Month: May 2014

Please bear with me…

For those of you wondering what’s going on, The Simple Dollar’s traffic has been escalating like crazy since its inception and it finally got to be too popular for my hosting plan to handle, resulting in the site’s severe downtime in the last 18 hours or so. I have worked out a temporary solution so …

Categories: Meta

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 …

Categories: Getting Started, Meta

Deconstructing A Television Advertisement: The Lesson Of Robert Goulet

Given the slickness of modern advertising, many people often view ads strictly as entertainment, when in fact they are intelligently packaged items designed to use various methods into tricking you into buying your product. I find myself often guilty of this, as I was during the Super Bowl this past weekend when I fell in …

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: Food, Frugality

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: What We're Reading

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Four’s Company Edition

I spent the evening getting ready for an incoming deluge of in-laws tomorrow, stating with my two sisters-in-law tomorrow afternoon. It’s going to be an expensive weekend … so maybe a couple of good personal finance posts will help me keep my eye on the ball. How I Control Cash Spending The envelope system is …

Categories: Morning Roundup

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 (Even If They Save 10% Now!)

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

Through The Looking Glass: 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 …

Categories: Advice, Websites

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: What We're Reading

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Lost Returns Edition

My wife and I were quite happy to see Lost return to the air last night. We quite enjoyed the episode, even though my favorite characters weren’t involved at all (where are you, psychic Desmond?). Anyway, on with the personal finance posts. When Times Get Tough, Financially Desperate Options Can Seem Attractive This is a …

Categories: Morning Roundup

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: Food

Consumer Reports – March 2007

Consumer Reports has asked me to eliminate the content of my summaries and any other references to the content of Consumer Reports. I have complied.

Categories: Uncategorized