Month: May 2014

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Eye Infection Edition

Yes, the dreaded pinkeye was somehow acquired by my son, who has passed it to me, apparently. My sight’s just a touch blurry and my eyelashes… ugh. Anyway, personal finance posts: Housing Slump Slows Down National Spending We’re just now starting to see the long-term effects of a ridiculous explosion in bad credit. This article …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Hunting For Easter Eggs

This morning, my wife and I hid a number of Easter eggs around the family homestead for my son to find. Later, he wandered outside, basket in hand, looking for the eggs. He figured out the game pretty quickly, looking around in the grass for the brightly colored eggs, and he would pick each egg …

Five Simple Questions, Five Simple Answers

As the author of The Simple Dollar, I get a lot of questions on a lot of topics. Here’s a selection of five recent ones on various topics that might have occurred to you – along with my answer. If you’d like to ask a question and want to make sure I read it, please …

Categories: Getting Started

Using Google Maps To Get Free Phone Calls

I recently discovered a fantastic new feature in Google Maps that can actually save me a lot of money. Here’s how it works. Let’s say hypothetically that I’m sitting at work in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area and I want to pick up a delicious pizza from Papa Murphy’s on my way home from …

Five Cost-Saving Reasons To Live In The Country

This Easter weekend, my wife and I are returning to my family’s old homestead out in the country. I love going back there – the pace of life is so completely different. It really heals the soul. That doesn’t mean, of course, that I don’t keep an eye out for things done there that can …

Categories: Frugality

Review: Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Well, it had to happen sometime. After stirring up a hornet’s nest the last time I discussed Robert Kiyosaki, it somewhat became inevitable that I would review his very well known personal finance book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This book has been inspirational to many people, but the book seems to have produced as many …

Categories: Books, Robert Kiyosaki

Short Term Savings – How To Plan For Upcoming Vacations, Auto Purchases, And So On

As I’ve mentioned before, I maintain multiple savings accounts at various institutions, mostly in an effort to keep my different savings goals in discrete places. For the most part, I only deal with two: one is an emergency fund, and the other I refer to as my “short term” fund. What’s a “short term” fund? …

Categories: Planning, Saving Money

Orson Welles, A Zither, and Personal Finance

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a movie buff. I’ve forgotten more films than most people have ever watched. Yet, of all of the thousands upon thousands of movies I’ve ever watched, one scene stands out above all of them as the very best. Here it is – if you have five minutes, …

Categories: Getting Started

Five Minute Finances #21: Look At Your Community Calendar

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. Quite often in the evenings, my family looks for activities to do together. Sometimes we’re frugal and we go to …

Some Notes On The 60% Solution

Many people complain that budgeting is too confusing and that they have a hard time setting concrete goals for themselves, and when they do set goals, they’re so loose that they are easy to meet but they don’t really generate any significant savings. One major solution to this problem is the so-called 60% Solution, described …

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: Buy or Don’t Buy?

Well, it had to happen sometime. After stirring up a hornet’s nest the last time I discussed Robert Kiyosaki, it somewhat became inevitable that I would review his very well known personal finance book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This book has been inspirational to many people, but the book seems to have produced as many …

Categories: Books, Robert Kiyosaki

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Easter Weekend Edition

Traditionally, my wife and my son and I travel back to visit grandparents for Easter, taking in a service at the church my wife went to growing up and engaging in a community Easter egg hunt. I’m looking forward to it. Here are some personal finance posts for you to chew on. Your Total Measure …

Categories: Morning Roundup

15 Ways Department Stores Try To Trick You Into Spending More Than You Need To – And 10 Ways To Fight Back

Ever noticed how you go to the store to just pick up one thing, then by the time you get back to the checkout aisle, you have five or six things in your cart and a bigger bill than you could have possibly anticipated? This happens over and over again because department stores (and let’s …

Categories: Shopping

The Frugal Geek’s Toolbox

Last night, I did a survey of my toolbox, the one I lug around to handle most repair tasks around the house, with the car, and so forth. The box had many of the usual suspects in there (a crescent wrench, a claw hammer, a flashlight, a few screwdrivers, and so on) and also some …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Plan For An Allowance

Over the last several months, I’ve been troubled over how exactly to handle an allowance (or lack thereof) with my son. I’ve read dozens of articles on the topic and looked at many allowance solutions, but nothing has come together as having the right balance of things I want to teach my son about money. …

Categories: Parenting

Continuing The Discussion: When Does All This Pay Off?

Over at Get Rich Slowly, J.D. posted an interesting discussion on the question of when the payoff comes for all the work of being frugal, saving, and investing. To quote Annie: I look around and see people my age buying expensive condos, carrying expensive handbags, taking trips to Iceland and Mexico and Spain. I know …

Categories: Psychology

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: Beginnings

Well, it had to happen sometime. After stirring up a hornet’s nest the last time I discussed Robert Kiyosaki, it somewhat became inevitable that I would review his very well known personal finance book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This book has been inspirational to many people, but the book seems to have produced as many …

Categories: Books, Robert Kiyosaki

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Forty Bars Of Soap Edition

Three different times, I’ve taken advantage of a local offer that nets me sixteen free bars of Lever 2000 soap. So, I just counted and we currently have 40 bars of soap in the closet. Considering my wife, my son, and I use roughly one bar of soap a month, I may be bartering some …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The Tao of Setting Concrete Financial Goals

When I was first recovering from financial disaster, one of my biggest challenges was convincing myself to actually do the things I knew I needed to do. I would think to myself, “I want to save money,” but when push came to shove, it was so easy to not save money. I’m willing to bet …

Categories: Planning, Psychology