losing weightToo many visits to my doctor recently have convinced me it’s time to do something about a problem I’ve ignored for years: obesity.

I’m obese — according to BMI and the medical charts at my doctor’s office, and it’s a problem I haven’t wanted to come to terms with until now. Losing weight should help solve a lot of my medical problems, and as a personal finance writer, I’m wondering if losing weight will also help me save money.

My goal is to lose 50 pounds within the next 365 days — or about a pound a week. If I get there, I’ll still be overweight, but at least I won’t be as fat and will have a better starting point to hopefully someday get to a normal weight.

Unfortunately, I’m not alone. Nearly half of U.S. adults are expected to be obese by 2040, according to a report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Saving money with weight loss isn’t my ultimate goal, of course, but it gives me a bit more incentive and another angle to write about that readers may learn from.

While I’ve just started this year-long quest, there are some things about trying to lose weight and saving money that I’ve quickly come across, and others that I’ve researched. Here are some ways I hope to save money by losing weight:

Fewer doctor’s visits

I’ve been going to a chiropractor for years for lower back pain. He used to charge $25 per visit years ago, but that’s now up to $40. Every time I make that payment I leave his office thinking of many other ways to spend or save that $40.

I recently started lap swimming, and that $40 would almost buy a monthly pass at my local pool.

Having extra money also opens up all kinds of investment options, including building up an emergency fund and funding retirement. ...continue reading


man-916494_1280The internal battle rages on with car buying enthusiasts. Is it always better to buy a used car?

I’ve gone looking at cars several times over the past 2 years or so and I’m not 100% sold on what the right decision is.

Those who remain staunchly pro-new buying will answer than used cars are never a sure thing, and if you intend to own a vehicle for the life of the vehicle, then deprecation doesn’t matter. Pro-used car buyers argue that new cars are a waste of money, resources, and will always be a terrible investment?

So how should a person decide whether or not used car buying is the right decision for their transportation needs? Weighing the pros and cons will always help decide whether or not you’re making the right decision when you get ready to buy a car.

...continue reading

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Piggy bank examined with stethoscopeWho wants to buy one car for the price of two? All you have to do is get a loan for six years at a 12% interest rate, and pay it off as scheduled. Gross, isn’t it?

Actually it’s compound interest. It’s bullish if you’re getting it, but a real beast if you’re the one paying it. Most people know about the magic of compounding investments, but it works the other way too. And just as some rates are better for investments than others, debts should also be avoided with certain interest rates, unless you enjoy doubling your debt.

Time isn’t the only factor, but it’s the biggest. The Rule of 72 is Einstein’s simple shortcut to figure out how long it takes for an interest-compounded value to double. It’s not exact, but it’s never more than half a year off. Just divide 72 by your interest rate, and there you have how long it would take for the loan or investment amount to double.

So 1% would take 72 years to double. 5% takes about 15 years to double. 10% takes 7.2 years to double. 20% takes 3.6 years to double, and 36% doubles in just two years. So if your loan duration is long, as in home loans, keep in mind it takes even less time for it to re-double (or quadruple). And it’s usually redoubling about half a year quicker for most good-credit rates. ...continue reading