• Cheap Food, Expensive Consequences: How To Keep Your Family Healthy And Safe Without Spending A Mint

    Reading the news lately is like reading a litany of horror stories. Take this brief excerpt from the Washington Post: Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical. Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria. Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides. These were among the 107 food imports from China that …

  • Why I Can’t Stand Most Personal Finance Magazines

    Every once in a while at the newsstand, I’ll pick up an issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance or SmartMoney, just to give myself something to leaf through while I’m waiting at the airport or something. Every time I do it, I wind up regretting it for three big reasons: The absolutely overwhelming amount of advertisements. …

  • Planning Ahead For The Big Move – And Hoping To Save Money

    Our house closes in a little more than a month, so we’re already thinking about moving, and being the frugal types we are, we’re trying to move with minimal expense. Thankfully, we have one big advantage: we are moving locally, which basically means loading up a truck at one point, driving for an hour or …

  • Managing Regular Financial, Personal, and Social Tasks

    One of my worst traits in the past was a lack of organization, and more than once it cost me severely in the form of late fees, weakened friendships, and so on. The biggest problem was that so many of these things need regular maintenance, but I am terrible about doing these things on my …

  • Review: The Random Walk Guide to Investing

    Almost two months ago, I wrote a detailed review of Burton Malkiel’s investment classic A Random Walk Down Wall Street, which I quite liked. In terms of actual investment advice, however, it was somewhat lacking – it mostly just said that the stock market is very random and efficient, so you’re better off riding the …

  • The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Controlling Creative Writing Tendencies Edition

    Sometimes, I get the urge to write articles on here that are so far removed from personal finance that it would likely drive away a big chunk of the people that come here for personal finance stuff. For example, I was strongly tempted yesterday to write a lengthy diatribe about the season finale of Lost, …

  • 20 Essential Tools For Getting Started With A Home, Garage, and Garden

    From the day I left home shortly after my eighteenth birthday, I have never lived in any place that had a garage, had any reasonable storage space, or that didn’t have a landlord to fix problems. Thus, I never had much need for tools. I used to thoroughly enjoy doing small household tasks and working …

  • Traveling To Family Events: Ten Tips For Saving Money

    This weekend, my wife and I are traveling to see her younger sister graduate from college and also attend a small family reunion. We’ll have to drive at least seven hours this weekend and also spend three nights away from home, which in the end implies a lot of extra expenses. Here are ten things …

  • Navigating Origination Fees And Points

    When you go to purchase a home using a mortgage, one of the major expenses that you’ll have to pay at the close is the origination fee. Here’s a guide for navigating them and figuring out what the best deal is for you. What’s an origination fee? The origination fee is an amount that you …

  • The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Patience Edition

    Our home closes in early July. I must learn patience. Six Great Free Alternatives To Quicken and MS Money A good list, just be careful if you use a web-based tool to manage your finances. Read the privacy policy carefully and be sure you’re willing to give that company the financial information. (@ zen habits) …

  • Five Little Lessons Learned After The House-Buying Agreement Is Reached

    The last few days have been filled with lots of little lessons about the home-buying process. Here are five little anecdotes about things we learned: Home inspections typically aren’t part of the closing costs. I had just assumed that they were part of typical closing costs, but in our situation, a home inspection is done …

  • Seven Reasons Why I Chose Sam’s Club Over Costco

    In the recent past, I mentioned that our new home’s location has a Sam’s Club and a Costco almost the same distance apart, and now that we will finally have storage space, the opportunity to really take advantage of warehouse shopping became clear. To decide which one we would go with (a significant decision, because …

  • Three Frugal Tips For Raising And Managing A Toddler

    My wife and I have a son that’s nearing nineteen months of age. For those of you not intimately familiar with raising a child, this means he’s walking well, running a little bit, and has a vocabulary of about 75 to 100 real words with about that many more words he’s apparently made up himself. …

  • The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Offer Accepted Edition

    We’re in. Not much more to say than that! The Cost of Meat: Too High To Pay This is a very interesting, well-researched, and informative article on the costs of meat consumption and the benefits of being a vegetarian. Really well worth reading – in fact, if you really read one link a week from …

  • Ethanol Blends: Are They Worth It In Your Tank?

    In Iowa, E10 gasoline (fuel composed of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline and safe to use in normal engines) is typically $0.10 per gallon cheaper than 100% gasoline. However, the E10 fuel is less efficient than pure gasoline, enough so that it is noticeable over a long sustained trip – we typically drive three hours …

  • Calculating Net Worth: What Should One Do With Their Primary Residence?

    Several readers have asked me how a person’s primary residence should be used when calculating net worth. As we’re on the verge of buying our first home, this becomes a very relevant question to us for the first time, so I spent some time looking at the options: Include the debt, but don’t include the …

  • Did You Receive An Unexpected Windfall? Here’s Where To Put The Money

    A recent article in Money lists 43 ways to deal with an unexpected windfall – in the article’s case, a $5,000 windfall. There are a lot of good suggestions in the article that make a lot of sense to me, like paying off your highest-interest credit card debt or investing for the long term with …

  • The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Pins and Needles Edition

    We’re supposed to hear later today about whether our house offer will be accepted or if a counteroffer is in the making. My wife and I are making all sorts of plans already – it’s quite fun, especially considering our livable square footage will be increasing more than threefold if we get this house. For …

  • Why Talking About Myself Is Important When Writing About Personal Finance

    I spent some time reading through the site recently and I realized how often I talk about myself and my own experiences on here, everything from my specific goals to my values and dreams, as well as a lot of the financial realities of my life. Now, given that this site focuses on personal finance …