The personal finance community is filled with so many talented writers and truly inspiring people and families who want something much different in life than the traditional plan of buying lots of stuff and retiring in their 60s.  Here is a look at the best of this week’s personal finance blogs.

In this episode of Friday Feast: Zen Habits, Reaching Our Balance, Money Mozart, Yes and Yes, Be More With Less, The Art of Simple and Financially Fitz.

readingFinally, it’s August.  This means we’re one month closer to some relief from the heat here in the beautiful southwest.  It’s funny, people tend to move south as they get older, preferring the warmer weather to the brutal winters in the north.  But for me, and like I mentioned in my Sunshine Blogger Award entry, my tolerance of the heat is curiously waning.  Not sure what to make of that, but I’ll be darn happy when we can follow the weather in our RV in a couple years.

Speaking of getting older, and knowing what you know now, what advice would you have for those in their 20s?  Zen Habits published a “Scary 20s” post that provides just this advice.  Find your niche and get good at something, don’t worry so much about the future and, of course, quit spending so much damn cash on crap that nobody really needs. Live below your means.  Be smart.

Being smart with your money includes resisting the urge to buy gadgets and upgrading your cell phone every year.  As Jason from Reaching Our Balance wrote this week, he doesn’t even have a smart phone and, in many ways, pities those who do.  Honestly, I can’t say that I blame him.  Though I have a smart phone, I don’t use 90% of its computational prowess!

The truth is that most of us could probably stand to get rid of a lot of the junk that we stubbornly keep around.  Every once in a while, purge!  Purge that crap!  I’m selling a bunch of stuff on Craigslist and giving away the rest in preparation for our big downsize.  And Chris from Money Mozart just recently completed a yard sale where he also purged much of the stuff that he doesn’t use or need any longer, and made some cash in the process.  Win-win!

And ultimately, getting rid of useless stuff means you are okay with less.  In fact, less might be what you’re striving for, and you’ve chosen to want less, as Yes and Yes wrote recently.  “You can work more. You can save more. Or you can want less.”

After getting to the point of wanting less, the rest is actually quite easy.  For many of us, it starts with simply not shopping, and Be More With Less penned an eloquently-written article that discusses some techniques to keep us away from these commercial money pits.  Think: tracking your money, wait before buying and deciding what truly matters in your life. The Art of Simple offered a few similar techniques to keep yourself from buying useless crap.

Lastly, everything that I have written about ultimately comes down to choice.  The more you actively choose the things that happen in your life, the more control you ultimately have over the outcome.  Financially Fitz wrote a very interesting piece on our choice-making habits.  My favorite quote in the piece: “We Choose By Not Choosing More Than We Choose By Choosing“.

And in other completely unrelated news, check this out:

The Finger Rock fire in the Catalina Mountains

Living in the southwest, fires are a natural phenomenon that everyone deals with, at least indirectly.  I shot this photo from my backyard of the Finger Rock fire in the Catalina Mountains Thursday evening.  The fire, they say, was sparked by a lightning strike.  Small world – sometimes, too small!

Stay cool, my friends.  Happy dog-days of summer!

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