Month: May 2014

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Writer’s Block Edition

This was an incredibly long weekend, especially since I hit my first real bout of writer’s block in a while. I get really frustrated and feel tired when it happens. Thankfully, the dam seemed to break open on Sunday evening, but not after I felt like I was pulling teeth doing some writing over the …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Ten Books That Changed My Life #1: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury Changed my life in October 1991 In January 1991, I started keeping a journal, one that I’ve kept persistently ever since. Each day, I would write down some of the big events that happened during the day, what the weather was like, and so forth. I also kept detailed notes on …

Time To Buy A Car? Follow These Ten Steps To Maximize Your Deal

Car salesmen are no dummies. They love nothing better than to see a “smart” buyer come wandering onto a lot, married to the idea of buying a specific model that they’ve researched. They get this person in the back room and quote them some “wonderful” monthly payment price, but stretch it out over plenty of …

Categories: Automobile

31 Days To Fix Your Finances, Day 21: Evaluating Your Expenses – Housing

The Simple Dollar offers a month-long plan for fixing your finances. All you need is an open mind and an hour each day. Most people, once they’re locked into a home mortgage or have moved into an apartment, feel as though that is an amount that they are simply down each month, with no real …

The Dollar Coin Is Coming! Is It Good Or Bad For The Average American?

Recently, the federal government announced yet another revision of the dollar coin. This time, in order to entice collectors (and thus inflate circulation numbers), the coins will be issued depicting all of the presidents, starting with George Washington and followed every three months by another president. This would mean that my most desired coin, that …

Categories: Organizing Money

Photo Diary #1: A Trip To The Grocery Store

This morning, I went grocery shopping with my son and took my digital camera along to record the experience of grocery shopping with a penny-pincher. Let’s see how it went – maybe we’ll both learn something. Welcome to Hy Vee! I went shopping at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Ankeny, Iowa, a northern suburb of …

31 Days To Fix Your Finances, Day 20: Evaluating Your Expenses – Food

The Simple Dollar offers a month-long plan for fixing your finances. All you need is an open mind and an hour each day. For many of us, food eats a much bigger portion of our monthly budget than we even realize. We grab some fast food a few times a week, grab take out a …

Review: The Wealthy Barber

The Wealthy Barber has an almost unique premise among the top personal finance books: it is written in the style of a novel in which a group of siblings visits the barber in their hometown because they’ve heard that he has somehow become quite wealthy and they want to know how he did it on …

Categories: What We're Reading

Maybe I’m Feeding The Trolls, But It’s Worth Discussing Anyway: The Fundamental Values of The Simple Dollar

Recently, the following comment was automatically deleted by my spam filter; I only happened to see it as I was looking through my spam logs while trying to identify a problem. At first, I thought this comment was merely trolling at its worst, but then I realized that there is actually a point here, one …

Categories: Frugality, Meta

Blown Away By Prices Inside Of Airports? Five Travel Tips For Saving Cash Beyond The Security Checkpoint

I’m sitting here in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport composing this post and all around me I see opportunities to burn through a lot of money very quickly. Hungry traveler? You can drop $10 on some pretty awful fast food quite quickly. Want to eat somewhat better? TGI Friday’s will be glad to take a few …

Categories: Travel

My System For Managing Financial Documents

Several people recently have written to me asking how I manage my financial documents. I have a very simple system for managing them that works well for me, but you may find David Bach’s FinishRich filing system quite useful for you. My system starts off with one enormous binder, an accordion folder with eight smaller …

Categories: Organizing Money

31 Days To Fix Your Finances, Day 19: Evaluating Your Expenses – Automobiles

The Simple Dollar offers a month-long plan for fixing your finances. All you need is an open mind and an hour each day. Almost all of us have an automobile. Many of us have two or more in our family. We all know that they’re money pits, requiring maintenance, gasoline, and repairs, but we need …

5 Big Questions For New Home Buyers #5: What Are All These Closing Costs?

As I begin the process of locating and buying my first home, my mind is loaded with questions. This week, I’m answering the five biggest ones (for me, at least) in detail. I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about the ridiculous items that mortgage lenders and other such nefarious fellows like to slip into …

Categories: Housing

The Wealthy Barber: Buy or Don’t Buy?

This week, The Simple Dollar takes a look at David Chilton’s The Wealthy Barber, a uniquely-written personal finance guide that has found its way onto people’s shelves for decades. Should it find its way onto your bookshelf? Let’s find out. I elected to include The Wealthy Barber in this series simply because it was recommended …

Categories: What We're Reading

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Three Sites You Need To Read Edition

No “real” morning roundup for me this morning, as I’m traveling. Instead, I wanted to give some recognition to three personal finance blogs that have really impressed me in the last month. You should give each of these a read. Queercents http://www.queercents.com/ Queercents is “a personal finance blog serving the LGBT community.” Weird. I would …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Personal Finance Workbooks: Worthwhile Or Not?

If you spend much time looking at personal finance books, you can’t help but notice that a number of the books have companion “workbooks” associated with them. These workbooks are in essence stripped down versions of the main book, but they include specific blanks for you to fill in as you go through the book. …

Categories: What We're Reading

Six Ways To Follow Up That Big Financial Talk With Your Spouse

Recently, I discussed how to break the ice and have a financial discussion with your spouse and an astute reader made a very good point afterwards during an IM conversation: after such an intense discussion, it might be appropriate to do something romantic – with a frugal attitude in mind. With that idea in mind, …

Categories: Marriage

31 Days To Fix Your Finances, Day 18: Evaluating Your Expenses – Energy

The Simple Dollar offers a month-long plan for fixing your finances. All you need is an open mind and an hour each day. I’m often surprised how many people are extremely inefficient with their energy usage, and when they think of fixing problems, they put in tremendous effort to do things that aren’t much of …

5 Big Questions For New Home Buyers #4: How Do I Find A Good Home Inspector?

As I begin the process of locating and buying my first home, my mind is loaded with questions. This week, I’m answering the five biggest ones (for me, at least) in detail. Other questions involve a home buying gameplan, true home ownership costs, hiring an agent, and closing costs. To me, the home inspection process …

Categories: Housing