Month: May 2014

The Simple Dollar Convinces Someone To Quit Their Job

This is a really interesting story that I thought I would share with all of you. I do have a few comments below, but I thought I would let Kelly tell her story (I edited this email a bit to eliminate some privacy concerns and polish a few tiny grammar issues): I wanted to write …

Categories: Advice, Careers, Education

The Results of an Ultra-Frugal May

At the start of the month, I announced that my wife and I were attempting an ultra-frugal month where we would try out a number of highly frugal activities to see how it would go. Let’s go through each pledge to see how it went. We will only drink water and milk at home. We …

Categories: Frugality

Consumer Reports – July 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

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Inspection Report Aftermath Edition

We requested that about eight little things be fixed and they said yes within hours, so that’s easy. A handyman should be able to take care of all of it with a few hundred dollars at Home Depot and an afternoon in the house. The “Once A Month, Check It” Technique For Avoiding Expensive Repairs …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Defining The Middle Class Through Statistics: Upward And Downward Mobility

Today, I stumbled across a very interesting tool at the New York Times website that attempts to place you in one of five socioeconomic groups (upper fifth, upper middle class, middle class, lower middle class, bottom fifth) based on a number of factors (occupation, education, income, and wealth). I’m quite happy to share my results …

I Just Doubled My Salary – What Do I Do With The Money?

A reader (let’s call him Ralph) wrote in with the following interesting situation (that has some parallels to my own): About a year ago my wife and I bought a new house with no money down and a 30 year fixed rate mortgage locked in at 5.5%. This meant of course that we would be …

Categories: Debt, Housing

My Kitchen Bookshelf

I am a huge proponent of cooking at home using as many basic ingredients as you can. Not only is it less expensive, it’s also potentially much more healthy than eating prepared foods, and with practice, it doesn’t really require all that much effort, either. Since writing several posts about my passion for cooking and …

Categories: Books, Food

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Home Inspection Report Edition

I’m supposed to go pick up the home inspection report this morning. The inspection last night was quite interesting and I wound up with about ten pages of notes on it. It was just as I predicted – nothing big, but tons of very small nit-picky stuff – lots of fifteen minute tasks, about 90% …

Categories: Morning Roundup

The “White Sheep” Syndrome: What To Do If You’re The Only Financially Sound Person In Your Family

About three weeks ago, I had a long conversation with an old family friend who finds herself in a situation something like my own. In both of our cases, we are earning more than any of our siblings, and in both cases, we are the youngest sibling in a set of them. Since she’s substantially …

Categories: Family

A Reader Has Interesting Reasons For Upgrading A Home

A reader (let’s call him Martin) wrote to me with an interesting scenario about his decision to upgrade his home: I am in my late 40′s and bought a home 8 years ago in a modest neighborhood and will have it completely paid off in about 10 years. My mortgage payments are around $470/month. I …

Categories: Housing

The Choices You Make, The Dollars You Make

After a weekend completely off of the internet and off of writing, I had some serious catch-up to do yesterday afternoon here at The Simple Dollar. I take this site pretty seriously as a hobby / side business, particularly as we move into a new house, and I want to consistently write high quality entries, …

Categories: Goals, Parenting

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Home Inspection Edition

Today is our home inspection, which I’ll go to this afternoon. I am fairly good with identifying some structural and other problems and I’m pretty confident the inspection will be quite smooth, but I hope to learn some things as well. Why You Need More Than An Index Fund This argument is good in one …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Six Points of Advice If You’re considering Loaning Money to a Friend

About three weeks ago, I made the mistake of loaning a small amount of money to a friend against my better judgement. This friend promised to pay me back in small installments each week over a period of time and we even wrote it down on paper and both signed it. He missed the first …

Categories: Advice, Debt

Overcoming A Strong, Sudden Bad Spending Impulse

Yesterday morning, I went to a Target just as it opened looking for some baby wipes for my son. As I strolled through the store, I noticed a small, excited crowd in the home electronics section, so I walked over to see what was going on. The store had received a new shipment of Nintendo …

They Live On In Our Memories And How We Live Our Lives: Six Lessons Learned

On Memorial Day, I always find myself reflecting on relatives and friends who have passed away. I try to think of the things they’ve taught me about my own life, my choices, and my values. Here are a few that are particularly relevant here. My paternal grandfather taught me that being frugal doesn’t mean being …

Categories: Frugality, Goals

The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Memorial Day Edition

Hope you’re enjoying Memorial Day… I spent this weekend on a road trip with my family, so things may be a bit slow around here today. Things will be back to normal tomorrow. Here’s a few personal finance articles to tide you over. What Percent Of Your Income Do You Spend On Housing Costs? Our …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Review: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was perhaps the personal development book of the 1990s and is still the book many people think of when they hear the phrase “personal development book.” I first picked up the book myself in high …

Helping A Soldier Plan An Inexpensive Vacation

I received a very interesting note from a reader who really deserves a vacation: I’m in the Army National Guard, currently serving in Iraq. I am scheduled to get home around mid-July, and my wife and I want to take a nice vacation. We’re planning on going to Ireland next year, so we’re not looking …

Categories: Advice, Travel

How To Get Past The “Keeping Up With The Joneses” Mentality

This weekend, we’re staying at an exquisite estate owned by relatives of my wife. It’s a gorgeous house, gorgeous land, and well-kept, too. In other words, it’s enough to bring out those little bits of jealousy within me – it would be truly amazing to live here. Not too long ago, I would have consoled …

Categories: Psychology