Month: May 2014

Magazine Subscriptions: Are They Worth It?

I currently subscribe to seven magazines: The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Mother Jones, Wired, Consumer Reports, and Money. That seems like a lot, but it’s actually down from the ten magazines I subscribed to before my son was born. Why so many magazine subscriptions? There are two reasons, really: one, I ask for them …

Categories: Books and Reading

Nine Tricks I Use To Keep Saving Money – And Not Spend It

It’s pretty easy to save money over a short period – just make a savings deposit and feel good about yourself, right? The real challenge comes over the long haul – how can you make yourself do it consistently and also not be tempted to spend the money? Here are nine tricks I use to …

Money Versus Job Satisfaction

Over at Get Rich Slowly, J.D. wrote an interesting article about the relative importance of money and job satisfaction, which was itself a continuation of a pretty large online discussion on the topic: – The Brazen Careerist gives five reasons not to change careers – Paul Graham talks about how to do what you love …

The Simple Dollar’s Guide To Eyeglasses

I’ve worn eyeglasses since I was two years old, and while I was growing up, my eyeglasses were a pretty significant expense. Although my ophthalmologist visits were covered by insurance, my glasses themselves were not, so quite often my parents would ask the doctor whether I could “stretch” using the same glasses for another year, …

Categories: Frugality

The Simple Dollar Talks Politics (Sort Of)

Although I usually avoid politics like the plague, I felt this was an important issue to address. Yesterday, one of my fellow personal finance bloggers wrote a piece entitled What Is The War In Iraq Costing You? In it, the author makes the following statement: According to this report of the National Priorities Project, the …

Categories: Taxes

I Have No Debt. When Can I Live Off Investment Income?

A young, forward-thinking man wrote to me and asked this simple question: Right now, I’m twenty years old. I am willing to take a large percentage off the top of my salary for the rest of my working life in order to be able to retire very young and live off of my investment income …

Categories: Frugality, Investing

Dealing With The Stress of Buying a Home

Right now, my wife and I are waist-deep in the house buying process and it is pretty stressful for both of us. Buying a house is a huge financial commitment and we’re both rather stressed out about the whole thing – it has been dominating our thoughts and our waking hours for the last several …

Five Ways To Break A Shopping Addiction – And Five Ways To Help Someone Else With Their Addiction

One of my wife’s closest friends is completely addicted to shopping, and unsurprisingly she spends a lot of time juggling credit card bills and dumping huge amounts of cash into finance charges just to gain enough breathing room to shop some more. Recently, she’s begun to see that things are going to have to change …

Categories: Shopping

The Value Of Facing Down Your Financial Fears

Recently, I was reading The 4-Hour Workweek and I tried out a mental exercise from the book. Basically, the objective is to make a list of your absolute worst-case scenario with respect to your job and then compare it to the dreams you’re giving up in order to stave off any chance of that worst-case …

Separating The “Wants” From The “Needs”

My wife and I have a monthly financial review meeting where we sit down with all of our bills, credit card statements, and so forth. We go through everything together, item by item, and try to figure out where we can trim our spending. Most of the time, we’re in pretty clear agreement on things, …

Personal Finance Books – From Best To Worst

The Simple Dollar has had an ongoing series of in-depth personal finance book reviews over the last six months as part of an ongoing 52 Personal Finance Books in 52 Weeks project. We now find ourselves at the halfway point and thus now is a great time to reflect on the books that have been …

Categories: Books and Reading

Review: Getting Things Done

Each Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal productivity or personal development book. From my perspective, David Allen’s Getting Things Done is the book on modern personal productivity. It really has changed my life significantly, as I’ve written about in the past and alluded to a few times, but I’ve never really reviewed the book …

Who Won The Six Books? What Personal Productivity / Development Books Were Recommended?

For Giveaway #4, I elected to give away five books. Here are the winners of these books. Ted L. won The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman Seth from Houston, TX won Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life by Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth PT won Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert …

Handling Biweekly Pay Periods: What To Do During Those “Three Check” Months

At one point in my life, I was on a biweekly pay period schedule that occasionally caused me to be paid three times in a month. Of course, at that time in my life, I was an utter fool and I would spend the money on a big splurge, like, say, a weekend trip to …

Seven Inexpensive Ways To Celebrate Mother’s Day

When I was younger, Mother’s Day would sneak up on me and I would often find myself scavening around Hallmark at the last minute, buying some lame Mother’s Day card that expressed a half-baked sentiment. I’d drop it in the mail, give her a five minute phone call on Mother’s Day, and then feel guilty …

Categories: Family, Frugality

Photo Diary #2: Hunting Fungi for Fun and Profit

A technical note: morels are technically considered to be a cup fungi, a relative of the mushroom but biologically distinct. In this essay, I’m using anecdotal and folk terminology rather than strict biological and taxonomical accuracy. In the past, I made a reference to a friend who hunted for mushrooms in the forest as a …

Review: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

To be honest, this is one of those rare books where the name of the author alone convinced me to pick up the title. John Bogle is the founder and retired CEO of Vanguard, and the Vanguard/Bogle investment philosophy struck such a chord with me that it was the final piece that convinced me to …

Categories: Books and Reading

101 Goals in 1001 Days

While I was working on writing the essays for Goals Week, I kept getting excited to define some of my own goals, and so I finally took the initiative and gave the “101 Goals in 1001 Days” meme a shot. About “101 Goals in 1001 Days” I first became familiar with the 101 Goals in …

The Day After: My Immediate Actions When I Reached Financial Armageddon

Recently, a reader who found himself in a situation much like my own financial meltdown. He read about the real pain of the meltdown and the general plan I began to follow afterwards, but there’s a little gap in the middle that wasn’t really explained. How did I get out of that immediate jam? What …

Categories: Debt Management