The reader email that broke my heart.

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I used to have a high-traffic personal finance blog, now I don’t.

I only wrote a total of 15-20 posts over 2 years, but the site had 10,000+ monthly visitors at one point. As of last week, The Smarter Dollar was shut down.

However, yesterday I received a random email that changed my entire perspective on blogging. So much so, in fact, that this website will no longer be a daily blog at all.

“Hello Pete, I really hope I found the right person.”

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2 vital resources you need to master successful blogging.

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blogging / recommended tools

Writing well is hard. Blogging well is harder.

If you’ve ever tried blogging, you’ve experienced how difficult it is to gain some traction. Those elusive readers!

Posting on Facebook will net you 5-10 pageviews (hi mom!). Luckily, there exists this thingy called ‘the internet,’ and it’s chalk full of information on how to blog well.

But you won’t find it here. I won’t bother with a huge post right now…but I will point you in the right direction.

The following resources are for those who want to blog better, and write better.

Read the articles and take notes. Don’t just skim them.

And tell Sarah Peterson who sent ‘ya when ‘ya get famous.

Bulking update: Week 1

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fitness experiments

Today marks the 10th day of my bulking experiment. I’ll be posting a quick update every Sunday evening throughout the duration.

(By the way, if you want to learn more about how I’m getting huge in the gym, here’s that post…or about my bulk up diet, here’s that post)

The stats

  • pounds gained since starting: 4lbs (210 – 214)
  • body fat % – WHO KNOWS (but probably 24-28%)
  • average daily calories: 2,825
  • average daily protein: 200g
  • average daily carbs: 260g

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Want me to shop local? Offer me something special. 

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complaints on business / entrepreneurship / marketing

‘Shop Local!’ means nothing without purpose.

Am I willing to pay extra to shop at a locally owned small business? Of course, but not for the same exact goods I could buy cheaper and easier elsewhere.

I will not reward small business owners who don’t offer me something special, or at least offer it in a better way.

The Caveat: customer service

I will shop for goods wherever I can get them at a price I approve of, and throughout an experience I prefer. Start a small grocery shop and offer me an incredible experience. I’ll be a lifelong customer. I don’t care if the goods are exactly the same as Kroger’s.

Offer a product I can’t get anywhere else, or provide exceptional experiences a corporation could never offer. That’s the only way ‘shop local’ translates into sales.

Why we buy things Part 2: Logic

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entrepreneurship / marketing

Here is part 1 of why we buy things. (Hint: it’s because we desire to feel a certain way, and we need products that will make us feel that way).

Which would you rather buy:

  • a Lamborghini, or a Mazda Miata?
  • A Coach handbag, or a Target handbag?
  • A 6,500 sq/ft estate on 5 acres, or wherever you’re currently living.
  • A delicious $50 meal from a hip restaurant, or Captain D’s?

The luxury items on this list are more expensive than their counterparts, hence most of us don’t buy them. But I wish I did have the money to buy them. Don’t you? Of course you do. We all do, even if you say you’d still prefer non-luxury goods.

But the reason we don’t buy luxury items is logic. I feel a strong emotional pull towards Lamborhini’s. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’d be cool driving a blacked-out Lambo. But buying one is not logically right now.

Understanding the logic behind why we buy things.

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Why we buy things Part 1: Emotion

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entrepreneurship / marketing

The first half of why we buy things has everything to do with feelings. Emotion. Desire.

Have you ever encountered a product, and paid for it so quickly you surprised yourself? I’ve done this (stupid domain names). It happens when we encounter a product that triggers emotions so strongly that we ignore all rational thoughts on why we shouldn’t buy…and we just buy the damn thing.

want that. I’d love to have that. I’d kill for that.

Humans crave fulfillment and acceptance. We want to look good and feel good all the time, and that’s ok. It’s human nature after all.

But…our human nature can also cause us to buy things we shouldn’t. Read More

How to cut your own hair (and save $$$ every month)

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save money make money
how to cut your own hair

I cut my own hair, and you should do the same.

What’s that you say?

  • You don’t know how to cut your own hair?
  • It’s not worth it?
  • You’d screw it up?

Well, you might not be amazing at it the first time, but it’s worth it. As a dude, I’ve been cutting my own hair for about 15 years, and it probably saves me $15-20 every 4-6 weeks. That’s $156 a year or so.

Will you be able to afford that Ferrari? No, but $15 a month buys an extra pack of IPA, half a bottle of whiskey, or a damn good wine.

How to cut your own hair.

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What we can learn (seriously) from Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance.

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entrepreneurship / random

What do people remember about Katy Perry’s halftime show 2 years ago? A lame shark.

What do people remember about Beyonce/Bruno Mars/Coldplay last year? Nothing really, but maybe some feminism/black power dancing that the media spun.

This year’s halftime show will be remembered for something different, and it has nothing to do with whether or not you love/hate Lady Gaga. Read More