one at a time and I’ll do my very best to answer in a reasonably helpful way:

How did you decide what to do about your loans?

Great question!

Here’s why we decided to destroy our student loans, as well as the update on our progress from May of 2018.

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Doctors with Money Problems

Doctors with Money Problems

I was just about done with the original version of this post when the Wall Street Journal published this article with the apparent goal of making my profession look like it’s composed entirely of Tesla drivers who can’t do math.

This article of course popped up almost immediately in my social media doctor groups and in my social media finance / FIRE groups and got thousands of comments and shares and emoticon reactions.

The doctor group’s reaction was largely along the lines of “No one understands what doctors go through, student loans are the worst, school costs so much, the educational system / federal loan program is oh-so-broken, etc.” The FIRE group’s reaction was (to bring it down to PG vocabulary): “Stop whining and pay back your debts like you said you would, you spoiled rich brats.”

Things got so exciting that Dave Ramsey got involved.

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Hiking Gear, Bike Repairs, and Other May Spending

Hiking Gear, Bike Repairs, and Other May Spending

A quick reminder: these spending reports are an effort to keep myself accountable to the idea that doctors do not have to spend a totally ridiculous amount of money to live well and love life. We’re trying to do these spending reports for every month of 2018.

As I have mentioned before, we do not do traditional budgeting. You absolutely should do traditional budgeting if that works for you as a way to control your spending.  More on this topic here.

Notes About May

May seemed to be an explosion of spending money, and not just because we purchased a house (which we consider to be a separate endeavor from our month-to-month spending). You can read the details about the money part of the house purchase and the move here.

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Why “I Make More Money at the Office” is a Bad Excuse to Avoid Real Work

Why “I Make More Money at the Office” is a Bad Excuse to Avoid Real Work

It seems to me that as soon as we doctors are making any kind of decent money (which is usually immediately after graduating) we start looking for reasons to not do any actual work outside of the office.

Usually the reason given for this attitude is some version of “I can make way more at my job than what the (insert any type of manual laborer or domestic service provider) charges me per hour, so why would I not hire that out?” If we want to throw an extra layer of guilt on for anyone who might object, we say something like: “Well I have to pay someone to clean my house and cook my meals and cut my lawn so I have time to do things with my kids!”

Both of these excuses may have some superficial merit, but neither one holds much water when examined closely.

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What Does it Really Cost to Buy a House and Move?

What Does it Really Cost to Buy a House and Move?

We’re moving! It’s just across town, but still quite exciting for us. You can see from that banner photo that’s it’s also been pure chaos. More info about the house and why we decided to move can be found in this post.

The most obvious money-related part of this is the sticker price of the house. But it turns out the whole buy-a-house-and-move process is a conveyor belt of random fees and expenses, which in the end will make you realize that renting is awesome.

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Upsizing our House to Downsize our Life

Upsizing our House to Downsize our Life

In our ongoing efforts to be minimalist-ish, we decided last year that our small-town life was getting too big.

You may already know that we skip the use of our cars when we can, but even so our car commutes have started to annoy us in a big way. The main road in town that takes me to my office is getting more and more congested with each passing month, due to the ever-growing population here and some new high-density residential construction. My car commute is now well over 20 minutes during rush hour, which if you’ve done any research at all on happiness you know is a bad thing.

The interstate is the least-terrible route between our current house and my husband’s work, as well as our current house and Baby J’s daycare. Those drives are still in the 15-20 minute range, but if we’d wanted to spend time every day sitting on the interstate we would have moved to a big city. 

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On Renting and Roommates

On Renting and Roommates

One of the interesting things about modern American life is that it’s easy to find conversations and media reports lamenting the plight of any adult who rents their residence or has roommates. What was standard money-saving behavior in college – living in a small-ish, rented space with other human beings – is apparently pitiable if you are past your mid-twenties.

Meanwhile, the advertising machine that is the news media seems determined to convince us that we all need giant luxury living spaces, that wages are plummeting and housing costs are skyrocketing, that people choosing not to buy homes will cause the entire global economy to implode, and of course that Millennials are either to blame for all this or are the helpless victims of all this, depending on which article you read.

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