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How to create sustainable money habits.

Good morning, money nerds! It’s Friday, which means the end of the week. But not for me. You see, I’m currently in the midst of creating an audio-only course about financial independence and early retirement for Audible and The Great Courses. My first deadline — for half of the material — is today. I’m not finished.

Fortunately, my project manager has extended my deadline to Monday. Also fortunately, I’m nearly finished. I’ve completed three lectures and have written the bulk of the other two. But that still means I’ll be hacking away in the word mines for most of the weekend. I’ll be working.

But don’t you worry about that. You enjoy yourself. And before you head home, here are some recent top money stories for you to enjoy.

How to create sustainable money habits. [Frugalwoods] — “It’s not good enough to do good with your money one month, you’ve got to do good with your money all the months. That’s the only route to true improvement. Frugality can become your default and you can train yourself to do the right thing with your money. It’s about establishing habits that are easy to follow.”

The secret tricks used by restaurant menus. [BBC] — “You may not realise it, but the menu probably played a far greater role than you’d credit. Far from being glorified pricelists, restaurant menus are sophisticated marketing tools that can nudge customers towards certain choices. Restaurant menus can even tell us what to think.”

How poor Americans get exploited by their landlords. [CityLab] — “It is a mistake, Desmond and Wilmers argue, to see slums as a byproduct of the modern city, rundown areas that occur by accident. Instead, they contend that the slum has long been a ‘prime moneymaker’ for those who profit from land scarcity, racial segregation, and deferred maintenance.”

Magnitude matters. [Humble Dollar] — “Why don’t we spend our time and energy on financial issues that have the greatest impact? We’ll drive to a more distant gas station to save 10 cents a gallon, but fail to do all the maintenance needed to extend the life of our car. What lies behind this sort of behavior? The savings from getting the best price per gallon is concrete and immediate, while maintaining our car is long term and abstract. It’s simply easier to focus on the 10 cents.”

Let’s end Friday with a special treat. Or, at least it’s a treat for me. You see, I used to be a devoted fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I videotaped every episode, audiotaped every episode, and took detailed notes on every episode, which I then entered into a spreadsheet. (How many episodes was O’Brien in? What about Keiko?) Yes, I am a nerd, thankyouverymuch.

Well, as you probably know, there’s a new series called Star Trek: Picard. At the moment, it’s only available through the subscription service from CBS, and I refused to pay for yet another streaming service. So, I’ll wait a year for Picard to be released on iTunes. (That’s what I did with Star Trek: Discovery.)

Fortunately, for a limited time, CBS has posted the first episode of Picard on YouTube. You can watch it for free! I haven’t done so yet, but I will this weekend…

Speaking of weekends, it’s time for you to start yours. We’ll be back next week with more of the best of the web. See you then.