Month: May 2014

The Three Rs Meet Your Stomach And Your Wallet: How To Save Significant Cash And Waste Less On Simple Homemade Meals

One of the biggest complaints I often hear from people who are thinking about cooking at home is that at first glance, it does seem expensive and potentially wasteful, as you may have to buy some items in a larger quantity than you may need. What they don’t realize is that by starting with staple …

Categories: Meals

Jim Cramer’s Mad Money: Overview

This week, The Simple Dollar takes a look at the new investing book from Jim Cramer, Mad Money. This book is surprisingly different from its predecessor, Real Money, in a number of ways. I quite enjoyed the first one; will I enjoy this one, too? Let’s find out! When I picked up Cramer’s first investment …

Review: Generation Debt

My interest in Generation Debt comes from the fruits of a series of lengthy discussions I’ve had with my in-laws as well as the parents of other friends. These discussions basically focused on a two-pronged central concept: that Generation X and especially Generation Y have had a terrible financial hand dealt to them compared to …

The Land Of Opportunity

Recently, I’ve had some splendid conversations with a number of people from all over the world who are thinking about coming to the United States to live or – in one case – sending their nearly-adult children to live in the United States. I was surprised and interested in the questions they asked me, and …

Categories: Getting Started

10 Lessons The Simple Dollar (And Its Readers) Has Taught Me

When I started this blog, I made a deep commitment to myself that this was going to be the linchpin for building my understanding of personal finance issues in many directions. I’ve spent countless hours at the library researching about personal finance, talking to financial professionals, and talking to other people facing the difficulties of …

When Frugal Ideas Clash: Quality Consumer Goods Are Worth The Price

Every regular reader of this site knows I can be one cheap person. Just earlier today, for instance, I advocated making your own shampoo and Tabasco sauce to save a few bucks. However, there are limits to the cheapness, as one reader of mine so astutely brought out with a single question: Is it ever …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

8 Ways To Replace Common Consumer Products On The Cheap

If you keep even a remotely well-stocked kitchen, you’ve got everything you need to cut down on your spending on all sorts of consumer goods. Here are eight common products that have very good (or even superior) replacements right in your own home already, most with just the most minimal amount of work: Hand cream …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

Generation Debt: Buy or Don’t Buy?

This week, The Simple Dollar takes a look at Generation Debt, a book that proposes to show why today is a terrible time to be young, from a financial perspective, at least. Is there enough meat on this idea to make an interesting argument, or is this book just blowing in the wind? Let’s find …

Categories: Books and Reading

Borrowing Against A Retirement Plan To Make A 20% Down Payment

My wife and I are currently contemplating an interesting question: should we borrow against our retirement plans in order to make a 20% down payment and avoid PMI or an adjustable rate mortgage? We’ve arrived at an answer to this question, but it’s not an answer that works for everyone, so let’s work through the …

Categories: Housing, Retirement

What Is “The Fed,” What Do They Have To Do With My Money, And Why Should I Care?

Whenever my wife hears mention of the Federal Reserve on television or the radio, her eyes glaze over and she quickly looks for another station to listen to or watch. Sadly, she’s not alone in not having any interest at all in what the Federal Reserve does or what power it has directly over their …

Categories: Getting Started

Why Store Credit Cards Are A Bad Deal

I used to have a big pile of in-store credit cards for various chain stores. I would go into a store ready to make a big purchase and the person at the counter would say, “You can save 10% by signing up for our store credit card!” and I would think, “Yeah! It’s like a …

Categories: Credit Cards

Watching Someone Else Find Their Way Through Debt

One of the best parts of writing a site like The Simple Dollar is that you get the opportunity to find out what problems others are having with their personal finances. I’ve heard some incredible stories, a few of which I’ve had the opportunity to share on here, and I’ve learned a lot – not …

Generation Debt: What Can Be Done?

This week, The Simple Dollar takes a look at Generation Debt, a book that proposes to show why today is a terrible time to be young, from a financial perspective, at least. Is there enough meat on this idea to make an interesting argument, or is this book just blowing in the wind? Let’s find …

Categories: Books and Reading

How DRM Directly Costs You Money And Time – And Why Every Consumer Should Care

The debate over digital rights management has been burning wildly in the past few years as large media companies attempt to find ways to distribute their content to users in this brave new world. Unfortunately, paranoia over protecting intellectual property has made an exciting new opportunity for spreading new music, film, and other media forms …

Categories: Technology

Buying Things Lets Me Forget Who I Am For A While

As I was driving around last night, I was listening to a story on National Public Radio in which an immigrant female who was ashamed of her past was recounting some details of her experience. Right in the middle of her monologue, she uttered that line: “Buying things lets me forget who I am for …

$1 Kitchen Secrets: Ten Herbs And Spices That Will Make Simple Foods Pop

After my post yesterday about essential cookbooks, a reader contacted me by instant messenger to ask a really basic (and interesting) question about food preparation. Basically, they felt competent preparing simple dishes at home, but these dishes were always bland, which usually made even prepackaged meals taste better. Thus, they were often spending a lot …

Categories: Meals

Generation Debt: The Broken Social Contract

This week, The Simple Dollar takes a look at Generation Debt, a book that proposes to show why today is a terrible time to be young, from a financial perspective, at least. Is there enough meat on this idea to make an interesting argument, or is this book just blowing in the wind? Let’s find …

Categories: Books and Reading

Don’t Know How To Cook, But Want To Learn? Here Are The Only Two Books You’ll Ever Need

Making your own meals at home is, quite simply, far less expensive than dining out or take-out or prepackaged meals at home. However, many people simply don’t do it for two reasons: it’s inconvenient and they have no idea how to prepare a good meal. Let’s first address the inconvenient part: if your lifestyle makes …

January 2007 Review – Net Worth +10.8%, Debts -0.1%, Assets +3.9%

I sat down for my monthly financial review recently to see what sort of progress I’d made in the last month. I generally break things down by evaluating my assets, my debts, and then my net worth, and then using these numbers, I attempt to set goals for the coming month. This is a useful …

Categories: Money