Month: May 2014

Frugal Living: 10 Ways To Save Money This Week

I’ve written a ton about frugality on this site and how much money it can really save you, but many of these suggestions seem like major lifestyle changes. “I don’t want to do that!” is a common reaction that people give as they imagine a life of pinching every penny. The truth is that it’s …

Categories: Frugality

The Biggest Risk Of All: You

Whenever I make calculations on this site, I usually involve some calculation in which a person contributes some dollars a month each month to savings in order to make an even comparison of which option is a better deal. Quite often, to the chagrin of my readers who are looking for a “deal,” I recommend …

Categories: Debt Management

Why I Keep Cash Under My Mattress

It’s true. After all the financial advice I give out on this site, I keep a decent amount of cash “under my mattress” (actually, it’s in another secure place in my home, but it’s effectively the same thing). At first, this seems to fly right in the face of everything I preach on this site. …

Categories: Insurance

An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 3: A Simple Mortgage Calculator

Regular compound interest is (basically) the way most loans and savings accounts work, including home mortgages. Here, we’re going to use a spreadsheet to calculate a home mortgage payment estimator (and even a full payment schedule) using the principles of compound interest. Fire up your spreadsheet and enter the following information into cells: In A1, …

An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 2: Monthly Compound Interest, APRs, and APYs

Previously, we discussed how compound interest works on a year-by-year basis, but in the real world, interest is usually compounded more often than that. For many purposes, monthly compounding is used, so let’s look at monthly compounding. Fire up your spreadsheet and enter a few labels: In A1, enter Monthly Compound Interest Example In A3, …

An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 1: Getting Started And Defining Compound Interest

Several readers have written me excitedly asking how exactly I do some of the calculations on this site and how compound interest works. Usually, I point them at various online calculators, but the truth of the matter is that a basic understanding of how a spreadsheet works and how compound interest works makes it possible …

Review: The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke is an attempt by Suze Orman to take personal finance ideas that traditionally appeal to older generations and make them palatable to Generation Y. The back states clearly that this isn’t your parents’ personal finance book, but is there anything really interesting or different about the …

Categories: Books and Reading

Student Loan Consolidation 101

If you have more than one student loan after college, chances are you’ve been approached by more than one group seeking to consolidate your student loans (if you haven’t graduated yet and have multiple loans… just wait). These groups promise all sorts of things, from a percent reduction in your balance to a low interest …

Use Your Credit Card Responsibly On Hobbies

As I mentioned recently, earlier this week I found an old credit card statement and spent some time evaluating what sorts of stupid things I spent my money on just a year ago. I decided to circle everything on the list that was directly related to a hobby and total each hobby up to see …

Categories: Entertainment

Five Minute Finances #3: Make A Grocery List

Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. Ever had to face down a $150 grocery bill? I have, and the reason was usually that I entered the …

Categories: Meals, Money, Shopping

A Fresh Look At Auto Leases: Does A Savings Account Help?

Recently, a reader left this comment on an earlier post about the auto lease trap: What if you lease a car like a jetta that can be leased for $248 a month and take the difference between what you would be paying if you bought it and put that in a savings account? In other …

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, And Broke: Buy or Don’t Buy?

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke is an attempt by Suze Orman to take personal finance ideas that traditionally appeal to older generations and make them palatable to Generation Y. The back states clearly that this isn’t your parents’ personal finance book, but is there anything really interesting or different about the …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Gilead Edition

My wife and son both fell asleep before 8 PM this evening, so I took that opportunity … to read. What did I read? I picked up Gilead off of the bookshelf and read it for the third time, this time in one sitting. It’s a truly excellent novel, but you have to be a …

Categories: Books and Reading

Dave Ramsey vs. Suze Orman: Which Plan For Dealing With Debts Is Best?

Recently, AllFinancialMatters posed the following question: which method of getting out of debt works better, Suze Orman‘s or Dave Ramsey‘s? Here are the compared plans: Here’s Dave Ramsey’s Snowball Method for paying off credit cards: Step 1 – Make a list of all your credit cards, ranked in order from the highest balance to the …

How My ATM Card Directly Cost Me $30.28 In One Month – And How I Avoid Such Mistakes Today

While doing some calculations for my income taxes, I stumbled across the statement from my checking account for February 2006, just before my financial meltdown. Amused, I spent some time really looking at the staement when I noticed that there were several ATM fees on the bill and a few sales tax dings on those …

Categories: Banking

What A Dutchman Buying Tulips in 1637 Has To Do With Your Finances Today

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with the dot-com stock market bubble of the late 1990s, which resulted in a very painful tech stock collapse in 2000 through 2002. Why did that happen? You’ll get as many different answers as you can imagine, everything from “irrational exuberance” to complex explanations of specific stock …

Stay At Home Parenting: Is It Worth It?

Now that my wife and I are on firm financial footing (and it took much less time than we thought it would take), we are re-evaluating the question of whether or not one of us should be a stay at home parent until our child goes to school. From a developmental standpoint, our ideal would …

Categories: Family

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, And Broke: Chapters 7 – 10

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke is an attempt by Suze Orman to take personal finance ideas that traditionally appeal to older generations and make them palatable to Generation Y. The back states clearly that this isn’t your parents’ personal finance book, but is there anything really interesting or different about the …

Categories: Books and Reading

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Middlesex Edition

A recent conversation with my sister in law had me digging out my copy of the Jeffrey Eugenides novel Middlesex, which I devoured in two days, the latter of which led me to almost staying up all night reading. It deals with the life challenges of an individual born with the challenge of being a …

Categories: Books and Reading