Month: May 2014

Specifying Goals – Using Myself As A Case Study

Earlier today, I wrote about techniques for defining personal finance goals that you can reach by making them as specific and as realistic as possible. So, how do these techniques really apply to some real world personal finance goals? I took five of my own goals and spent some time working them out to make …

Categories: Goals

Making May An Ultra-Frugal Month

My wife and I have been talking a lot about making significant lifestyle changes related to frugality, and so we’ve decided to take a one month test run at it to see how it goes. We decided to make a list of twelve frugal initiatives to try for the month and then at the end …

Categories: Goals

How To Define A Tangible, Reachable Personal Finance Goal

This week on The Simple Dollar is Goals Week. Many of the posts you’ll read are about defining personal finance goals (and other goals) that are clear and reachable, defining goals with different timeframes, and handling achieving a goal – or not achieving one. So let’s get started. First of all, what exactly is a …

Categories: Goals

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: V8 Revenge Edition

Remember the lady who complained at me because I gave my toddler V8 to drink? Well, I saw her again yesterday afternoon… and guess what she was doing? Taking a six (or so) year old kid into McDonalds! Welcome to the hypocrisy club! Anyway, here are some personal finance posts. 5 Different Ways To Build …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Simple Dollar’s Personal Productivity and Personal Development Book Review Series

Today, I initiated a weekly series of personal productivity / personal development book reviews here on The Simple Dollar. The reasons for doing this are many: One, readers have requested it. In the past, there has been pretty strong positive demand that I review some personal productivity and personal development books and philosophies. This drumbeat …

Review: The 4-Hour Workweek

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. Almost always, when I see a book with a title like The 4-Hour Workweek, I cringe, pick it up, leaf through it to a random page, see something with very little basis in the reality of most middle class people, close the …

The Big Switch: My Thoughts On Electric Orange After Moving My Primary Checking Account There

About a month ago, I switched my primary checking account from my local brick and mortar bank to ING Direct’s Electric Orange online checking. What is Electric Orange? Electric Orange is an online-only checking account offered by ING Direct. In short, that means you do all of your checking account business either online or with …

Categories: Banking

How To Start An Electronic Financial Document System

Yesterday, I spent several hours setting up an electronic system to maintain most of my records instead of using a filing cabinet system as I described a while back. What is an electronic financial document system? Basically, it just means that instead of saving paper copies of your financial records, you save them all electronically, …

Charity: Why You Should Give Your Money Away

I’ve wanted to write this for a long time, but once again a reader of mine comes through. I received this question in an email recently: I have a question about giving to charities. I was always taught by my parents I should be giving 10% of what I earn to the church, charities, the …

Categories: Charity

How I Learned The Real Meaning 0f “Six Months Same As Cash”

Shortly after my wife and I were married, we decided we needed to replace several pieces of furniture in our apartment. Our furniture at the time was still the furniture we used during college – in other words, most of it was from the goodwill store. So we did what many people do when they …

Categories: Debt

A New Rebalancing Strategy: A Change in Vanguard and a Clear Definition of the Goal

This morning, I happily talked about how Vanguard had changed their fee structure, which basically eliminated fees for me. Prior to this fee change, I was using a slightly unorthodox balancing strategy to avoid fees – although I love Vanguard funds and their investment philosophy, I didn’t like their fees. Now that the fees are …

Categories: Investing, Mutual Funds

Don’t Fear The Higher Tax Bracket

One of my readers, Annie, writes: I am up for a promotion at work, but a coworker says that I shouldn’t try to get the job because it will put me in a higher tax bracket. Is this something I should worry about? Would I actually make less money after getting a raise? Don’t sweat …

Categories: Careers, Taxes

Review: Financial Peace Revisited

In the past, I reviewed Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover and, surprisingly to me, I quite liked it. It laid out a simple, straightforward plan for getting people on a reasonably strong financial path, and it’s wonderfully constructed to give the person following the plan a lot of psychological reward for following through. To …

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Hooked on a Feeling (and a Small Announcement) Edition

Maybe my sense of humor is out of whack, but this (@ youtube) brightens my mood substantially every time I watch and listen to it. It’s up to you to determine exactly why that is… Also, this weekend I’m initiating a weekly series of reviews of personal productivity / personal development books, mostly because they’ve …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Bad Lessons My Parents Taught Me About Money – And How I Plan To Avoid Teaching Them To My Children

About a month ago, I wrote a piece called Lessons From Off the Grid, which described some of the good lessons about money that my parents taught me as I grew up: frugality, doing things for yourself, and never acting solely for the love of money. These are things that I try to reflect in …

Categories: Parenting

A Friend Of Mine Spends Less Than $10 A Year On His Hair. Here’s How.

I recently had a conversation with an old friend of mine about frugality and the choices that people make, and he made an off hand remark that he thought the money that people spent on their hair was ridiculous. I asked him what he spent on his and he said, “$10 a year at most.” …

Categories: Frugality

Compound Interest Versus Inflation: The Battle For Your Money

Last week, I wrote a pretty harsh criticism of Spend Every Dime!, a Slate article that basically encouraged people not to save money because taxes and inflation eat up most of the gains. But why is that? Let’s take a step back and look at what’s actually going on here, piece by piece. Some of …

Categories: Investing, Saving Money

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Sign That Your Daycare Is A Good One Edition

Last night, I stopped to pick up my son at daycare. Just as I was about to walk into the “toddler” room, I saw my son trip and fall over his own feet – he’s doing this a lot right now as he’s trying to learn how to run. It was a pretty rough fall, …

Categories: Morning Roundup

We Share A Joint Account… But I Don’t Trust My Partner’s Spending Habits

Marriage and finances can at times be a difficult mix. Each person has distinctly different experiences with money, and each person may have completely different philosophies on how that money should be spent. This often creates marital troubles, but these troubles usually boil down to a lack of communication at some point along the line. …

Categories: Communication, Marriage