The Latest

How to Become Your Own Life Coach with Fourteen Simple Strategies

Over the last few weeks, several readers have written to me asking about the value of hiring a life coach. Usually, these people are struggling with a major life decision or finding it hard to break free of a steady grind that they wish to escape. Life coaches can be incredibly useful if you find …

Categories: Getting Started

Questions About Goodwill, Emergency Funds, Library Openings, Cheese, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Roth IRA withdrawal question 2. Buy it for life: Goodwill 3. Year away from down payment 4. Retirement and disability 5. Having “a life”? 6. Making …

Categories: Uncategorized

Best Cheap and Easy Dinner Recipes

If you’ve got a busy family, or are constantly on the go, you’re probably looking for easy recipes to make high quality yet cheap meals your family will love. At The Simple Dollar, we’re not only looking out for your pocketbook, but also your other precious resource – time. That’s why we put together a …

Categories: Food

Our Path to Living Off Our Own Investments

The big financial goal that Sarah and I have in front of us is to reach a point where we can live off of the proceeds of our investments, allowing us to walk away from work. In essence, that’s what retirement is. Between Social Security (which one can see as an investment built up over …

Stuff Won’t Fill the Hole in Your Life

It’s a weird connection on the surface. The more time I spend reading, the fewer books I buy or even think about buying. The more time I spend actually playing games, the fewer games I buy or even think about buying. This phenomenon repeats itself over and over again. When I pay more attention to …

Categories: Getting Started

How to Stop Making Excuses for Bad Financial Choices

Each year, I go to Gencon, a tabletop gaming convention in Indianapolis held every August. Among the major events are two that make it very tempting to open my wallet: a “dealer hall” where various game manufacturers show off their latest wares and an auction house where unusual items are auctioned off to the highest …

Using Opportunity Cost to Your Advantage

I’m tempted by a lot of purchases. Books. Food. Board games. Gadgets. For me, the best single tool for controlling those kinds of temptations is to give myself a monthly allotment from which I can spend freely. For example, I might cap my personal hobby and entertainment spending at $100 a month and we might …

Categories: Psychology

Ten Strategies for Staying Motivated Toward Your Financial (and Other) Goals

Goal-setting plays a pretty major role in my life. Over the last several years, setting and sticking with goals eliminated all of our debts, bought a home, and enabled a career switch – and those are just the financial goals. At the same time, I’ve failed at more goals than I’ve ever achieved. I’ve tried …

Categories: Getting Started, Goals

Questions About Multitools, Insomnia, Certifications, Jason Mraz, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Inheritance advice 2. Professional certification questions 3. Cheapest healthy foods? 4. Swapping “circles” with friends 5. Time to ditch a car? 6. Too cheap? 7. Frugal …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is simply the best when it comes to accumulating and using points to earn free travel. Not only do you get 2x points on dining and travel, but those points get you 2% off when redeemed for travel on the Ultimate Rewards website. With one of the fattest sign-up bonuses …

Categories: Credit Cards

Inspiration from Isabel Allende, Robin Williams, Emily Dickinson, and More

Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. 1. Isabel Allende on living passionately, no matter your age From the description: “Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a …

Simplified Financial Help For All Of Us

We are all looking for financial help in one way or another. Whether it’s getting out of debt, cutting back on expenses, saving more or making more money, the surprise is that the general rules that govern sound financial management are fairly simple. The difficulty lies in getting ourselves to do what is necessary to …

Using Paprika for Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

Most of the time, I prefer to talk about free computer programs and smartphone apps that are useful for me financially, but today I’m going to make an exception and talk about a paid program – Paprika. (It costs $4.99 for smartphones and tablets and has a $19.99 desktop version for Mac (with a Windows …

Categories: Computers, Food, Frugality

Ten Steps To Turn Financial Disaster Into Financial Independence

Last year, I was invited to contribute to a collaborative book on personal improvement. Each contributor – there were ten or so of us – was charged with writing a section on one aspect of self-improvement. Mine, naturally, was personal finance, so I started to write a ten step guide to turning one’s financial situation …

Categories: Getting Started

Affordable Online MBA Programs

This is the final article of a series on affordable online education. We previously covered specifically online colleges and various degree programs, including online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. If you missed the other articles in this series, you can navigate to each of them here: most affordable online colleges, affordable online bachelor’s degree programs, and …

Categories: Education

Figuring Out What’s Essential

One of my core principles of personal finance is that you should cut back in the areas that you don’t find very important so that you can preserve spending in areas that are important. That’s a great philosophy to have when you’re on the road to financial recovery or when things are going well, but …

Categories: Getting Started

Seven Clever Food Strategies for Stretching a Small Budget

There are a lot of strategies out there for stretching a food budget, from couponing to meal planning. I’ve laid out our six-step plan for organizing cheap meals many times on The Simple Dollar, and it’s a routine we stick to almost every week. Still, that’s not the end of the road when it comes …

Categories: Food, Frugality

Questions about Leftovers, Hobby Hype, Dollar Stores, Convenience, and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Planning for disabled child’s future 2. Investing while in debt 3. Ethics of possibly stolen items 4. Overseas money transfer 5. Dollar store purchases 6. How …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

20 Great Games to Play with Stuff You Already Have

Playing games at the kitchen table is a regular part of life at our house. I play games after school three or four days a week with my children, as well as a family game night most weeks. Sarah and I play games together one or two nights a week, and I have a regular …

Categories: Frugality, Games